If your budget is feeling the strain, that doesn’t mean your social life has to suffer too. Living in the capital city may come at an exponential cost, but not all of its activities do! If you would rather keep your cash for coffee or the cheap eateries, plenty of the most iconic landmarks in London are 100% free to access. This article will cover a range of free things to do in North London, covering the best parks, woodlands, and areas of natural beauty to explore, in addition to a selection of cultural options, which won’t cost you a penny!
In addition to following our suggestions, culture lovers should also take note of upcoming holidays and find hotspots in North London providing free to enjoy entertainment and gig lovers can find free concerts, which regularly happen across the city. Using websites, such as Event Brite, also makes it easy to search and filter all of the events taking place around North London for free – search which category you are interested in and hit the ‘free’ filter. The options range from networking nights to live music, business events, community events, Spiritual events, visual arts and performance events. North London is your Oyster.
9 Free Things to Do in North London
Spend the Day at Welcome Collection
The Welcome Collection Museum is home to one of the most eclectic collections of medical antiquities and modern art and displays worldwide – let alone in North London. Medical ephemera and modern art seem like a slightly random pairing of oddities and arts, but for North Londoners keen to discover what it means to be human via a permeant exhibition and traverse the history of biomedical progression, it’s an enthralling trip.
If you have a little bit of cash to spend, you can head to the bookshop, where you will find books on everything from a social history of phobias to the paradigms attached to Greek and Roman bodies. Of course, buying a book isn’t necessary to have an enlightening trip; you will learn enough from the varying installations at the exhibitions themselves. The café is also the perfect place to kick back and read your new books. Everything bar the goodies in the bookshop and the gift shop that is home to everything from edible body parts to cuddly parts of human anatomy is free to experience. The café and shop are open seven days a week, whereas the library is closed on Sundays and the galleries and reading room are closed on Mondays.
Explore Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is one of eight royal parks across London and decidedly one of the most serene free things to do in London. Whether you want to gaze across the flowerbeds that are home to more than 12,000 roses. See how many of the 100+ wild bird species reside in the wetlands you can find or use it as a workout destination; Regent’s Park and its 395 acres have something to offer all North Londoners. For an unforgettable experience, download the Music for Trees mobile app, which will allow you to listen to geo-located compositions created by students from the Royal Academy of Music as you walk across the park. Each of the classical music compositions was inspired by the trees around the park, providing a brand-new multisensory way to connect with nature.
Walk in the Footsteps of the Beatles on Abbey Road
There are few artists more integral to British music culture than the Beatles. They may have resided in Liverpool, but they were one of the first bands to make the recording studio on Abbey Road iconic. Their album, Abbey Road, features the artwork of them walking across the pedestrian crossing that stretches across Abbey Road itself. Grab three of your friends and replicate the iconic image, or head down alone and see where musical history was made. Unfortunately, you won’t get to see inside the infamous record studio, but you will get to feel the sonic buzz that revolves around the location.
Discover Ancient Art in the Ben Uri Gallery & Museum
The Ben Uri Gallery & Museum is the world’s first full-scale virtual museum and research centre. There are always upcoming events to look forward to, in addition to the endless artefacts that document the diverse and rich Jewish culture, focusing on how Jewish immigration has contributed to British visual culture since 1900. The art museum, also known as the Art Museum for Everyone, is just a stone’s throw away from Abbey Road; if you are going back in history to join the Beatles, you may as well go a little further back in time to this gallery, which was founded in 1915.
Trek Through London’s Longest Nature Reserve
It is easy to get frustrated due to a lack of funds when you don’t want to be stuck indoors. London’s most expansive nature reserve is the perfect place to get away from the idea that you need cash in hand to spend some quality downtime. The Parkland Walk stretches along the old railway track that used to connect Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park, and has become a tree-shrouded paradise for nature lovers. The 4.5-mile walk provides endless picturesque views, and it doesn’t take much to spot some local wildlife. Since the reserve was repurposed in 1970, it has become a thriving ecosystem for many animals, including muntjac dear, foxes, squirrels, bats and hedgehogs.
Embark on a Banksy-Hunting Tour in Camden
If you thought you needed plenty of disposable cash to enjoy the best of Camden – think again. As you take in the vibrant sights and sounds and wander around the canals, you can test your ability to hunt for Banksy street art. There are plenty of pieces to discover – we won’t spoil the fun and tell you where they are! Of course, Banksy isn’t the only street artist to have contributed to the Camden Lock iconography, which boasts some of the best street art in the UK. Even the depictions of David Bowie as Aladdin Sane on Brick Lane cannot compete with the gritty visual appeal of Camden.
Visit One of the Oldest Sites of Christian Worship in the UK
The Old St Pancreas Churchyard may not be one of the most highlighted tourist destinations in North London by tour guides. However, unlike Highgate Cemetery, there is no cost to explore the slightly macabre architecture and imagine what came before you. There are fewer famous names on the headstones, but history has lived and breathed across this historic site, revered as one of the oldest sites of documented Christian history in England! Thomas Hardy was also responsible for exhuming a number of the graves to make way for some of the St Pancreas railways. Although, the resting place of Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Mary Shelley, is still intact. To make the site even more romantic, it was on her mother’s grave she declared her love to Percy Shelley.
Spot Some Wildlife on Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath boasts some stunning scenery, and the 322-foot-high hill is one of the best spots in North London to see the cityscape in a brand-new light. From the panoramic view, you will gaze across iconic landmarks, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf. Don’t forget to look around Hampstead Heath itself; the wild park, which consists of verdant meadows and woodlands, is filled with awe-inspiring scenery. No visit to Hampstead Heath is complete without stopping by and admiring the architecture of the Pergola, a picturesque terrace and arbour, which the likes of John Keats, Bill Oddie, and Karl Marx have admired before you. If you feel like doing a little more than just taking a stroll through the Heath, the open water is the perfect spot for a wild water swim, although, strangely, you will need to spend £2 to take a dip in one of the mixed bathing ponds!
Take a Trip to the Tate Modern
The Tate Modern may be slightly out of the North London area, but it is worth the short trip for art lovers looking to soak up a little visual culture. Aside from the special exhibitions that routinely pop up in the world-famous art gallery, there is no cost for entry or requirement to book free tickets in advance. The gallery is home to one of the most diverse arrays of contemporary and modern art from internationally acclaimed artists. You can trace the history of art from the early 1900s to the modern day, witnessing the works of everyone from Pablo Picasso to Jenny Holzer as you explore the vast art space. Make sure to witness the iconic Turbine Hall, the monolithic art installation from Cildo Meireles and the video works which frequently screen in the underground tanks. The gallery is open every day; except for December 24th – 26th, from 10 AM to 6 PM.