London Hotels Articles

March 23, 2010

London Travel – Free Things To Do In London

London is my favorite city on this planet. I first went there after graduating high school and for the past 20 years I try and visit at least every couple of years. Unfortunately, the exchange rate between the US dollar and the British pound has made visiting nowadays quite a bit more expensive than it used to be, but there are still plenty of free things to do in London. Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

London Museum Hopping

Most of the big museums in London are free to visit. So on each of my trips to London, I usually visit a couple and spend a few hours wandering the galleries and exhibits. Some of my favorites are the National Portrait Gallery just on the edge of Trafalgar Square; the Victoria & Albert (V&A) in South Kensington; and the Tate Modern on Bankside near the London Bridge.

Window Shopping and the Street Markets

There are so many cool shops in London, that I like to stay away from the chain stores. It’s more fun to putter around shops that aren’t just like the ones back home. My favorite location for window shopping is Covent Garden and the streets that run off of it. I usually duck into Neal’s Yard on Neal St, just a few blocks from Covent Garden, to treat myslf to some nice cheese at the Neals Yard Dairy. Sorry, the cheese isn’t free!

Other favorite puttering spots are Kings Road (starting near Sloane Square), and Carnaby Street. Some of the side streets in Soho also have some interesting shops and if you like books, Charing Cross Road and the streets that run off of it are fun to wander around.

Also, be sure to check out some of London’s most popular street markets. My favorite is the one at Portobello Road in Notting Hill for lots of cool second hand goods and flea market finds. There’s a market here six days a week! Sunday is the only day there is no market.

If it’s Sunday though, you can always head over to Camden Market. That’s the best day to go there anyway. As you exit Camden Tube station, just head north, but you won’t have any problem with getting lost because the place will be mobbed with people.

People Watching

No matter what time of year you visit, London is always bustling with people. There are some great locations in the city to just spend a couple of hours soaking in the flavor of the place. Piccadilly Square and Trafalgar Square are the more obvious spots, but I also like Covent Garden because it tends to be a bit quieter and they usually have street performers too.

If you find yourself wandering around on a Sunday and you aren’t in the mood for Camden Market, why not head over to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park and see who’s decided to give a speech. Watching the audience that gathers is as fun as watching some of the more entertaining speakers.

Hopefully, I’ve helped you out with a few ideas of some of the different free things you can do in London. The city is such a vibrant and ever-changing place to be that I find just wandering in whichever direction I feel like turning leads to some exciting new place to be discovered. All you really need is a comfortable pair of shoes and maybe a pass for the Underground.

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