In such a huge city as London, life goes on at a frantic pace and it is easy for an ordinary tourist to get dizzy. Not to mention its prices. You look and begin to wonder what to spend your money on. Fortunately, there is a way to truly get to know the capital of Foggy Albion without spending a penny at all. Ready to experience London?
There are things that London simply cannot be imagined without and that can be seen on any street. These are the famous double-deckers, red telephone booths and, of course, black cabs. But to reach others, you will have to walk a little.
The Clock Tower actually has the name Elizabeth Tower in honor of the reigning queen. And Big Ben is the name of the big bell that heralds the coming of every hour.
Start your journey with the mainstay of the British political system, its Parliament. Its home is the Neo-Gothic Palace of Westminster. Initially a residence of monarchs, it was after the Fire of 1512 that the Parliament of the UK started to work from here. The building contains more than 1,000 rooms and 100 stairways, and hardly anyone has passed through them all. However, its most famous part is, of course, Big Ben, a magnificent clock tower known all over the world. It is the ringing of these bells that first informs us of New Year coming, since the world time is counted from London.
Originally there would be a pedestrian gallery between the bridge towers, but it was quickly overrun by streetwalkers and pickpockets. As a result, the city authorities closed the galleries, to turn them into a museum.
Your next must-see stop is the permanent symbol of London on all postcards and souvenirs, the Tower Bridge. The British initially thought it was ridiculous and ugly, but now England cannot be imagined without this sight of London, which is rightly considered one of the main adornments of the city. It was named Tower Bridge in honor of the famous fortress and prison, located nearby. To aesthetically match it, the architect chose the Victorian Gothic style for the construction. By the way, did you know that this is also a drawbridge?
The entire city is dotted with dozens of curious places. In order not to get lost, be sure to check out our travel map of London, where we collected the best sights.
In London you can do something that is rarely possible in other cities, going to a museum just for an hour, or simply because you are walking by. You can even go to several museums in one day and return to the one you liked most. Why? The coolest museums in the city are free for everyone, regardless of nationality and age!
To exhibit just 1 percent of the entire unimaginable collection of 8 million pieces there are already 4 kilometres of galleries needed!
One of the largest and most popular museums not only in London but also in the world is the British Museum. With a collection of over 8 million items, it is a true treasure trove for lovers of antiquity, archaeology and mystery. Unique pieces of ancient art are collected here. For example, the Rosetta Stone, which revealed the secret of the ancient Egyptian language and made it understandable to the world.
Here you will find artefacts from excavations carried out by the British Empire in Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt and Italy. Highlights include the magnificent Parthenon ruins, as well as one of the largest collections of graphics and drawings by Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and William Blake.
As soon as you enter this wonderful and extraordinary building, you plunge into the world of nature in all its glory, forgetting about everything else.
Don’t skip the Natural History Museum, even if the name sounds a little scientific. This is the very dinosaur place! This museum is for children of all ages, even if you are somewhat 40+. The collection has more than 70 million exhibits, including plants, animal specimens, insects, and 500 thousand stones and minerals. Find your inner Sherlock while you pass peculiar herbariums, meteorite remains and of course the coolest prehistoric skeletons! The museum even has exhibits collected by Charles Darwin himself. Not to mention the most iconic blue whale skeleton that welcomes the visitors of the Natural History Museum!
For something more modern, but no less ingenious, we advise you to go to Tate Modern – a gallery of modern and contemporary art. Here you can get acquainted with the iconic works of art creators from the late 20th and 21st century. In case you want to see more amazing museums, we have already prepared a selection of the best 10 free museums in London. It will show the city from all sides, historical, cultural, technical and scientific.
A nice thing about London, with its crowded streets, is that you can always escape to a quiet, secluded place. Throughout the city, you can easily find both huge endless parks and small squares, even in the middle of a glass jungle. A special place among them all belongs to the Royal Parks, which once could be visited only by members of the Royal Family.
A curious highlight in the park is the Speakers’ Corner from 1872, a stage for anyone who likes to ventilate his or her ideas. Maybe you also have something to say to the world?
Hyde Park is one of the largest royal parks and one of the most picturesque corners in the city. Today it is a traditional resting place for Londoners and tourists. Here it’s pleasant to go jogging, cycling, to simply relax on the benches, or to have a picnic near Serpentine Lake. Just south of the Serpentine, you will find the Memorial Fountain of Princess Diana, who used to live in Kensington Palace next door.
The magnificent Neo-Gothic monument on the territory of the gardens is a monument to Queen Victoria’s endless love for her husband Albert.
The Kensington Gardens were originally part of Hyde Park, nowadays only separated through a narrow road. The gardens are the charming decoration of Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born and Princess Diana lived. There is always a pleasant atmosphere in this royal park, no matter if you sit on the grass near the Round Pond, rent a bicycle, or stroll past its grand monuments like the Albert Memorial and the Peter Pan statue.
Once inside, be sure to visit the Blue Bridge on the lake. It offers stunning views of the park with St. James’s Palace in the background.
St. James’s Park is one of the oldest British parks, created in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Just a short walk from the noisy streets of central London, and you are already in the middle of marvelous nature. Fifteen species of birds live on its lake, including pelicans, which are solemnly fed daily at 14:30h. Some parts of St. James’s Park might already seem familiar to you, as the park was featured in various films and series like 101 Dalmatians, James Bond and Sherlock.
Staying near Richmond Park, you can combine nature with a good connection to London centre. Discover stays anywhere in London with our travel map.
If you want to stroll through all the royal parks or explore secluded small squares, be sure to check out our guide of London. With its help, you will find a suitable green corner for a pleasant stay. Perhaps it is going to be Richmond Park, where you can meet deer, or maybe quiet alleys of one of London’s atmospheric cemeteries like Tower Hamlets.
Food markets, vintage stalls and a bunch of authentic shops are common excuses for Londoners to have a good time with friends, have tasty food and fun. And street food in London is not just a snack, but lovingly prepared according to recipes from around the world.
It offers not only groceries but also ready-made dishes according to old British recipes: English pies, eclairs, homemade pate, Cornish honeycomb ice cream or Devonian clotted cream – how can you resist?
Borough Market has been known in the city since the 11th century! Previously, it worked exclusively as a wholesale market for traders and restaurant workers from all over the city. Today, ordinary Londoners also shop here every day, first of all to buy fresh homemade products from English farmers, like meat, eggs, or fresh vegetables and fruits. The local selection of cheese is especially praised as it is brought from different parts of the UK. We bet you already want to see this riot of products with your own eyes!
The local chaotic mix of music, smells, food and shopping is guaranteed to leave you a lot of amazing experiences!
How about plunging into the world of punk rock and alternative London? Welcome to Camden Lock. Hundreds of second-hand shops, antique furniture and decor items, freak costumes, strange smoking devices, and even spiritualistic stuff – the list of things that can be found here is endless. Whether it’s a vinyl or vintage you are looking for, the market is waiting for you every day! But let’s be honest, Camden Lock is primarily about the experience and not necessarily about shopping.
London is definitely an amazing destination if you like markets. It offers its guests absolutely everything they might want. Books, vintage clothes, food from around the world and of course a special atmosphere. We have already selected the best markets in our travel guide to London. With its help, you will immediately know which market to see next!
The diversity of London’s neighbourhoods deserves your special attention. Each corner is so different that it can be considered a separate city. You definitely already know about some of them by their particular reputation, for example, noisy and bright Soho with its excellent clubs and bars, or the business heart of London City and its glass skyscrapers that can be seen from afar.
It may be difficult to imagine, but 200 years ago, this modern bright and bustling area was a quiet village in the suburbs of London.
Among the dozens of districts, the vibrant Notting Hill stands out. Such fame was brought to this neighbourhood not only by the beautiful colorful houses but also by the eponymous movie with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, filmed on its streets.
Notting Hill is a trendy and lively neighborhood with small traditional Victorian townhouses standing on the narrow streets. This is where some of the best antique shops in town are located. Not to mention the famous weekly Saturday market on Portobello Road. People come here from all over Europe in search of interesting things. They say that someone even managed to buy a genuine Fabergé egg here for a rock-bottom price without knowing its true value.
Among luxurious mansions on the cleanest streets, you might meet Roman Abramovich himself, perhaps the most famous inhabitant of Belgravia.
If you prefer elegant and chic, then feel free to go to Belgravia. It is here that the most elite houses are located, which are owned by the richest people in the world, among whom are Arab sheikhs and Russian oligarchs. Although it is central London, peace and tranquillity reigns in Belgravia. The area is full of wide streets with stately white classical mansions decorated with stucco moulding. The local small square parks are always perfectly groomed. Everything here looks just perfectly neat.
The city has dozens of neighbourhoods located around its business centre, London City. They are so diverse that they certainly deserve special attention. To see them all, be sure to check them out on our travel map of London. You will find Greenwich with its famous observatory, the posh Mayfair and Marylebone with its typical brick buildings, or Whitechapel which is known for being the crime scene of Jack the Ripper..!
The famous hats are made of bearskin and it is forbidden to take them off during ceremonies, even in the heat. There have also been cases of fainting among the guards. Dangerous job!
London is expensive but we showed fantastic places for free. But that’s certainly not all. To keep track of the many attractions and places in the city, we’ve prepared an excellent London map for you. Here you will find some of the most iconic places, the best parks, as well as great locations to have a pint of beer and enjoy hanging out with friends. You can add some more interesting experiences to your collection of London memories. For example, go to the Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. It is one of the most recognizable ceremonies in the world. It takes place daily at 11.30h from April to August, and the rest of the year – every other day. Who among us hasn’t wanted to see these famous black hats in real life?