London may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank on a day out. There are plenty of incredible things to do in London that won't cost you a penny, and who doesn't like to save a bit of their hard-earned cash?
Watch the Changing of the Guard
Members of the Household Division have been dutifully guarding the Monarch since 1600. Don't let the iconic bearskin hats and red tunics fool you, however; the guards are some of the British army's most elite soldiers. Watch a typical display of British pomp and pageantry every day outside Buckingham Palace at 11:00 am. We recommend arriving no later than 10:15 am to grab a great viewing spot and avoid the crowds.
The British Museum
The British Museum is the world's largest national public museum and is bursting at the seams with treasures from around the world that span two million years of human history. Inside, you'll find famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon Marbles and over 140 Egyptian mummies.
The National Gallery
Home to one of the world's most impressive art collections, browse masterpieces by renowned painters such as Botticelli, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Gainsborough, Renoit, Turner and Van Gogh - all completely free of charge.
The Houses of Parliament
Not a lot of visitors to London are aware of the fact that it's completely free to visit the Houses of Parliament. Head inside and watch democracy in action as MPs and Peers question the government and debate current issues and legislation. The public galleries are free to enter, and on most days, you can just turn up and wait for entry.
Visit a Market
London is home to a clutch of markets that are ideal shopping destinations for everything, from food to flowers, antiques to books and clothes to handmade trinkets. Foodies will love Borough Market and its multitude of artisanal food stalls, while antique hunters will get lost in the treasures of the Portobello Road Market. If you can't find what you're looking for in one of London's markets, chances are it doesn't exist. Read more about London's best markets on our blog.
The Tate Modern
Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art is home to a permanent collection that includes works by Warhol, Matisse, Picasso, Dalí and many more. The café upstairs is a great way to relax and provides fantastic views across the River Thames.
This little-known attraction is actually one of the most memorable in the city. Originally built to commemorate the sacrifices made by the people of London during the Great Fire, this 200-metre tower is easy to miss amongst the monolithic office blocks that surround it. Get to the top, though, and you’ll have one of the best views in the city.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the 'V&A', as it is more commonly known, is home to the world's largest collection of applied art and sculpture. Its impressive collection contains over 4.5 million objects spanning 5,000 years of art history, from ancient times through to the present day.
An oasis of calm amidst the hustle and bustle of the capital, taking a walk along Regent's Canal is like stepping into a hidden world. A quiet and atmospheric waterway, along the way you'll pass colourful collections of residential narrowboats moored along the side of the canal, Victorian warehouses, the London Zoo and famous celebrity hangouts. Start your walk in Little Venice and finish at Camden Lock for a mosey around the eclectic market stalls and riverside bars in one of London's most vibrant areas.
Located at the top of a skyscraper in Central London, the Sky Garden is London's highest public garden. Wander around three storeys of exquisitely landscaped gardens and enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree views across the city from one of the many observations decks and an open-air terrace. Although it's free to visit, it does get busy so book online in advance to avoid disappointment.
Natural History Museum
One of London's most beautiful buildings, it's worth a trip to this incredible Victorian museum if only to admire the Romanesque architecture. This cathedral to science houses a massive collection that contains 70 million botanical items, 55 million animal exhibits, 9 million archaeological relics, hundreds of thousands of rocks and minerals and a 25-metre long whale skeleton that weighs 3 tonnes.
'The Heath', as it is referred to by Londoners, is an enormous, ancient parkland and one of London's best-loved green spaces. Enjoy incredible views of the city vista from atop its many viewing points, cool off in the swimming ponds or take a stroll through the wide expanses of ancient woodland. The historic 16th-century Spaniards Inn, a favourite of esteemed poets Byron and Keats, is a great spot to enjoy a pint and traditional pub grub.
For one of the best views in London, head to the top of the hill at the centre of Greenwich Park. Enjoy sweeping panoramic views across the city, where you'll be able to see the River Thames snaking through the city and towering skyscrapers of Canary Wharf looming ominously in the distance. This stunning location is also the perfect spot for a picnic on a summer's day.
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