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13 Londoners share their favourite free things to do in London

By Time Out London contributors

Bank balance looking a bit bleak? We feel you. Luckily, London is full of awesome things to do, which (like J-Lo’s love) don’t cost a thing. We asked Londoners to share their favourite free things to do around the city.

The BFI Mediatheque

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‘Check out the BFI’s free Mediatheque. There are 2,500 films to choose from – everything from Christmas ghost stories to dogs with balloons. And let’s face it, sitting in the BFI is pretty nice, isn’t it? It’s got swanky leather armchairs and classy people.’ Ju Shardlow

Explore London on foot 

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‘There’s literally no better way to enjoy London for free than just starting walking and not stopping. Never mind exercise: pounding the pavements from Tower Hill to Greenwich or Bishopsgate to Hackney Wick gives you a cross-section of the city’s messy, beautiful, frustrating, diverse and constantly changing life.’ James Manning

Sir John Soane’s Museum

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‘Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is a treasure trove of eighteenth-century art. I still can’t believe it’s free entry!’ Aggie Torrance

The Magnificent Seven Cemeteries

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‘It’s a little morbid, but I love wandering around London’s Magnificent Seven Cemeteries. They are so overgrown now with wild flowers and greenery that you forget about the morbidity and just see the beauty.’ Michael Ratcliffe

Holland Park

‘Holland Park in west London is one of the most beautiful open spaces in the city. Surrounding the ruins of Holland House, the park is made up of both wild woodland and beautifully trimmed gardens. You can relax in the Kyoto garden – one of two Japanese gardens here – with its waterfall, duck pond and peacocks. Then head down to the orangery, stopping to play a quick game of giant outdoor chess.’ Laura Hartley


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‘I love Parkrun. Starting in Bushy Park in 2004, it’s now expanded to a massive 49 events across Greater London. Each event is a 5K run taking place every Saturday morning in one of London’s various parks and green spaces. Not only is it completely free to join in, but the cheering volunteers make you feel like you’ve crossed the marathon finish line every weekend.’ Rosie Percy

Wallace Collection

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‘I’m always bewildered as to why the stupendous Wallace Collection isn’t twice as popular as it is. Okay, it’s not a place you come for blockbuster exhibitions. You come for the smutty French rococo paintings, gleaming Sèvres porcelain and exquisite furnishings. It’s a bit like eating a slice of gateau in museum form: you’ll feel a little queasy after, but damn, is it good at the time.’ Matt Breen 

Museum of Croydon

‘The Museum of Croydon celebrates the history of Croydon and its people. It shows how it developed from a small market town in Victorian times to what it is now. The museum is a wonderful hidden gem, just around the corner from the historic Surrey Street Market.’ Charlotte Gale

Highbury Fields

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‘My favourite thing to do is wander around Highbury’s green spaces. Highbury Fields is a must for large, open spots to relax in (and plenty of dogs to play with). Next, stroll down to the charming Culpeper Community Garden – looked after by local volunteers – or have a game of chess at Paradise Park. You’ll never get bored.’ Lizzy Pollott

Lates at the Science Museum

‘It has to be the Science Museum Lates. They’re always themed and it’s amazing to hang out in the museum with no children getting in the way of the exhibits!’ Stephanie Chan

Barbican Centre

‘The Barbican almost always has at least one free exhibition on at any given time and is a fantastically relaxing place to hang out, rain or shine.’ Sarah Blaikie

Stand-up paddleboarding

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‘You can do a free paddleboarding session at Paddington Basin on Wednesday lunchtimes. The 30-minute taster session designed to give you a very brief introduction to SUP (stand-up paddleboarding).’ Georgie Pursey

Street art on Brick Lane

‘For me, the best thing to do in London is to check out the street art around Brick Lane. It’s constantly changing and so varied.’ Shona ODonnell

Want to save more cash? Check out these 16 totally free things to do this summer.

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