Around London: Classical Music On The Cheap

St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square provides some respite from the hordes of West End tourists and expensive entertainment. Photo: Herry Lawford/Flickr

Nowadays it’s not unusual to hear the excuse “I can’t go, I’m skint.” For some of us, even buying a soft drink at a bar is a bit of a push. So to most people the suggestion of a night out in London seems ludicrous, especially when it involves music. However, with a little bit of asking around and a lot of googling it is possible to find cheap or even free nights out.


Popularity in classical music is on the up – Ludovico Einaudi’s piano track I Giorni is currently in the BBC Radio 1 chart at 32nd place. You may think that 32nd place isn’t that amazing but when you think how much dubstep, drum and bass and pop fills the chart you have to smile at the small classical track that’s managed to push it’s way into the charts courtesy of DJ Greg James. So whether classical piano is your thing or you’re more into the big orchestral type, we’ve found some places that can suit your taste and your wallet.

Churches are great. They love to do things for free. St Martin-in-the-Fields is a great example of that. The church holds free lunchtime concerts every Monday, Tuesday and Friday. The church is in Trafalgar Square and you can easily get there via the tube.

Listening to the Bach concertos in St Martin in the Fields. Photo: Roberto Arias/ Flickr

Another church that offers lunchtime recitals is St James’ Church which is located between Picadilly and Jermyn Street. Their recitals are free every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1.10pm and last for approximately 50 minutes. Getting to St James’ Church is easy, simply get the tube to Picadilly Circus and exit from the “Picadilly South” exit to make sure you are on the correct side of the street.

The Church of St Anne and St Agnes in the centre of London also holds lunchtime concerts on Monday’s and Friday’s at 1.10pm. Take the tube to St Pauls tube station and walk to Gresham Street to get to the church.

The National Portrait Gallery are known to hold evening music concerts on Friday evenings at 6.30pm but it would be best to check their website first to confirm this as they have been known to change dates last minute.

Wigmore Hall holds recitals by many incredibly talented musicians. You won’t get these ones for free however, but they are arguably worth the money. Tickets generally range from £15 – £40.

Enjoy eating your lunch to the sound of strings/piano/brass!
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