Yesterday, Grant wrote about owning a piece of London’s Heathrow Airport, so I thought it would be fun to write a post about London too. As much as we like to accrue miles and points from putting spend on our credit cards, it’s still great to enjoy free things when you travel. London is one of my favorite cities. And as I found out, there’s a lot to enjoy that’s easy on the travel budget.
1. Tate Modern. I’ve discovered that while many museums around the world charge an entry fee, they also provide some exhibitions that are free. The Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. And it’s important to note that most of the exhibitions are free.
2. Yoga Class. Yoga may not be your thing, but if it is I noticed that all around London there were offerings of free Yoga classes. This impressed me, so take advantage of a class. It’s always fun to meet new people and experience a new teacher and setting for Yoga.
3. Outdoor Cinema. London uses its historic monuments as settings for outdoor cinema events. Great idea!
4. BFI Mediatheque. Another idea for you film buffs is visiting the British Film Institute. It hosts the annual BFI London Film Festival and inside you’ll find the BFI Mediatheque. You’ll enjoy free access to thousands of archived TV shows, films, and documentaries. You’ll also find lots of information about London itself.
5. Ceremony of the Keys. Every night at exactly 9:53 PM at the Tower of London, you’ll see the Ceremony of the Keys. It’s been happening for 600 years! This is where the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are guarded. The only time this ceremony was interrupted was due to an air raid during the Second World War.
6. Street Art in Shoreditch. Locals say that London’s amazing street art is best displayed on the walls around Shoreditch. Walk the neighborhood and enjoy the art!
7. Natural History Museum. I find Natural History Museums fascinating. They spark my imagination and I always learn something new. This museum has a human evolution gallery, along with over 22 million insect and plant specimens. It’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in life on earth.
8. Pelicans at St. James’s Park. This is such a simple delightful free thing to do. St. James’s Park, like all the parks in London, is a relaxing fun place to visit. If you’re at the park any day at 2:30 PM you can watch the pelicans being fed in their natural environment.
9. Abbey Road. This may sound hokey, but here’s what happened to me. I was in a cafe in London proper enjoying espresso and a sweet. I struck up a conversation with a few locals at the counter and they couldn’t believe I hadn’t been to Abbey Road. Sure, I was a Beatles fan but thought visiting Abbey Road would be too touristy. They insisted I go, so even though it was late afternoon and I had other plans, I left the cafe, got on the train, and off to Abbey Road I went. Yes, I’m glad I went and yes I took the usual hokey picture of me crossing Abbey Road! And so should you. It was fun!
10. Kensington Roof Gardens. This is the second largest roof garden in Europe. Try to get there just before nightfall because most people say the gardens look their best in this light.
11. Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. This fountain was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 as a tribute to Princess Diana’s love of children. Locals tell me it has become one of their favorite spots for a Sunday afternoon outing.
12. Wellcome Collection. If you’ve got a curious nature and curious mind, you’ll love this place because it’s filled with weird and unusual objects.
13. The Scoop. Although most museums in London are free, the theaters are not. This outdoor amphitheater, however, offers free performances. I stumbled upon this place during a walk and sat there with a cappuccino enjoying the space and watching the performers rehearse a play. It’s a good space to check out.
Hope you’ll add some of these free places and activities to your itinerary when you’re in London. It’s a wonderful city to explore. Do you have any of your own discoveries to add?