London is well known as one of the most expensive cities in Europe both for tourists and locals. If you aim for more budget experiences, don’t worry! There are many things you can do for free in London. This is one of the biggest advantages of city like London – its unique diversity allows you to see and do many interesting things, even when you want to save money.
The most important thing you should know about London is that almost all museums are free to visit. You can check out the most interesting museums in our two piece article “London Best Museums” Part 1 and Part 2. There are also a lot of famous monuments all along the city, which you see for free as well if you choose not to enter inside. During your stay in London you can visit number of parks, markets and essential spots, fundamental for your London experience.
#1 Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is the most famous and largest square in London. It is in the heart of the city and since the Middle Ages it has always been a place where people gather. You won’t get bored there as almost all the time festivals, concerts and other public activities take place there. Once you are at the spot you can see the popular column of Admiral Nelson. The square took its name, from Battle of Trafalgar, in which Admiral Nelson was victorious. At the four corners of the square are the “Four Plinths” – statues of kings and military leaders from England’s history.
Another beautiful part from the square’s plan are the fountains, with sculptures of mermaids, dolphins and sharks. In front of the square is placed the National Gallery – also free for visit, and beside it is the National Portrait Gallery.
By Tube: The nearest stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square Piccadilly Circus and Embankment.
By Bus- Routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 24, 87, 91, 139, and 176 stop at Trafalgar Square
#2 Abbey Road
Everybody knows about Abbey Road – the pedestrian crossing and the famous studio named after the street. Since The Beatles put the image of the street on their album cover with the same name, from 1969, this pedestrian crossing has become one of the most visited spots in the city. You can take your picture crossing the zebra, just like the famous four did. Abbey Road studio is also major point of interest because almost all great music stars from Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Duran Duran and Radiohead to Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and Lady Gaga have recorded there. You can become part of the history for free, visiting Abbey Road.
The easiest way is to take the Tube and take off at ST. John’s Wood Station and walk 500 meters t Abbey Road and take a taxi or minicab for your convenience.
#3 Changing the Guard
Changing the Guard at the Buckingham Palace can be beautiful and colourful spectacle. It is great example of British Royal traditions and practices. You can see the Guards changing places from April to July every day from 11:30. During the rest of year due to bad weather changing the Guard is not a daily practice. This royal practice takes place since 1660. You will see a ceremony where the Old Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James Palace to the New Guard. The best places to watch the spectacular ceremony are next to the railings in front of the Palace, the Steps of the Victoria Monument. The change is accompanied by music.
By Tube – Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are the closest stations
By Bus-Numbers 11, 211, C1 and C10 stop on Buckingham Palace Road
#4 Covent Garden
Covent Garden is also in the heart of London. It is a great place to relax and walk around. There are lots of bars, restaurants and markets. It is a place for shopping and culture. Covent Garden has many small areas, interesting to explore, such as The Opera Quarter, St. Martins Courtyard, Seven Dials. At the Opera Quarter, beside the Opera House you can taste affordable food, to visit the Opera Tavern or the famous jazz bar PJ’s. In the heart of Covent Garden is the Market, with special boutiques, handcrafted products and designer shops.
At the square of Covent Garden you can always see performers, playing music or acting. In case you are theatre lover, in Covent Garden you can find at least 5 theatres.
By Bus: Nearest stations- Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Holborn, Charing Cross, Temple
By Bus: Bus routes – 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 38, 55, 59, 69, 73, 77A, 91, 98, 134, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 242, 243, 341
You can book Covent Garden minicab with us as well!
#5 Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London. It is part of the eight Royal Parks. It covers 350 acres of land and it’s visited by millions of people every year. There is a lot to do in Hyde Park, starting from the memorials, fountains and statues and getting to the daily happenings and activities in the park. Some of the remarkable memorials in the park are: Diana Memorial Fountain, the Statue of Achilles, the Pan Statue and the Isis bronze sculpture. You can relax by the Serpentine Lake, huge lake covering 40 acres of the park. There you can get of the Solar shuttle, a boat powered by the sun.
Two more interesting places are the Rose garden and the Speaker’s Corner. Speaker’s Corner is historic place for public speeches and debates. Figures like Karl Marx and Lenin use to speak in public in this area. Hyde Park is also a good place to explore nature, it is unique habitat of diverse plants and animals. A lot of refreshments points, cafe and restaurant are placed all over the park. You can sit there and have tea, breakfast or a hot meal.
By Tube: The nearest stations are- Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge
Bu Bus: Nearly 30 routes stop near Hyde Park. The easiest way is to check TFL website for detailed planning.
#6 St. James’s Park
St. James’s Park is the oldest park in London. Within its borders are situated several interesting landmarks: The Mall, The Blue Bride, The Horse Guards Parade, The Tiffany Fountain and the Duck Island. The Mall is famous processional route for coronations, state opening and visits. Today the large avenue is important route for royal weddings, Changing the Guard and Trooping the Color (an annual event to celebrate the Queen’s birthday with colorful guard ceremony). The Blue Bridge is also well known viewpoint, which offers great view to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and London Eye.
The Horse Guards Parade is a ceremonial ground place, but even when in average days is visited by many. The Tiffany Fountain is worth to see, it’s surrounded by beautiful landscape and calm waters of the lake. In St. James’s Park you will be able to see swans and pelicans and15 more species of birds. And once you are at the park, don’t miss extraordinary Queen Victoria Memorial and the Statue of The Duke of York – at the north side of The Mall. There are many more memorials in the park, but some of the remarkable ones are: The Admiralty Arch and the Guard’s Memorial.
By Tube: Nearest stops -St. James’s Park, Charing Cross Station, Westminster, Green Park
By Bus: Routes number -3, 11, 12, 24, 29, 53, 77a, 88, 91, 148, 159
#7 The Regent’s Park
The Regent’s Park is probably the most interesting among the Royal Parks of London. It’s designed by John Nash and it nearly 400 acres large. Within the park you will find Queen Mary’s Gardens, William Andrews Nesfield’s Avenue Gardens. St. Regent’s Park is considered as the largest sports outdoor area in London. The park also includes The London Zoo, Primrose Hill and Open Air Theatre.
Queen Mary’s Garden is huge rose garden, planted with 12 000 roses with nearly 400 different varieties. Beside from the roses a begonia garden can be found with 9000 begonias. The Avenue Gardens are restored gardens originally designed by John Nash and re-designed by William Nesfield. In these gardens you can see stone bowls in Victorian style full of flowers.
Primrose Hill is high green grassy hill and from its top you can see views from London. The summit of the hill is one of the protected viewpoints in London. With its calm skyline its perfect place to ease you mind. On Primrose Hill stands a famous oak tree, known as The Shakespeare Tree, planted in 1964.
Londoners have made many efforts to preserve wildlife, and this can be seen in St. Regent’s Park – more than 200 species of birds, amphibians and fishes can be observed in their natural habitat in the park. Don’t miss the Zoo if you still need to get familiar with more different animals.
By Tube: Nearest Stops – ST. Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street, St John’s Wood
By Bus: The routes that goes to the park are: 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 274, 453
Southbank district cannot be described in one word! It is colourful entertainment and commercial area on the south riverside. A lot can be seen and explored in this area, some of the attractions will charge you a fee, some of them are free. The London Aquarium and The London Eye have entrance fees, but you can visit the Jubilee Gardens, see the National Theatre and Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre free of charge. Also the Poetry Library is opened for free every day for visiting.
Southbank can be fantastic place to see on foot. You can take refreshing walk from Lambeth to Blackfriars Bridge for only 30 minutes. Some on the major points of interest on your Southbank route are: The Imperial War Museum, House of Vans, Leake Street, which is also known as the “Banksy Tunnel” and see world famous graffiti masters pieces and the OXO Tower and find there restaurants, bars with top floor view and galleries.
By Tube: Nearest Stations- Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross
By Bus: 6, 77, 211, 341, 381, 507, N381, N76 and RV1 all stop on York Road and 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 521, N1, N68, N171 and N343 stop on Waterloo Bridge
#9 Borough Market
For every food lover Borough Market is the perfect place to taste and explore national and foreign cuisine. The Market is London’s oldest market and of course most popular and favorite. Borough Market is unique spot with nearly 100 stands and stalls which offer product from all over England and the world. Vegetables, fish and meat, cakes, coffees, pastries, everything tasty you think about can be found at Borough Market. You can take a bite from gourmet kitchen, hot specialties and may more free samples of tasty food.
At the New Marketplace of Borough Market living plants can bee see and bought, there are also number of workshops, food demonstration stands and tastings. As it is so popular, the Market attracts chefs and masters of cooking for demonstrations and workshops, at Borough Market you can always find something going on, even exhibitions.
By Tube: The nearest stations are London Bridge and Borough station
By Bus: again here the bus routes are too many, so you better visit TFL website
Best way to travel – in this case our best way to travel to the market is car, taxi or minicab, to avoid crowded public transport while travelling with bags, after your shopping.
#10 Camden Market
And while thinking about food and shops, you shouldn’t miss Camden. Camden Market in the quarter with the same name is well known open air market. Bright, colorful, joyful place for shopping, food and drinks. In the quarter Camden Town you can find small and cozy pubs, clubs and restaurants. When going to the market, be prepared to find almost every product you can think about.
From hand crafted souvenirs and clothes, to accessories and even furniture. There also shops for vintage clothing, antiques and indoor fashion market called Eclectic Ballroom, which opens only at Sunday. Don’t forget to visit the historic Camden Lock market, the essence of Camden concentrated at one place.
By Tube: The nearest stations – Camden Town and Chalk Farm Road.
Tube lines to Camden Market are very crowded, so you better think about taxi or minicab.
By Bus: Bus routes-214, 168, 253, 24, 29,274, 27, 88, 168