London Journals

London For Nothing - Seeing Sights for Free

Best of IgoUgo

A February 2005 trip to London by Owen Lipsett

National Gallery Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: London's is one of the world's greatest cities - and many things there are priced accordingly! As I, regrettably, won't be able to attend this year's IgoUgo Get-Together in the British capital, I hope this introduction to some of its best free sights will assist those who can.

National Gallery

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

National Gallery Photo, London, England
Quote:
Housed in a neoclassical building overlooking Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery boasts greatest collection of European paintings in the English-speaking world and has always seemed to me the very paragon of what an art museum should be. It's grand, centrally located, lavishly decorated with marble and dark wood, and despite modern concessions to accessibility, remains redolent with the passage of time in a manner that has greatly enhanced my experience on every visit there. After climbing the stairs from the sterile modern lobby and opening the heavy doors to the grandly decorated Central Hall, I've always felt cultured just by association. The collection spans the years 1250-1900 (later ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London, England WC2N 5DN
+44 (207) 747 2885

Victoria and Albert Museum

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Attraction | "Victoria & Albert Museum"

Victoria and Albert Museum Photo, London, England
Quote:
Affectionately know as the V&A, Britain's premier museum of decorative arts is one of the best (and certainly most family friendly) in the world. Considering the very large family produced by the royal couple after whom this institution that had been named the "Museum of Manufactures" at its opening in 1851, was rechristened, this is singularly appropriate. Perhaps as a result of its role in exhibiting both patrician and plebeian taste through the centuries, the V & A offers the best example of the combination of tradition and innovation that characterizes so much of London and its culture. A large museum more in the mold of a spacious art gallery than the British Museum (its closest...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
London, England SW7 2RL
+44 (20) 7942 2000

Royal Observatory

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Attraction | "Royal Observatory, Greenwich"

Royal Observatory Photo, Greenwich, England
Quote:
On the first visit to Britain that I can remember (including a prior trip as a baby would spoil the story!), my family stayed with friends in Greenwich. Despite numerous journeys back to London, it wasn't until this March, twenty years later, that I returned to Greenwich. I've been interested in all things maritime since that first visit but found "Maritime Greenwich's" two most interesting sights to actually be the two least nautical: the Royal Observatory and the lush Greenwich Park surrounding it, landscaped by the Frenchman Andre Le Notre who also designed Versailles' Gardens. Somewhat lacking childish energy on a suitably maritime and British (which is to say "windy" and "ra...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Royal Observatory
Top Of The Hill, Greenwich Park
Greenwich, England

British Museum

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Attraction

British Museum Photo, London, England
Quote:
The standard against which all omnibus museums have been measured ever since it opened in 1753, the British Museum is undoubtedly worth a trip to London in itself. Personally, I don't consider any sojourn to the British capital worthy of the title without poking my head in here – however briefly – and you could happily spend years inside without scratching the surface of its collections. Unfortunately, time is brief, and with 15,000 visitors a day seeking to do the same, it's important to plan your visit (or visits) strategically: Plan! The British Museum is immense, and even a cursory stroll through the galleries takes a day. Consequently, decide beforehand what you absolutely must...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

British Museum
Great Russell Street
London, England WC1B 3DG
+44 (207) 7323 8299

Museum of London

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Attraction

Museum of London Photo, London, England
Quote:
It's fitting that London is blessed with the world largest, most comprehensive, and altogether finest city museum. Even though over a millennium's worth of exhibitions (the "Medieval Galleries" covering AD 410-1558) won't reopen until Autumn 2005, the other exhibitions more than make up for this lacuna. There's something here for every age group and level of knowledge, from the delightfully ornate Lord Mayor's Coach to disturbing wax models depicting diseases rampant in 19th-century London's vast underclass. For all this breadth, however, you can get a reasonable sense of London's past, from pre-history to 1914, when the museum's collections terminate, in a couple of hours, either with the rec...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Museum of London
150 London Wall
London, England EC2Y 5HN
+44 (207) 814 5613