The Best of London for Free...
What sets London apart from many other famous cities is the fact that there is so many free things to do, and even many of the paid attractions can be enjoyed to a certain extent for free. The following is a list of ideas for 1st-time London tourists who want to see as much as possible on a budget.
How many can you visit?...
Piccadilly Circus / Statue of Eros - World renowned for its neon signs, the area is now a central point from which many exciting shops and events may be accessed from.
Trafalgar Square / Nelson's Column - It has become one of London's most prominent open spaces, always bustling with activity. It is also the home to Nelsons column.
Abbey Road - World renowned for the iconic Beatles album cover, Abbey Road is also home to the recording studios for many of films greatest scores.
Tower Bridge - Apart from the historical significance of the bridge itself, there is also a surprising large range of events to capture the imagination.
Leicester Square - Known as "Theatreland" it is the heart of London's cinema culture. Energised by the pubs and bars around, there is always somewhere to go in the evening.
Westminster Abbey - Steeped in over 1000 years of history. The Abbey is the coronation church and resting place to 17 monarchs.
Big Ben / Houses of Parliament - Home to the English parliament it is the place where law is passed and argued over. Big Ben, the iconic clock tower looms above the proceedings.
Camden Market - This is the most popular open air market with over 1000 stalls, shops and restaurants to cater for all tastes and price ranges.
Portobello Road - It is known as the world's largest antiques market open on Saturdays mainly. It is also featured in the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Covent Garden - Once a fruit and veg market, now a buzzing hive of tourist activity offering street performances and a variety of eating experiences.
The British Museum - Widely considered as one of the world's greatest museums documenting human history and culture from its beginning to the present.
The Science Museum - A prominent collection of scientific pieces from throughout the ages. It also houses an actual piece of the moon, the closest we may get!
The Natural History Museum - Home to 70 million items it is a quite remarkable experience. It is particularly famous for its collection of dinosaur skeletons.
Notting Hill - Made famous by both the carnival which takes place every year and the film bearing the same name. It is a great place to walk around and feel like one of London's elite.
Hyde Park - One of London's biggest parks it is a great place to experience and the serpentine solar shuttle is a great way to take in the sites of the park, at a languid 5mph.
St James's palace - Whilst you are not able to gain access to the palace, experiencing the most senior royal palace in the UK is definitely worth the view.
St James's Park - The area is bound by other large city attractions which makes it a fantastic location for picturesque views of the palace. Take a break from the busy city and walk in the park.
Brick Lane - Famous for its many curry houses and Bangladeshi culture. It really does show the diversity of British culture, plus those curry houses are fantastic!
Spitalfields - The area is filled with market stalls full of unique, often handmade items, whilst not cheap they do let you dream!
The Changing of the Guard - This occurs every day at 11am and is a must see for any tourist visiting London. It takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
The Mall - A walk along the Mall is a great chance to see the approach to Buckingham Palace. The red road surface serves as a carpet to the palace.
TATE Modern - The most visited modern art gallery in the world with around 4.7 million visitors. Located inside the Bankside power station, the building in itself is worth a trip.
Battersea Park - This is one of the most diverse park spaces in London, offering a variety of walks and activities to keep people of all ages entertained.
Be an Audience Member - London is full of studios and shoes being filmed in them. Try to get tickets online for free and see how they come together first hand.
Speakers Corner - For over 150 years it has been one of London's most famous and quirky attractions. The range of people expressing opinion will make the trip to Hyde Park well worth it.
Richmond Park - As the only place in London where you can share your lunch with a deer it is definitely worth a look, along with the stunning gardens and woods.
Chinatown - Just off Leicester Square is the heart of the east Asian community in London, whether you're after a quick bite or a bit of shopping it has the whole package.
Saatchi Gallery - As an innovative forum for the presentation of young contemporary artists the gallery is a great visit, but also houses 7 of the top 10 exhibitions in the UK.
Borough Market - This is London's most renowned food market offering exceptional British produce. Grab the chance to speak with the people producing the food you see and buy.
The O2 (Millenium Dome) - Originally built to celebrate the dawn of the new millennium. It has now become a music venue with restaurants and other attractions including events for the 2012 Olympics.
Downing Street - The home of the English Prime Minister and his cabinet, always nice to visit and take in another iconic landmark in the city of London.
Somerset House - A spectacular building which is situated between the Strand and the river Thames, the grounds and fountains are free to view in the summer.
National Gallery - This is the home of the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, driving for the preservation and access of the works.
National Portrait Gallery - The gallery is open as an extensive collection of the portraits, aiming to bring history to life through the exhibitions they put on.
TATE Britain - This is the most extensive collection of British art in the world and houses the Turner Prize every year, allowing for the best exhibitions for the British public.
Sicilian Avenue - A beautiful pedestrianized shopping street in central London, often referred to as an old-world southern Italy; make sure to try the spaghetti house.
Carnaby Street - One of the prominent areas within London's fashion culture offering a handful of independent boutiques and lifestyle retailers.
Kensington Roof Gardens - This is the largest roof garden in Europe and contains three themed gardens over 1.5acres. Make sure to enjoy a meal at the restaurant overlooking the street below.
BT Tower - Known for being a major part of the UK's communication hub, the tower was also home to the highest restaurant in the country, until 1980 when I was shut down due to ongoing terrorist threats.
Cleopatra's Needle - It is definitely worthwhile checking out this ancient relic, located on the Victoria embankment, was it a gift? Or stolen? You decide!
The OXO Tower - What is an attempt at getting past the local advertisement laws. An interesting part of the city it now houses bijou arts shops with a world renowned restaurant above.
Westminster Bridge - This is where you will find the Coade lion, a unique piece of architecture and for any film buffs it is the location for an iconic scene in the film '28 Days Later'.
Alexandra Palace - Most definitely worth a look, striking architecture and the beautiful park make it a walkers paradise. The view over the city is pretty spectacular as well.
Vauxhall Cross - The legendary home of 007 himself, the location of the MI6 secret intelligence service, as well as being the scene from the Bond film "The World is not Enough".
The 'Allies' Statue - Found on Bond Street this stands as a memorial to the 50 years of peace after the end of the second world war. A photo between the two great leaders is a must!
Millennium Bridge - Take a stroll across the commemorative bridge built to bring in the new millennium. It has come a long way since its wobbly beginnings back in 2000.
Holland Park - A beautiful public park in Kensington: Housing what has become known as one of London's most tranquil open spaces, the Kyoto Garden.
The Brixton Windmill - Visit the windmill in the centre of London, fantastically restored and still functioning. Great to see old England in central London.
Goldsmiths Hall The building was founded to regulate the goldsmith industry. Described as one of London's hidden architectural treasures, it is a magnificent building. Free by advanced booking.
Hackney City Farm - It is known for offering farming in the centre of the city. The aim of the farm is to try and give people the tools to become more environmental in their own homes.
Centre of the Cell - This is an educational charity, hear me out, aiming to connect science with everyday life. The real clincher here is the fact it is inside a real Bio Lab!
Jurassic Park to Crystal Palace - A fantastic walk for dino lovers, encompassing a host of different dinosaurs first put in place by the founder of the Natural History museum in 1854.
Watch a Trial - Known as the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court is one of the most famous courts in the world. It has cases from across the UK sent there for hearings, so much is it's standing.
Nike Run - For the fitness conscious traveller, Nike in Oxford Street has a female run club on a Monday evening taking in several of the capitals sights! Worth a look.
Hamleys Toy Store - What trip to London would be complete without a trip to the flagship store on London's Regent Street - the largest in the world. It is a fantastic place to look around with all sorts of engagements throughout the store.
Harrods - The world famous store, located in Knightsbridge, it is a great place to visit and is London's 2nd biggest store.
Gresham College Free Lectures – Vacations can be the perfect opportunity to learn a thing or two about politics, literature and other topics. Usually scheduled during Mondays and Wednesdays around 1:00pm.
Barbican’s Rain Room - Former students of Royal College of Art created a room where you can walk in the rain without getting wet. No need to bring umbrellas either.
Silent Disco - Once you wear the headset along with everyone, you get in on the fun of picking a DJ to listen to. It’s very much like a normal party with loud music, except for upset neighbours.
Organ Recitals - Live piano music is now accessible for enthusiasts. The experience is made even more authentic with locations rich in acoustic elements such as cathedrals.
Bloomsbury Festival – Tons of free activities to celebrate the amazing culture and creativity of locals based in this area of central London. From making handicrafts and 3D printing demos, you’re sure to get lost in the festivities.
Capital Ring - Take a leisurely walk from Richmond Park to Wimbledon while you appreciate the dense greens that blanket your surroundings.
Tour of the House of Parliament - If you or your friend is a resident of the UK, you can book a tour of the grounds, with supervision by a member of the local parliament.
Winter Wonderland – The site allows you to walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds of the amusement park. Tickets are available for purchase if you feel the need to take a ride.
Columbia Road Flower Market – As Christmas arrives, around 50 shops are opened for you to indulge in. Grab your camera and get lost in the festivities.
Clissold Park - A really nice natural to sit around and relax. If you’re lucky, you might get a chance encounter with goats and deer.
Angel Comedy – You can’t say no to a free laugh! Local talents line up to show you a good time every Wednesday at Camden Head in Islington.
British Film Institute – Use one of the private booths in the Mediatheque and watch advertisements, films and documentaries.
First Thursdays – A unique approach to exploring art and museums. Catch one of the free events on the first Thursday of every month.