London is packed with free attractions, so it’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for things to see and do on a budget. Here are details of just five things that you can see and do in London free of charge:
1. Visit a Museum. London is known for its world-class museums and many of them are free to visit. Museums that you can visit for free include: the Science Museum (Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD); the British Museum (Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG); the Natural History Museum (Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD); the Victoria and Albert Museum (Cromwell Road, London, SW& 2RL); and the National Maritime Museum (Romney Road, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF).
2. Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The Changing of the Guard ceremony, in which one set of the Queen’s guards hands over to another set, takes place every day from May to July and on alternate days during the rest of the year. The 45 minute ceremony takes place at 11.30 a.m., but it’s best to get there early to ensure that you get a good view.
3. Visit an Art Gallery. You can see world-famous works of art for free in many of London’s galleries. Galleries that you can visit free of charge include: the Tate Britain (Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG); the Tate Modern (Bankside, London, SE1 9TG); the National Gallery (Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN); the Saatchi Gallery (Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4SQ); and the National Portrait Gallery (St. Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE).
4. Relax in London’s Royal Parks. London has eight Royal Parks, all of which are free to visit. Each of the parks has its own charm and attractions, and they are perfect places in which to take a relaxing stroll or enjoy a picnic. The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park; the Green Park; Greenwich Park; Hyde Park; Kensington Gardens; The Regent’s Park; Richmond Park; and St. James’s Park.
5. Visit the Houses of Parliament. If you’re a resident of the U.K., you can take a free tour of the Houses of Parliament, but you will need to book your place by contacting your M.P. at least 6 months prior to your visit. Both U.K. and overseas residents can take tours of the building during the summer recess, but you will need to queue up on the day and pay to do so.
However, both U.K. residents and visitors from overseas can watch debates taking place in the Houses of Parliament free of charge when Parliament is in session. Simply join the queue for tickets at the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. It’s best to avoid trying to watch Prime Minister’s Question Time, as tickets are limited and queues can be long.
Image: Adrian Pingstone