London might be pricey in many senses, but it’s certainly not short on free things to do. Whether it’s taking in the national museums and art galleries to seeing the sights on a city tour, the plethora of free activities in London is well documented and well publicised.
Perhaps that’s why some things can start to feel, well, a bit touristy.
Once you’ve seen the famous landmarks and annoyed a beefeater, what’s left to do? Surely this isn’t how the locals spend their weekends?
As a matter of fact, it’s not. That’s why, for this blog, I reached out to my London-dwelling friends to ask them: what’s great to do for free in the city you call home?
Well, the insider tips came pouring in, and now I pass them on to you. Enjoy!
1. Angel Comedy
Comedy can be a great way to get an insight into a culture – and comedy in London is no exception, with comedians laying bare the most ridiculous aspects of our culture with that trademark brand of particularly British humour. Luckily for visitors to London, free professional stand-up comedy can be found at the Camden Head in Angel every day of the week at 8pm sharp. Get down there and get ready to giggle!
2. Friday Lates
For a Friday night with a difference (it’s certainly lighter on the wallet than a couple too many pints at the pub), head to the National Gallery, which stays open each Friday until 9pm for its special ‘Friday Lates’ sessions. Wander the galleries at leisure, listen to live music, and take advantage of the free guided tours and drawing sessions that are on offer each week – check the online calendar for details.
Another Friday treat, the world-famous London Symphony Orchestra put on a free 45-minute lunchtime concert each week at 12.30pm sharp inside St Luke’s. Not only is it less formal than an evening concert, but you can also learn about the music being played and the instruments being played on through talks and a Q&A session.
4. Brick Lane
It costs nothing to visit this bustling street, the hub of London’s vibrant Bangladeshi community – although that said, you’d be a fool not to treat yourself to a curry in one of its delicious ethnic eateries! For those on a budget though, there’s still plenty to do, from getting stuck in at the Sunday market to taking in the iconic street art – and that’s not even mentioning the galleries, shops and festivals that take place around the year.
Come rain or shine, this outdoor bookseller is open all day, every day. The books (all of which are antique or second-hand) might not be free, but they’re certainly good value – and besides, the fun is in the browsing anyway.
Incidentally, while we’re on the subject, visitors to London who are fans of Black Books (an awesome British comedy series) might want to use the opportunity to take photos of themselves posing in front of the eponymous shop itself – it can be found at 13 Leigh Street, Bloomsbury, WC1H 9EW.
Are you a London local? What free activities would you recommend?