Free London!

travel

So much to do, so little cash?

Why pay to have fun when you can do all of this for free! Here are 10 places to go for free in London. You won’t be disappointed.

1. The Temple of Mithras

Visiting the Temple of Mithras comes first on my list because it has to be the most underrated and random attraction in London.

Experience Roman London by learning about the culture and pastimes of the people who once lived there. You will then be directed downstairs into a dark room. Once there, the randomness begins. Lit head sculptures and moving screens will keep you entertained before you enter the main room. The main room experience is what really drives the whole theme and you won’t be disappointed by what you find inside.

When can you visit? Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm or Sunday 12pm-5pm

Pre-book or Arrive on the spot? Pre-Book to ensure your space.

How long should you stay? 30mins-1hour

Getting there: Walk from one of these underground stations to save time – Cannon Street or Bank Station or Mansion House.

2. Sky Garden

Firstly, good luck if you can get tickets! Secondly, if you get tickets book for a bright day. The Sky Garden was not as well lit at night as it could have been so we couldn’t see much in the evening.

The Sky Garden is exactly what it says on the tin with the addition of breath taking views across the city and the ability to grab a drink whilst you try to forget your fear of heights.

When can you visit? 7 days a week with a valid ticket and stated time

Pre-book or Arrive on the spot? Pre-Book a maximum of 3 weeks prior to coming or you won’t get in!

How long should you stay? Times to book your visit are available here- Plan your visit – Sky Garden – London

Getting there: Walk from Monument Station

3. Camden

A visit to London simply isn’t complete without a good shopping spree around Camden. Be prepared to embrace all of the quirky things in life as you walk through the crowds of confident locals and fellow bewildered tourists. If you don’t enjoy crowds so much then walk over the bridge towards the stables and look for the food court. Tables and chairs are laid out there.

The addition of Buck Street Market brings you away from the main market action and into a cosy food hub that will be sure to fulfil all of your culinary needs. As this blog post is about FREE activities you may want to pack a picnic and sit by the canal. It’s best not to eat your own food on the premises of another restaurant or food truck unless you enjoy being asked to move.

Make sure you check out the stable yard (sorry there are no real horses here). You’ll have plenty of free food samples being thrusted into your face, so many that you probably won’t be hungry come lunch time.

When can you visit? Camden never sleeps

Pre-book or Arrive on the spot? Camden is always ready and waiting for visitors

How long should you stay? You could stay all day. If time is limited allow at least 4 hours.

Getting there: Walk from Camden Town or Camden Road stations and follow the crowd.

Camden Monopoly – @jemsadventure

4. Trafalgar Square > Downing Street > Westminster > Buckingham Palace

Head to Trafalgar square and gaze up at the giant lions before being thoroughly entertained by a variety of street performers.

Once you’ve had enough of craning your neck to see Nelson on his column take a 2-5minute walk to Downing Street. There isn’t much to see aside from the famous door but it’s simply a must if you want to see everything on the list. When you’ve finished taking selfies keep walking until you reach Westminster.

The giant architecture and the imposing giant that is Big Ben will be sure to occupy your mind for a while. On the far side of the houses of parliament there are some public gardens which offer a less crowded view of the river and a place to eat a snack. From here you’ll be in the perfect place to walk to Westminster Cathedral and on to…

Buckingham Palace, A 10-15 minute walk from Westminster Cathedral will bring you to the very grand Buckingham Palace. Tickets are sadly not free, but the view from outside is more than enough to leave London impressed. Get there early for the 10:45am Changing the Guard which takes place most days throughout the year. Do a quick internet search to make sure it is happening on the day you are going.

The palace is surrounded by public parks and is the perfect place to spend a chilled afternoon in the sunshine.

When can you visit? Anytime

How long should you stay? A good 3 hours can be spent in between Buckingham palace and Westminster

Getting there: Walk between the attractions to save time. Jump off at Victoria Underground for Buckingham Palace. Jump off at Charing Cross for Trafalgar Square.

Westminster – @jemsadventure

5. Museums

I could sit here and list the many many many museums in London but with a quick Google search you can find what you’re looking for. Instead I’ll recommend my 2 personal favourites.

  1. The Science Museum – Why? Because it’s fun. They are constantly updating the exhibits, and even the simplest scientific discovery can become the most interesting thanks to the creativity of the designers. Website: Home | Science Museum
  2. The Natural History Museum – Why? One word. Dinosaurs. Ok so there is so much more to see than just dinosaurs but nothing ever quite lives up to seeing the scale of a dinosaur jaw. Website:

If you want more museums have a read of this.

6. Tower of London in November

The historic is a beautiful addition to your activities for the day. Whilst I would recommend putting aside some cash to go inside, you may have run out and need to admire it from the outside only. If you are in London in November make sure you head to the Tower to admire the incredible poppy display that fills the grass in memory of fallen soldiers.

Key information: Use the website for all the information you need to plan your trip.

Pre-Book or arrive on the day? Either, but bear in mind it might be busy so it’s up to you to take the risk.

How long should you stay?

7. The Thames

If you manage to visit London and don’t see the Thames River then what on earth were you doing? The Thames is accessible throughout the city. I would recommend hitting Waterloo or Westminster to get the best views of it. Waterloo is full of market stalls and random entertainment to keep you occupied as you meander down the river.

When can you visit? Any time!

How long should you stay? A day, a month. There is no limit on the amount of time you should spend here.

Keep your eyes peeled online for seasonal events, festivals, shows, and attractions that you can visit for free taking place around the Thames!

8. Battersea Park

Confuse yourself by seeing the wonderful Peace Pagoda right in the middle of London. Explore this excellent Victorian park and admire the river whilst you are there. Take a picnic and relax in this lovely park

When can you visit? All year round. Check the website for any scheduled closures.

How long should you stay? The park is open between 6:30am and 10:30pm so plan accordingly.

Peace Pagoda – @jemsadventure

9. Visit a Market or Two or Three

There are so many markets in London, the tough decision is choosing which one to go to. Camden is already on the list as I don’t really class this is a typical market. Here are some recommendations for some more traditional ones:

Borough Market – This is predominantly a food market. Good luck walking round without wanting to spend any money! Everything looks delicious here and the atmosphere is great. Check to see if there are any events on here.

Greenwich Market – I stumbled on this market after visiting Greenwich Park right next door. This indoor market is full to the brim of food, fashion, artesian trinkets, and antiques. Grab a takeout meal from one of the stalls and eat it in the park.

Covent Garden Market – Possibly the most upmarket market available in London. Walk around to a violinist playing classical music, peruse beautiful jewellery, or just grab a drink and embrace the atmosphere.

10. Free Exhibitions and Art Galleries

There are so many exhibitions constantly popping up around London. All you have to do is Google ‘Free Exhibitions in London’ and the world is your oyster. Just go for whatever takes your fancy. Aside from random exhibitions there are trusty galleries like the Tate Modern and the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Tate Britain – @jemsadventure

Kew Gardens – Things to know before you go

travel

Is Kew worth visiting? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Here is a quick list of some useful things to bear in mind before you go there.

@jemsadventure

Book your tickets online or get them at the gate.

The gift shop is fabulous! Save the shop until you leave to save carrying everything around for hours.

Children will find fun in nature. There is a large park, children’s sections, and log walks for them to engage with. Take snacks to tide them over, and accompany them at all times.

glass ceiling at Kew @jemsadventure

Food is available from multiple stands or in the main canteen. I recommend taking snacks for the long walk round or a picnic to eat in the park. Take your rubbish home or bin it. No littering.

Comfy shoes are a must! You will hugely regret the decision to don the pretty shoes that match your outfit instead of the comfy not so pretty trainers. Thank me later.

Exploring Kew @jemsadventure

Grab a map at the entrance. This will help you navigate all of the points of interest. If you are bad at map reading, you’ll be pleased to know that google maps works just fine inside Kew and many of the structural buildings appear on there.

Hay fever tablets – Take them before you arrive so they kick in but the time you get there. There are flowers from around the world are situated all over Kew Gardens and the last thing you want is a sneeze attack ruining your day.

Log Walk @jemsadventure

Sunny weather is ideal. If it is raining you will spend 90% of your time getting wet. If that’s not a problem for you then by all means visit in the rain. It will be amazing all the same.

Dress for hot and cold / wear removable layers because the different glass houses are temperature controlled. One minute you are sweating in a tropical room and the next, you are freezing cold with the alpine plants.

The Hive – @jemsadventure

The hive (pictured above) is an eerily beautiful place. The noise it makes is soothing and it’s a great place to sit and catch your breath. Sit beneath it or walk up the hill to get onto it. Your choice.

Kew Palace – (pictured below) This overtly orange building is like a separate attraction all of it’s own. It is free to enter, however, it is recommended that you make a small donation to keep the palace going. There is a lot of interesting history here to explore, and when I visited last, there was a mental health exhibition on the top floor which was excellent.

Off to see the palace @Jemsadventure

Sports games and jogging are not allowed at Kew. Leave the football at home and enjoy the nature instead.

Time needed to explore can range from a few hours to a whole day. If you want to see everything at a glacial pace then plan a whole day visit. Realistically, you need a half or full day because there is so much to see and lots of ground to cover.

Peacock – @jemsadventure

Wildlife doesn’t just mean insects. Look at this beautiful peacock above that we saw on our way around. Be prepared to see more bees than you have ever seen before in such a beautiful setting.

Exhibitions change throughout the year. Have a look at the Kew website to see what’s on before you go. For example, the first time I went there was a glass exhibition which was incredible. Pieces/Instillations are generally dotted around Kew.

The pagoda @jemsadventure

Aside from the flowers there are plenty of interesting buildings to explore such as this pagoda or Queen Charlottes cottage.

Renovations – speaking of the cottage… check for renovation works on the various attractions before you go. We walked 15 minutes off our planned route to realise it was under renovation. Don’t make the sane mistake.

Credit @jemsadventure

Getting to Kew Gardens can be done by rail (Kew Gardens Station) or by car (parking in residential areas is never guaranteed). There is also a limited spaces car park for under £10 for the day.

Do not pick the flowers – As beautiful as they are, and as tempting as it may be, do not pick the flowers. Let them stay as they are!

Enjoy Kew!

@jemsadventure