How to beat the tourist traps and find the best free things to do in London
London is notorious for being one of the world’s most expensive cities. Indeed, many aspects of this beautiful, exciting and historical capital don’t come cheap. Most people think that spending money is an unavoidable part of the London experience. However, there are many ways to embrace London without spending a penny. Read ahead; discover how to beat the tourist traps and find the top freebies in London.
Also have a look at the top 20 free things to do in London.
#1 | Check out museum websites
Most the museums of London are free, which is a rare and wonderful tourist exception to embrace. Look for visitor guides like Visit London and find the ones you find most interesting. Jump from the T-Rex skeleton of the Natural History Museum to the random wonders of the Wellcome Collection, including robots, mummies and the walking stick of Charles Darwin. Whether you’re looking for quirky or traditional, there are so many museums; you can always make an interesting day of it. Also, be sure to check out our pick of the best free, small museums in London.
#2 | Ask the locals
If you are travelling, you often don’t have the time or experience of a place to know what’s fun and free. But you know who does? The locals! Don’t be shy – Londoners are friendlier than they seem. Many people would be willing to help you out. So ask around for creative ideas and get some insider knowledge. That way you can hear about those hidden London freebies that are usually only spread in the most secret way possible: word of mouth.
#3 | Look at park events
It’s always free to go and relax in a London park. But sometimes they host also events, live music, dancing or entertainment. Rather than just wandering aimlessly in the parks, do some research beforehand. For example, Hyde Park hosts Speaker’s Corner every Sunday morning – and has done for 150 years. People are invited to speak their opinions on any topic as groups gather round to listen. This tradition brings a new level of energy to the area. It helps you get to know London and its people in an original (and totally free) way.
#4 | Research market times
Don’t let yourself miss one of the best free experiences of London: the markets. Avoid wandering lost around Borough, long after its great market is closed. Websites like Time Out outline the market times so you can plan ahead. They range from selling clothes to vegetables, books to flowers, antiques to artisan crafts. You can choose to buy something or not. Either way, London markets are a great experience.
#5 | Read travel blogs
Millions of people visit London every year – and many of them write about it. True, most visitors get stuck in the tourist traps. However, some travellers focusing on cheap travel have found the secret freebies of London. Read their advice and discover the hidden gems that most people miss.
#6 | Follow the street performers
Watching the street performers of London is an excellent way to appreciate the city. You can decide if you want to give money, but the show is ultimately free. Head to somewhere like Covent Garden, which is famous for its entertainment. Not sure where to start? Read some articles like this blog, which lists the places to start on your journey into the street performance world of London. Also, have a look at this guide to free and cheap street theatre in London.
#7 | Get a map
There are plenty of places you can pay for a map in London. But if you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, you’ll probably get one for free. Maps usually mark plenty of fun things to do in a city. They highlight the landmarks and major sites. Big Ben, Millennium Bridge, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London; these are all totally free to witness from the outside! No one will charge you for wandering the streets and marvelling at the architecture. So check out some maps and plan a free walking tour for yourself.
#8 | Follow the students
Students love freebies. Living in London, young people have had to learn how to survive without the security of a professional job. So talk to local students, hang out by universities or check out student websites. Sites like Student Money Saver have great pieces of advice on travelling London for free. Read these articles and get into the young mindset. Where there are students, there are freebies.
#9 | Join a local social website
Social sites like Meetup are an excellent way to discover the freebies of London. Numerous local groups track free events in the city. Get involved, and you can also meet some great people along the way! By gathering local advice and knowledge, these insider groups let you know about free dance classes, fitness sessions, yoga workshops, comedy shows or public talks that are going on – and much more! Some even cover the costs for you so that you can just focus on enjoying the experience.
#10 | Collect vouchers
Vouchers are always a fantastic idea for those wanting to save money. Most of the time, you get discounts on larger deals and might not get a complete freebie. However, many smaller businesses give food samples, complimentary drinks or 241 deals to loyal customers or those that fill out surveys and reviews. So look around – London businesses love to promote with freebies!
Follow these ten pieces of advice and enjoy the best of this incredible capital by embracing the top freebies of London. Enjoying the city doesn’t have to cost money. After all, the best things in life are free!