30+ free things to do in England

As well as being lucky enough to have tons of free museums to explore, England has endless amounts of cheap days out for couples, free things to do with kids and solo trips on a budget. From ticketless festivals to free attractions, complimentary walking tours to taking advantage of public parks and beaches, you won’t be short on ideas of things to do that don’t cost a penny. 

• Looking for free things to do in London? Hide away amongst the lush foliage in London’s highest indoor garden and admire sky-high views across the capital at Sky Garden, at the top of the iconic Walkie Talkie building. Free tickets are released every Monday.
• Explore a hidden indoor tropical oasis in east London at the Barbican Conservatory, filled with over 1,500 species of plants.
• Spend an afternoon wandering around one of London’s many free museums. Go face-to-face with dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, sit inside World War II aircraft at the RAF Museum and try wacky experiments at the Science Museum.
• Get lost in some of the world’s most important and famous literature at the British Library
• Put on your walking shoes (and pack a swimming costume) and follow the epic England Coast Path as it carves its way around 2,800 miles of English coastline – once completed, it'll be the longest coast path in the world!
• Unearth over 900 years of history and admire exquisite Romanesque architecture at Norwich Cathedral.
• Discover not one but two sacred spaces, the bombed remains and contemporary structure, of Coventry Cathedral.
• One of the best free things to do in Cornwall is meeting the friendly Jersey cows and taking a stroll around the meadows at Roskilly’s Farm.
• Follow in the footsteps of J.R.R Tolkien through the Birmingham spots that inspired Middle Earth on The Tolkien Trail.
• Visit the UNESCO World Heritage village of Saltaire in Bradford, full of beautiful Italianate architecture and fascinating history.

• Follow the 73-mile-long Hadrian’s Wall, past Roman forts, towers and turrets, and take in fantastic views of the rugged landscape. Entry into the museums costs extra.
• Uncover dramatic tales and ancient love stories at a former Roman garrison, the Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields.
• See the giant, ancient (and NSFW) naked figure sculpted onto the hillside at Cerne Abbas.
• Immerse yourself in the home of locomotives at the National Railway Museum in York.
• See the world’s oldest dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park in south London.
• Watch the historic Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
• Analyse iconic artworks at galleries across London including the National Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Wallace Collection and Tate Britain.
• Learn about the past, present and future of democracy at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
• Take a breath of fresh air in one of England’s ten scenic national parks, from the limestone cliffs of the Yorkshire Dales to the string of wild ponies in the New Forest.
• Make friends with rescued donkeys and even adopt one yourself at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon.

• Walk or cycle the 32-mile Viking Coastal Trail through Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate and discover why visitors have been coming here for centuries.
• Cycle past estuaries, woodland and miles of coastline, and keep an eye out for the rare but native red squirrel, on the Isle of Wight’s Red Squirrel Trail.
• Take your binoculars to see the seals (and their fluffy white pups) basking on the shores at Blakeney Point in Norfolk.
• Walk along Manchester’s Castlefield Viaduct, the brand-new urban park built on a disused Victorian railway line.
• Slip into the cool, clear waters of a secret lake or dive into rivers at wild swimming spots across the country.
• Join a free city walking tour or download complimentary audio tours and mapped trails in destinations up and down the country, including the Chester Walls trail in Cheshire and the free guided tour of York. Alternatively, seek out the hidden corners of a destination by downloading the Go Jauntly app, an encyclopaedia of carefully curated routes and trails designed by locals.
• Spot the dinosaur lying amongst the grass, sit inside an old bomb crater and meet Pygmy goats, pigs and Shetland ponies at Bath City Farm
• Practise your balance with free skating lessons throughout the summer beneath Waterloo Station, courtesy of House of Vans. There’s also an art gallery as well as summer concerts and talks.
• Embark on an exciting journey through the historic Kent Coalfield and experience life as a Kent miner at the Kent Mining Museum in Deal.
• Embark on a fossil-hunting expedition beneath the cliffs at Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex – you may come across pre-historic shark teeth!

• Admire awe-inspiring architecture and glimpse rare and ancient books at John Rylands Library in Manchester (it was also used as a filming location for BBC’s Peaky Blinders).
• Appreciate inspiring outdoor art by artists like Henry Moore, Antony Gormley and Cristina Iglesias at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Sculpture Park at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. 
• Stretch your legs with a walk through Samphire Hoe, a nature reserve created from chalk marl excavated from the construction of the EuroTunnel.
• Take a stroll around Auckland Castle Deer Park and keep your eyes peeled for the furry and feathered creatures (from green woodpeckers to otters) that live there. 
• Get up close to Locomotion No1, the first steam locomotive in the world to haul a passenger train, as well as plenty of other railway vehicles and engineering feats at the Locomotion Museum in Shildon - the world's first railway town. 
• Traverse the oldest, longest and most complete city walls in Britain - Chester City Walls - and gain a fascinating insight into the city's long history. 
• Explore a 3rd-century Saxon Shore Fort and enjoy panoramic views over Breydon Water from Burgh Castle - one of the best preserved Roman monuments in Britain.
• Learn about historical and contemporary slavery and uncover the horrors that enslaved people endured at The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool's Albert Dock. 
• Take a tour of The Williamson Tunnels - a series of mysterious tunnels and chambers built in the 1800s a few hundred metres underneath Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral - and uncover hundreds of artefacts and treasures along the way. Tours take place every Wednesday and Sunday and whilst they are free, donations are welcome. 
• Catch a glimpse of Wayne Manor from 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, chill with wild-roaming deer and feed your curiosity at Nottingham's Natural History Museum at Wollaton Hall

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