There are so many ‘must-sees’ in London that it can be easy to fall into the trap of sticking with the tourist herd and only seeing sights that you could buy a postcard of from any one of the city’s many souvenir shops. But in spite of London’s endless popularity with tourists, there are still plenty of things to do for those with a penchant for taking the road less travelled. If you’re looking to see London without spending too much, it’s a great idea to visit the places that are less frequently visited by tourists as they are often cheap, or even free. To make huge savings on your trip, why not stay in one of YHA’s stunning hostels in the city centre? With your pocket in mind, we’ve pulled together our favourites of London’s many hidden gems to help you get away from those well-trodden paths.
The Alternative London Tour
No alternative guide to London would be complete without a mention of The Alternative London Tour. Ranked by many as the best tour to take in the capital, the Alternative London Tour gives an insight into the art scene that exists outside of the city’s prestigious galleries. On your way you’ll see works by lesser-known artists as well as more familiar ones like Banksy in the vibrant setting of London’s East End. If you’d rather not pay for an official tour, then why not do some research and put together your own themed tour of London? It can be a great way to discover the city whilst saving some money too.
The Old Bailey
Despite being one of the most famous courts in the world, the Central Criminal Court, or Old Bailey as it’s more commonly known, is a place that few tourists would think to visit. As an active court, the Old Bailey is of course not intended as a tourist attraction, but watching trials from the public gallery is free to all and certainly makes for a unique experience of the city. More than just an exercise in voyeurism, a visit to the Old Bailey allows you to play your part in the long and illustrious history of criminal justice in London. You may have guessed that tomato-throwing is no longer permitted in the Old Bailey but there are a few other rules you should check on before you go to avoid getting into trouble yourself!
Tickets for the West End can be ludicrously expensive, but it’s not the only place where you can experience London’s performing arts scene. Located underneath City Hall on the south side of the river Thames you’ll find the Scoop at More London, a deceptively large outdoor amphitheatre. Throughout the summer, the Scoop hosts film screenings as well as music and theatre performances, so you can sit back in the sunshine (hopefully) and experience some of the best performances that London has to offer. The best thing about the Scoop? It’s completely free. Check the site for information on upcoming events.