London has a very notorious reputation of being an expensive city, however just because you’re light on cash doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a fascinating weekend in London. Check into a reasonably priced London Hotel using a budget company like HostelBookers and then check out out these opportunities for free sightseeing in London that won’t further lighten your wallet!
Transform a boring sightseeing stroll into an adventure with cool free apps like Treasure Hunt that guides you on a “Da Vinci Code” style tour to Westminster Abbey, Parliament and the Tudor’s palatial grounds in search of clues to solve a puzzle. As you walk along London’s streets, peek into the past with Streemuseum, an app that lets you access a “window in time.” Using your phone’s GPS position, this app sorts through a database of vintage pictures and displays one from the same general location where you are standing. Explore the fringe art world with the free Street Art London App that is constantly updated to direct you to the nearest graffitti or search for specific works by famous street artists like Banksy or Eine around town.
Regardless of the time of year, the eight Royal Parks in London spruce up for the season and offer wonderful free activities like the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland displays. Take a climb up Primrose Hill (north of Regents Park) to score some excellent pictures as you stand 78 m (256 feet) above it all and look down on the London Zoo, across the Thames to Canary Wharf and on the horizon you can see landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye Ferris wheel.
Although St. Paul’s is the most visited, London actually has four other noteworthy cathedrals guaranteed to impress with their sumptuous stained glass windows, soaring gothic arches and sacred art collections. For something completely different, take a free tour of Europe’s first traditional Hindu temple, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Brent Park to marvel at the elaborate temples constructed according to ancient Vedic architectural rules using no structural steel whatsoever. Take a journey within with a free seminar at the Inner Space meditation center in Convent Gardens or just hang out in their “Quiet Room,” an oasis of calm where you can meditate or simply chill.
London presents plenty of free opportunities to fire up those “little gray cells” with fascinating information. Start the morning at the Sir John Soane’s Museum with your free downloadable Trails Map that serves as a thematic guide to the rather bizarre collections left for posterity by this Masonic architect referred to as the “Master of Space and Light.” In the afternoon, explore the Grant Museum of Zoology to contemplate the intriguing artifacts of animal life that scholars have assembled to study and share with the public from 1-5 pm on weekdays. You can easily spend a whole day at the granddaddy of them all, the British Museum, which is even open late on Friday nights offering free spotlight tours conducted by volunteers on subjects like the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon and Death in Egypt.
Peer into the faces of famous Englishmen captured for posterity at the National Portrait Gallery open daily at no charge. Admire masterpieces of Western European painters at the stunning National Gallery equipped with sumptuous viewing couches for savoring your favorites. For a great variety of art, visit the Strand Gallery where displays include everything from jewelry to furniture to sculptures collected from all over the world by director Ron Howell to reflect his eclectic interests.