Travelling is an expensive hobby. (Even a low-cost air company and a hostel may amount to some small fortune at the end of the day.) But once at a destination, it is good to know your ways around splurging while exploring the city. Here are my five tips about things to do for free in pricey London.
1. National museums
To me it came as a surprise (a good one, though) that in London all national museums have free admission. Depending on your personal preferences, choose to go to the British museum (and see the Rosetta Stone), the National Gallery (my favorite galleries there are hosting the Impressionists), the Tate Modern museum (if you are a modern art fan), the Natural History Museum and even the Victoria & Albert museum (take a look at the fashion collection on the first floor!) With British weather being so whimsical, having a free museum to hide in when an unexpected rain starts, is just a added bonus.
2. Abbey road
Go back in time by recreating the legendary Beatles cover on Abbey Road. Drivers are used to wait on the zebra crossing while tourists march the street in a single file. However do not overdo their patience or you may get some angry honking and less than polite words in your direction. True story.
3. Parks and Palaces
If you are lucky to have a beautiful sunny day in London, then put on your most comfy shoes and explore your green/royal self. My all times favorite route: start from the Kensington Palace, pass by the Diana Memorial (fun fact: you can sit on the memorial or even wade in the water but you are not allowed to talk loud) and all the way down Hyde Park. From Hyde Part Corner cross over to Wellington Arch and take a stroll by Green Park on your way to the Buckingham Palace and Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens. Finish off your journey by going all the way down to St Jame’s Park and don’t forget to stop and look back – the view of the palace is marvelous.
4. Stroll along the Thames
If I have to single out one thing I do every time I am in London, this should be an evening stroll on the South Bank of Thames. The illumination of Big Ben, the street artists and the tourists mix in some magical way. And if you extend your walk to the Westminster Bridge, you can add to this mix the smell of caramelized nuts. Mmm priceless!
London is famous not only with great architecture and gorgeous parks but also open markets, so be sure to check out at least one. The Portobello Road market is probably the most popular, however one shouldn’t neglect the offerings on Church Street market or Covent Garden market (be sure to stop for a while and enjoy the street performers as well).