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

Things to see and do in Windsor and Eton

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Things to see and do in Windsor and Eton

I live a 10 minute drive from Windsor, and wanted to share a few ideas with you as to how you can get the most out of your time here. Sure you can spend all day trying to spot the queen, but there’s so much more you can do!

Windsor Castle:

Let’s start with the main attraction. This castle is the main residence of Queen Elizabeth II who loves spending time here. This means that although you can go inside, you won’t be able to explore it in it’s entirety as some of it is shut off for the queen. There is plenty to see and explore and the ticket price I feel is justified.
A perk of visiting Windsor Castle is that it contains St. Georges Chapel which is usually open for visitors (unless a private event is being held, or there are renovation works.) If you go inside the castle you can expect to spend a decent amount of time staring at the impressive Queen Mary’s dollhouse.

Book Ahead – When visiting the castle you can expect queues to get inside, unless you book ahead. On three occasions I have tried to get into the castle to show my friends around, only to see that the queue was over 2 hours long to get inside. On more successful visits I have booked ahead.
Book tickets for the castle here: Windsor Castle – Visit Windsor

How Long?: Allow 3 hours minimum to look around

Windsor castle JREID

The Long Walk and Windsor Great Park:

This scenic path runs straight from the main gates of Windsor Castle and up to the Copper Horse Statue of King George III. The walk is…. you guessed it, long. Along the way you are sure to see plenty of deer in the surrounding fields grazing and resting.

If you start the walk from the castle you may want to take the dog for a walk at the same time. Dogs are welcome to join you on your walk, and if you are both well behaved you can let them off the lead. Once you reach the green gates, you are entering into deer territory, at which point your dog should be placed back on the lead and not interact with the deer at all.

How Long?: The Walk is around 2.6miles so take water with you. Allow a couple of hours maximum to make it there and back if you’re not in a rush. ALSO if you have prepared your parking then add an extra hour onto whatever you think you need because you won’t want to run back!

Long walk JREID
Windsor Royal Station:

The Queen’ Locomotive can be found here next to the main train station and is a stunning piece of history from the Victorian age. Great for a quick selfie and just a quick look to say you’ve seen it. Aside from this you can spend half an hour exploring the market stalls and shops inside the shopping centre. 

Diamond Jubilee Fountain:

This fountain is a lovely spot unknown to many tourists. Visit it at night to see it all lit up, or swing by during the day to enjoy the river views with the fountain splashing beside you. This is a perfect lunch spot. There is a cute bowls court next to it and tennis courts just opposite for some free entertainment.

Windsor Guildhall:

This enchanting little re-purposed museum is a small but interesting way to learn about local history. The museum is great for all ages and frequently hold small events for families and individuals to take part in.

Shopping:

Plenty of clothes shops available to spend all your hard earned cash! High street fashion shops and luxury brands are available. 

The River:

The river is a great place to take a walk whilst in the area and may be preferable to those not wanting to trek down the Long Walk.  Swan feed can be purchased from the small cafe where the swans nest. You can also rent a small boat and take a ride on the river or join a duck tour .

Windsor JREID

Escape Rooms:

Fancy a challenge? There are a couple of companies super close to the high street offering this fun experience  simply google “Windsor Escape Rooms” and take your pick. An hour of indoor guaranteed fun for all the family. 

Eton College:

As an operational college you can’t just expect to receive a full tour when you arrive here. The external architecture is worth the short stroll down the road and there’s nothing quite as British as seeing the students walking between classes in their traditional tails.

Eton High Street:

Much quieter than Windsor High street, Eton’s main road is arguable more charming with a church set back away from the road that is almost un-noticeable. Eventually you will reach Eton College, but before you get there, take a look at the quaint and quirky shops that line the street. Also… Look how pretty it is at Christmas! 

Eton Christmas JREID
Legoland:

Who hasn’t heard of Legoland?! Whether you have kids or are a big kid yourself be sure to visit if you love Lego before you leave. Expect to spend at least an entire day here, or maybe two if you want to spend the night in the Lego hotel!

Theatre Royal Windsor:

A lovely theatre located just outside the castle offering shows all year round for reasonable prices – Theatre Royal Windsor – live entertainment at its best in Berkshire

Windsor Leisure Centre:
If you would like a serious lane swim or a fun day out in the family pool then this is the best place to go. Look at the website before visiting for more price and time information: Windsor Leisure Centre (leisurefocus.org.uk)

Windsor On Ice:

Ice skating!!! During the winter you can expect to find a Christmas extravaganza in the form of an ice rink, charming food stands selling traditional bratwurst and candy treats opposite the jubilee fountain at Alexandra Gardens. You can get your tickets here: Welcome to Windsor On Ice | Windsor on Ice 

Windsor on ice JREID

Hungry in Windsor & Eton

Food for those on a tight budget these are some of my favourite foody places: McDonalds / Honest Burger / Weatherspoons / Starbucks / Krispy Kreme / Manny local restaurants! If you want to take a picnic to the long walk or by the river then this is not prohibited. 

Food on a slightly bigger budget: Flaming Cow Eton /  Gourmet Burger Kitchen / Bella Italia / Many more restaurants right on the castle’s doorstep or by the river.

Getting There

By Train: There are 2 train stations in Windsor. They are a 10 minute walk from each other so whichever one you choose it won’t matter because you’ll end up more or less in the same place! Here is how to get into Windsor and Eton via each one –

Windsor and Eton Central – To get to this station you will have to connect at Slough. The train journey from Slough is very cheap and takes around 5-10 minutes. If you are commuting from London Paddington you will connect at Slough before boarding the short journey to Windsor.

Windsor and Eton Riverside – This station connects Windsor to other areas of London such as London Waterloo. The train has many stops and may be less convenient time-wise than if you are able to get the fast train from Paddington to Slough and on to Windsor and Eton Central.

By Car – If you are driving from Slough/M4 come up the dual carriageway and take the first exit to the castle. DO NOT park near the castle or the river unless you don’t mind paying extra. Try Victoria Street Car Park for more reasonable rates. It’s a three minute walk from the shopping street.

Where to stay:

It’s nice to stay in Windsor… It’s also quite expensive to stay in Windsor. Opt to stay in Slough instead. There is a Moxy hotel, Premier inn, Travelodge, and many bnbs that will save you a heap of money. There are buses and taxis into Windsor for less than £10 so you do the math! If you are fixed on staying in Windsor then you will find plenty of options available online.

Have fun exploring Windsor and Eton!