Visit London this summer! It’s warm, lively, and can be reasonably affordable if done right! So many of London’s best parts are free: local markets, sky-high views, galleries, and art centres are only the beginning. Read through Stayo’s top free things to do this summer in London and be inspired!
Visit Hyde Park
Visit one of London’s finest historic landscapes, covering 350 acres of land. Whether you are with friends or family, there is something for everyone in Hyde Park. Walk, cycle or run through Hyde Park on a warm summer’s day and enjoy the greenery around you. Explore amazing wildlife, memorials, fountains, famous statues, the Rose Garden and much more. As well as this also have a great day out with the kids by visiting the children’s playgrounds within the park. This is the perfect place to escape the busy streets of London, with over 4,000 trees, a lake and a meadow, it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of London.
📷 Shutterstock @joedunckley
Visit the Newport Street Gallery
Calling all art lovers! Check out world famous artist, Damien Hirst’s, very own private art collection at the Newport Street Gallery. Hirst has been collecting since the 1980s and is keen to share his finds with the world. The Gallery was once a theatre-set-painting studio, giving it a unique atmosphere and serving as a great space to display the works of Bacon, Picasso, Banksy and many more. The art fills six exhibition spaces, and if that’s not enough for a free day out, visit the displays of taxidermy and natural history specimens. The exhibitions continue to rotate, so there’s always new art to see!
Visit The Barbican
Londoners love the Barbican for many reasons. It is home to over 4,000 residents, it’s a library, an arts centre and a school of music and drama. Recently, the venue was picked out by Harry Styles for his latest music video. Whatever your reason for visiting, it is most certainly worth it. The Barbican hosts a range of free events, performances, and installations; just head to Level G and see what’s on. We recommend making a trip to the Conservatory, which is open most weekends and stands as London’s second-biggest conservatory; wander through the tropical plants and look out for species of exotic fish.
Take a trip up to a sky garden
What is a visit to London without a glimpse of the iconic skyline? Take a trip up to the city’s highest public garden and take those snaps that are sure to wow everyone at home! The Sky Garden is the city’s worst kept secret and can be found on the 37th floor of 20 Fenchurch Street, known to Londoners as the Walkie-Talkie building. Once you’ve reached the top, the space opens out into several storeys of stylish jungle. Wander through the greenery and stumble across several of the Garden’s amazing restaurants and bars. This exotic garden in the clouds is free to visit as long as you book in advance online.
If your trip to see London’s skyline or to watch the sunset is more spontaneous, Stayo recommends another, slightly less well-known rooftop just down the road from the Sky Garden, where no pre-booking is required unless you are a group of 12 or more. The Garden at 120 is the City of London’s largest public rooftop, and it is also free. There is no time limit, so you can stay and watch the sun go down for as long as you please amongst the Italian wisteria trees, flowing water feature, seating area, and new coffee hut. It’s a hidden gem that can’t be overlooked!
Pelican feeding in St James’ Park
As well as picture-perfect views of Buckingham Palace from the ‘Blue Bridge’, St James’ Park has some more exotic views it can offer you. In the pond, you might spot swans, ducks, loons, and geese, but visit at 2:30 pm and you’re sure to see the park’s very own scoop of pelicans as they are fed. Pelican residents have lived there since 1664, when they were gifted by the Russian ambassador. Afterwards, wander round the park and catch a glimpse of owls, woodpeckers, and even bats. It’s almost like a free trip to the zoo!
A day out on the Southbank
Sandcastles, picnics, and water fountains; and no, we’re not talking about a holiday resort, we’re talking about the Southbank where you can pass the day without spending a penny. On a sunny day, sit on the urban beach or on the grass in the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof garden. If the kids get restless, take them for a run through the water fountains or watch street performers as you walk along the River Thames up to the Tate Modern, which is also free. On a rainy day, visit the Royal Festival Hall, where events, including free dance classes, are often held in the Clore Ballroom. Alternatively, the Southbank Centre offers free workshops, discussions, and fantastic views from the top floor.
Wander through Borough Market
Even if you don’t plan on spending, a wander through Borough Market in Southbank is a day trip in itself. Explore more than 100 gourmet food stalls, including tasty cheeses and beautiful patisseries, and try all the tasters! The market is open Monday through Saturday, with the complete market functioning open from Wednesday to Saturday. Borough Market is located next to London Bridge, so when you’ve finished perusing international delicacies, handmade chocolate truffles, Indian street food, and raclette at the market, take a walk along the River Thames. London offers many markets like Borough, so wherever you choose to stay in the city, there is sure to be one nearby.
📷 Shutterstock @alenaveasey