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Free things to do in London on your summer holiday this year

Clearly one of the most popular cities in the world, London boasts of a plethora of stunning attractions, heritage, history, bustling streets, delectable cuisine, and even more. Here are the best free activities and attractions to explore.

London can burn a hole in your wallet if you don’t plan your journey well. However, there are a bunch of free things to do in London that ensure you spend a good day out, while being able to budget well.

London is the 15th most expensive country to live in, according to a recent report by Mercer (published in Forbes). The city is also expensive in case you’re a tourist, looking to explore the scenic sites that London has to offer. While commuting in the city is fairly easy, thanks to the underground trains, cost of hotels, ticket prices and restaurant bills can burn a massive hole in your pocket, in case you haven’t planned your trip well.

However, exploring the city on a budget is definitely possible since there are a number of places that you can visit for free! This comes in handy in case you are a student, budget traveller, or simply someone who is looking to maintain their finances. And walking on the streets, as you soak in some beautiful skies and picturesque streets is always fun, isn’t it?

So, in case you are in the city and looking to have some fun, check out these free things to do in London that will keep you busy for hours, and also allow you to unwind and soak in the London atmosphere.

[Featured Image Credit: Aldo de la Paz/Unsplash; Hero Image Credit: Raul Varzar/Unsplash]

Free things to do in London

See the Changing of the Guard ceremony

 

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Among the most fun things you can do in London is watching the Changing of the Guard, the official change of guard of the Queen, where the old guards hand over the responsibility and keys to the new group of guards. The ceremony takes place at several locations across London and it is a visual treat with great pomp and show (including bands playing traditional and modern pop tunes).

The ceremony is conducted on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between January and May and from August till December. The ceremony happens daily in June and July. The best place to view it is the Buckingham Palace where you can grab the best spot across the gates by reaching a little early.

Check the details and timings here.

Spend some time at the Borough Market in London

 

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The Borough Markert in London celebrated its 1,000th year in 2014, and it’s safe to stay that this is a place that has stood the test of time. The market is one of the best free places to visit in London, allowing you to walk through the bustling lanes filled with organic produce and more.

Sample the free treats if you are hungry, or if you have some cash to spare, make some purchases too. Housing world cuisine, it is a great place to keep an eye out for deals and more. The market is open from Monday to Saturday.

Read more about Borough Market here.

Visit the London Mithraeum

 

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Among the super cool free things to do in London includes a visit to the London Mithraeum. Dedicated to the mysterious figure of Mithras, whose cult-like followers met in secret at underground locations, the Roman temple has no entry fee! The place is hidden underneath the Bloomberg buildings in London, and makes for a great place to visit and spend some time at. Though the entry is free, make sure to book your slot here for guaranteed entry.

Watch permanent exhibits at National Gallery

If you love art but do not have the budget for exploring new shows, entry to the National Gallery is free. The gallery houses artworks by artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, William Turner and Vincent van Gogh. These are part of the permanent exhibits, which means you don’t have to pay a single penny to be able to view them.

Picnic at the Greenwich Park

If you want to enjoy a fun picnic with your family, partner or friends, pack a basket full of yummy goodies (here’s where the trip to Borough Market comes in handy!) and head to the hill in the middle of Greenwich Park. With expansive views of the city’s skyline and the most beautiful surroundings, the park will surely make for a memorable afternoon, especially if the weather gods are in a great mood.

Enjoy one of the free London walking tours

 

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As we mentioned in the beginning, there’s no better way to explore a city than on foot. So, if you have the whole day to yourself (or even a couple of hours), spend it walking around the streets. The roads will take you to remote corners and unexplored food stalls, offering world cuisine that will fill you up in no time at all. If you don’t want to walk alone, join some of the free walking tours that are easily available online.

Visit the British Museum for a lesson in history

 

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Among the many free things you can do in London is visit the city’s many stunning museums. The British Museum is among those. One of the largest in the city, the museum offers a variety of artefacts, paintings and more for you to see on your trip there. The only advice? Wear a pair of comfortable shoes and walk around till you can’t anymore!

Plan your visit to the museum here.

Other museums across the city that offer free entry for visitors to the permanent exhibitions include Museum of London, Royal Academy of Arts, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Maritime Museum and Tate Modern.

Visit the Barbican Conservatory

 

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The Barbican Conservatory is among London’s best cultural places. Filled with tropical plants, cacti, flowers and more, this conservatory is the one free thing you can explore in the Barbican, which also houses a variety of theatres, films and other fun stuff.

Plan your visit here.

Walk around Trafalgar Square (and spot a celebrity or two)

 

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Head to Trafalgar Square and meet the lions, or simply enjoy the many cultural shows that are put up there. What’s more, this popular address in London is also often visited by celebrities, so who knows, you might just run into your favourite stars there! This page on the site of the Mayor London will give you the importance of this landmark in the city’s history.

Another famous place to get a picture taken is Piccadilly Circus, the famous landmark you will see in many shows, like Sherlock, based in London.

Go jogging at Hyde Park

 

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Hyde Park is among the best spots to be in London, especially in the morning. And guess what? It’s completely free! Go there for a jog, or pick up your camera to capture some stunning shots of the lush greenery, birds, pets on a walk and more.

Find out more about the park here.

Explore the Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum was built in 1091 by Frederick Horniman, a tea trader who had a passion for collectables. The museum allows free entry, and you can visit the place to witness a collection of stuffed birds and animals. Its main attraction, however, is a massive overstuffed walrus. The museum also has a music gallery with over 1,500 instruments and expansive gardens with a butterfly house, animal trails and a lot more.

Find out more about the museum here.

Visit the Kensington Park

 

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Another great park to visit in London is Kensington Park. Take a stroll, spend some time with your partner or play around with kids. You can also see the many water bodies here and several other structures that will make your time worth the while!

Take a walk through Harrods

Harrods London
Image: Courtesy Dmitry Vechorko/Unsplash

One of the most famous landmarks of London, this luxury department store houses numerous brands, along with a food hall with variety of dishes on offer. You don’t need to buy anything to walk through this store. However, if you are feeling luxe and have some money saved for shopping, this store has options ranging from high-end apparel, footwear, make-up and perfumes amongst many other things.

You can explore the store and it’s options here before visiting.

See the London Eye and Tower Bridge

London Eye
Image: Courtesy Amy-Leigh Barnard/Unsplash

A trip on London Eye will give you a 360 degree view of the city, but if you don’t want spend around 33 pounds (Rs 3,166 approx.) and 30 minutes on this observation wheel, you can just visit the South Bank area and see the Ferris Wheel from outside and take pictures.

While you are in the area, around 10-12 minutes walk away is the Tower Bridge. It is also visible from the South Bank. One of the most fascinating things to see is when the bridge is lifted open to let the vessels, including tourist boats, cross.

You can check the frequency and timings of bridge lifts here.

Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station

King's Cross Station
Image: Courtesy kingscross.co.uk

If you are a Potterhead, this is one of the few free things you must do in London. Head to King’s Cross Station where you will find a trolly stuck a wall at the station concourse. You will find fellow fans lining up for the photo opportunity wearing their favourite Hogwarts house scarf. But, do remember to reach here as early as possible as the queue can be really long.

Find out more details here.

Take a picture at the blue door from Notting Hill

If you are a rom-com fan, we are sure you must have seen Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant-starrer Notting Hill. In the 1999 movie, Grant’s character William Thacker lives in a house with a blue door. While the original door from the movie was auctioned, a similar replacement can be found at house no. 280 in London’s district of Notting Hill. The area also houses the world’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road Market, also seen in the movie. Ask anyone in the area and they will direct you to these famous landmarks where you can get pictures.

More about the market here.

Free things to do in London on your summer holiday this year

Anushka Goel

Anushka has worked with publications such as Times of India and Being Indian. A graduate from Xavier Institute of Communicatios, she specialises in entertainment, food and travel. She also likes to write about sustainability and beauty. When not working, you can catch her reading a book, tending to her plants, cooking or playing an instrument.

   

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