London comes alive in the spring. Whether you’re looking for a way to explore new tastes or relaxing in one of the many gorgeous parks located all over the city, there are lots of great activities and venues to get excited about. And some of the best ones are free. Check out our guide to the Kyoto Garden, Leake Street, Borough Market, Skygarden and the Thames Path below.
Find your zen in Kyoto Garden
The Kyoto Garden holds an impressive reputation as one of the most tranquil places in London. It’s located in Holland Park, a 22-hectare park in West London. Opened in 1991 as a gift from the city of Kyoto, the garden commemorates the long-standing friendship of Japan and the United Kingdom.
When you arrive you can expect picturesque fountains, stone lanterns, serene Koi ponds, and a couple of Instagram-able peacocks as well.
While you’re at Holland Park you might want to check out the Fukushima Memorial Garden as well. Be sure to check the opening times, as the park closes before dusk.
Explore urban art at Leake Street
Leake Street Arches is a 300-metre-long canvas for graffiti artists from around the world – right underneath your feet at London Waterloo station. It’s also known as the Banksy Tunnel - the mysterious graffiti artist organised the first graffiti festival held in the railway arches here, cementing it as the go-to spot for practitioners and aficionados of urban art.
The arches next to the original have been opened to a number of great venues for dining and entertainment too, including Draughts Waterloo – one of London’s best board game cafés.
While you’re at Waterloo you might want to pay a visit to another gem of the urban sub-culture – the House of Vans. You can read more about this awesome venue and more in our Waterloo Southbank article.
Catch the street performers at Covent Garden
Street performing has been a staple attraction at Covent Garden since the 1660s. Since then performers of all disciplines have enthralled passers-by with their acts, from knife jugglers, to escapologists, to folk singers.
The rich history of theatre and performance means there’s always something new to discover - check out the Covent Garden website to keep track of all the great events happening in this vibrant neighbourhood.
Try something new at Borough Market
Borough Market has been around since the 12th century - the 1000-year-old market started as a place of trade and commerce where bakers, traders, fisherman and farmers would sell to the residents of the City of London. The 20th century saw the market revived and it’s now open 6 days a week.
Make sure to check the opening hours before you go - head there between Wednesday and Sunday for the full variety of stalls and goods on offer. Make sure to check out Borough Market Kitchen for street food stalls serving traditional and contemporary delicacies from around the world.
Walk the Thames Path
This 184-mile path starts at the source of the River Thames in the Cotswolds - most of it winds through the countryside and into London alongside the river which gives the path its name.
You could start walking from Richmond in West London and see if you can make it all the way to Charlton, where the Thames Barrier marks the end of the trail. Of course, if a 25-mile ramble doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then we recommend starting outside London Waterloo and heading East through the city towards Greenwich.
On the way you’ll get to see the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, and the South Bank, just to name a few. You can even customise your walk using the trail’s official interactive map.
Get a birds-eye view of London at Sky Garden
If you want a 360-degree unobstructed view of London while surrounded by exotic plants and flowers, head to the Sky Garden. Access to the Sky Garden is free - you just need to book in advance. Check the Sky Garden website for the best time to visit.
Getting to London
There are so many more great things to do in London, no matter what the season. Check out our Days out in London pages for more ideas on what to do once you’re here, or find out more about trains to London.