Free London

Visitors worry that sightseeing in London is expensive. It is an expensive city but there's much to do for free from museums, galleries and free music to very interesting walking tours. Many of London's Museums and Galleries are free too! 

The cheapest way and the most interesting way is to see London is on foot. From Big Ben to the Tower, most of London's major tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Go and visit London for free:

Changing the Guard : For a display of sheer pomp and ceremony see the Changing the Guard ceremonial outside Buckingham Palace. This is where one member of the Queen's Guards exchanges duty with the old guard. Both guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, and the ceremony is set to music.  To catch the ultimate royal experience, stand outside Buckingham Palace at 10.45 and again at 11.40 to watch the mounted Guards ride out of the palace and down The Mall.

It takes place on alternate days at this time of year.  View the Royal Website for more details.

The Ceremony of the Keys

Few people know of the ancient ceremony that has been performed at the Tower of London every evening for the last 700 years. At precisely 21.53 the Chief Yeoman Warder, carrying a candle and wearing a long red tunic and Tudor bonnet, locks up the main gate and delivers the keys to the Resident Governor of the Tower. You can watch this ancient ceremony with a small group of people and feel privileged to have gained access to this beautiful piece of history without the crowds. Tickets are free, but need to be booked up to two months in advance by written application.


The Old Bailey

If you fancy seeing how others live on the edge, then why not view a trial in session at the Old Bailey. The Old Bailey is probably the most famous criminal court in the world, hearing cases from all over England and Wales. The original Old Bailey courthouse dates back to 1539. Famous trials held there include such notables as Oscar Wilde, Dr. Crippen, William Joyce “Lord Haw Haw”, the Kray Twins and the “Yorkshire Ripper”.  Public galleries open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 13.00 and 14.00 to 17.00. Be aware that you may have to queue to gain entry, as the Old Bailey has become a popular tourist attraction.

Free Galleries

Ben Uri Gallery : After just a few short years the Ben Uri Gallery & Museum has become the most written about and representative institution of the British Jewish community.

The College Art Collections: The collection includes Old Master prints and drawings and the best of the collections of the famous Slade School of Art. Exhibits drawn from over 7,000 prints, 600 paintings and drawings and 150 works of sculpture. A new exhibition is featured each time.

Crafts Council: The Crafts Council houses a range of craft work from all over the country. Visitors will have the opportunity to see a variety of work on textiles, furniture, wood, jewellery, ceramics etc.

Hogarth House: The only remaining building actually associated with William Hogarth (1697-1764), the "Father of British Painting" and satirical humorist. Houses an exhibition on the many aspects of his life and work. Attractive gardens feature a rare mulberry tree.

Kenwood House: Stunning neo-classical villa on the edge of Hampstead Heath build by Robert Adam. There is a permanent exhibition of an outstanding collection of paintings including one of Rembrandt's self-portraits, Botticelli, Vermeer, Frans Hals etc and a collection of other art objects.

National Gallery: The crowning glory of the Trafalgar Square piazza, the National Gallery is a vast space filled to the rafters with Western European paintings. Expect to find works by masters such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Cézanne, Constable, Caravaggio, Canaletto, Titian and Stubbs.

National Portrait Gallery: The National Portrait Gallery started life in 1856. It is home to a vast collection of portraits of British men and women. Subjects include great writers such as William Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling, as well as Kings and Queens and icons of our time. It also has a photographic collection, and boasts one of the best roof-top restaurants in London.

Royal Academy of Arts: Located off Piccadilly, walk through the gates to the Annenberg Courtyard, where outdoor exhibitions are often held, and into the grand Royal Academy of Arts. It is home to an ever-changing programme of exciting, blockbuster exhibitions.

Royal Academy of Music, York Gate Collections: The York Gate building, designed by John Nash in 1822 as part of the main entrance to Regent’s Park, hosts the Academy’s ‘living museum’, open to the public free of charge seven days a week. Visitors are encouraged to view the galleries, watch the instrument custodian's team in the on-site workshop and attend the many concerts and research events taking place.

Tate Modern: London's great cathedral to international modern art was formerly a power station. Inside Tate Modern you'll find temporary exhibitions by top artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Frida Kahlo, Martin Kippenberger, Mark Rothko and Kandinsky. And thanks to its riverside setting, the gallery's restaurants offer fabulous views across the Thames.

Free Museums

Bank of England Museum : The charming Bank of England Museum traces the history of the bank from its foundation by Royal Charter in 1694 to its role today as the country's central bank. There are gold bars, coins and banknotes, as well as many items you might not expect to find.

British Museum: Founded in 1753 by an Act of Parliament, the British Museum is one of the great museums of the world, showing the works of man from prehistoric to modern times with collections drawn from the whole world.

Grant Museum of Zoology: A fantastical basement bone-yard can be discovered at the Grant Museum of Zoology, with about 20,000 items on display from the skeleton of a Rhino to DoDo bones.

Imperial War Museum: The Imperial War Museum is unique in its coverage of conflicts, especially those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present day. It is proud to be regarded as one of the essential sights of London.

Kenwood House: Perched on the edge of rolling Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House has stunning white stucco façades. Inside you'll find a collection of exquisite paintings by Rembrant, Vermeer, Turner, Reynolds and Gainsborough.

Museum of Fulham Palace: Visit London's Best Kept Secret. The Museum tells the story of this nationally important site. Displays include archaeology, social history and garden history. Art Cart with activities for children Ring for details of current events.

National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory: The largest maritime museum in the world displays the history of Britain at sea. A huge collection - including unrivalled material on Nelson and Cook. Includes the 17th-century Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

Natural History Museum: Visit the UK's national museum of nature and a centre of scientific excellence. The Natural History Museum maintains and develops the collections and uses them to promote discovery, understanding, responsible use and enjoyment of the natural world.

Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: The Petrie Museum is one of the largest and most inspiring collections of Egyptian archaeology anywhere in the world, illustrating life in the Nile Valley from prehistory, through Pharaonic to Roman and Islamic times. The Collection also includes the world's earliest surviving dress (around 2,800BC), decorative art from Akhenaten's famous city at Amarna and one of the largest collections of life of Roman mummy.

Science Museum: The collections form an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical change since the eighteenth century. Vigorous collecting keeps them up-to-date, and the Science Museum constantly strives to improve not only their condition and accessibility but also our understanding of their significance.

Free Outdoor Activities

Bushy Park: Bushy Park is London's second largest Royal Park with 320 red and fallow deer which roam free to enjoy the peace and tranquillity. Areas of interest include the sixty-acre woodland gardens, the site of the American camp based in Bushy during WWII and Chestnut Avenue.

Friday Night Skates: Pull on your roller skates and join over 5,000 skaters whizzing around the streets of London. The skate departs from Wellington Arch every Friday at 20.00. It's a great way to have fun without the wheels coming off your bank balance!

Gillespie Park:
Daily 08.00am to dusk on weekdays and 10.00 to 16.00 at weekends. A small ecology park supporting a remarkable diversity of habitats and species - the original park consists of a mosaic of created habitats, including a pond, woodland and grassland. Gillespie Park has a state-of-the-art visitor and education centre (a renowned example of sustainable architecture).

Green Park: Open daily from dawn to dusk. A Royal hunting ground in origin, Green Park is more rural in design than St James's with mature trees and grassland. It is an important link between St James's Park and Hyde Park.

Hyde Park: The most central open space in London and very close to Oxford Street, take a stroll as the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of your day in town. Hyde Park is a place where people go and picnic in summer, horse ride, rollerblade or just walk.

Kensington Gardens:
Open 06.00 to dusk every day. Kensington Gardens is adjacent to Hyde Park. Visitors can admire the sunken garden, stop for a drink at the Orangery and appreciate the paintings at the Serpentine Gallery. See the Princess Diana water sculpture.

Regent’s Park: The Regent’s Park and the Queen Mary's garden are open daily from 05.00 to 30mins before dusk. An excellent park with children’s play areas, gardens, sports facilities and an open air theatre (fees payable).

Richmond Park: Open daily from 07.30 to dusk. Richmond Park used to be a royal hunting ground. It is a home to much wildlife including red and fallow deer. Other attractions include the Isabella Plantation, Pembroke Lodge which was the childhood home of Bertrand Russell and now it is a café and the Palladian Villa.

St James's Park: Open daily from dawn to dusk. St. James's Park is at the heart of the nation with Royal Palaces and government buildings all around.  The Park was entirely redesigned in its current romantic, informal style in the 19th Century. Some guided walks available.

Victoria Park: A wonderful place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With 218 acres of beautiful parkland Victoria Park is one of the greatest assets of the East End. It has two lakes, ornamental gardens and an animal enclosure.

Other Walks

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