London for Free

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So we’ve established that London is an amazing city to visit and that this summer in London is going to be pretty epic, but the point has been raised: London is expensive. Well, yes it can be, but good news everyone! The best thing about it being a capital city is that there are plenty things to do, see and visit no matter what your budget is and many of them are free, gratis or for nothing. Plus, there are usually deals offered from major hub cities for cheap flights to London. Here are a few recommendations.

Play on your interests

It’s easy to get dazzled by the bright lights of the big city, but pause before you shell out for one of the big tourist attractions. Would you queue for hours and pay half a day’s wage to look at wax figures (Madame Tussaudes, I’m looking at you…) if you were at home? Or get wet and cold driving round on an open top bus? No, I doubt it. As with any city, choose your tourist attractions with care. Think about hunting out movie locations or places mentioned in books you love, or even trace out the monopoly board.

Free museums

For a hit of Art, try the Tate Gallery in Pimlico, Tate Modern on the South Bank or the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square. The permanent collections of all these galleries are free to enter (though you can make a donation) and will keep you busy for hours. History or literary buff? Head to the British Museum and the British Library. Or in South Kensington you could try the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum for design and fashion and the Natural History Museum for all your dinosaur, taxidermy and nature related needs.

Markets

Borough Market is my favourite London market, although Camden comes a close second. They’re a great place to soak up some atmosphere and find quirky things. Borough market (as a food market) has the double bonus of giving you the chance to sample lots of tasty treats. Yum yum.

Performances


As You Like It @ Shakespeare's Globe

Covent Garden is famous for its street performances; wander around for on any day of the week and chances are you’ll have a chance to watch people perform anything from extreme juggling to a bit of light opera. It’s also worth checking out the Globe Theatre (yes, that Globe Theatre Shakespeare fans) as there are 700 £5 standing tickets for every performance…

General tips

Eating and drinking add up quickly. Look out for Happy Hour specials and try and get your main meal in at lunch time as there are often special offers. There are also plenty of downloadable vouchers and apps. Try vouchercloud or vouchercodes, but there are loads. If where you’re staying has cooking facilities, get yourself to a supermarket – Sainsbury’s and Tesco are usually the best value.

Get yourself a copy of TimeOut London, or head to the website – it’s full of up to date events and ideas of things to do.

Got any tips or ideas? A favourite cafe, a hidden away shop, a walk you did? Share away!

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About Author

England is a very small country, and Clare's got some big ideas and even bigger plans for her twenties (aka the "Decade of Adventures"). So far she's volunteered in a South African township, got her degree, interrailed around Europe, done a triathlon, taken the Trans-Mongolian Express and lived in China... but that's just the start. Right now she's working in a chocolatier, having UK based shenanigans and planning her biggest adventure yet. Mount Everest and Australia had better watch out! Check out her blog at http://blue-dress-and-backpack.blogspot.com

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