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Top Free Attractions in London

London is no doubt an expensive city and one of the most expensive in the world. Besides the cost of accommodation, transport and food, there are also the admission tickets to the various attractions in the city. A standard ticket to the London Eye cost around £25, Tower of London £23 and Madame Tussauds £29. Despite the city’s expensive reputation, you don’t have to spend a fortune on admission tickets. Many of London’s top attractions are free including the museums, art galleries, parks and markets. London is tops when it comes to free attractions and your only limit is time!

There are so many free attractions in London to describe them all and below is a selection. Why spend a fortune when there are so many free attractions!

Museums

British Museum

The British Museum is a fascinating museum dedicated to the history of human civilisation, arts and culture. It’s home to artefacts from the Stone Age, Bronze Age and the ancient civilisations of Greece, Egypt, Rome, Byzantine, Assyria and Babylon as well as from the Medieval and the Renaissance periods. There are also collections from East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's largest museum for decorative arts and design. The exhibits span over several periods with collections from Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. Collections include ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, metalwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs.

Victoria and Albert Museum by David Castor

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a huge museum explaining the history of our natural world. The museum comprises of five areas of collection that include botany, zoology, entomology, mineralogy and palaeontology. Exhibits in the museum’s collections include fossils, skeletons, plant and zoological specimens, minerals, gems, rocks and even animatronics.

Science Museum

The Science Museum has over 300,000 items in its collection related to the world of science. The museum comprises of several fascinating themed galleries dedicated to engineering, energy, communications, digital technology, flight, space, bioscience and the environment. Besides the exhibits, there are also hundreds of interactive exhibits and an IMAX 3D cinema.

Art Galleries

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is the largest art gallery in the world devoted to modern and contemporary art from the early 20th century to the present era. Arrangements of the galleries are according to several themes and periods in contemporary art and styles include Impressionism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Cubism, Fauvism, Vorticism and Pop Art.

Tate Britain

Tate Britain is another prominent art gallery in London and the largest gallery in the world devoted to British art including many by celebrated British artists. The gallery has over 1,000 exhibits on display at any time with paintings starting from the Tudor period in the 15th century to the present era.

Tate Britain by Nessy-Pic

National Gallery

The National Gallery is a prestigious art gallery and in the same league as the illustrious Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Louvre Museum in Paris. The art gallery is home to over 2,300 priceless collections including many masterpieces by famous European artist spanning eight centuries from the 13th century to early 20th century.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery houses portraits of prominent people in British history spanning five centuries. Not all the artworks here are exceptionally artistic (though many are) or because of the merit of the artists but the subjects have played a significant role in British history including royalties, political leaders and public officials as well as actors, musicians and fashion icons.

Parks & Gardens

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is London’s most famous park and features wide-open stretches of grassland, tree covered areas, a meadow, recreational lake, superb children’s playground and several beautiful formal gardens. The park is popular with sun loungers during the sunny months and popular activities include swimming, rowing, pedal boating, cycling and horse riding.

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens is adjacent to Hyde Park and often regarded by the public as an extension of Hyde Park. However, Kensington Garden has the appearance of a formal garden rather than a public park with its tree planted avenues, delightful flowerbeds, beautiful Italian gardens and an ornamental lake as well as a recreational lake.

Richmond Park

Richmond Park is a large park covering 955 hectares (2,360 acres) and features a pastoral landscape with its green covered hills, open grasslands, woodlands, streams and ponds. It’s home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna including foxes, rabbits, bats, squirrels, snakes, frogs, toads, birds and over 600 red and fallow deer roaming freely.

Richmond Park by Emoke Denes

Regent’s Park

Regent's Park is an oasis of greenery in the northwestern corner of Central London featuring green lawns, several beautiful gardens, a boating lake, children’s playgrounds and various sports facilities. Regent’s Canal is a scenic waterway that passes through the park’s northern section and the canal’s towpath is popular with cyclist and pedestrians.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is actually a large area of common land and scenic countryside characterised by open grasslands, undulating hills, ancient woodlands and over 25 ponds of which three are open to the public as swimming pools. Its habitat is a refuge for various species of wildlife including foxes, rabbits, squirrels, bats, birds, grass snakes and amphibians.

Markets

Borough Market

Borough Market is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London with a history that dates back centuries. The market is a maze of passageways and open spaces occupied by around 150 traders selling farm produce, meats, seafood, foodstuff, freshly baked breads and pastries, gourmet foods, confectionary and delicious cuisines from around the world.

Camden Market

Camden Market comprises of the adjacent Stables Market, Camden Lock Market, Inverness Street Market and Buck Street Market. It’s a much publicised market in London and well-known for great bargains that include a mix bag of items including fruits, vegetables, clothes, books, jewellery, accessories, souvenirs, gifts and even the bizarre!

Old Spitafields Market

Old Spitalfields Market is a huge covered market located in London’s East End comprising over 70 stalls (100 on Sundays) in an expansive hall surrounded by trendy boutiques and restaurants. There is a bewildering mix of merchandise including fashion, T-shirts, hats, leather goods, arts, crafts, antiques, jewellery, souvenirs, gift items and personal care products.

Old Spitalfields Market by Stephen McKay

Portobello Market

Portobello Market almost stretches the entire length of the one-mile (0.8 km) Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill district. The market is a treasure trove for all sought of vintage items including antiques and collectibles but can also find non-vintage items such as arts and crafts, clothes, jewellery, accessories, gifts and gourmet foods as well as fruits and vegetables.

Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market is a covered market with a neighbourhood feel and home to a wonderful mix of over 120 closely packed stalls and surrounded by small shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. The market is popular for its art and crafts but can also find antiques, vintage clothes, jewellery, gifts and fashion including clothes, leather jackets, scarves and accessories from independent labels.

Window Shopping

Oxford Street

Oxford Street is a busy shopping street and has more retail space than any other areas of London attracting not only Londoners but also tourists from around the world. The street is home to over 300 major department stores (the flagship stores of Selfridges and Debenhams are here) and designer outlets offering quality merchandises from top brands.

Regent Street

Regent Street is another major shopping street in the West End and home to many designer boutiques and high street retailers. It’s also home to some of the oldest and most prestigious retailers in London. Kids of all ages will love Hamleys flagship store at Regent Street, the largest toy store in the world occupying seven floors.

Knightsbridge

Knightsbridge is an affluent neighbourhood in West London and an exclusive shopping district with several renowned department stores, luxury stores and fashion houses located here. London’s most famous and prestigious department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols are right here in Knightsbridge offering quality merchandise by top-notch brands.

Knightsbridge by Lobster1

Bond Street

Bond Street is a major shopping street in London’s West End with a long history associated with the upper class and the wealthy. This upmarket shopping street is home to many elegant stores and fashion houses offering luxury brands that represent the cream of the crop. There’s also a high density of exclusive haute couture stores for custom-fitted clothing.

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street is a pedestrian only shopping street in London’s colourful neighbourhood of Soho and once famous for the mod and hippy fashion of the 1960s. Today Carnaby Street is home to many independent stores offering British labels from established and emerging designers, which are often much cheaper than the international brands from the exclusive stores.

Entertainment

Southbank

Walk along the River Thames in Southbank towards the iconic London Eye and you’ll find street performers especially during the summer months. Many of London’s best street performers flock to Southbank where there is high foot traffic of commuters and tourists to perform a variety of entertaining shows to marvel the crowd.

Covent Garden Piazza

Street performers have been around the open air Covent Garden Piazza (nearby Covent Garden Market) since the 17th century. The performers have to audition for a time slot to perform and therefore can expect to find great performances here. There’s a variety of interesting performances at the piazza including juggling acts, miming, clowns, magic, music and dance.

The Scoop

The Scoop is an outdoor amphitheatre situated near Tower Bridge on the south side of the River Thames. During the summer months, there’s a host of free events including film screenings, live music and theatre performances. The amphitheatre has a seating capacity for 800 and entry is on a first-come first-serve basis. Therefore, come early to secure a seat.

The Scoop by Son of Groucho

London Underground

You can find buskers performing live music at designated pitches located in 25 London Underground stations across Central London. The buskers must pass an audition approved by the London Underground and therefore can expect great performances. The pitches are so popular with performers that it has attracted big names like Bob Geldof and Ed Sheeran.

Speakers’ Corner

A visit to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park on Sunday is not exactly what you would call ‘entertainment’ but nevertheless entertaining. The spot is a bastion of free speech British style where speakers talk about politics, religion and about anything including the hilarious and absurd. The audience can argue or even heckle the speaker but there are no hard feelings!

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