Where to listen to classical music in London for free
By Sophia Moss (follow Sophia on Twitter: @EndlessMoss)
When you’re looking for a great lunch time activity in London you might not instantly think of heading down to a classical music concert, but if you did it could actually do you a lot of good. Classical music has been linked to numerous health benefits including lower blood pressure, stress relief, improved sleep and better memory. Classical music also sounds great, it’s very relaxing and there are so many different composers and styles that you’re bound to find something you like so even if you normally listen to other kinds of music why not give it a try?
London is full of classical music and the capital attracts some of the best talent and most popular orchestras every year. Whilst you might associate classical music with hefty ticket prices and big, fancy auditoriums there are actually loads of venues which you can go to for a totally free classical music concert.
#1 | St Martin In The Fields
This is a popular and inclusive church which is located right opposite London’s famous Trafalgar Square. St Martin In The Fields is famous for its classical music and they host tons of concerts throughout the year. There are paid evening concerts, Christmas concerts, educational concerts and, best of all, free afternoon concerts!
This Church hosts free lunch time concerts several times a week at 1:00 pm which anyone is welcome to attend. Up coming events includes the Ghenadie Rotari (accordion) lunch time concert on the 16th of December, and a string quartet concert on the 23rd of December. If you have a free lunch period (or a free day) then why not head down to Trafalgar Square for some calming music in the midst of all the London madness?
Where? Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ. This venue is about three minutes walk away from Charing Cross Tube Station and several local bus stops. You can reach Charing Cross on the Bakerloo and Northern Lines or via local train services.
When? The free concerts are typically held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 1:00pm For more information see here.
#2 | Saint James’s Piccadilly
This friendly church is located in the heart of London’s West End. If you’ve planned a busy day of shopping or you just need a break from the hustle and bustle of London life why not head down to this church and check out one of their free lunchtime concerts? They host free recitals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:10 pm (excluding public holidays) and anyone is welcome to turn up and enjoy the music. Upcoming performances includes the Borealis Saxophone Quartet who will be playing on Wednesday the 14th of December and Carolina Bartumeo who will be playing on Monday the 19th.
Where? 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. This church is centrally located between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street and is only 200 yards from Piccadilly Circus tube station.
When? The free concerts are performed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:10 pm
#3 | St Olave’s Church
St Olave’s Church is located right in the heart of London’s banking metropolis and it is one of the only surviving medieval buildings we still have in this city. This church hosts free classical music recitals on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1.05 pm and the last performance of the year will be the Blaze Ensemble performing on the 15th of December.
Where? St Olave’s Church, 8 Hart Street, London EC3R 7NB. The closest train station is Fenchurch Street and the closest tube stations are Monument and Tower Hill.
When? Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1.05 and occasionally on Mondays and Fridays. For a full list of upcoming events see here.
#4 | Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre includes a number of buildings located on London’s south bank by the River Thames and the London Eye. These venues are used to host many free and paid performances, festivals, educational programmes and free events trough out the year and this includes classical music. The Southbank Centre is hosting a number of choir events as part of their winter festival and until the 18th of December there will be at least one choir event every day at various locations which you can just turn up and watch.
There is also a chance to see Stockholm’s Musikgymnasium Choir for free on the 15th of December, the Pagoda Youth Orchestra will be performing on the 16th of December and there are tons of other free and paid events over the Christmas period which you may want to check out.
Where? Southbank is about 5 minutes walk away from Waterloo tube/train station which is on the Jubilee, Northern, Waterloo & City and Bakerloo lines as well as several local train services and buses.
When? There are events held at various locations around Southbank all year round. For a full list of all events please go here.
#5 | Trinity Laban
Trinity Laban is a famous music and dance school located in Greenwich and Depford. They host a number of free and paid music events throughout the year including several free classical music performances. The last show of the year will be played on the 15th of December at 1:05 in St Alfege’s church and it will feature music by famous composers including Mozart, Puccini, Handel and Offenbach.
Where? St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church Street, London SE10 9BJ. The church is within walking distance from Cutty Sark DLR station. For more information see here.
When? Trinity Laban holds lunchtime concerts throughout the year at 1:05 pm. There are also other events planned for 201 so for more information go here.
#6 | Royal College of Music
The Royal College of Music hosts various free concerts throughout London. If you fancy doing something different on a Friday night why not head down to The Victoria and Albert Museum for a free concert at 6:30 pm, or you need to chill out after a stressful Monday back at work why not go to St Stephen’s Church for some classical music on Monday evening? They also host free lunchtime concerts, they sometimes run free and paid events at the Royal Albert Hall and there are various ticketed events which you can find here.
Where? Various locations. See here for a list of venues and events.
When? The times listed above may vary depending on the season. To avoid disappointment please refer to the RCM website to check what’s on this week.