Although London may be my favorite city, it’s rather expensive for someone who loved eating and shopping, but is living on a rather limited budget. However, if you’re like me, there are a numerous amount of free things to do in London. Yes, free. To help you get started planning your trip across the pond, here are 21 free things for you to do in London.
1. Stare in awe at the bones of a T-Rex at the Natural History Museum.
2. See the Rosetta Stone for yourself at the British Museum.
3. See the Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
4. In the Winter, head to Hyde Park for the Winter Wonderland or walk through the gorgeous park on any given day.
5. Walk to the top of Primrose Hill in Regents Park.
6. Try to push the trolley through Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross.
7. Aimlessly wander around Southbank.
8. Be entertained by the street performers in Covent Garden.
9. See the amazing exhibits at the Science Museum.
10. Watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.
11. Strike a pose on the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing.
12. Meet the stone lions at Trafalgar Square.
13. Take an up-the-nostril selfie with Big Ben.
14. Go see the Shakespeare Globe. Trust me.
15. Take a walk through the 35,000 monuments of Brompton Cemetery.
16. Get up early on a Sunday and stroll through Columbia Flower Market.
17. Visit God’s Own Junkyard to see vintage neon signs and movie props.
18. Walk through Shoreditch and look at all the street art–you might spot a Banksy.
19. Discover the original Beatles lyrics and the diary of Jane Austen at the British Library.
20. Try not to pee your pants when walking through the Tate Modern at pieces including Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, Warhol and so many others.
21. Head to Angel Comedy Club for their free comedy every night of the week.
When I announced to my mom that we are going to London a couple months ago, she immediately cried with excitement and became nervous with fear. The furthest my mother has ever traveled is Mexico, and sometimes she complains that the flight is a little too long for her liking.
Although the day that we depart is still quite far off, I have started planning the trip abroad each day out of undying love for the city I’ll soon be stepping foot in. My love for London is unwavering. I remember at the age of seven and telling everyone I knew that I was going to be living there. I was going to be an orthodontist, and as everyone laughed, claiming no one in England would come to my practice because no one cared about their teeth there, I never stopped dreaming. I may have changed my mind about wanting to fix people’s teeth, but the dream of living in the land of double decker buses never stopped happening.
Now, I get to take my mom, who has never fully understood my fantasy, although she certainly has never tried to diminish my dream. She will get to see why I fell in love with the way of life, the fast pace, the buildings, the clothes, the people spilling out on all sides at the pub.
I told her not to have any expectations because I was the one going to deliver her the very best of London. The London that would be amazing to live in – Notting Hill, South Kensington, Marylebone – but one can dream of that life and show their mother that maybe, if I put my mind to it hard enough that, that way of life could become a possibility.
So, as I plan and make lists and figure out where to stay, I ask you this: If you were taking your mom to London for the first time and she really has no expectations, where would you take her?
For Emma, who is always close even though she is very far away. Because sometimes you get hit by a car and life gets put into perspective. Like the fact that life doesn’t always think of you.
“It is all loneliness, the way you live.
You get up and make the bed like you are trying
to prove a point. You make coffee that is
quite right and never finish it. This is the third day
you’ve worn this shirt. Eventually, you will paint
your nails again, wash the grease from your hair.
Once you have someone besides your own reflection
You go to parties where you know
you will only stay an hour. Lean quietly against the wall,
watching people with enviably easy laughter.
Your smile is a cracked boat in a flooded river. Close,
but still useless. You do not talk to strangers, just sit there
like a begging dog beside the dinner table,
with eyes that say “Please, come, be my friend.
I am a coward, but I’m hungry.”
— Clementine von Radics, “But Lately”