Travel·Posted on Jan 30, 202022 Things To Do In London That Are Surprisingly FreeDid you know that Nando's has a music studio that you can use for free?by Emma CookeBuzzFeed ContributorFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink 1. Visit the city's museums. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com London is filled to the brim with excellent museums, nearly all of which are completely free. The National Gallery, the Imperial War Museum, the Natural History Museum... the list is endless. My personal favourite of the big hitters is the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), where you can spend hours looking at Victorian costumes and going "wow, I'd look great in that". 2. Go backstage at the National Theatre. Philip Vile / National Theatre / Via Twitter: @ntbookshop Head to the Sherling Backstage Walkway at the National Theatre, and you’ll be able to see down into the backstage area, strolling above the rooms where scenery is painted, props are stored and sets are sawed and nailed into life. Access is on the Gallery Level in the Dorfman Theatre Foyer. 3. See East London's street art. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com The city is a treasure trove of street art, and never more so than in East London, where the graffiti is mesmerising and the murals inevitably done by Banksy. Either wander solo to try and spot the most famous pieces, or sign up to Strawberry Tour's free walk through the East’s art. 4. Volunteer on the city waterways with Moo Canoes. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Get a different perspective on the urban sprawl with Moo Canoes, who help keen kayakers navigate the waters of Regent’s Canal, Limehouse Basin, and Hackney Marshes. While renting one of their cow-print kayaks or canoes isn’t usually free, the company runs a monthly canal litterpick, where volunteers can have a go on the waters gratis, as long as they pick up any debris as they go. 5. Visit God's Own Junkyard. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Owner of God’s Own Junkyard, Chris Bracey, (a.k.a the ‘Neon Man’), is a legend in the sign-making world. Starting out making neon creations for Soho’s strip clubs and brothels, his work has been featured in films by Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan and Tim Burton. His warehouse in Walthamstow is a paradisiacal collection of his work, and entirely free to have a nosey through. 6. Record a song at Nando's. Nando's Fans of both music and Nando's can rejoice. The legendary chicken restaurant has launched the perfect venn diagram of both interests: a free-to-use-music studio in its Frith Street branch in Soho. Fitted with state of the art equipment, those using the studio will just have to content with the curious eyes of diners. 7. Listen to the evensong at St Paul's. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Entry to St Paul’s Cathedral, one of London’s most iconic sights, is usually a fairly hefty £17 in advance or £20 on the door. But those going for the choral evensong can enter for free. Lasting around 45 minutes, from 3.15-4.15pm on Sunday, and 6 to 6:45pm every other day, it’s a soothing event that dates back centuries. Those less keen on cathedral choirs (more fool you) might want to consider GiftAid-ing their entrance ticket, which will give you a year’s free entry. 8. Browse Harry Potter memorabilia at MinaLima. MinaLima Satiating your love for Harry Potter can be expensive – merchandise, tours and a full robe-and-wand-getup don’t come cheap, and not all of us have a secret stash of coins in Gringotts. Luckily there are a handful of free Potter experiences around the city. The best is The House of MinaLima, run by graphic designers Miraphora Mina & Eduardo Lima (Mina + Lima = MinaLima). The dream team helped design the worlds of all the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, and a huge amount of wizarding world graphic art and memorabilia can be browsed in their Soho gallery and shop. 9. ...and take a picture at Platform 9¾. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Of course, nothing quite beats queuing to take a picture of Platform 9¾, where a handy luggage trolley has been embedded into the wall as a prop. 10. Do a tour of Freemasons' Hall. United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons' Hall is the principal meeting place for Masonic Lodges in London – for everyone who isn’t a Masonic Lodge, however, it’s a seriously pretty Grade II* listed Art Deco building. Open from Monday to Saturday, free guided tours are available which will take you through the Grand Temple, Museum of Freemasonry and through more gilt than you ever thought possible. 11. See Leake Street’s graffiti. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com East London may be the heartland of London street art, but the South has a gem of its own in Leake Street. This fantastical tunnel near Waterloo is covered in colourful art, and doubles up as the entrance to the Vaults, one of London’s artsiest venues. 12. Walk through some mews. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com London's mews are works of art in themselves. Go to Warren Mews for cool grey tones and industrial windows, Kynance Mews for leafy arches (which turn bright red in autumn) and St Lukes Mews for perfect Millennial pink. 13. Find Soho’s hidden noses. Flickr: karvajavi Nose your way round Soho to find noses hidden around the streets. A piece of public art created by Rick Buckley in 1977 in protest against too many ‘nosey’ CCTV cameras being installed. 35 were originally installed, but now only ten are thought to be still remaining. 14. Stroll the Columbia Road Flower Market. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com If you can resist the temptation to spend all your money on begonias, Columbia Road’s famous flower market is a brilliant experience. The scent of flowers fill the air, locals haggle over houseplants and bulbs, and the cafes, antique dealers and vintage stalls thrum with life. 15. See a great view of London at the Sky Garden. Sky Garden The plushest free views over London can be found at the Sky Garden, an atrium on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building stuffed with foliage. Think floor to ceiling windows, jungle-like interiors, and an open air terrace. Though free, slots do need to be booked ahead. 16. Listen to a free concert at the Royal Opera House. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com The Royal Opera House, the fanciest of night outs, actually puts on free performances at lunchtimes. The program is unticketed (you just rock up and elbow your way in) and features a line-up of artists from The Royal Opera, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and The Royal Ballet. 17. Walk London’s most colourful street. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com There are a number of compelling streets to walk through, free of charge, in London, but none are prettier than Lancaster Road. If you don’t agree, meet me behind the bins at 5pm, I just want to talk. Close runners up are Bywater Street, Kelly Street, Chalcot Crescent and Hartland Road. 18. Listen in on Speaker’s Corner. Antony / Via Flickr: anton41 A slightly niche option, Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park has been a traditional site for public speeches and debates since the mid 1800s. Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell are all known to have given speeches near it. Grab a seat nearby, and listen in to Londoner’s exercising their right to free speech – a free live podcast, if you will. 19. See some free comedy at Top Secret Comedy Club. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com Not much of a secret now, this Comedy Club is beloved spot for those looking for a few laughs. Comedy shows in the moody basement range from improv through to celeb drop-ins. Browse the listings for free shows (which are more frequent than you’d think) or arrive between 6:30 and 7pm to see the comedy work in progress (again, for free). 20. Get fit for free with Our Parks. Our Parks Working in partnership with local councils, Our Parks is a new initiative that lets people work out for free in London. Sign up to the program, and choose from a number of free classes led by qualified instructors in local parks across the city. Classes range from boxing to buggy exercise for new parents. 21. Take a moment at Highgate Cemetary. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com North London’s Highgate Cemetery has some of the ‘finest funerary architecture’ in the country. In essence, it’s an extremely good looking park. More than just it’s looks, it’s also a soothing place, with verdant greenery and plenty of spots to take a moment to practice a little mindfulness. 22. Marvel at this Hindu temple. View this photo on Instagram instagram.com It’s hard to believe somewhere like the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – Europe's first traditional Hindu temple – exists in London, but exist it does. Neasden is home to the 70 foot building, which, for those wondering, is carved entirely out of stone. It’s just as spectacular inside as out and will have you kicking yourself for booking that trip to India.