During our English Summer School in the UK, students of our Summer Courses in Britain are taken to see some of the sights in London; like museums, markets and a cruise on the river Thames.
The following are perfect free things for students to experience as well as some of the best free things for people of all ages to enjoy in London.
1. Take in a Few Tourist Landmarks
Big Ben stands at The Houses of Parliament. If you stand in Parliament Square at noon, you can listen to Big Ben chime.
On the south bank of the River Thames you can spot the London Eye, Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.
2. Visit the Famous Squares
Trafalgar Square, in the City of Westminster in Central London, has four stone lions guarding a column with a statue of Nelson.
Piccadilly Circus is London’s version of Times Square. It is a very busy place; about 100 million people pass by every year. In the centre is the famous statue of Eros.
3. Observe Some Famous Happenings
The Changing of the Guards is a ceremony which takes place outside Buckingham Palace every day. It is a memorable display to behold.
Walk the bridge deck of The Tower Bridge over the Thames and at certain times you can watch the bridge lift open to let ships through. It is a delightful event to see.
4. Visit the many free Museums
The Science Museum is well worth a visit, with seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits. It features an Apollo 10 command module and a life-size steam train.
The Natural History Museum has Dinosaur fossils, a Blue Whale skeleton and a 3D experience diving into the Great Barrier Reef. You will be amazed in wonder for hours.
Also check out the British Museum and the Museum of London.
5. See the Art Galleries
In the National Gallery you can find classic masterpieces by Van Gogh, Monet, Da Vinci and Rembrandt. The permanent collections are always free.
Tate Modern, on the south bank of the Thames, has some paid exhibitions but the permanent collections including works by Pollock, Warhol and Picasso are free.
6. Visit a City Farm
Find a bit of the countryside in London’s city farms.
Hackney City Farm has typical farm animals that spend some time in the city and some time on a farm in Kent. You can buy eggs from the chickens and ducks as well as honey from their bees.
At Vauxhall City Farm you can see some less common farm animals such as alpacas and ferrets as well as rabbits, Shetland ponies and guinea pigs.
7. See Some Historical Places
The Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels, is part of the historic castle, located on the north bank of the Thames in Central London. It costs to enter, but is beautiful from the outside.
The London Dungeon, located along South Bank, recreates various gruesome historical events. Although you have to pay to get in, the building has a fantastic sign and interesting statues outside.
8. Get into Nature in the Parks and Gardens
There are so many beautiful parks in London, where you can enjoy a picnic, see birds and other animals, admire some flowers or take a leisurely stroll.
Hyde Park has free summer concerts, a Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens and the Diana Memorial Playground and Fountain where you can cool your feet in the water.
St. James Park is beside Buckingham Palace. It is the oldest Royal Park, famous for its daffodils and is home to ducks, woodpeckers, bats, water birds and even pelicans.
9. Take in some High Views
Sky Garden has a wonderful panoramic view of the city from atop the “Walkie Talkie” building. It is free to visit the viewing balcony and garden but you need to book in advance.
Greenwich Park, where the Royal Observatory and the Meridian Line are found, has a spectacular view of Queen’s House and Canary Wharf from the top of the hill.
10. Take an Interesting Walk
There are many free walking tours which are tip based and are a great way to get to know the city and learn some facts about London.
An interesting walk is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, a unique 10 minute tunnel crossing that takes you through a tunnel under the river Thames.
11. Wander the Markets
Explore the authentic and alternative Camden Town and take a peek at the thousands of stalls along the locks of Camden Market, selling food, fashion, music and art.
Borough Market, near south bank, is a trendy market in a beautiful glass structure, with the sights and smells of delicious cuisine and gourmet food from around the world.
12. Go Window Shopping at Iconic Stores
Harrods is an expensive store, but browsing is free and quite an experience. You can find over 300 upscale retail departments spread over 1 million square feet.
Hamleys Toy Store is located on Regent Street, and there are six floors with all kinds of toys, arts and crafts, dolls and games. It is every big, little and in-between kids paradise.
13. Take in Some Live Outdoor Music and Performances
The Scoop is located on the south side of the Thames on Queen’s Walk. This is a large outdoor amphitheatre with a 1000 person capacity where you can watch live entertainment shows including opera, movies, music and dance, all for free; though seating is limited.
14. Enjoy the Street Entertainment
Enjoy the delights of street performers including musicians and buskers, human statues and break-dancers. They perform in places like Covent Garden Plaza, Trafalgar Square or on the South Bank. There are also many street pianos to be found around London.
15. View the Street Art
There are many great examples of street art and graffiti to be found in London’s East End. You might be able to spot a world famous Banksy if you get lucky. You can also join one of the free London Street Art and Graffiti Tours.
16. See some Beautiful and Free Unique Things
There are some really amazing things to see in London, including the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs located inside the Crystal Palace Park; a collection of over 30 life-like statues.
Or check out the neon wonderland in the God’s Own Junkyard Warehouse, full of amazing neon light art; open on weekends.
17. For Harry Potter Fans
Strawberry Tours has a free Harry Potter Walking Tour that takes you to familiar places from the movies and discovers fun facts. You can also visit King’s Cross Railway Station to see Platform 9 3/4 and get a free photo with the luggage trolley halfway through the wall.
18. See Where Famous People Lived
London is full of buildings with Blue plaques that tell you information about famous historical people who lived there. Look out for more than 900 of these plaques as you explore the city.
19. Indulge in Some Touristy Photo Opportunities
Here and there you might find the iconic Red Telephone Box. There is one next to Big Ben.
Walk in the Footsteps of the Beatles and recreate the iconic Album cover of Abbey Road at the most famous pedestrian crosswalk in the world.
On Bond Street is the Churchill and Roosevelt Allies Sculpture where you can snap a picture as you sit between these two world leaders.
20. Must See Colours and Canals
Just off King’s Road in Chelsea you will find one of London’s most colourful streets where the many pretty houses are painted in various bright colours.
Near Camden Lock on the Canals of Maida Vale lies Little Venice where you can see many cute boats on London’s waterways.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
With so many free things to do and many more activities and things to see, no matter what your tastes there is something fun for everyone. And it can all be enjoyed absolutely free or with minimal costs, without breaking the bank.