London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

London is one of the most expensive cities to live and work in, so the thought of a day out in the city can be depressingly pricey. Add to that a family scenario where you’re doubling up on ticket prices and a swift re-think of a lovely day out in the capital will undoubtedly cross your mind.

Well it needn’t be the case! There are plenty of attractions on offer in this beautiful city where deep pockets are not a pre-requisite. Whilst reading my top 10 free things to do in London, remember the wise words of Samuel Johnson

“Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’

1. Holland Park

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Considered one of the most romantic and peaceful parks in Central London (until the peacocks start squawking). Yes! They have peacocks roaming around. These majestic birds are so used to crowds cooing over them that they’ll even greedily eat nuts from your hand. Or in my case, strut over sniff your hand and strut away. The park contains a famous orangery, a tranquil Japanese garden and a well equipped children’s playground.

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

This is but one Royal Park I have named, you have so many to choose from, Hyde Park, Green Park, St James Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, Victoria Park, Kensington Gardens and Hampstead Heath. I bet you didn’t realise how super green London really is. Enjoy nature with a picnic, stroll or just relax and soak up the atmosphere.

2. Tate Modern

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

If you’re a follower of my social media you’ll no doubt know that I’m extremely fond of the Tate Modern. I love mooching around the exhibits and I’m slowly teaching my mini-mes the wonderful art of mooching around a gallery too. Housed in the shell of the Bankside Power Station and designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who incidentally also gave us the red phone box. This humongous building is home to the Turbine Hall, a space filled with a giant sculpture every six months by a different artist. The rest of the rooms show contemporary art from 1900 onwards.

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Since the opening of the new wing The Switch house, there is even more to see and do. The views from the top floor are absolutely incredible. You can read my review here.

Again this is merely one of the amazing galleries on offer, other favourites of mine include The National Portrait Gallery, The Saatchi Gallery and The Tate Britain.

3. Columbia Flower Market

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Every Sunday Columbia Road transforms into a bustling collection of vibrant colours, bartering banter and floral smells. Open from 8am – 3pm, you can find an array of flowers, plants, shrubs and bulbs. There are plenty of coffee shops, vintage clothing and antique shops nearby to keep your wandering feet, eyes and tummies busy. If you get there towards the end of the day there are plenty of bargains to be had too with bunches being flogged for a fiver or less.

Even if you’re not the green-fingered type there’ll be a street market with your name on it – Borough Market for the foodies, Spitalfields Market for the fashionistas and Portobello Market for a little bit of everything.

4. Classical Music

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

A Creative Commons Image: St Martins-in-the-Fields © Mike Peel

Treat your ears at lunchtime to a free classical concert at St Martins-in-the-Fields. Enjoy a blissful hour enjoying some beautiful music. You can have anything from solo pianists to string quartets and often it includes a vocalist or choral group.

5. Geffrye Museum

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Yes a museum is an obvious suggestion, but this particular one takes you off the usual beaten museum track.  You have all your usual suspects like the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the British Museum. All amazing and they offer some superb free children trails and activities. However, I loved the Geffrye Museum, a museum of the home. Where you can explore the changes in home life from the 1600 to present day by wandering around living rooms. An interior geek’s paradise. Get the lowdown in my review here.

6. Southbank 

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

A walk along the Southbank by the River Thames is an amazing place to take in many of the iconic London sights – St Paul’s, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Oxo Tower and the Tate Modern. There’s even a beach! Twice a day as the tide on the Thames recedes an urban beach is revealed. Granted we’re not talking white sands from the Seychelles, but you can’t scoff at sand between your toes on a warm summer’s day. During the warmer months you can also treat the kids to the man made beach they usually set up opposite the Southbank Centre. Spoilt for choice hey!

7. Amazing views from the Sky Garden

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Unlike other sky-high views in the capital, it’s free to venture up 155m up to the Sky Garden. Meandering around the huge airport hanger like space complete with luscious greenery is very impressive. There is a bar too – The Sky Pod if you fancy enjoying the spectacular view with a tipple. If you’re hungry you have two restaurants: the Darwin brasserie and fine dining at Fenchurch. You can read my review of the latter here.

8. The Globe Theatre

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Go and see the replica of the theatre home to Shakespeare’s plays. The thatched roof alone is made of 6,000 bundles of reeds from Norfolk. They do charge for a tour, but it’s still work a look from the outside. You can pick up tickets for a performance for as little as £5 – Bargain! Read about my 7 reasons to visit here.

9. British Film Institute’s Mediatheque

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Credit: BFI Mediatheque

Explore Britain’s film heritage all for free! The BFI houses more than 2,500 highlights from old TV favourites, feature films, documentaries to rare home footage. An incredible insight into British film and TV history. The Mediatheque at Southbank also offers free films for the family. It is advisable to book in advance, especially on weekends.

10.  Ceremony of the Keys

London for free: 10 money-saving experiences

Credit: Historic Royal Palaces

You have to plan your visit well in advance to witness this 700 year old ceremony – It’s very, very popular. My girls won’t be seeing it until mid 2018! Tickets are issued free of charge and can only be booked online at the Tower of London website. Just imagine how cool would it be to watch the traditional nightly lock-up of the Tower of London which happens at 9.30pm precisely each and every night?! History playing out right in front of your eyes. Every history geeks dream.

 

Have you recently enjoyed any free London delights? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments box below

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London For Free

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22 Comments

  1. 3rd April 2017 / 10:36 am

    I would mooch around the Tate Modern too! I love such exhibitions. I wish I could explore the free movies – I love all things English but I am in Africa haha

  2. 3rd April 2017 / 12:20 pm

    Holland Park has been on my to do list for ages, I’ve actually just booked to go to the Sky Garden so I’m pretty excited for that x

  3. 3rd April 2017 / 1:06 pm

    I love the sound of the Ceremony of the Keys but it’s on so late, think we will be waiting a few more years to do that!

  4. 3rd April 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I have never been to London, but I’m sure we’ll pay a visit one day. Will have to keep this in mind for when that day comes.

  5. 4th April 2017 / 8:52 am

    It is quite incredible how much there is to see and do in London which costs nothing x

  6. 4th April 2017 / 12:53 pm

    These are awesome places to visit, thank you for sharing these tips.

  7. 4th April 2017 / 10:22 pm

    I’ve been to London once! I need to go back, these are great tips for cheap thing’s to do! xo

  8. Emma
    5th April 2017 / 7:15 pm

    London is such an expensive city to live in so anything I can do for free sounds great. I’ve never been to Holland Park so that will have to go on my list – I love the Southbank though – such a a buzzy place

  9. 5th May 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Some great suggestions! I must admit I’ve not heard of the Geffrye Museum before! The Sky Garden is on my list and I’ve still not explored Holland Park before. I love how great it is in London. #culturedkids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      7th May 2017 / 9:33 pm

      Thanks lovely. Glad I’ve helped to add a few more places to your London wanderlust list x

  10. 6th May 2017 / 7:25 am

    Right I’m off to the Sky Garden ! Great tips thank you.

  11. 7th May 2017 / 7:56 am

    Great post, lots of lovely stuff to see! I lived in and worked in London for years and then moved abroad for seven, so the only thing I haven’t done on this list is the Sky Garden, but now we are back I aim to get there! 😀

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      7th May 2017 / 9:31 pm

      So worth a visit and the food and drink spots are great.

  12. 7th May 2017 / 12:10 pm

    All lovely suggestions – the Southbank is one of my favourite places in the world – but the best is the Ceremony of the Keys! You will love it. It’s fantastic…..And a real bargain! #culturedkids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      7th May 2017 / 9:31 pm

      Me too Sarah. Got a long time to wait before we see the Ceremony of the Keys.

  13. 8th May 2017 / 9:38 am

    Aren’t we lucky?? Gorgeous post – your pictures are so evocative. And really helpful, too. You’ve reminded me that I need to get our names down for the Ceremony of the Keys! And I hadn’t realised the Sky Garden was free. Guess what’s going down on our list for half-term…..Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      8th May 2017 / 1:10 pm

      We are indeed! Many people don’t realise it free to go up to the sky garden. You must it’s such a great space.

  14. 9th May 2017 / 3:54 am

    This is a great list. I’m saving this for when I finally start planning our trip to London. #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      9th May 2017 / 9:34 am

      Expensive as London can be, it’s amazing how many free things you can actually do. Glad it’s going to help towards your planning.

  15. 9th May 2017 / 12:19 pm

    I’m so jealous of anyone who lives in London! there is so much to do! We had an amazing time down there at Easter and did Tower of London but hadn’t heard of the changing of the keys-must be popular! We are planning to come back next easter and will remember some of these cool things! #CulturedKids

  16. 21st May 2017 / 1:46 pm

    These are really great budget-friendly tips! So many fun things to do with a kid in London — on a budget!

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