There are lots of awesome things to do in London, ON but sometimes your wallet just doesn’t agree.
Below are 12 free (or almost free) activities to try in London the next time you’re looking for some fun before payday.
Gain a new perspective at Museum London
Spend an afternoon exploring Museum London and some of their incredible exhibits. With an art collection with over 5,000 regional and Canadian works and 45,000 artifacts reflecting the history of the City of London, you’re sure to find something of interest. Their exhibits change every few months, so even if you’ve been there before, there’s something new for you to see and experience.
With admission by donation, this is an activity that’s easy on the wallet. Plus, every Sunday, they offer free tours of their current exhibits. Just meet their tour guide at the reception desk at 2 pm and be prepared to engage and learn!
Have a picnic in Victoria Park
Grab a blanket and some snacks for a pocket-friendly afternoon with a picnic in Victoria Park. The 18-acre park located in the heart of downtown is a great spot to have a picnic, take a lunchtime stroll, or do some people – or squirrel – watching. Since its establishment as a public space in 1874, Victoria Park has become well-known the gathering place for Londoners. You can also enjoy one of the many free festivals that take place in the park throughout the summer.
Not a fan of Victoria park? Check out one of these other great spots!
Explore the Sifton Bog
The Sifton Bog Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) contains 41.6-hectares of public nature available for you to explore. Marvel at the floating acid peat bog (bet you didn’t know London had one of those!) and the wide range of associated boreal plant life.
Located in the West London, Sifton Bog has 2.8 km of trails, plus an accessible boardwalk leading from the parking lot at Redmond’s Pond at the centre of the bog. Grab a friend and get exploring!
Jazz up your Saturday at the London Music Hall of Fame
Did you know that London is home to Canada’s only city-specific music hall of fame? Curated by the Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA), the London Music Hall of Fame tells the stories of London’s many musical talents, past and present.
Located next to the London Music Hall in the old Nash Jewellers building on Dundas Street, the Hall is open every Saturday afternoon and admission is by donation. Learn about FCLMA inductees and other magical moments in the Forest City’s musical past.
Visit your local Farmers’ Market
London is home to some fantastic farmers’ markets, and they can be an excellent low-cost activity. Farmers’ markets are great spots for people watching. Or walk through and enjoy the hustle and bustle of a market.
Check out The Market at Western Fair, the Outdoor Market at Covent Garden Market, Trail’s End Market, Storm Stayed Collective Market, Masonville Farmers Market, or one of the other pop-up markets that happen throughout the city. If you plan it right, you can visit one almost every day of the week!
Suit up at London Brewing Co-op
Do you miss hearing the word “trump” without grimacing about fundamental rights violations? Then check out London Brewing Co-operative’s weekly Euchre tournament!
Each Wednesday evening their taproom hosts a “friendly, yet fiercely competitive” euchre tournament. It’s free to play, and all experience levels are welcome. Bring a friend or go on your own and get ready to deal!
Step into the past at Eldon House
Explore London’s oldest residence with a trip to Eldon House. Located in downtown London, this historic site was home to four generations of the Harris family. Step back in time and admire the family heirlooms, furnishings, and priceless treasures. Don’t miss out on a visit to their gardens, considered among the most beautiful in the city.
Admission to Eldon House is by donation. And make sure to bring a friend, because rumour has it, Eldon House is haunted.
Go bird watching in Westminster Ponds
The largest publicly-owned Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) in the city, Westminster Ponds / Pond Mills ESA spans approximately 200 hectares and contains 11 km of managed trails. Easily accessible by bus, Westminster Ponds is a natural refuge from the city for many.
Westminster Ponds is a popular stop for migrant birds, making it a birdwatcher’s dream. A wide range of species can be found, including warblers, flycatchers, finches, ducks, grebes, herons, and other water-birds. In the summer, you may also be lucky to spot a Great Crested Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Field Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark. Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks also nest in the area.
Shoot for the stars at the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory
Western University’s Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory holds free Public Astronomy Nights weekly from May to August and monthly during October through April. Every Saturday evening, you can enjoy stargazing while you learn more about our marvellous universe through expert presentations.
Plus, if you’re looking to take up astronomy, you can learn more from members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Get ready to explore the beautiful cosmos!
Catch a movie in the park
Each summer several of the Forest City’s beautiful parks become outdoor movie theatres. Hosted by the City of London and various neighbourhood groups, the movies are free to attend. Grab some snacks and bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy family-friendly movies under the stars.
Tap your toe during Music Mondays
Beat the Monday blues with some live local music during your lunch hour with Music Mondays until August 26. The Wolf Performance Hall in partnership with London Public Library, London Music Office, London Arts Council and Dundas Place has organized a series of free outdoor concerts in Central Library’s Rotary Reading Garden.
Each show features London artists and will include a range of musical genres. Get ready to turn your Monday around!
Take a hike with the Thames Valley Trail Association
Each Saturday morning, the Thames Valley Trail Association hosts a weekly public walk at a different park in the city. Meet them at 9 am for a free hour walk through some of London’s natural gems and meet some fellow nature-loving Londoners.
Or if you’re looking to add some outdoor time to your weekdays, TVTA also hosts weekly Wednesday evening walks for their members. You can try it for free, and if you enjoy them, you can join the association for $25/year. Get walking!
Feature photo by Laura Thorne.