London is one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit, and there are many reasons for this; the city offers a variety that few other cities in the world can compete with – best of all, many of the great things to do in London are free!
To give you an idea for some free things to do in London on your next visit, check out our top picks…and this excellent London Guide Book
Go To The Museums
In most cities, museums charge hefty entry fees – in London however, all of the major museums are completely free!
The Museum of London is an all-time favorite, and the famous art gallery Tate Modern is also a must with some amazing contemporary art.
Changing of the Guard
No trip to London is complete without Buckingham Palace – and when you visit, make sure you do so during the changing of the guards!
Every day at 11.30 am this military tradition begins, a spectacle with music and a great chance to see the interesting outfits the guards wear.
Walking down the street is an event in itself in London, especially on the square at the Covent Garden Market. There, street performers entertain huge crowds every afternoon, and many of the performers are well seasoned professionals that are well worth seeing.
Although it’s free to look, if they’re really good a small tip doesn’t hurt.
Hang out in the Parks
London has plenty of green oasis to relax in and rest your feet for a few hours. St. James’s park offers stunning views over Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are huge green oasis in the middle of the city, and Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens in Regent’s Park is a favorite among many.
A free event in Hyde Park is the well renown “Speaker’s Corner”, a sort of “event” which has been held every Sunday since the right of free assembly was recognised in 1872. In the Speaker’s Corner people from all walks of life gather to listen to speeches about anything and everything… and to heckle.
The speeches can range from political to sausages to alien invasions, you really have to go there to know what it’s like
With so many free things to do you might want to splurge on some nice and comfortable accommodation. Some great apartments in the city that are well worth checking out, and keep in mind that a kitchen will also help saving a lot of money rather than eating out every day.
We hope you found these tips useful for your next trip to London…
Child Friendly Places to Visit While in London
The Cartoon Museum
Who says a museum has to be full of paintings of weird people and abstracts we all think we could paint better?
The Cartoon Museum is a serious collection of cartoons, seriously, that date back to the 18th century.
The kids will enjoy seeing them and won’t even realize that they’re getting a history lesson as they learn about how cartoons have developed and become a part of our everyday culture.
There are also many fun events you and the kids can participate in.
Queen’s Ice and Bowl
Kids love ice skating and bowling, though it’s advisable not to do both at the same time. That does sound fun, though, doesn’t it?
Let the kids work off some of that energy for a day of ice skating and bowling all in one place.
There’s also an arcade, cafe, and bar. You can enjoy a nice cold one while the kids tear up the alleys or make that next stunning triple axel on the ice rink. It could happen.
Thames River Cruise
One of the best ways to see London is from the river as you cruise past many of the most famous sights like the Tower of London and Canary Wharf.
The kids will think it’s cool floating past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben from atop the open upper deck. You can take the cruise even when the weather is less than perfect, as the boats offer a lower saloon with a panoramic view. You and the kids will be wowed by the experience.
The London Bridge Experience
Your kids will think you’re the coolest parent ever when you take them on this tour which has won it’s second Screamie award for “Best Year Round Scare Attraction.” It might be too intense for kids under ten years old, so be sure your kids aren’t easily traumatized by creepy special effects and people in spooky costumes that you will meet along the way.
The tour starts within the arches of the London Bridge and is a two-part experience. The second part of the attraction, the London Tombs, will have you face-to-face with the un-dead in a spine-tingling adventure not for the faint of heart.
For kids under eleven, the Guardian Angel Tours offer a guide to accompany them through the Tombs and protect them from anything that may be too frightening.
Gamerbase Piccadilly Circus
You might have to drag the kids out of this place after they get involved in an intense, multi-player game they can play online or with anyone else in the centre.
This state-of-the-art facility has several X-Box 360 and PS3 consoles and PCs that allow for online gaming that include many of the most popular games available such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.
Your kids will probably enjoy challenging you to a grueling game where they can annihilate you in public, so be prepared to be humiliated. It’s all in fun, right?
Whether your kids are very young or in that awkward, brooding teenage stage, they’re going to have a hard time complaining when you take them to these fun spots in London. They might even have to grudgingly admit that their parents are pretty cool as far as parents go, at least for a while.
Get Active with London’s Summer of Sport
Swim the Serpentine, row the Thames, and touch down at Finsbury Park…
With hopes of British sporting glory cruelly dashed at Wimbledon this week, Team GB will be hoping to make up for it as London’s Olympic summer of sport gets underway.
In true British spirit, it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part, and the nation’s capital is packed with fun sporting activities the whole family can break a sweat to this summer.
Serpentine Swimming Club, W2
If you’re willing to get up early, and we mean early, the Serpentine Swimming Club offers up the briskest way to start your day. The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is open to the club’s open air swimmers before 9.30am each morning, 365 days a year.
Take a dip in the bracing depths and get up to speed for the weekly Saturday morning races. Water temperatures can get up to a tropical 20˚ in summer, but take a sharp dive come the autumn, and this hardcore swimming group turn their noses up at wetsuits, even for their famous Christmas Day race.
If you’re not the competitive type, or you just don’t fancy hauling yourself out of bed for a shockingly cold 6am bath, try the Serpentine Lido or Hampstead Heath ponds, where you’re free to swim outdoors with the ducks all summer between 10am and 6pm, May to September.
Thames Rowing Club, SW15
Cruising the Thames on a tourist-packed tour boat is for chumps. Put your oar in and see the city’s iconic river in a whole new light with the Thames Rowing Club.
Established in 1860, this historic club offers up competitive rowing to men and women, beginners and professionals alike. They pride themselves on their past record of transforming beginner rowers into national team winners, with their women’s rowing teams becoming regular Henley champions.
Their clubhouse at Putney, dating back to 1876, is a treasuretrove of British rowing memorabilia, and if you don’t want to race competitively, there are Veterans and Casuals groups designed for those who want to take it easy on the river.
Frame, EC2A & W10
A dance school with a difference, Frame has set out to make dance fun, affordable and open to everyone. Forget the torturous world of the Black Swan, the emphasis here is on getting your body moving in a way that you enjoy. With two dance and fitness studios, one in Shoreditch, the other at Queen’s Park, classes are designed so you can drop in any time you want to try something new.
Alongside the limb-lengthening yoga, pilates and ballet, there’s hardcore bootcamps, and Saturday workshops designed to target specific areas, lifting bums, slimming hips and working off those bingo wings.
Boost your confidence on the dancefloor with their range of quirky dance classes, where you can work up a sweat with 80’s aerobics Jane Fonda-style and master the moves from your favourite music videos in your lunch break.
London Blitz, N4
Formed in 1995, London’s championship-winning American football club welcomes players of all ages, from 7 and up. With a senior team competing in the BAFA Community League Premiership, and four junior teams too, now’s your chance to score your very own touchdown in Europe’s answer to the Superbowl.
Head to London Blitz team HQ in Finsbury Park to join the training and workshops, and you could be going for gold in the Eurobowl tournament next year.