London for free isn’t usually words one would hear in the same sentence, most people assume that London has to cost a small fortune to have a great day out. Contrary to popular belief there are a plethora of things to do in London for free. Whether you are a resident or a tourist visiting the great City of London you will find this guide very useful as we’ve have scoured the city and discovered all the best attractions and activities that can be done for free.
1. Natural History Museum
The first thing you will notice when visiting the museum is the remarkable Romanesque style architecture. Quite often visitors will stand for long lengths of time just admiring the fabulous façades before entering the building. There are two entrances to the Natural History Museum; the main entrance on Cromwell Road is usually the busiest but by far the most beautiful, but the side entrance on Exhibition Road has easy access for wheelchairs and families with pushchairs.
The colossal life size bone cast of Dippy the Diplodocus Dinosaur is probably the most iconic feature of the museum where it stands in the Central Hall as you enter from the Cromwell Road entrance. Thereafter you will be met with a multitude of historical exhibitions going through the ages of time. One can easily immerse one’s self for hours walking around the gigantic building which is full to the brim of weird and wonderful artefacts.
2. Buckingham Palace
Get your picture taken of you in front of Buckingham Palace, or if you would like to see the famous changing of the guards, make sure to get there well before 11am to secure yourself a good spot amongst the crowd! You will be impressed on how well this show is organised considering that the London traffic is blocked for a short time. Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic landmarks and the most royal building in the country being the London residence of Her Majesty The Queen and proves to be one of the few working royal palaces of the world. To get there, walk through the park (you can’t miss Buckingham Palace) before getting off at the tube stations Green Park or St James’s Park.
3. National Portrait Gallery
Of course free entry to the National Portrait Gallery which houses the world’s largest collection of portraits of famous Kings, Queens, musicians and film stars from the Middle Ages to the present day. There is no doubt that you will recognise some paintings if you are into art. The atmosphere is a lot less busy and peaceful, which is less overwhelming compared to other museums in London. Visiting this Gallery gives you the chance to know the people who have shaped British history. This collection will include paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos. If there is time left, why not treat yourself to an exhibition. www.npg.org.uk
4. The Shard View
The Shard, being the newest landmark, has one of the most spectacular views in London at the height of 800 feet or 244 metres overlooking all central attractions. The lift will take you up to the 69th floor where it becomes clear why people refer to London as possibly the greatest city on earth. Once you have arrived to the observation deck, you can climb the stairs to the 72nd floor where the corners are open, giving you an outdoor feeling.
The Shard is seen as a new dynamic symbol in London and has therefore given London’s skyline a new meaning. It is double the height of the London Eye, therefore the only place where you can view the entire city at once. Don’t forget your camera.
5. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is famous for being one of the greatest city parks worldwide. This park will leave a lasting impression on you and is well worth a day trip visiting as it is one of the Royal Parks and is home to various monument and statues, where you will have the pleasure of seeing the Serpentine Bridge, Speakers Corner and the Dianna Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.
Hyde Park is not only the best experience in London, it also comes with a 40 acre recreational lake (Serpentine) where you can take a dip in the water, cycle around the lake, and even skate in the winter! (Exact dates yet to be confirmed) The park also provides a various areas where areas where sports teams can practise and not to forget a huge children’s playground. This Park really has something for everyone including two restaurants serving anything from a cup of coffee to a full three course meal.
6. British Museum
You cannot miss a free visit to one the world’s best museums! The first thing that you will notice is the sheer size of this building. The British Museum has a historic collection that covers over two million years of human history. This museum has an amazing collection of ancient historic items where you can learn a thing or two. There are plenty of helpful staff on duty who are able to answer any questions that you may have. To compare the treasures of the world cultures situated on the impressive Great Court make your experience here an unforgettable one. The most popular historic items include the Egyptian Mummies or the Rosetta Stone. The best way to get here is via Holborn tube station.
7. Borough Market
This is the perfect opportunity to experience an open market on a sunny day. Dating back to 1276, this food market is one of the oldest in London. Keep a look out for the great cheeses and bread stalls of London. The market is made up of almost 70 stalls and stands, represented by producers nationwide that sell fresh produce including fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, breads, cheeses, coffees, cakes and many more. There are also stalls for produce from abroad. A definite must for all food lovers in London. The Borough Market is open from Wednesday through to Saturday. You will find this market just a minutes’ walk from London Bridge tube station.
8. Wallace Collection
This free national museum displays stunning works of art in a gorgeous historic London town house coupled with a beautiful restaurant, which is said to be the perfect setting for some of the world’s greatest paintings. Where else can you see stunning works of art, furniture, armoury and porcelain for free? There are 28 rooms with a collection of 18th-century paintings, furniture and porcelain just waiting to be explored. There are also many other paintings from artists like Titian, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Gainsborough. The people who work here are extremely informative and very passionate about their collection – which is no wonder! If you are hungry after touring around the Wallace Collection, dine in the perfectly situated courtyard restaurant. www.wallacecollection.org
9. Big Ben
You can’t miss Big Ben outside of the House of Parliament and the amount of detail that went into these buildings are breath-taking. Don’t leave London without seeing Big Ben. This is no doubt the most famous clock tower in the world and never fails to impress as it is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. The name Big Ben was originally given to the large bell inside the tower, weighing up to 13 tons! To get here, alight at the Westminster tube station.
10. Tate Modern
Situated on the South Bank of the Thames, this museum displays contemporary and contemporary art makes this museum definitely worth having a look regardless of what artists have an exhibition on! Tate modern is Britain’s national modern art gallery which houses the British art collection from 1900 to the present day. The building itself is huge inside and it is well worth having a look. Sometimes you feel as though you should be laying a piece of string behind so you can find your way out of this maze, but before you know it you are back at the exit. The beauty of all this is that you do not have to pay for this experience and seeing artworks by various famous artists such as Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dali, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois. www.tate.org.uk
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Please let us know in the comments section below if you have any more tips on free things to do in London.