A trip to London doesn’t need to break the bank. Give your credit card a rest after the holiday season with these fabulously free things to see and do in the capital—from world-famous attractions to little-known gems.
Enjoy swoon-worthy views of London’s sexy skyline from London’s highest public garden, sited on top of the Walkie Talkie building. Take a stroll around the Sky Garden’s landscaped gardens, observation decks and open-air terrace, before treating yourself to a cocktail at the City Garden Bar. Tickets are free but must be booked online in advance.
See works by art heavyweights like Picasso, Rothko, Dali and Matisse without spending a penny at London’s free national museum of modern and contemporary art. Housed within a power station, Tate Modern building is arguably as awe-inspiring as the art that it contains—even better with its new extension. The gallery’s permanent collection is free to view, but there is a charge to see temporary exhibitions.
Visit the Wellcome Collection to see a bunch of marvellously weird objects in Henry Wellcome's personal collection collected from around the world, including an ancient mummy, Napoleon's toothbrush and Darwin's walking stick. Don’t leave without visiting the museum’s handsome reading room, where you can snuggle up with a book on a comfy sofa. The gift store has an excellent collection of books.
Gods Own Junkyard
An Instagrammer’s dream, this magical venue is jam-packed with discarded neon signage, film props and disco balls. Based in Walthamstow, a 20-minute Tube ride from Oxford Circus, this neon wonderland houses the personal collection of the late artist Chris Bracey. Free to enter, Gods Own Junkyard also has a cafe bar, and plays some pretty cool music.
The world-famous museum exhibits works from prehistoric to modern times, from across the globe. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. What’s more, the museum’s magnificent Great Court is one of the capital’s most Insta-worthy spots.
Wrap up warm, slip on your comfiest shoes and explore London on foot. Take a stroll along the picture-pretty South Bank, or follow the towpath through tranquil Little Venice (near Paddington station) to discover a treasure-trove of waterfront cafes and pubs.
London is set to become the world’s first National Park City in spring 2019 thanks to its abundance of parks, woodlands, canals and rivers. Top park picks include deer-spotting in Richmond Park and watching the pelicans being fed in St James’s Park (every day at 2.30pm). For a blooming marvellous view of London, stroll to the top of Hampstead Heath’s Parliament Hill, or visit Greenwich Park.
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