London seems to be really expensive city. Well, that’s half true. Of course, you need to pay for accommodation unless you’re couchsurfing, for food, public transport and so on, and so on. But you can save money on sightseeing! Here I provide all the most interesting places you can visit without spending a single penny. Enjoy!
I made this guide for all of you who are going to London for 2-3 days. It’s short but it’s not impossible to visit the capital of England in so little time! Just prepare your itinerary earlier and don’t waste time for getting lost or walk around same places and monuments. Use all the 3 parts as an inspiration!
PS. I’ll give you a tip about planning your sightseeing: don’t overload your programm. If you want to start your tour at 10 am and finish at 6 pm – plan only 6 hours. If you want to start at 9 am and finish at 8 pm plan only 8 hours. And so on, and so on. It’s a good idea to have slack time ‘just in case’.
LONDON GUIDE PART 2 – FREE ATTRACTIONS
First, look at the map below. All the green points are those museums, galleries and other attractions that don’t charge you for visiting.
The red lines are prepositions of walking tours. I wrote about them in London in 48 hours.
I’ve divided all the attractions into smaller groups. Each group goes along with parts of walking tour. Just choose those, that are the most interesting for you.
The best ease – in my humble opinion – is the duration of visiting provided next to every highlight. Use it to count how much time you’ll need for one day!
Group I: St. Paul’s Cathedral – the Tower of London
It’s a good place to start with. The exhibitions documents the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. It’s just few minutes walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Opening time: daily 10am – 6pm
Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
2. Tate Modern
It’s a must-see for modern art lovers. The museum holds the collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.
Opening time: daily 10am-6pm / Fridays and Saturdays 10am-10pm
Duration of visit: about 2 hrs or you can join a free guided tours (about 45 minutes). Each tour focuses on different exposition. Here you can find the details.
Food, food, food! Fresh and healthy. If you meet Jamie Oliver say hi from me. (Yes, I love him!) Borough Market is worth visiting even if you’re not going for shopping (prices are quite high…), but it’s the oldest British food market – it existed already in the Middle Ages!
Opening time: Lunch on Monday 10am-5pm / Full Market Tue-Thur 10am-5pm; Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 8am-5pm; Sunday closed
Duration of visit: 20min – 1hr
Group II: the Parliament Houses – Hyde Park
One of the best galleries in the world. It holds 2300 paintings, including Caravaggio, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Velazquez, van Gogh and many others amazing artists. It’s a must-see, no doubts.
Opening time: daily 10am-6pm (Fridays until 9pm)
Duration of visit: 2hrs or you can join a guided tour that lasts 1 hours (more info here)
5. Royal Parks of London
On your way to Buckingham Palace you’ll find 2 of Royal Parks in London: St. James’s Park and Green Park. They’re perfect for a picnic lunch! Another one in Hyde Park with Kensington Gardens. Today there are 8 parks in London that are described as Royal Parks (Regent’s Park is not so far from the centre but Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond Park are outside the City).
The most known is – I guess – Hyde Park with its Speaker’s Corner and Marble Arch (just near the Oxford Street).
Opening time: daily
Duration of visit: as much as you wish!
Well, it’s not a museum or gallery but a posh shopping mall very popular among tourists due to the Egyptian Escalator and memorials commited to Lady Di and Dodi Al-Fayed. If you’re going to visit it, remember about dress code (no shorts, flip flops, unkempt clothing etc.)
V&A was founded in 1852 to collect objects from all the British Empire, which in 19th century covered the fourth part of the world and that’s why it was called the empire on which the sun never sets. Today the exhibition contains about 4.5 million items and works of art from Europe, Asia, North America and North Africa.
Opening time: daily 10am-5:45pm (Fridays until 10pm)
Duration of visit: about 2hrs if you choose only galleries (from 145…) that are the most interesting for you
The NHM is just next to the V&A. It’s one of the most exciting museum I’ve ever been to. You know, I’m a kind of National Geographic lover… but if you’re too, don’t even hesitate about visiting NHM! It’s so fun! And the exhibition is huge! It contains over 80 million items divided into 5 main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. Oooooooh, I could spend there whole day!
Opening time: daily 10am-5:45pm (last entrance at 5:30pm)
Duration of visit: 2… 3… 4 hours? 😀
It’s just behind the NHM and this is the place where my physics lesson should take place. It houses exhibitions of science and technique, which are displayed in orded that shows the development of technology. There is a lot of fun here for children and adults as there are many interactive objects here.
Opening time: daily 10am-6pm
Duration of visit: about 2-3 hours; here you can plan your visit and when you add particular exhibition, you’ll see on the right the time you need for visiting
Group III: the Oxford Street
If you are interested in photography, you should visit this gallery. It holds colourful and B&W pictures, abstract and reportages.
Opening time: Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm / Thu 9.30am-8pm / Sat 10am-6pm / Sun 11.30am-6pm
Duration of visit: about 1-2 hrs
Well, I think I don’t need to introduce it to you, do I? It’s a museum-legend, established more than 250 years ago, one of the biggest museums in the world. It’s dedicated to human history and culture and holds about 8 millions items from all the continents. It’s a really, really must-see. Being in London and not visiting the British Museum it’s just a shame! If you are not a sightseeing type, just focus on the most important items here like Rosetta Stone.
Opening time: daily 10am-5.30pm (Fridays until 8.30pm)
Duration of visit: at least 2 hours
If you asked me to choose 2-3 museums to visit during 48 hours in London, I would pick up the British Museum, the National History Museum and the National Gallery. But I would also add the Museum of London, just to learn more about this amazing city. However, that’s just me. 😉
Which place provided above would you like to see during your stay in London? Or maybe you’ve been there already and you would recommend some other free attractions? Share your opinion with us in the comment below!