The Five Top Free and Fun Things to Do In London and Other Attractions

Phew, what a mouthful that title is. London, London. The thing about London is that there are literally SO MANY things to do there that making a decent yet smallishly readable (no-one wants a novel, right?) list is actually exceedingly difficult.

Giving you a list of all the things you COULD do in London would be a bit like giving you a list of items you’ll need to build a rocket to the moon. The place can be a little overwhelming in terms of options.

London offers everything to everyone; the place is brimming with culture, food and entertainment. I have friends and family in London, so I do happen to stop by every now and then. There is always something going on, and there are many ‘big attractions’ to see there.

But let’s start with a couple of suggestions that won’t leave your eyebrows raised as your wallet magically empties.
 

Five Free & Fun Things To Do In London

 

Stroll Down Portobello Road in Notting Hill

Having a leisurely walk down Portobello Road is a great way to spend an afternoon in London. There are heaps of funky stores and antique stores that you can window shop at, and the atmosphere is great. There is normally a market down the end of the road as well.

Notting Hill is also a great spot to get some cool photographs (and the Travel Bookshop from the movie is here as well – the girls will know what I’m talking about).

Portobello Road in Notting Hill


 

Stop Off At The British Museum

The museum is great, and the building is fantastic. It was so nice to be in, and if you’re a history buff at all – you’ll be in heaven. The place was founded in 1753 and actually has OVER 7 MILLION items (although let’s be honest here – a lot of these items were acquired by plundering the treasures of other empires during the English Super Power period).

Roof of the British Museum - Credit to flickr user: TheJRB

I have a thing for globes, ships and chess boards – so I was pretty much in heaven!

A great globe, I want one!

What's the next move?

Loved this Golden Ship.

It’s definitely one of the top things to do in London, and the best bit is it’s completely free to enter and enjoy for everyone. I love it and always recommend it to anyone visiting London.
 

Meander Through The Camden Markets

The Camden Markets has got HEAPS of stuff to sift through, it has all the usual touristy junk of course, but there are also some great gems to be found. When I was last there my girlfriend Trudy found a beautiful tan leather jacket from a French lady who ran a vintage store.

Make sure you head to the markets underneath, in and around the ‘Camden Lock’ – these are the vintage markets that have made Camden Town famous.

No-one said you had to buy anything; window shopping can be just as fun! And just like Portobello Road, Camden Town is a fantastic place to get some awesome photos.

Head Under Camden Lock!


 

Watch A Busker or Street Performer

Well, you should probably give them a pound or so if you’re going to watch their whole show, but I think it’s warranted to slot in under the ‘Free’ section of this little London guide.

They generally congregate in Covent Garden (worth checking out in its own right) and along Southbank (near the famous London Eye). You will find all sorts of performers from break dancing groups to solo magicians and puppeteers. They normally create a fun and entertaining atmosphere, but try not to get pick pocketed.

London Street Performer in South Bank


 

Have A Picnic in Hyde Park

During the summer periods (it’s way to cold in winter!) having a picnic in Hyde Park can be BEAUTIFUL.

Bring along some cool drinks, fresh fruit and baguettes and other picnic snacks – and settle down for a relaxing time in the sun. You’ll find the place will be buzzing if it’s a nice day – great atmosphere!

London Hyde Park - Credit to flickr user: b0000per


 

More London Attractions
(Budgets Beware! – These Will Cost You Money)

 

A Quick List Of Unusual Things To Do In London

You could participate in a London Riot. Joking. Too soon?

Of course there is a whole bunch of quirky stuff you can get up to in the London area, but these will require the use of your wallet and bank card.

You could go ‘Zorbing‘ – I haven’t been yet personally, but it LOOKS AWESOME!

Check out the Grant Museum of Zoology – this Natural History Museum is fantastic. With walls full of wonderful (and weird) skulls and bones and other animal related paraphernalia, be prepared to let loose your inner science child.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum – I remember coming here on my first backpacking adventure when I was 18. You know what? It was fun! I got some great photos with all the ‘celebrities’ and I had a good time with the friend I was traveling with.

It is what it is, and that is people made out of wax (but done realistically). So if you’re not going to enjoy looking at life-like models of people made of wax, let me suggest that you don’t stop by Madame Tussauds!

Here look, I even dug up a photo from an old Flickr album. It’s me bonding with my new friend.

Ignore the weird vest/baggy pants combo - Come on guys, I was 18!


 

Some Of The Other Best Things To Do In London
(In My Opinion)

 
Tate Modern

The incredibly popular Tate Modern (and with good reason) was a real blast. It has works from numerous renowned modern artists and they are all housed in an empty bank side power station.
I’ll be honest and say I’m not a huge modern art fan (my girlfriend is the one with a contemporary art degree) – but I still enjoyed myself and definitely recommend it to anyone heading to London.
There are some great views from where it is located as well, which is always nice.

Don't look for to long!

London Theater

London is famous for its theaters and the variety of theater entertainment options available. When I was last there I went and saw the Phantom of the Opera II (I will admit the story wasn’t great, but I blame Andrew Lloyd Webber for that and not London city). But in general terms, the atmosphere was fantastic and the setup and production values were superb. It was a fun night out (if a little more expensive then my normal tastes).

At the London Theater

Read how to get cheap theatre tickets in London in this article.

Watch a Football Game

I saw a Division 3 game when I was there (Barnet Bees versus Port Vale), and I would have LOVED to go and see a premier league game (although a lot of people prefer watching the lower divisions, classifying the premier players as ‘primadonnas’ and the whole thing as a farce of immense proportions).

The premier teams in London are Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal. If you can get tickets to watch any of these teams play at home – then you should be in for a good show.

If the fans are even half as passionate as they were at the Division 3 game I was attending, then you’re in for a rip roaring ride.

London Football Game - Barnet FC vs Port Vale!


 

The Popular London Attractions

For those who know absolutely nothing about London, I’ve tried to list things in this article that aren’t the epic super famous ‘London Attractions’ and more of the the things that I found personally interesting and exciting.

However just to summarise the popular london attractions for you quickly, you may also want to check out the following:

  • The London Eye
  • Westminster Abbey
  • London Bridge
  • The Tate (not the Tate Modern)
  • The Tower of London
  • Buckingham Palace

That’s all folks!

I hope you enjoy some of what London has to offer, I know I have!

Tom.

6 Responses to “The Five Top Free and Fun Things to Do In London and Other Attractions”

  1. Victoria says:

    Thank you so incredibly much for posting this. I’m studying abroad in Manchester in the Fall of 2012, and know for a fact I’d like to check out London as well as a slew of other places in and around the UK. Cheap excursions such as these are extremely helpful for the young student/backpacker. Again, thank you.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Victoria! Thanks a lot for taking the time to leave a comment – I really appreciate that. Hopefully this little list will come in handy 🙂 Have fun studying in Manchester – I’m sure you will have a blast!

  2. Claire says:

    I’m off to London in two days, I’ll be sure to check those out! Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to be there 🙂

  3. So glad you included London theatre – and it needn’t be too expensive: go midweek, check out the half price ticket booth in Leicester Square, look for theatre meal deals, even theatre breaks (hotel and theatre packages) can be booked at hostels and 2 star hotels for short visits BUT don’t buy tickets off the street and always ask the face value of the ticket.

    • Tom says:

      Hi Simon. Thanks for adding value to this post and giving everyone some more information on the theatre in London. Good to hear it doesn’t have to be super expensive – and the half price ticket booth is a good tip!

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