London may be one of the world’s most expensive cities, but it doesn't have to cost the earth. Many sights and experiences are free or cost next to nothing.
It costs nothing to visit the Houses of Parliament and watch debates. Another institution of public life, the Changing the Guard, is free to watch. For one weekend in September, Open House London opens the doors to over 800 buildings for free.
- Museums & Galleries
The permanent collections of all state-funded museums and galleries are open to the public free of charge. They include the V&A, Tate Modern, British Museum and National Gallery. The Saatchi Gallery is also free.
Why pay good money when some of the finest viewpoints in London are free? Head up to Level 10 of Switch House at Tate Modern, the Sky Garden atop the 'Walkie Talkie' or look out over to Canary Wharf from the hilltop near the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park.
Walking around town is possibly the best way to get a sense of the city and its history. Roam through Hampstead Heath in North London, follow the Thames along the South Bank or Richmond, or simply walk from A to B in the compact West End.
- Low-Cost Transport
Bike-share your way around London using Santander Cycles – the access fee is £2 for 24 hours; bike hire is then free for the first 30 minutes. Travel as much as you like on London Transport with a one-day Travelcard or an Oyster Card.
Need to Know
- Websites Click on London for Free (www.londonforfree.net) for ideas.
- Discount cards The London Pass can be a good investment if you want to see a lot in a short time.
- Wi-fi access Many cafes and bars offer customers free wi-fi.
- Newspapers The Evening Standard and Metro are both free.
- Children Under-11s travel free on buses and the Underground, under-5s go free on trains.