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FREE London ATTRACTIONS

FREE THINGS TO DO IN London

Top London Attractions Free

Best Free Things To Do in London - 2018

1. Houses of Parliament (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

The Houses of Parliament consist of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which meet in the Palace of Westminster. The building you see today was built between 1840 and 1870, after a fire destroyed the Old Palace in 1834. There are many options for visiting the Palace and seeing decisions being made that affect the UK and wider world.

To see debates for free, you can turn up on the day and queue outside St Stephen’s entrance, but be prepared to possibly wait for a couple of hours. The Public Gallery at the House of Lords generally has a shorter waiting time.

You can also go to see exhibitions for free in Westminster Hall - the oldest surviving part of the original Palace, built in 1097. This means you won’t have to wait in the queue for debates. This is a great option that will add an educational element to your visit.


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2. British Museum (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

It’s hard to know where to start with the British Museum. With 8,000,000 objects in its collection, of which 80,000 are on display at any one time, it would take at least a couple of visits to take everything in. Your best bet is to do a bit of forward planning and home in on the areas you have the most interest in. Top of many people’s lists would be the Rosetta Stone, dating from 196 BC and on display at the Museum since 1802; it holds the key to our understanding of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

There’s also the Elgin Marbles which once adorned the Parthenon (link) in Athens, and the Lewis chessmen, beautiful ivory pieces from the 12th century.

The collection holds pieces from every stage of man’s development and from every continent, going as far back as a handaxe carved 1.2 million years ago. The museum was started in 1753 with 71,000 objects from the collection of naturalist Sir Hans Sloane.


Disabled access information

The British Museum near Tottenham Court Road is also one of the most accessible for disabled visitors. Home to many treasures from throughout history, a visit here is always fascinating. Any previous visitor however knows that it is not possible to see all the collections in just one trip! It is best to head for one of the major collections (such as the Egyptian, Greek or Roman galleries) or to one of the regular special exhibitions.

The vast majority of the collections can be easily enjoyed by disabled visitors. Wheelchair access is available at each museum entrance and most of the galleries are fully accessible (a good map is available on the museum website and on arrival). The museum offers a comprehensive audio guide (with extra charge) as well as large print and braille guides to many of the collections. Regular sign language talks are also scheduled.

Access to the main museum collections is free for all visitors, and in addition disabled visitors are offered concessionary prices to special exhibitions, with an accompanying person admitted free of charge. The museum also offers special parking facilities for disabled visitors which can be reserved by calling in advance. The museum is busiest in the summer months, but the large gallery space and less popularity with younger visitors mean it is less crowded than the popular museums around South Kensington.



Floor and gallery plans showing disabled access features are available online: http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/floor_plans.aspx

Full details of disabled access as well as provisions for hearing and vision impaired visitors: http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/access.aspx

Transportation to the museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/visiting/getting_here.aspx


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3. Big Ben (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

You can’t get much more of an iconic symbol of London than Big Ben. Since its construction in 1858, it has become universally recognisable and has been used in countless films to establish location. The name “Big Ben” actually refers to its enormous bell which weighs over 13 tons, while the tower itself, previously known as the Clock Tower, was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Don’t miss seeing the Tower at night when its four clock faces (the largest in the world at seven metres in diameter) are spectacularly lit.

The origin of the name Big Ben is an interesting topic. Officially, it is named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who commissioned the bell; his name is inscribed on it. However, another popular theory is that it was named after British heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. Both men were known for their size!


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4. Changing of the Guard (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

This is one of the most famous ceremonies in the world and certainly makes for an impressive sight. If you haven’t got time to do a tour of Buckingham Palace, you can still go and see Her Majesty’s Guard changing over for absolutely nothing.

You will see the Old Guard and New Guard lining up at each end of Horse Guards Parade. The exchange of duty is accompanied by a Guards band, who don’t just play traditional military marches - there are songs from films and musicals and even pop songs.

The Changing of the Guard is a highly popular display of the pomp and circumstance that is associated with the British Royal Family. The crowd can get pretty large, so check the times below and make sure you arrive early to get a prime viewing spot! If you want to take a picture, Wellington Barracks is the best place to be (to the left as you face Buckingham Palace) where you can photograph the guards just after the ceremony.


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5. Museums and Art Galleries (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

London has a wealth of wonderful museums and galleries, with something to interest everyone. And the great news is that the majority are free. Head to Kensington just outside the centre and you can take in the Science Museum, with its interactive exhibits and fascinating range of artefacts such as Stephenson’s Rocket, one of the earliest steam engines; and the Natural History Museum, a great place for the kids with its famous dinosaur skeletons among more than 70 million items.

The most famous gallery in the country, the National Gallery, faces Trafalgar Square; see our article here (link) for more details. You should also check out the Tate Modern on Bankside, just upriver from the London Eye, to see works by Picasso, Turner, Dali and many more.

Why not book a hotel in Kensington from our selection below and take in all the delights that the area has to offer at your leisure? There are always special events and exhibitions going on, so even if you come back again, no two visits will ever be the same.



Tate Modern

Housed in a converted power station on the popular South Bank of the river, the Tate Modern is the leading museum of modern art in the capital. It displays works by leading artists from the 20th and 21st centuries, in interesting themed categories which are regularly changed. There are also temporary exhibitions dedicated to particular artists.


Whilst most of the leading London museums provide good disabled access, the Tate Modern goes one step further! Unlike many other museums, which have had their historic structures updated to accommodate visitors, the interior of the Tate Modern has been specifically designed as a modern museum. It is generally busiest at weekends, but the spacious galleries mean higher visitor numbers still do not present much of a problem.


There is good lift access to all area and the galleries and other areas are all open and spacious. An audio guide (and a video guide displaying sign language) is offered for the main collections and large print printed guides are available for all exhibitions.


The Tate Modern also offers special tours and talks for hearing and visually impaired visitors, with a schedule on their website. They offer an excellent choice of “Touch Tours” which enable visually impaired visitors to interact and learn more about modern art. These are available to book on request.


For easiest access to the museum it is recommended to take a bus or make use of the free disabled parking available. The museum is around 800 meters from the nearest underground station, along busy roads.


Disabled access information

Full accessibility information is given on the museum website: http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/access-and-facilities

To book a Touch Tour, call in advance on +44 (0)20 7401 5113

Transport to the museum: http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/getting-here


Science Museum

The Science Museum is one of the most popular family museums in London. Part of a group of historic museums in the South Kensington area, it features permanent collections and changing exhibitions focussing on the fascinating history of science, exploration and discovery.
Some of the more popular galleries include space exploration, computers and technology and past geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci.

Like most of the public museums in London, the Science Museum is well equipped for disabled access, with accessible entrances and lifts installed throughout the museum.
A full map is available showing all access routes and facilities.
In addition, large print maps and gallery guides are available at the museum; several can also be printed in advance as needed.
The museum is also well regarded for its extensive programmes of talks and “hands-on” demonstrations. Many of these are suitable for visual and hearing impaired visitors, and detailed can be obtained from the museum.

Whilst disabled access is very good, it should be noted that the museum can get very crowded during school holidays, and also during weekends. Many of the galleries and exhibitions have limited space and wheelchair users may prefer to avoid these busy periods. Also, the nature of some of the exhibitions means the interiors can be quite dark in places.

The museum can be easily accessed from South Kensington underground station, with level pedestrianised street access. There is also free disabled parking available (first come first served) on Exhibition Road by the main entrance.


Disabled access information

Accessibility map for museum: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/~/media/Documents/info_map/newer_accessibility_map.pdf

Transportation to the museum: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/getting_here.aspx


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6. South Bank (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

The South Bank is known as a cultural hotspot of London, featuring such famous venues as the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the National Theatre. There is always a diverse range of productions going on, but if theatre isn’t your thing, there are all sorts of other attractions in the area, from the London Eye to the Sealife Aquarium and the London Dungeon. This makes the South Bank an ideal location to spend the day whether you are a young couple, retired, or a family with kids.

There is also an amazing array of cafes and bars to seek out - you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy, and it’s an ideal place to sit and watch the world go by.

Add in the high accessibility of the area, with a high concentration of Tube stations and seven bridges connecting it to its northside neighbour, and you can understand why the South Bank is so popular!

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7. Street Performers (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

London has an amazing wealth of talented street performers plying their trade for the delight of onlookers every day of the year. You can find them on the South Bank and in Trafalgar Square (links here for these articles), but let’s home in on the area with the highest concentration of entertainers, Covent Garden.

The tradition of performance here has a long history: Samuel Pepys noted the first known Punch and Judy show in Britain in May 1662 in Covent Garden. Today, you can meet acrobats, illusionists, human statues, jugglers, escapologists, stilt walkers and many more. Humour is often an integral part of the act and helps the performers to draw a crowd; just be aware that audience members are often called upon to participate!

Many of these acts have been established for many years and put on an exceptional show to make you gasp. So why not reward them with a few minutes of your time, and a generous handful of change in the black hat.

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8. Trafalgar Square (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

Trafalgar Square is home to the famous Nelson’s Column and provides access to the National Gallery, also free. Following a recent redevelopment, it can now be entered via a wide set of steps from the Square and disabled access is provided. It houses famous works by van Gogh, Monet and da Vinci among its collection.

There are four plinths in the Square, three topped by George IV and a pair of generals, but it is the Fourth Plinth that has gained notice recently. Empty until as recently as 1998, it now features a constantly changing series of art installations, including the intriguing One & Other scheme in 2009 during which 2,400 members of the public spent one hour each on the Plinth in succession. Who knows what you will find when you visit?

Another well-known feature of the Square are its fountains. They have recently been renovated and now send water 80 feet into the air, and make an alluring sight at night with their multi-coloured, eco-friendly LED lighting.

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9. Parks and Gardens (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

London is filled with beautiful parks and gardens, ideal for a pleasant stroll or just a peaceful break in the middle of a hectic day of sightseeing. Hyde Park is one of the largest and probably the most famous. The area also includes Kensington Gardens (which runs on directly from Hyde Park), Green Park and St James’s Park.

Let’s focus on the 350-acre Hyde Park, which includes such notable features as Speaker’s Corner, where anyone is free to turn up and talk on any subject (not necessarily political), the Serpentine Lake, and the Diana Memorial Fountain.

There are many recreational activities on offer: boating and swimming in the Serpentine Lake, and tennis, lawn bowls and putting facilities. Or if that all sounds like too much, kick back with a drink and take in the spectacular views of the Lake from the Lido Bar & Cafe. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the interesting wildlife of the Park, including butterflies and song birds.


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10. Street Markets London (Free)

4.5 Free Tourist Attraction

London is well known for its vibrant, colourful street markets where you can buy almost anything, often at bargain prices. From vintage clothes to fresh fruit and vegetables, to fabrics, art and antiques. There are many markets dotted all around the city, but let’s focus on arguably the most famous, Camden Market.

There are actually several different markets contained in the area: from Camden Stables Market, with its alternative fashions, crafts and collectables, to the famous original Camden Lock, with everything from books, music and films to home furnishings including unique fabrics, paintings and mirrors. And of course there is the vast range of vintage clothing, one of the largest in Europe - try the Arches in Stables Market.

Add in a diverse range of multicultural food options, and you have an exciting day out - who knows what you’ll find when you visit! Many shops and stalls are open through the week.


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11. Free music in clubs and theatres (Free)

4 Free Tourist Attraction

You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great night out and enjoy some live music in London. In fact, entry for some gigs is completely free. Let’s have a look at what’s out there.

After a hard day’s shopping at Camden Market (link), why not enjoy a drink and some free live music from fantastic DJs and bands at the Lock Tavern on Camden High Street. See here for upcoming events and check our article for directions to Camden.

For a wealth of wonderful talent, a great place to check out is the Ain’t Nothin But Blues Bar which provides live blues every night of the week. Enjoy free admission all night from Sunday to Thursday, while on Friday and Saturday it’s free if you arrive before 8.30pm. Kick back and relax at what’s described as “The best blues bar this side of the Atlantic!” and see below for how to get there.

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Stansted Airport to Central London Bus Transfer

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