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Free Music in London

Regular Free Musical Entertainment

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If you would really like to hear some live music while in London but think the price will be prohibitive then let me share with you the secret places where we can regularly enjoy free music across the capital.

Don't forget to also see:

 

1. Southbank Centre

The SouuthBank Centre, Festival of Neighbourhood, London, UK, GB.
Adina Tovy/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Southbank Centre has an incredible amount of free music and entertainment. I saw David McAlmont singing one Saturday evening in the Clore Ballroom and it was magical. The Clore Ballroom is a great venue as it's viewable from the bar and shop so you can watch a bit, grab a drink, come back and watch some more. It's all very relaxed here.

2. The National Theatre

National Theatre, London
© National Theatre

Update: There is no foyer music here until 2014 during the renovations. The info below has been kept for reference but is currently not valid.

Just a bit further along the South Bank is the National Theatre where you can here free foyer music at lunchtimes and pre-performances. Head down on Mondays to Fridays at 5.45pm and Saturdays at 1pm and 5.45pm. The musical choice is varied from cool jazz to upbeat ethnic it's always worth stopping to listen.

3. St. James's Piccadilly

St. James's Piccadilly in London is another church designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1684 and is often named as his favorite. Free Lunchtime Recitals are at 1.10pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and last 50 minutes. All are free to attend but a donation is suggested.

4. King's Place

Concert Hall, Kings Place, London
© Richard Bryant/arcaid.co.uk 2008

Kings Place opened in October 2008. The ground floor has an art gallery - dedicated to sculpture, next to the main entrance; cafes and restaurants, plus a waterside terrace. It's not a view you expect in King's Cross - canal barges moored in Battlebridge Basin. And there are regular free events.

5. St. Olave's

St Olave's Church in the City of London is a small medieval church, where Samuel Pepys, London's 17th century diarist, and his wife Elizabeth lie buried. It was badly damaged during the Second World War and fully restored during the 1950s. St. Olave's is a peaceful place to listen to music, with a lively lunchtime recital series. Lunchtime recitals are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1pm.

6. St. Martin-in-the-Fields

St. Martin-in-the-Field, Trafalgar Square
© Laura Porter
There are regular free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. This historic church, designed by James Gibbs and built in 1726, has free lunchtime recitals on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 1-2pm.

7. Royal Free Offerings

The Royal Opera House offers free lunchtime recitals on Mondays at 1pm. You can book online from 9 days before the event.

The Royal Academy of Music also has many free concerts as does the Royal College of Music.

8. Notting Hill Arts Club

Every Saturday afternoon at Notting Hill Arts Club, Rough Trade hosts a showcase of live bands from 4 to 8pm.

9. HMV Oxford Street

See top name acts perform their latest single, or say hello when they're signing their latest release. It's usual for numbers to be limited so you'll need to get a wristband from the store on the day of the event. It's first-come first-served so people start queueing really early to see their faves.

10. Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square Village Green
© Reyes Aguilar
Trafalgar Square provides a stage for cultural, educational, artistic and sporting events, ceremonies and festivals. Most events are open to everyone. Check the Events in Trafalgar Square.

11. Covent Garden Market

You'll regularly hear free live music in Covent Garden Market. Go into the middle of the market and look down onto the lower level to see who's on. I've heard beautiful classicial music and an opera singer who came and sang to my daughter. Magical.

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