Footloose and free: Five of the best hangouts in London

It may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but as any intrepid Londoner will tell you, there’s plenty of things to do in London for free. From galleries to goth buildings, parks to plantations, comedy gigs to music events; there’s no shortage of places to hang out with friends.

If you’re short on money but big on culture, here’s five perfect excuses to meet with your besties for a free day out.

1. Sky Garden

You don’t need green fingers to appreciate London’s highest public garden. Open daily until midnight (and 1am Wednesday to Saturday), it’s one of the best free things to do in London at night.

Affectionately known as ‘The Walkie Talkie Building’ this Fenchurch Street landmark offers some of the best vistas of the city skyline. Free to enter, you’ll still need to book tickets in advance. Once there, it’s hard not to be lured in by their spectacular drinks menu and magnificent views.  For more information or to book tickets, visit Sky Garden.

2. Tate Modern

An institution in itself, the Tate Modern is one of city’s greatest venues. Straddling the Thames with four floors and two wings, its open daily ‘til 6pm. Ideal for a pre-dinner mooch around, or just for a weekend catch-up, it’s ideal for wandering through its large corridors with friends. Home to some of the most incredible works of art, you can easily lose an afternoon to iconic prints from Warhol, Dali and many more.

 For more information, visit the Tate online. 

3. Richmond Park

The Olympic, Hyde and Regent’s – London has no shortage of Parks and green spaces for the public to enjoy. If outdoor London is your thing, then head to the tourist-free Richmond Park.

Nestled near Richmond Station, it’s one of city’s hidden gems, covering 2,500 acres. As well as being one of London’s Royal Park’s it’s also the capital’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest. The flower and fauna here make it a wonderful backdrop for picnics, selfies and bike rides with friends. For something special head to Isabella Plantation. This enclosed evergreen is like something out of an Enid Blyton novel! With its own stepping stones and blossoming flowers, it’s a highlight for many to enjoy. After which head back to the top of the hill for sweeping views of the Thames.

Perfect for a sunny afternoon with friends.  For more, visit Royal Parks. 

4. Royal Opera – Live at Lunch

When time is of the essence, grab a sandwich and best work-friend and hot-foot it to the magnificent Royal Opera House. Between September and February 2020, they are offering free lunchtime performances. This includes artists from; the Royal Opera Orchestra, Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet bringing classic British performances to the fore. Of all the things to do in London for free, this ranks high in popularity, so book early for a top spot. For more, visit the Royal Opera website.

5. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

The last thing you might expect to see in the capital is a huge Hindu Temple. Every bit as impressive as you’d hope for, it is the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Come with friends for a spiritual experience, and reconnect with the things that matter most. As far as the best of outdoor London has to offer, it’s hard not to be impressed by its architectural splendour with hand-carvings in marble and limestone too. Open daily until 6pm, the nearest station is Wembley. For more visit the website.


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