As the saying goes, the best things in life are FREE! We love a dog-friendly London ticketed event as much as the next pup parent just not all the time. Fortunately, there are so many cool things to do for canines in London that won’t cost you a penny outside of the cost of your tube /train/bus or boat to get there! In our latest dog-friendly London roundup ‘42 Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London‘, we have enough free things to do in London with your dog to keep you both busy without dipping into your bank balance. Read on for plenty of (free) inspiration…
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Parks
Obviously one of the best free things to do with your dog is to explore one of London’s many many parks. We’re not going to list them all but here are some favourites to fill your weekends…
(1-8) The Royal Parks – A walk through one (or all) of London’s Royal Parks should be on every Londoners to do list. Choose from Hyde Park, St James’s Park, Regent’s Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens, Greenwich, Richmond and Bushy Park, all with something very different to offer. In each park, there are some areas where dogs must be kept on a lead and others where they are not permitted (see here) but there is still plenty to explore. Technically that’s eight different things to do but who’s counting.
(9) Hackney Marshes – A favourite amongst many an East London pup is Hackney Marshes and if you don’t know the area but feel like exploring, then our pals over at Fetch & Follow have just the suggested Hackney Marshes walk for you.
(10) Epping Forest – As featured in London Parks Every Dog Owner Should Visit, London’s largest open space is a dog’s dream. With over 2,400 hectares to explore, it will keep you coming back for more time and time again.
(11) Hampstead Heath – A North London favourite to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital but still keep it in your sights with impressive views of the London skyline from Parliament Hill. It also hosts many a London Dog Event too.
(12) Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – get to know what’s dubbed as the ‘UK’s most exciting urban park’, stroll along the Lee Valley River or see the Olympic Rings still standing next to the Lee Valley VeloPark.
(13) Battersea Park – Home to the stunning Peace Pagoda with plenty of space for dogs to explore, Battersea Park just over Albert Bridge or Chelsea Bridge is one of our favourite London parks.
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Attractions
As a rule, London’s attractions aren’t dog-friendly and we get why that is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as backdrops for ‘that’ photo for the ‘gram. Here are some of our favourite London landmarks for pup posing…
(14) Buckingham Palace – although Her Majesty is definitely a dog lover, we’ll have to make do with the many photo opportunities from outside. Our particular favourite is from the wall on the Victoria Memorial opposite the main gates. Watch out pups, you may suddenly find you become a tourist attraction in your own right in the process.
(15) Tower Bridge – although dogs are allowed to visit Tower Bridge (humans will need to pay to visit), the pictures from outside are better in our opinion and there are some great viewpoints such as the one from next to the river near the Sundial at St Katharine’s docks.
(16) Notting Hill – one of London’s most iconic and colourful neighbourhoods is perfect for a photo stroll with your pup. Maybe avoid Saturdays when Notting Hill is super busy thanks to it being Portobello Road Market’s main day.
(17) Chelsea – colour abounds in the side streets of Chelsea plus it’s home to the ‘Love Door’ on Oakley Street and now there’s a Peggy Porschen on Kings Road too – what more could you ask for.
(18) Chelsea in Bloom – only on for one week each year in May but what a flower-filled week it is – you’ll take enough photos to fill your feed for months to come.
(19) Chinatown – If you’re walking through central London, mosey on down through Chinatown which is ablaze in colour (usually red) and always has something going on. If you’re feeling peckish for some Chinese flavours, it will cost you extra but nearby Duck and Rice serves delicious food AND is dog-friendly.
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Art
London’s indoor art galleries are generally off-limits to pups (there are some exceptions) but there’s plenty of art to enjoy on the streets of London for free and to create your very own Woof and Walls moment…
(20) Shoreditch – undisputedly the jewel of London’s street art scene and a must do. Lucky for you, we’ve got a self-guided Shoreditch Street Art Walking Tour you can follow that was put together with pups in mind.
(21) Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel – a secret underground street art tunnel below Waterloo that will blow your mind. One to visit during the day as opposed to at night, at the end of the tunnel closest to Lower Marsh there’s an outdoor section too.
(22) Brick Lane – Not only famous for its weekend street market (the main busy day is Sunday) but also for its street art. The best street art is found on the side streets off Brick Lane itself, towards the Shoreditch end.
(23) Pedley Street – We stumbled upon this one day and couldn’t quite believe what was tucked away down this unassuming street off Brick Lane – walls and walls of street art await running alongside the overground railway line.
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Gardens
London’s Community Gardens offer a chance to step away from the hustle and bustle of London life even if just for a few moments. Here are some to visit…
(24) Dalston Eastern Curve Garden – A garden oasis in the middle of Dalston with a cute pizza café to go with it. Named after the old railway line it’s built on and it comes highly recommended by Lyra the Belgian Malinois as featured in Lyra’s My Dog-friendly London Guide.
(25) Postman’s Park – This public garden near St Paul’s Cathedral is not just any garden, it’s home to the ‘Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice’ with 54 plaques dedicated to an ordinary person who died doing something extraordinary to save someone else – you’ll want to read each and every one.
(26) Nomadic Community Garden – In keeping with the East London street art vibe, the Nomadic Community Garden is an eclectic jumble of colour and things – definitely more on the grunge side of the tracks. One to combine with a visit to some of the street art recommendations above as it’s off Pedley Street (you may have seen it on the overground train as you come into Shoreditch).
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Historic Houses
(27) Osterley House – An oasis in West London, this stunning National Trust property offers free access to the informal grounds, as featured in our review last month.
(28) Morden Hall Park – Another National Trust property, south-west London’s Morden Hall Park that won’t cost you a penny to wander around the grounds, read all about it here.
(29) Marble Hill House – Also in south-west London, Marble Hill House is set in 66 acres of riverside parkland in Twickenham, perfect for a weekend walk (as featured in Clover the Chow’s My Dog-Friendly London Guide)
(30) Kenwood House – We haven’t yet been to Kenwood House in Hampstead, North London but we have it on a good recommendation that the gardens are beautiful so well worth the visit which we’re hoping to do soon.
Free Dog-friendly Things To Do in London – Markets
(31-36) London loves a Street (food) Market and so do we. Fortunately, often dogs are very welcome too. Choose from Spitalfields, Maltby Street, Flea at Vinegar Yard, Greenwich, Camden Stables and Brockley to name a few. Take your pick from our guide to Dog-friendly Street Food Markets and Halls. Going there may be free but you probably won’t be able to resist tucking into some scrumptious streetfood fare which will cost you extra.
Other Fun Free Dog-Friendly Things To Do In London
(37) Ruislip Lido Dog Beach – Over in West London is London’s only dedicated ‘dog beach’. It’s part of the Ruislip Lido so think more lakeside than beachside but still lots of fun for pups to visit, read all about our visit to Ruislip Lido Dog Beach here.
(38) Have a Go at Dog Agility – There are several public dog agility trails and parks in London but the one in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in Kennington is the most central. It also happens to be home to the impressive Imperial War Museum and Tibetan Peace Garden so quite a lot going on (for free) in this park. More from when we visited here.
(39) Stroll along Regent’s Canal – One of the most fun dog-friendly things we’ve done since starting the blog was to sail a dog-friendly self-drive electric Go Boat down Regent’s Canal but that of course, is not free. What is free however is a stroll along the same stretch of Regent’s Canal and you can follow this helpful Little Venice to Camden route map from The Canal & River Trust to guide you.
(40) Hit Up a London Dog Event – Never have there been more dog events going on each weekend in London as can be seen from our action-packed London Dog Events Calendar. The good news is that you can pop along to many of them for free. Be it a social walk or a dog show many don’t charge a penny for you to go along to unless you enter the classes at a dog show for example. It’s a great way to socialise with new likeminded people and pups and there’s always something going that’s free to attend.
(41) Make Friends at a Doggy Meet-up – Along the same lines, doggy meetups are a regular thing on the London Dog Scene. These are often aimed at specific breeds getting together but there are some mixed ones too. Check out our handy London Dog Meetups Guide to see if there are any you and your pup could go along to.
(42) Find your Four-legged Festival Spirit at a Dog-friendly London Festival – We recently wrote a guide to summer dog-friendly festivals in and around London and there are some that are both dog-friendly AND free. Find your inner city festival spirit at STREATLIFE in Alexandra Palace (various weekends throughout summer), the Walthamstow Garden Party and Lambeth Country Show in July.