Visiting the capital needn’t be expensive. There’s a world of wonderful, free things to do in London for all the family. From museums and markets to street art and live performances, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Spend the day exploring London’s free and fun attractions, and don’t forget to take loads of pictures. You’ll want to capture everything!

Visit the V&A Museum of Childhood

A short distance from Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch this magical museum is filled with art exhibitions, and hosts events that showcase pieces that encourage and entertain. From the history of childhood toys, to collections of art inspired by the creativity and imagination of childhood, it’s a wonderful place to be.  


Visit Spitalfields Market

Underneath the glass ceiling of this amazing market in the heart of the East End, you’ll find an array of things to do, see and eat! Home of the bargain buy, vintage find and mouth-watering meals, Spitalfields market is also a great place for music lovers, trade enthusiasts and of course, great free events such as dance competitions and an excellent children’s program guaranteed to get everyone moving!


Hang about in Trafalgar Square

Why not have lunch in Trafalgar Square, and enjoy the iconic statue of Charles I or see which latest commissioned art piece holds the coveted spot on the Fourth Plinth. Stand in awe of the sheer size of Nelson’s Column (and the Lions!), have a seat on the famous steps of the National Portrait Gallery, take a stroll down towards The Mall, and be greeted by the magnificent sight of Admiralty Arch. Trafalgar is the ultimate sightseeing playground, and a great experience for all!


Enjoy the Live Performances in Covent Garden

From spectacular jugglers and impossible contortionists, the why-haven’t-they-been-signed? singers and bands, and of course clever clowns, the piazza at Covent Garden is filled with overwhelming talent! Stand and marvel at the live performances, or sit up front to take in the shows. The street performers are wonderful, friendly (often cheeky!) and always fun.

Different performers take to the stage on different days so be sure to check who will be performing, or simply turn up and enjoy the surprise!


Walk the Millennium Bridge

Once famous for being the wobbly bridge (now fixed!) the Millennium Bridge, is one of the best bridges, and places, to visit for some exceptional views of the River Thames and beyond.

Walk the length of the bridge from one end and you’ll be at the foot of Tate Modern, or St Paul’s Cathedral at the other end.


Watch the Changing of the Guard

Synonymous with London, watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace has to be one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in London, year round. And what’s more, it’s free.

Witness the excellence that is the Queen’s guards march in unison as they vow to protect the Queen and the Royals. It’s simply marvellous to witness.


Tour The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾

A must-see on any Harry Potter fans list, and it’s completely free! Step onto Platform 9 ¾  at Kings Cross and experience the sheer magic and excitement of this amazing attraction. Join the queue of visitors lining up to make their way through the gateway to the wonderful world of wizards.

But before you make your way towards Hogwarts, why not visit the fantastic shop on site. Full of all the necessities a wizard needs, and mind-blowing artefacts, it’s the perfect place to ogle at the marvellous wizardry stock on show, and grab yourself some fantastic gifts, including scarves, hats, bags and wands.

Find yourself transported to another place as you get lost in the world of Potter, all before leaving the station!


Escape to Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park

This astonishing Japanese garden within Holland Park is an unbelievable design feat, and wonderful escape. There is so much to see and do. Watch the cute squirrels jump around, admire the gorgeous peacocks as they parade beside you, and enjoy the Koi fish peacefully swimming around in the pond. Traditional Japanese rock faces, streams, waterfalls and cherry blossom trees align the river bank. It’s a must-see.


Step back in time at the Natural History Museum

Dive into the world of the Pterodactyl, learn about dinosaur cloning (Jurassic Park, anyone!), become a Crime Scene Investigator, and help scientists find out “who done it”, or learn all there is too learn about your favourite animal. There’s so much to see and do, you can easily spend the whole day here. There’s also an excellent cafe and shop on site, so you can grab a bite to eat in between exploring, and grab yourself a souvenir to remember your great day!


See the Deer and other wildlife at Richmond Park

This amazing National Nature Reserve set in the heart of London’s Richmond area is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Surrounded by acres and acres (did we mention acres!) of grassland, mounds and lush forest sits its very own Deer Park. Gorgeous, regal deer walk the park they call home, and live in pure harmony with the other residents including rare special birds and bats.

Plus, you can also try power kiting or horse riding. Just a few of great things you can do.


We love saving you money, here at Thistle…

Why not make your trip to London extra special with a stay at one of our Thistle hotels. Ideally located to reach all the fun and free attractions listed here (and more!), you’ll also benefit from some wonderful offers if you book direct.