Traveling to London on a shoestring budget? There are plenty of things to do for free, so don’t worry. London is well-known for being one of the most expensive places in the world, but it is also known for having a plethora of free and enjoyable activities. The following are our top five free things to do and see in London.
Trafalgar Square & National Gallery
Located on the north side of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is the most relevant art museum in London and one of the most famous worldwide. The collection of the National Gallery includes artwork of European origin, from 1250 to 1900, with over 2,300 paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Tiziano, Velázquez, Van Gogh, and Michelangelo.
Despite being significantly smaller than other renowned museums such as the Louvre, the National Gallery houses paintings of exceptional quality and aesthetic variety that span the whole history of painting in the Western world.
Kensington Gardens is one of London’s Royal Parks, and it was previously a private garden to Kensington Palace, which is now the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. From 1981 to 1997, Princess Diana lived there as well. It also houses the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan Statue, the Serpentine Gallery, the Round Pond, and the Diana Memorial Playground, all of which are open to the public and are free to visit.
The Changing of the Guard
Watch the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, a striking display of British pageantry, when the New Guard takes over from the Old Guard – don’t miss one of the most iconic free events in London.
The Queen’s Guard, which protects Buckingham Palace, is made up of troops from the Household Division’s Foot Guards who are on active service. Traditional crimson tunics and bearskin helmets are worn by the guards. From 10.30 a.m., the Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms on the palace’s forecourt, followed by the St James’s Palace Old Guard around 10.45 a.m. In a solemn ceremony accompanied by music, the New Guard arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard.
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾
As any fan of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series will know, King’s Cross is where students of Hogwarts School catch the Hogwarts Express. Harry and his buddies in the wizarding world get to the station by dashing through a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. Platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks in the real King’s Cross, but a platform 9¾ is painted on the wall of the station lobby.
You can use the trolley at any time, and you don’t have to pay to take your own photos. You can have a professional image shot with a scarf in your house colors, which you can then view and buy in the Harry Potter shop next door. Queues for the trolley can get busy during school holidays and festive periods – visit early to make sure you’re one of the first in line!
Visit Notting Hill Area
Notting Hill is a pleasant London neighborhood that has become one of the most Instagram-able spots in the city because of its stunning gardens, attractive cafes, and colorful buildings. It’s also where the movie “Notting Hill” was shot. Visit the Portobello Road Market for excellent deals on vintage clothing, antiques, books, and much more.
Every August Bank Holiday millions of people celebrate Europe’s biggest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival is themed after a Caribbean festival, and it will add a dash of color to west London. Along the Notting Hill Carnival route, a massive parade of floats and entertainers fills the streets with exquisite costumes, steel bands, marching bands, Calypso music, and a variety of delectable food.
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