London is notorious for being an expensive place to live in and travel to, and while elements of that reputation are justified, it doesn’t have to be that way – particularly for tourists who aren’t in thrall to the city’s famously steep property prices. Eating and drinking out will probably be the area where you find yourself overspending the most during your time in London, but happily there are a whole host of free activities you can engage in which won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
Chief among these are the free museums and art galleries. London is home to some of the most famous and world-leading cultural institutions in the world, including the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery to name just a few. And incredibly, general admission to all these places is completely free.Special exhibitions tend to be ticketed, but you’ll never feel the need to pay up for them, as all these places have so much on general display that you could spend days inside without getting round to it all. This is particularly true of the British Museum, which is one of the most highly renowned of its kind in the world and is home to a collection of some 8 million works documenting the entire history of human culture and art. The Natural History Museum, which arguably sits alongside the British Museum as London’s most iconic cultural institution, is equally spellbinding for adults and kids alike, and visitors will love it from the moment they set eyes on Dippy, the huge diplodocus skeleton which looms over the central hallway. Purpose built to serve as a ‘cathedral to nature’, the Natural History Museum is among the architectural gems of London, and the incredible attention to detail in the building, which has been so well preserved as to look brand new, goes right down to the tiny carved animals who scale its towering pillars. Both the British Museum and Natural History Museum are easily accessible from The Piccadilly West End, a luxurious property which is among the best west end hotels.
Alongside the world renowned cultural institutions, London is famous for its open green spaces, the number and scale of which are remarkable for a city of London’s size and urban development. The largest and most beautifully maintained are the eight Royal Parks, which, as the name suggests, are under the control of the Crown. Among these, Hyde Park is perhaps the most iconic, home to the Serpentine Gallery, Diana, Princes of Wales Memorial, and Speakers’ Corner. The Regent’s Park, meanwhile, is arguably the most beautiful of the Royal Parks, particularly in the spring when the trees come alive with blossom. For something a little different, head to the vast Richmond Park, which has been a deer park since its establishment as such in the 17th century by Charles I and is home to herds of fallow and red deer.