A jolly good time in London is made that much jollier thanks to the raft of free things and stuff to do that the city offers up. To those who say you can’t do London on the cheap, I say poppy cock! Check out these awesome free things to do in London.
When you think of London you can’t help but think of the monarchy. There are a number of free things you can do to get your fix of royal stuff. Throughout August and September you can pop in to the Queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace, and walk about the State Rooms. Grand as all get out, they feature stunning furniture and beautiful paintings by history’s most revered artists. Unfortunately there’s no chance you’ll bump into the Queen herself, she chills at her summer residence during these two months. Of course outside the Palace you’ll want to catch the infamous Changing of the Guard. It takes place inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 A.M., every day in the summer and every other day in the winter (that explains the guards’ needing those Canadian black bear fur hats). If you were a fan of Lady Di, visiting the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain will be of special interest. Dedicated by Her Majesty The Queen on July 6th, 2004, the fountain was designed to reflect Diana’s life and has become one of London’s most popular attractions with over one million annual visitors.
Trafalgar Square contains quite a few free things to do and stuff to see. First off there’s Nelson’s Column, stretching more than 170 feet in the air, this monument wascreated in 1830 to honour the one-armed, one-eyed admiral who defeated the wretched Napoleon. In the northeastern corner of the Square is St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Constructed in 1726, it’s the official parish church for Buckingham Palace, but don’t let that fool you; for while it features a royal box it also serves as a shelter for the homeless. Did you know that all of London’s major museums and galleries are free? One of the most impressive, the National Gallery, occupies the north side of the Square. It is home to one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world. Stand back and gaze at must-see masterworks by Monet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and more!
Shutterbugs will find a walk along the South Bank of the River Thames one of their favourite free things to do in London. You’ll get whiplash twisting and turning to snap off shots of all the stuff including some of London’s most famous landmarks which are visible from this great vantage point. What landmarks you ask? How about The London Eye, The Houses of Parliament, Millennium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the striking Tower Bridge. Note to self: be sure and check the Tower Bridge Lift Times so you can witness the awesome sight of the Bridge’s roadway rising and dividing to allow for tall ships to pass through. While you’re in the area, check out the Tate Modern, the national gallery of international modern art, where you can wrap your head around works by Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Pollock, Warhol and more. And if your day extends into night, catch the Tower of London Ceremony of the Keys, a nightly event that has taken place for 700 years at precisely 11:53 P.M. Listen as the sentry utters those famous words, “Halt! Who comes there?” One last tip: if you like, you can turn your River Thames excursion into a self-guided walking tour by downloading a free guide book before you head out.
A wonderful way to experience the incredible ambiance of London’s breathtaking churches is by taking in a free recital. Feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end as you listen to Evensong being performed at Westminster Abbey, the coronation church since 1066 and the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. Hungry for a melodic lunchtime? St. James Piccadilly, St. Anne and St. James in the City and St Lawrence Jewry all feature early afternoon recitals too.
Want to spice things up with something a little different? London offers up some unique free things and stuff to do as well. How about seeing London while rollerskating? Grab your wheels and go for a spin with Friday Night Skate & Sunday Rollerstroll. In the mood for a free movie? Head to the Roxy Bar & Screen. That’s right; it’s a bar that features free movies Sundays to Wednesdays in the back. Desire something a little glitzier? Make your way to Leicester Square for a free movie premiere and a glimpse of a celebrity of two strolling past on the red carpet. And for something truly unique, venture to The Royal Observatory in Greenwich and have your picture taken straddling the Prime Meridian Line of the world—that’s right one foot will be in the eastern hemisphere and the other will be inthe western hemisphere. How cool is that!
The National Portrait Gallery is home to the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Here you’ll find over 160,000 portraits from the 16th Century to the present day, each one celebrating a man or woman who has had an impact on British history and culture. In the mood for a rant? Head over to Hyde Park and the world famous Speaker’s Corner. Since 1872, citizens and visitors have come together at Park Lane and Cumberland Gate, to listen, debate with, and heckle those souls who are brave enough to spout their opinions in this open-air, public forum.
Be thrifty and practical! This information was accurate when published, but can change without notice. We recommend you confirm all details with the provider in question before planning your excursion.