Here’s a selection of some of the top free things to do in the Capital from our friends at Visit Britain.
1.) Changing of the Guard
One of Britain’s greatest traditions and attractions is the heritage of the British Monarchy. From May to July the Changing of the Guard happens daily at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. on Sundays) and lasts approximately 1 hour. The process is the changing of the old guard from Buckingham Palace with a new guard from St. James’s Palace. The guards are from one of five regiments: the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards.
2.) Art Galleries
Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery
London has some great art galleries and what’s even better is they are free! Tate Britain, situated in Millbank, and Tate Modern, situated in Bankside, are home to artwork from 1500 to the present day. Along with these two museums, the famous National Gallery, situated to the north of Trafalgar Square, boasts an impressive collection of Western European artwork from the early 20th century to present day.
www.tate.org.uk/britain / www.tate.org.uk/modern / www.nationalgallery.org.uk
3.) Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill, situated on the north side of Regent’s Park, offers remarkable views over London’s skyline, especially at sunset. The park, which is 410 acres, was designed in 1811 by John Nash, a renowned architect. The park has its own football, softball, rugby and cricket pitches in addition to a boating lake, bandstand, and a beautiful rose garden. The region is full of pubs, cafes, restaurants and celebrities. Primrose Hill is the ideal location for visitors to take a picnic and do some celebrity spotting.
4.) The British Museum
Not only are art galleries free, but most museums are also free in London. The British Museum, founded in 1753 by Act of Parliament, is home to nearly 2 million objects making it a fascinating experience. Visitors can take a guided tour to discover Ancient Egypt or how the Romans lived. The British Museum offers a wealth of artifacts from around the world in one place.
5.) Covent Garden
Covent Garden is always full of hustle and bustle. Visitors can watch the street entertainers, dine in a fine restaurant or shop in the boutique stores. Covent Garden is a place that will charm travellers of all tastes.
6.) The Royal Parks
The Royal Parks are the perfect escape from the busy city with green open spaces and plenty of events the whole family can enjoy. Parents and children alike will enjoy the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens that is inspired by Peter Pan. With the pirate ship surrounded by sand and nearby Notting Hill, the delightful area is perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll.
7.) London at Night
Walk by the Houses of Parliament after dark and walk south across Westminster Bridge. Here you will find a remarkable view of the London Eye. Once you reach St. Thomas Hospital, turn around to take in the view. The lights of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben glistening in the River Thames is an incredible view that no visitor should miss.
8.) Chinatown on a Sunday
Chinatown on a Sunday is alive with entertainment, busy supermarkets and restaurants. Visitors will enjoy the array of entertainment and 78 restaurants that make up this vibrant neighborhood.
9.) Sunday Markets
Brick Lane – UpMarket and Backyard Market
The Sunday UpMarket and Backyard Market are for the fashion lovers who fancy getting off the beaten track and want to experience local markets. With both markets being in hidden hotspots, only locals shop at them. They are both very unique. Backyard Market has an array of garments from up and coming fashion designers with many arts and crafts deals to be had. Sunday UpMarket has many food delights such as cupcakes, Moroccan and Spanish paella – with free tastings.
London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce.
Since its renaissance as a retail market just over a decade ago, it has become a haven for anybody who cares about the quality and provenance of the food they eat – chefs, restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who just happen to love eating and drinking.
10.) City Farms
London has many city farms that are free to visit. Vauxhall City Farm offers pony care classes and donkey rides, while MudChute Park and Farm is the largest urban farm in London sitting on 34 acres. Many of the farms also host children’s playgrounds and fresh farm shops. Visitors won’t want to miss the unique experience of visiting a city farm while in London.
www.vauxhallcityfarm.org or http://www.mudchute.org/
11.) National Theatre
Visitors that head down to the South Bank near Waterloo Bridge can catch one of the free jazz and folk concerts. These take place Monday – Saturday, at 5:45 p.m., and at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoons.
12.) Notting Hill Arts Club
Notting Hill Arts Club has been open for 11 years and showcases London’s up and coming acts. The small stage makes the atmosphere intimate while the large sofas make enjoying the new music comfortable.