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10 Free London Attractions

Updated on February 2, 2015

Welcome to London

Before we start....an important Map

All reachable by tube, bus or by foot, these iconic London landmarks are must- see destinations that should be included on your list of attractions to assist your wonderful adventures in London. They are all in a centrally located areas and the majority of tourists travel to them by tube, which also known as London underground. A handy London travel card or Oyster card that can be purchased at your closest tube or train station is what you'll need if your lodging is a little further away from the sites than you had originally planned,but remember to start sightseeing past 9.30am if you decide on purchasing a Travel card, as you will then be able to purchase a ticket at a discounted price. Once bought, it can be used on all London transport throughout the entire day - from buses to London underground trains, to DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and the ticket will help navigate the city with ease.

Big Ben

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Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Let's begin our journey at the most iconic of attractions - Big Ben! Reachable by tube, the nearest stop is St.James Park on the circle and district line.The name 'Big Ben' is actually a nickname for the bell that lives in the 16 story clock tower, and it's correct name is the Elizabeth Tower. Apparently it holds the second largest four face chiming clock face in the world and is probably the most famous of all the London landmarks that we will visit during our brief travels through this great city. The palace of Westminster/ Houses of Parliament sit right next to the tower and they all live right on the River Thames in Central London. The tower was built in 1858/9 and the Westminster Bells play every quarter hour. While you're there, make sure to include an image of an infamous red double decker bus driving by to forever capture a true London experience in one picture.

The Palace

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Buckingham Palace

Also reachable from St. James Park station or Green Park, Buckingham Palace is the next amazing destination on our list of attractions. A picturesque walk through St. James Park itself will eventually lead to the Queen's infamous home and make sure to check which flag is flying on the day of your visit! If she's in residence, then the Royal Standard Flag will be displayed, however if you see the British flag (the Union Jack) then sadly you just missed her! Make sure to time your visit so you can catch the changing of the guards. It takes place daily at 11.30am from April until the end of July on alternate days and usually last 45 minutes. If you visit during the Summer months, the inside of the palace can be viewed, however as it's not free we will move on with our journey!

Changing of the Guard

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A View from the Top

London Eye

The London Eye is a very recent addition to the London landscape. The closet tube station is Waterloo, however there are other stations that can get you there including Westminster and Charing Cross. The giant ferris wheel was only built in 1999 and opened on 9 March 2000 to visitors, however be warned as a trip to the top is not free! But here's nothing to stop you from viewing it's marvelous design without paying a penny.

Lovely London

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The Canal

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Camden Lock

Easily reached by arriving at Camden Town station, Camden lock and market is a one-of-a-kind inclusion on this list of attractions. There are various creative store fronts, night clubs and buildings on Camden road and you must make the interesting journey to the markets that intricately line themselves on either side of the canal. Everything from t-shirts to incense and handcrafted items can be found here, and the list of international foods that can be enjoyed is endless.

Nelson's Column

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Trafalger Square

Trafalger Square sits in front of the National Gallery in London. The famous Nelson's column that attracts most of the pigeons in the city sits in the center of the square with various other statues of lions and lords surrounding it. Built between 1840 and 1843, its use In modern history has made it into a popular home for sporting events and even mass political demonstrations.The nearest tube station to Trafalger Square is Charing Cross.

The Gateway

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Chinatown

In every major city in the world, Chinatown can be found, and in London that is no exception. With the nearest tube station being Leicester Square, a new Chinatown that was originally located in the East End of London, found another home around the corner from Leicester Square on Gerrard Street thanks to influx of immigrants from Hong Kong. A Chinese supermarket, gates and even a pagoda can be found amongst the various restaurants that line this street, and every Chinese New Year, it comes alive with the sights and sounds of a very old culture celebrating it's longstanding traditions on the streets of London.

Ancient Times

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The British Museum

The British Museum is the next stop on our journey. Nestled in between four different tube stops - Tottenham Court Rd, Goodge Street, Russell Square and Holborn, it is easily located. Founded in 1753 it was the first public museum in the world. Even today admission is free, and the extent of it's exhibits is endless! You can view everything from Roman artifacts to Greek temples and the museum covers an extensive history of many other world cultures also.

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Platform 9 3/4 and Kings Cross Station

The list would be incomplete without a visit to the most famous train station in all of London! Kings Cross & St. Pancras tube station, and a quick trip up an escalator, will bring you to one of the busiest train stations in the city and home to a globally known platform. The top level of the main station provides access to Platform 9 3/4, where Harry Potter began his journey to Hogwarts countless times over his many school years in JK Rowlings very famous collection of books. So take a picture and savor the magical memories made at this unforgettable spot.

Maritime Moments

Cutty Sark

I have many fond childhood memories of visiting the famous ship the Cutty Sark. Launched in 1869, this clipper ship was used to import tea from China and Wool from as far as Australia. She eventually became a cadet training ship, however was eventually transferred to a permanent dry dock in Greenwich by 1954. Sadly the weather began to damage the ship and she was then restored in 2012 and relaunched after some improvements. A new glass cover now protects most of the ship, and a museum opened beneath it now covering it's bowel. However you can still view the top of the shop and some of the inside through the glass. London Bridge station is the closest tube stop, yet you have to then transfer to Docklands Light Railway/ DLR (a journey covered by your Oyster or travel card) and stopping at Bank or Tower Gateway stations on the DLR line.

Modern Time

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World Clock & Royal Observatory

The final stop of our whirlwind journey through London brings us to the place where modern time began - the Royal Observatory and the home of Prime Meridian of the world, GMT - Greenwich Mean Time. This should be an attraction that is visited on the same day as the Cutty sark as both destinations are very close to each other and can be reached via Docklands Light Railway/ DLR and stopping at Bank or Tower Gateway stations. The National Maritime Museum - for those interested in all things nautical is on the walkable journey to the Royal Observatory, and admission is free. The Royal Observatory is also free, however to view the clock that lives in the Meridian courtyard is not and an admittance fee is charged.

The Lowdown

Where to Go?
Closest Tube Station
How long to Explore?
Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
St. James Park
30 Minutes
Buckingham Palace
St. James Park
45 Mins - hours
London Eye
Waterloo
5 Mins to 1.5 Hours
Camden Lock
Camden Town
1 - 2 Hours
Trafalger Square
Trafalger Square
30 Minutes
Chinatown
Leicester Square
30 Minutes
The British Museum
Tottenham Court Road
2 - 4 Hours
Kings Cross & Platform 9 3/4
Kings Cross & St. Pancras
30 Minutes
GMT & Royal Observatory
London Bridge then DLR
1 - 3 Hours
The Cutty Sark
London Bridge then DLR
10 Minutes to 1 Hour

The Is Where We Part

Thank you for joining me on this wonderful adventure through the city I still call home. Don't forget to take plenty of pictures and create many memories of the city known as The Smoke.

Cheers!

The End of the World

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Video by LondonDrum

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