10 FREE Things You Must See in London
When my husband and I are doing short travels, we always make sure we get the ultimate city experience.
Even though we enjoy finding places the locals go, sightseeing is always pretty high up on our to-do list when we try to get a feel for a new place.
After traveling through the city jungle of London for three days, we put together the ultimate 10 FREE sights we feel is definitely worth seeing!I believe that, all in all, the list makes a beautiful walking tour. Also, I have seen that there are many bike stations all around London, which rent out for relatively cheap (Free for the first 30 minutes.) So, if you are not much of a walking type, this could be a great alternative for you.
Start: Underground station South Kensington
From there, orientate towards Hyde Park passing small little cafes and restaurants. It’s the perfect opportunity for your early coffee fix to kick start the day –Or tea. We don’t discriminate 😉 And if you feel your tummy grumbling, we can highly recommend a Lebanese breakfast at Comptior Libanais. They offer a large selection of reasonably priced breakfasts until 11 am. (Honestly, we liked it this much that we will try to recreate their food in our kitchen- Yeah, as if it’s possible–But we will try.)
Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
As I mentioned earlier, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens gave me a true feel for the city. It took out the constantly busy-like-a-bee appeal and instead painted London in calmer colors, green and sky blue. The plots of green grass, trees and water elements such as fountains and ponds, gave me the down-to-earth nature fix I needed. Personally, the parks reminded me of a smaller Central Park.
Definitely bring a book to read for the perfect excuse to spend just a moment longer on the wooden bench under the hundreds of years old trees while listening to the wind softly stroking through the leaves. Don’t be surprised if, meanwhile, a squirrel comes by, sitting on its back paws and begging for food. The little playmates are adorable. Why not bring some nuts for them? It will definitely make the day of one of you two.
Hyde Park is perfectly connected to Buckingham Palace through Green Park and Buckingham Palace Gardens. The iconic residence and headquarters of the monarch attracts thousands of visitors each day. Especially, early in the morning, tourists are drawn from each possible direction to the sight. For a good reason! For about 30 minutes, the roundabout in front of the Buckingham Palace turns into an arena as the national guards march towards the Palace to switch at 11am. It’s quite a spectacle (That happens every day!) as they wear their traditional red uniforms, black furry helmets and play marching instruments.
The Gothic royal coronation church since 1066 is a true masterpiece of construction. Even when you want to save a few bucks and not go inside, it will take your breath away.
House of Parliaments and Big Ben
Westminster Abbey, the House of Parliaments and Big Ben are very crucial in my image of London as I imagine it at Sherlock Holmes’ times and centuries before. Basically saying, without these landmarks, I feel a big part of London’s history would be erased.
Following the river Thames, which flows through the heart of the city, you can enjoy a panoramic view across the waters to the popular ferris wheel the London Eye. I have no idea if the hour-long wait time is truly worth the ride, but the surrounding area compares to a festival of arts as crowds form circles around street artists showing off their talents: Illusionists, dancers and singers claim their stages and create a vibrant atmosphere, which I soak in like a sponge.
The air smells sugar-sweet as you can find many treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. The neon-pink double-decker bus selling frozen yoghurt immediately caught my eye. (Instagram alarm! Get your camera ready and click away!)The coolest part, once you have your ice-cream, is that you can go upstairs. Instead of being part of the hustle, you can people watch and enjoy this crazy view across the Thames.
Tate Modern is an incredibly big FREE art gallery. If you enjoy creativity in any form, it’s probably a stop worth making. And even if you are not a sucker for the arts, go anyway, as from the top of the building offers you a panoramic view over the city.
The Globe Theatre only offers guided tours and plays. Otherwise, there is no way you will have a chance to see the building from the inside, which I find is such a pitty. In fact, missing out on the experience of seeing a play is my only regret from the trip since Shakespear’s world famous play Romeo and Juliet luckily consumed a whole week of my life. Afterwards, I became a huge fan of his works. With this being said, FOMO slapped me right into my face.
However, even if you want to save the money and miss out on the experience like me, the whole corner is still pretty cool to check out due to its many street artists.
Tower Bridge really makes you think about time. Just try to imagine that you are one of billions of people that have crossed this bridge. How many walked the exact steps before you and will after you, while the bridge will still stand there proudly? If someone had videotaped people crossing the bridge for centuries, you crossing it would not even show for less than a split second if fast forward the video.
Tower of London
Seeing Tower Bridge without seeing the medieval Tower of London, a castle and former infamous prison, feels like eating a peanutbutter jelly sandwich, but forgetting about the jelly.
If, by now, you feel that your feet can still carry you, I recommend walking along the river Thames to the National Gallery. The art gallery is also free of charge. The plaza in front has a very similar vibe to the one near the London Eye, but a little more chill. It’s totally fine to sit at the steps or at the rim of the fountains and watch the day come to an end.
Also, let me know in the comments below if you feel that there are other major spots that are worth seeing in London. I am looking forward to your input.