September 13, 2012
The Olympics may be over, but that just means that swarms of tourists will have vacated the city. Well, that's probably not exactly the case and there are always bound to be crowds in London
. A city known for being expensive, there are plenty of things to do in the city free of charge. Whether it is just walking around and admiring the architecture or perusing one of the many free museums, here are some great ideas to save a few pounds when you are traveling to this lovely city.
The British Museum
Highlights include the Elgin Marbles, originally from the Parthenon in ancient Greece, and the Egyptian statue head of Ramesses II. Every day there are free tours on specific topics lasting between 30 and 40 minutes and there’s no need to book ahead. The museum is situated on Great Russell Street, within walking distance of several tube stations, the nearest of which is Tottenham Court Road.
One of London’s largest public parks, Hyde Park contains the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial fountain and the Serpentine River, among other attractions such as formal gardens and monuments. The rose garden is very beautiful in the spring and summer months. Sundays are the day that people grab their soapboxes and go to voice their opinions at Speakers’ Corner. The park is open from 5am until midnight throughout the year and accessible from Marble Arch or Hyde Park Corner tube stations.
Watch this traditional ceremony taking place outside Buckingham Palace. Daily at 11.30am from May to July and on alternate days the rest of the year. You will be able to tell if the Queen is in residence by the number of sentries in front of the building. If she is in, there are four, but if she is away there are only two. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes and is accompanied by music from a Guards band.
Its entrance is through the colonnade facing onto Trafalgar Square. The gallery exhibits Western European painting from 1250 to 1900. Pop round the corner for the National Portrait Gallery. Open daily from 10am to 6pm and until 9pm on Fridays.
Discover dinosaur skeletons, a narwhal’s tusk and a life size model of a blue whale. Additional treasures include a piece of Moon rock from Apollo 16’s 1972 landing, meteorites from Mars, and a cursed Indian amethyst. All these are housed in the magnificent Waterhouse Building, which is an attraction in its own right with its ornamental terracotta cladding and Romanesque arches. It is located on Cromwell Road, near South Kensington tube station.
Just down the road from the Natural History Museum, the V & A is an award-winning art and design museum. It specialises in craft, costume, furniture and architecture from around the world. It has interactive displays and activities that are suitable for children and a varied selection of free talks and tours. Even if you don’t fancy purchasing anything to eat, have a nosy look at the café because the rooms are magnificent. One of them was designed by William Morris. Opening times are 10.00 to 17.45, except on Friday, when they are 10.00 to 22.00.
The majestic gothic architecture of the Palace of Westminster
and its clock tower is best to view from the outside. Exit Westminster tube station and Big Ben is immediately in sight. Rest up in Victoria Tower Gardens, with its statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, and enjoy a view of the Victoria Tower on the Palace’s South-West side.
The Tate Britain shows artworks dating from 1500 to the present day, including some of the finest works from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Free guided tours are available several times a day, focusing on the most interesting works in the collection. The gallery is on Millbank, overlooking The Thames, in walking distance from Pimlico tube station.
Top works from the international modern art scene are housed in this former power station. There is also an interactive zone with games, films and multimedia experiences. Near Southwark tube station. Open 10.00 to 18.00 Sunday to Thursday and 10.00 to 22.00 Friday to Saturday.
The oldest of the London parks, the land was bought by Henry VIII in 1532. Go between 14.30 and 15.30 to see the feeding of the park’s three resident pelicans. The park is surrounded by Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and The Mall.
Our guest blogger, Sarah, writes on behalf of Chillisauce.co.uk, an award winning events agency specialising in tailor made luxury travel and unconventional stag do ideas.
Comment by Mandan Lynn on October 12, 2013
I LOVE "free things to do" lists! People always say that travel is so expensive, and it certainly can be -- but some of my best travel memories are backyard barbecues and long walks through the cities. You can still see some amazing attractions and eat fantastic local food without spending a lot of money, even in cities like London that do have that "expensive" reputation.