The holidays are officially here. Between end-of-year functions, gifts and nights out, Pounds can seem to fly out of your bank account. We’ve found free things to do in London to keep you entertained these holidays, without costing you a penny.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
A huge ice rink, two circuses and an observation wheel make Hyde Park the perfect Christmas destination for visitors of all ages. The Magical Ice Kingdom allows young guests to experience real ice and snow first hand.
Themed bars, complete with roaring fires, will keep adults busy for hours. The outdoor ice rink – the biggest in the UK – will be illuminated by more than 100,000 lights and is sure to be captivating.
Open-mic comics and well-known acts provide free themed comedy shows, seven nights a week. A popular attraction, be sure to get to Angel Comedy early if you want a seat. Fridays and Saturdays are most popular, with comics sure to have you in stitches.
Visit a museum
London is home to some of the most famous museums in the world. You can visit the British Museum, Science Museum, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, V & A and more, for free. Some special exhibitions might require an entrance fee, but you can easily spend days wandering through everything from Van Gogh paintings to dinosaurs and royal jewels.
Catch a free concert
Watch a lunchtime music recital at Saint James’s Piccadilly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You’ll also find lunchtime entertainment at the Royal Opera House. The recitals feature the rising stars of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and The Royal Opera Chorus as well as Southbank Sinfonia.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race
The annual Great Christmas Pudding Race takes place in Covent Garden. Watch festively dressed teams race around an obstacle course while trying not to drop their puddings. Expect a fun day out with guaranteed entertainment, all in an effort to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Oxford Street Christmas Lights
The Oxford Street Christmas lights take the form of 1,778 snowball-like decorations lit by 750,000 LED lightbulbs. This year is the fifty-sixth anniversary of the lights, making this one of the longest-standing festive installations in the city.
After their brilliant peacock-themed display in 2014, Bond Street should also be worth a visit this year.
Urban Food Fest
A humble car park in Shoreditch is transformed into a food-focused party for this nightly market. Filled with international street food options, visitors can taste dishes from all over the world, including Venezuelan beef arepas, vegan hand-made pasta, Brazilian chorizo wraps and Belgian waffles.
A stocked bar – including craft beer, cider, wine, champagne and cocktails – will ensure no one goes thirsty. Keen for a free drink? Events are often themed, with free cocktails for all those in fancy dress.
Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park
The largest Royal Park in London, Richmond Park sprawls over 1,000 hectares and is home to 650 deer. The hills and woodlands filled with trees, animals and butterflies, are an oasis for visitors.
The park is also home to various playgrounds, restaurants and golf courses. Fishing is allowed at Pen Ponds, as is horse riding and cycling.
Visit the top 10 photo opportunities in London
From red phone booths and the TARDIS, to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and the view of St Paul’s from Richmond Park, there is always a reason to take your camera out in London. Why not spend a day or two working through the top 10 photo opportunities in the city?
Find street art everywhere
Graffiti, painting and sculptures all contribute to London’s vibrant street art scene. Shoreditch is often hailed as the best area in the city for discovering street art. The Alternative London Walking Tours are led by a member of the community – often a local artist – and are the best way to immerse yourself into this facet of London culture.