The Best Free Attractions in London to Visit
The Best Free Attractions in London to Visit
London can be an expensive city to visit depending on where you are arriving from especially after converting your currency into Pounds. There are however an amazing amount of free attractions throughout London that help you save some money while visiting. One great thing for travellers to the UK is that most of the Museums are free to enter including the British Museum. You can spend hours and days exploring some of these free attractions without having to pay a cent. The following are the Best Free Attractions in London for you to visit on your next English holiday.
FREE Attraction Highlights
The British Museum is located in the London area of Bloomsbury and has a permanent collection of almost 8 million different artifacts. It is one of the largest museums of it kind in the world. A lot of the artifacts on display were collected during the reign of the British Empire making some of the pieces quite controversial with their original owners.
The British Museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759, and has some world famous items including the Rosetta Stone and the biggest collection of ancient mummies anywhere in the world outside of Egypt. These attractions attract over 6 million visitors per year. Like most of London’s museums The British Museum is free to enter and is a great place for visiting tourists of all nationalities and extremely popular with adults and children. The easiest way to get to the British Museum is using the London Underground, The nearest tube stations are Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Russell Square which are all within an easy walk of the museum.
Free Walking Tours of London
Walking is my favorite FREE way of exploring a new city when visiting. London has so many alleyways, parks and attractions making it the perfect city to walk around. There are also some great FREE Walking tours on offer where the guide works on tips. After completing one of these tours you will be quite happy to pay a small amount in appreciation.
Strawberry Tours Free London in a Day Walking Tour: If you are looking for a fantastic way to spend a day in London then this Free London Walking Tour from Strawberry Tours is perfect. This tours goes for about 7 hours with a lunch break in the middle and covers about 10km in distance. So you need to bring comfortable footwear and be prepared to walk!!!. Reserve Online and then show up at the meeting point and look for our guide with the Strawberry Umbrella!
Free Harry Potter Walking Tour: If you love Harry Potter then this free Harry Potter walking tour by Strawberry Tours is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in London. The tour last 2.5 hours and will take you to the locations which inspired J.K. Rowling’s magical world of Harry Potter and appeared in the movies. The tour will visit the inspiration of Diagon Alley, The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and the ministry of Magic. You will also learn some fantastic history of the area and you wander from site to site. This tour for muggles is free to join and at the end of the tour you can choose to reward your guide if you wish to. Visit Strawberry Tours to reserve this tour.
Old City of London Free Walking Tour: This awesome Old City of London walking tour is by Free Tours by Foot and will take you around the square mile of London. You will see some of the oldest streets of the capital from Roman settlement over 2000 years ago through the newest skyscrapers that are controversially changing the London skyline each year. This free walking tour covers the following attractions and take about 2.5 hours.
Free World War 2 Walking Tour: This walking tour visits some of the key areas and building of World War 2. Learn about the 67 days and nights of the Blitz. This pay as you like free tour starts from Blackfriars pub and takes about 2 hours. Click here for more information
Guruwalk – Guruwalk London offers a range of amazing FREE walking tours including SOHO Tours, Free London Food Tours, Free Ghost Tours and Free Jack the Ripper Tours.back to menu ↑
Science Museum London
The Science Museum, which was established in 1857, is one of the most celebrated London attractions. Located on South Kensington’s Exhibition Road, the museum plays host to as many as 3.3 million tourists every year. Like all the other publicly funded museums of the country, this one also doesn’t charge the tourists for admission. However, if you want to check out any temporary exhibition, you will need to pay an entry fee.
Right now, the Science Museum has over 300,000 exhibits. The museum building has seven floors, each of which has been filled with amazing exhibits. All the objects displayed in the Science Museum have been arranged based on the categories they belong to. Examples of categories you will be witnessing include nuclear power, medicine, electricity, transportation, technology, photography, food, etc. Other than viewing the exhibits, you can also watch a film at the museum’s IMAX Theater, particularly if you have your little one with you. The museum remains open all through the year except for December 24, 25, and 26. You would need to walk for just five minutes for reaching the Science Museum from its nearest tube station South Kensington. For covering this distance, you should use the pedestrian subway that connects the South Kensington tube station and the main entrance of the South Museum.back to menu ↑
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of the best Museums in London and is home to over 80 million specimens spanning billions of years of Earth evolution. This FREE museum is extremely popular and attract more than 5 million visitors annually. The museum is split into five different types of collections including botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology.
The London Natural History Museum has been in its current location on Cromwell Rd Kensington since 1881 and one of the stand out attractions is the 25.2-metre female whale skeleton which spans 3 levels. This museum will keep the kids happy for hours even if you have already visited the British Museum. We recommend it for anyone interested in museums and it is a great attraction for visiting families. Like a lot of London’s Museums, the Natural History Museum offers free entry, however to get the most out of the museum it might be worth booking a guided tour.back to menu ↑
There are a total of 8 Royal parks in London that offer free entry, these parks cover a large part of the English capital, they are well maintained and offer a glimpse into the history of London. Visitors from warmer countries like Australia laugh as the that the Londoners sunbathe in the parks as soon as the temperature hits 20c and above. For something different why not try the Royal Parks and Palaces Bike Tour of London
Hyde Park: Hyde Park is one of the most famous and popular f London’s royal parks. The park covers 350 acres and is surrounded by some of the most expensive areas of London including Mayfair and Knightsbridge. Hyde park is visited by millions of Londoners and tourists every year and is home to a few famous landmarks including Serpentine Lake, Speakers Corner and the Diana Memorial Fountain. The park is joined to Kensington Gardens and separated by the Serpentine and West Carriage Drive.
Green Park: Green Park located just to the side of Buckingham Palace. The park is set out in a triangle format between Constitution Hill, Piccadilly and St James Palace. The park offer mature trees and grasslands and is a great place to relax before or after visiting one of the royal palaces nearby. You can also visit some memorials, fountains and statues.
St.James’s Park: St James Park is a pretty park that is surrounded by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Whitehall. The park includes The Mall and Horse Guards parade which are used as part of the ceremony for events like Changing of The Guard and Trooping the Colour. The park covers an area of nearly 57 acres.
Kensington Gardens: These gardens were once the private gardens of nearby Kensington Palace. They cover approx 270 acres and are located immediately west of Hyde Park.
Regents Park: This park is the home of the London Zoo and Regent’s university. Set on 410 acres this park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Richmond Park: The largest of London’s royal parks, Richmond Park sits on 2,360 acres in the South West of London. This park was created in the 17th century by Charles I as a place to hunt deer.
Greenwich Park: Located in South-east London, Greenwich park covers 180 acres. The park forms part of the Greenwich world heritage site along with the Royal Observatory
Bushy Park: This park sits to the north of Hampton Court Palace and covers about 1100 acres.back to menu ↑
Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard is a great display of British pomp and pageantry that occurs when the The Queens Old Guard hand over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace to the New Guard. The queens guard are fully operational infantry and cavalry soldiers and even though they are a great spectacle are nor purely ceremonial.
The full changing of the guard ceremony last approx 45 minutes and begins at the forecourt of Buckingham palace 11am sharp following a Old Guard march from St. James Palace. The New Guard also march in from Wellington Barracks led by a regimental band.
No tickets are required to watch the Changing of the Guard however joining a tour can help provide you with additional information. Make sure you get to Buckingham Palace early to get a good view of the ceremony.back to menu ↑
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The 150 yr old Big Ben Clock Tower is one of the most iconic views of London and among the first places most new London travelers visit. The term Big Ben does not refer to the clock tower which is attached to the Houses of Parliament, but to the bell located inside the tower and gets its name from the person who first ordered that bell, whose name was Sir Benjamin Hall. The Big Ben bell had been built in 1858 after a bell of 15 tons cracked irreparably 2 yrs prior. The clock has turned into a preferred attraction and has made an appearance in many motion pictures. For example, in the film Mars Attacks! the Big Ben is demolished by a UFO strike.
Markets have been a part of London’s day to day life for centuries. There are so many markets in the London area it is hard to narrow down the list. Options include farmers markets, fashion markets, street food and antique markets. London’s markets are free to get in making them a great way to spend the afternoon when visiting. If markets are not your thing then why not try the Drink London! Historical Pub Walking Tour. Nothing more British than a pub crawl!!!
Brick Lane Market: Brick Lane Market is a market that is located in the East End of London on the northern end of Brick Lane. This area has long been home to immigrants including the Jewish and more recently the Bangladeshi’s. This cultural mixture means it is as easy to get a bagel on Brick Lane as it is to get a delicious curry. The market is held on a Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and is a traditional flea-market with everything from clothes, music, furniture on sale in the various stores. The market is quite popular and this part of London has become quite trendy in recent years. You can get almost everything at the market and we recommend combining it with near by Spitalfields. Brick Lane market is located north east of London and is easily reached using the London Underground, nearby tube stations include Liverpool Street and Westminster.
Camden Market: Camden Market is located in Camden Town not far from London Zoo. This crazy market has over 1000 shops and stalls that sell everything from the latest in fashion, music to some great art and beautiful food. This is the place to pick up cheap souvenirs though that it can get extremely busy on market days. The Camden Market itself is made up of a series of different markets including the famous Camden Lock market. The quality of goods in the area varies, but you can still find good quality items among the tacky souvenirs. Visiting the markets is easy using the nearby Camden Town or Chalk Farm Road underground tube stations.
Borough Market: Borough Market is ones of London’s most icon markets offering a range of British and International produce. Located next to London Bridge this market has over 100 stalls offering delicious foods, cheeses and patisseries. Borough Market has existed for around 1000 years and is defined by its position at one end of London Bridge. This area is a fantastic place to explore the sights, smells and sounds while sampling some of the amazing street food. The market is open from Monday to Saturday however some of the stalls only open between Wednesday to Saturday. Check out the Great British Food Tour: South Bank and Borough Market
Covent Garden Market: Located in the West End of London, the Covent Garden area is full of shopping, restaurants, bars and markets perfect for the whole family. Home to high end fashion stores like Apple and Tom Ford as well as a wide range of smaller boutique shops it is a great place for Aussies to get lost and shop till you drop. Covent Garden is still home to an fruit and vegetable market as well as wide range of arts and crafts. You can also get some handmade clothing and jewellery. You may also consider visiting Jubilee Market, where different items are sold on different days of the week. On certain days, you may find art, and on others, household goods or even clothing. The East Colonnade Market is well known for selling hand- knitted items. Or why not wander the little lane-ways like Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials that are home to a wide range of shops selling food, crafts, cakes and clothing. There is a Covent Garden underground tube station that is on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Holborn. It is also easy to walk from Trafalgar square and other nearby areas of London.
Portobello Road Market – If you are a shopaholic, make sure to plan a visit to the Portobello Road Market during your trip to London. Out of the entire area occupied by the market, the region between the Elgin Crescent and Chepstow Villas enjoys maximum popularity. The said region is filled with stalls selling books, antique items, vintage household goods, and collectibles of several other kinds. Here, it must be noted that what you will get at the market’s open-air shops depends mainly on the day of the week you are visiting the market.
Leadenhall Market – Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the center of the City of London, located on Gracechurch Street. The market is one of the oldest in London and dates back to the 14th Century. Fans of Harry Potter will instantly recognise the elegant Victorian roof which was used to represent Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bull’s Head Passage which is a little lane-way near the market was also used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. The market has a number of stalls selling cheese, meat, flowers as well as fresh food. The market also has other shops selling clothing as well as pubs, bars and restaurants. Leadenhall Market is a great place to explore while visiting London. The underground is the best way to get to the market and it is an easy walk from Aldgate, Bank or Monument stations.
Greenwich Market: Greenwich has been home to a bustling market since the 1300s. However, the one we have today began its journey in 1700. The modern-day Greenwich Market began its journey when Lord Romney assigned a 1000-year contract to the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital for running two markets every week, once on Wednesday and once on Saturday. However, nowadays, the market remains open on all days of the week, from 10 am to 5.30 pm. What makes the market even more special is that it stays open even on Bank Holidays.
When it comes to versatility, this market would offer stiff competition to any other top market of the world. It has several permanent shops (more than 120 of them) and some temporary stalls selling quirky goods. If you visit the market on Tuesday or Thursday, you will get to shop from some additional antique shops offering truly exciting collections. The recent years have also seen people setting up food stalls selling mouthwatering delicacies of various kinds (there are more than 40 food stalls in the market right now). The place is particularly tempting for bargain hunters; they would find some great deals on vintage clothes, antique jewelry, contemporary artwork, fine embroideries, and classic books during their visit to Greenwich Market. Why not check out one of the awesome food tours of Greenwich including the market.
Shoreditch and Spitalfields: Shoreditch and Spitalfields are a series of markets stalls, lane-way’s and shops that is a great shopping area is to be found in the East End neighbourhood and full of upcoming designers showcasing their amazing talents. It is a great place to find unique and authentic designs in this area. The Victorian Spitalfields Market sells fashion and arts and crafts with some amazing restaurants, don’t miss Brick Lane Market with all the Bangladeshi curry houses. The surrounding area is full of street art, trendy bars and quirky shops. It is a great place to browse and shop for hours. Shoreditch is also home to a Boxpark which is a shopping mall made from shipping containers where you can find plenty of unique items.back to menu ↑
London Shopping Streets
London has some of the most famous shopping streets in the world. It is free to browse and explore some of the brand name clothing on offer.
Oxford Street: Oxford Street is probably the most famous shopping street’s in the heart of London and up there with some of the world’s best. Oxford Street has over 300 shops where you will find virtually all kinds of high-street fashion items as well as most of the big designer outlets and department stores like Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis. Oxford Street is loved by both locals and tourists alike. It is therefore no surprising to learn that the street is usually very crowded, especially on weekends. If you don’t particularly like shoving and pushing through crowds, you would certainly be better of shopping elsewhere. Alternatively, you can opt to shop on weekdays when the crowds are not that big. Our suggestion is to start at Marble Arch tube station near speakers corner and then make your way east towards Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road. For a full list of the stores along Oxford Street visit www.oxfordstreet.co.uk
Carnaby Street: Carnaby Street, SOHO is one of my favorite shopping streets in London and a great place to wander for hours. Carnaby street is best known for its bold fashion stores and the street still embodies the rebellious attitude of the teenagers in the Beatles era of the swinging 60’s. You can find intriguing vintage outfits here as well as expensive designer wear. In particular, be sure to visit Kingly Court for an interesting shopping and dining experience. There is also some amazing restaurants and take away food available and in summer the street comes alive with street food. The actual street runs parallel to Regent street between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Tube stations, however the surrounding area is also a great place to grab some amazing fashion. This area is also a perfect place to stay in London and is central to most attractions, some amazing Airbnb apartments are available.
Bond Street: Bond Street is the ultimate definition of sophistication. The shopping street is dotted with myriad fashion stores including some of the worlds biggest designer names, such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. Bond Street also boasts of designer jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. as well as Cartier. You can also find rare antiques and unique artwork in the street. One of the oldest auctioneer centers, Sotheby’s, is also found in the area and you might also find some rare collectibles here. Bond Street is actually known as New Bond Street and Old Bond Street however most people would refer to the entire street. Bond Street links Piccadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north. You can use the Bond Street, Oxford Circus or Green Park tube stations and walk up the whole street which is about 1km in length.
Jermyn Street – Jermyn Street, located in Mayfair, has long been one of the most fashionable menswear shopping areas in London . It is well known for selling quality menswear, ranging from shirts to trousers and even tailored suits. This street retains an air of elegance for which is has been well know for over 300 years. The tailored suits and shirts are rather expensive but the quality means they are worth every cent. Jermyn Street is a quiet street that is one street back from Piccadilly running between St James and Haymarket. You can use the Green Park or Piccadilly Circus tube stations.
Knightsbridge – Tourists flock to Knightsbridge shopping area by the thousands every day. It is immensely popular because of the variety of goods sold here, ranging from clothing to household goods to even artistic collections. One of the most popular stores for tourists in this area is Harrods. The store sits on a solid 4.5 acres of land and has seven floors. In here, you can literally shop till you drop. Knightsbridge is famous not only for the fashion items, many of which are designer items, but also for furniture, jewellery and even food. After hours of shopping, what would be better than propping yourself up on a seat at the restaurant enjoying your favorite meal? Even though those who are new to the city generally flock to Harrods, locals prefer the quieter, classier Harvey Nichol’s store. Here, you will still find exquisitely designed clothes by world- famous designers without all the fuss that goes on at Harrods. A great way to visit Harrods on the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off tour.
Kings Road: King’s Road is a celebrity-ridden shopping area in London. This is because it is home to countless designer stores. You would be hard pressed to find a designer who doesn’t display their goods on this street. Besides fashion items, you can also find superior quality interior décor items in this area. Vintage clothes can also be found here which is no surprise given that the shopping area came to life in the 60’s. Even though the items found in the area are exquisite, they also come at a hefty price. Shopping here can be quite costly, which perhaps explains why celebrities favor the area. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, there is no better place to shop than King’s Road. And who knows, you might just stumble into your favorite celebrity and even get an autograph or a priceless photo. Kings Road runs from the posh Sloane Square through Chelsea and Fulham and has the strip contains some of London’s best boutiques. To get to Kings Road it is best to use the tube and get off at Sloane Square station.
Seven Dials: While the market piazza is the main drawcard of Covent Garden , we recommend heading outside to the Seven Dials area for some even better shopping. This area gets its name from the seven interconnecting streets, and contains over 96 fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores and over 90 independent restaurants, cafés and bars. Getting lost in the lane ways dating back to the 1600’s is one of the pleasures of London.back to menu ↑
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Trafalgar Square is actually a huge city square commemorating the victory of Lord Nelson against Napoleon’s navy in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar. The main monument inside the square is a solitary tall column on which Nelson’s figure stands looking over London. His monument is encircled by 4 huge lions and a number of large fountains. Much more than simply an open plaza, the Trafalgar Square is among the most well-known city squares on earth (similar to times square in New York) and has become a social as well as a political spot for travelers and Londoners as well.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is located in London’s Hyde Park and is dedicated to the memory of Diana Princess of Wales who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1997. The memorial is located in the southwest corner of Hyde Park near the Serpentine lake and provides a great place to reflect and relax particularly on a hot summers day.
The memorial is a oval fountain that is approx 50m x 80m is made of stone to look like a cascading stream. Water is pumped into the higher side of the fountain causing it to descend down over a series of steps, curves before flowing to a tranquil pool at the bottom. During summer it is full of kids playing in the water and was designed with Diana’s love of children in mind.back to menu ↑
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The much maligned Millennium Bridge is a footbridge that opened in June 2000 as pedestrian crossing over the Thames linking the City of London with Bankside and is located between Southwalk and Blackfriars Bridges. It was closed shortly after opening for 2 years due to unexpected swaying or vibrations before reopening in February 2002 and known as the “wobbly bridge”. Since reopening it has proven a popular way to cross the river, your Harry Potter loving kids will be familiar with the bridge as it collapsed following an attack by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. As a result a lot of the Harry Potter tours visit the bridge.
Piccadilly Circus is a bustling tourist meccas that is London’s equivalent to Times Square in New York. The actual word circus is a Latin word meaning circle and describes a round open space. Piccadilly circus was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly and has since become one of London’s top tourist attractions. The area is full of advertising screens and packed with tourists and locals all year round. There is a famous statue of Eros (actually his brother Anteros) that has become a popular meeting spot for friends.
Piccadilly Circus is a public space and road junction (it connects the Haymarket, Glasshouse Street, Covent Street, Shaftsbury Avenue, and Regent Street) located in the West End of London. The place is home to some of the most exciting London attractions. These include several notable theaters and tourist destinations like the London Pavilion, the Piccadilly Lights (a great spot for clicking pictures), and the Shaftsbury Memorial Fountain. Piccadilly Circus is very easy to get to with a major underground station directly beneath the street. It is also an easy walk from Leicester Square.