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Visiting London On A Dime
It's difficult to put London on any kind of budget travel list. Even with a recent depreciation of British currency, London still is one of the most expensive cities in the world. London inexpensive hotels and cheap restaurants are still not that cheap and inexpensive compare to its peers in Europe and the USA. Well, you can not avoid certain travel expenses such as transportation, accommodations and food. But, the good news is that London has plenty of things to do for tourists and many of them are for free or don’t cost much. Name the most popular London tourist attractions and you will realize that to see them doesn’t cost anything. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch and TowerBridge, Changing the Guard at BuckinghamPalace and Hyde Park – the list of free things to do in London is huge. Strolling streets of the center of London is the best way to explore the city. Tired to walk, take a ride on the iconic red double-decker bus - doesn’t cost much and a must thing to do when in London. Explore London’s famous neighborhoods Notting Hill and Covent Garden, walk in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, climb to the top of Parliament and Primrose Hill for breathtaking panoramic views of London – all of these activities are absolutely for free. Most of London’s museums are free and London has great number of museums worth a visit. Churches and cathedrals including the most famous Westminster Abbey are for free. Free comedy clubs and music concerts, free cinema and roller skating – when it comes to things to do in London on a budget, London can satisfy taste of any budget traveler. And of course, even if you are traveling to London on a budget, there is no reason why you shouldn't still enjoy London's pubs. Just make sure that you go there for happy hours!
Best Free Things To Do In London
Start exploring London from one of the most famous square in the world – Trafalgar Square. Home to great London attractions such as Nelson's Column and the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square is perfect place to sit back, relax, enjoy the atmosphere of the city and watch people. The National Galley, once being home for the National Collection of Art, now houses one of the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world. All the pictures belong to the public and entrance to see them is free. However, the gallery does charge an admission fee for some special exhibitions. From Trafalgar Square you can easily walk down to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben or to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British Royal family where you can admire the beautiful façade of the Palace and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is free display and probably on every traveler’s list of things to do in London.
London has a great number of parks and gardens, with the Royal Parks are most impressive ones. Hyde Park, one of the Royal Parks of London and finest historic landscape, covers 350 acres (140 hectare) and originally was designed to satisfy a royal passion for hunting. But over the years it became a place where people have pursued other pleasures. With a variety of trees and flowers, alleyways and horse riding trails, a lake and meadows, it is great place for relaxation and sport activities. Most of the beautiful features you see today in Hyde Park were created in the 18th century by a keen royal gardener, Queen Caroline. It was her, who established a new landscape fashion and made a large lake the Serpentine here, the first lake in England which was artificially created but designed to look natural. The Serpentine separates Hyde Park from Kensington Gardens, and the Serpentine Bridge forms the boundary between them. South of the Serpentine is one of the recent famous attractions of Hyde Park - the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial, an oval stone ring fountain opened on July 6, 2004. Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are fenced and more formal than Hyde Park, and were long regarded as the smarter of the two parks. Covering 275 acres (111 hectares), Kensington Gardens is planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds. It is home to Kensington Palace, beautiful Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, Peter Pan statue and the Serpentine Gallery. Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s best-loved galleries for modern and contemporary art and open for visitors for free.
London has many neighborhoods, all of them with different architectural details, characters, and spirits. Exploring London famous neighborhoods is great way to learn about history and the city. Or it could be simply very entertaining: just go to Notting Hill and try to recall scenes from the eponymous 1999 movie. Notting Hill, with a reputation as a fashionable area in London, is also home to Portobello Road Market, one of the most famous street markets in the world. The main market day for antiques is Saturday, but fruit and vegetable stalls are open throughout the week. The area is full with attractive Victorian townhouses, and on a sunny day it can be quite lovely to walk in the neighborhood, browse antique market and eat a fresh fruit or two.
For theater and music lovers, London offers free concerts, music festivals, opera recitals and comedy club performances. Covent Garden, once being a fruit and vegetable garden, now is a popular area to hang out in London. Street performers and entertainment facilities, shops, cozy cafes and restaurants, Covent Garden hotels and new real estate developments attract each year about 30 millions visitors to this area. Opera lovers are very familiar with the place, thanks to Royal Opera House. And Royal Opera House organizes a lot of free events and recitals, and in the summer The Royal Opera House's free, open-air screenings of ballet and opera are essential events in London. Also, in Covent Garden at the West Piazza you can watch street performers every afternoon. And don’t think they are just regular street performers, most of them are pretty good and gather huge crowds and all of them are licensed and have passed an audition to perform there.
What is your favorite free activity in London? Please share with us your London experience.