Monday, April 6, 2009

London - Free Attractions

There are lots of things to do in London. You can really spend months in this city without ever visiting the same place twice. There is so much to see and do. But the best part is that a lot of attractions are free and a lot of what is free is also what is the best London has to offer.

Most major museums in London are free. They don’t charge a penny to visit them. Here’s the best of them –

1. The British Museum

If there is one place in the world where you can look at the history of the entire world from a cultural perspective, it is here is the British Museum. From ancient Greece temples to Egyptian Mummies and parts of Egyptian Pyramids to artefacts, clothing’s etc from Asia, Americas, Europe and Africa, this place will never cease to amaze you. With one of the most wonderful library in its premises it is truly a complete package for a traveller and a knowledge seeker.

Address: Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG; Tel: 020 7323 8000

How to Reach?

Tube: Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines), Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines), Russell Square (Piccadilly line) and Goodge Street (Northern line) stations

Bus: 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98, 242 Stop on New Oxford Street; 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134, 390

Stop on Tottenham Court Road, northbound and Gower Street, southbound; 59, 68, X68, 91, 168, 188 Stop on Southampton Row

2. Science Museum

One of the most entertaining museum’s in Europe, Science Museum offers a wonderful and exciting time to travellers. From history of science and space travel to Simulators to Imax studio the museum has a lot to offer. Entry to the museum is free but there are charges for Imax and Simulators.

Address: Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD; Tel: 020 0870 4868

How to Reach?

Tube: South Kensington station (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines)

Bus: Routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 stop outside South Kensington station

3. RAF Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum is dedicated to the bravery of the British Air Force. There are a lot of aircraft on display with weapons used by these. In addition the uniforms, photographs on display and a sound and light show make it a great place to visit. The museum is open from Monday to Sunday 10.00 AM to 18.00 PM with free entrance and parking.

Address: Grahame Park Way, London, NW9 5LL; Tel: 020 8205 2266

How to Reach?

Tube: Colindale Underground on the Edgware branch of the Northern Line. Please alight at Colindale, not Hendon Central. Colindale is in Zone 4.

Bus: Route 303

4. Kenwood House

Also known as Iveagh Bequest, hangs the world famous art collections. Besides you can explore the parkland and lakeside walks. The entry is free and it is open daily from 11.30 AM to 16.00 PM except on Christmas and New Year.

Address: Hampstead Lane, London, NW3 7JR; Tel: 020 8348 1286

How to Reach?

Tube: Archway (Northern line) and Golders Green (Northern line-Edgware branch) - then the 210 bus, Hampstead Heath (London Over ground line) - 1.5 miles

5. Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s former house has been converted into a museum housing his antique collectibles from around the world. The museum entrance is free and is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 AM to 17.00 PM

Address: 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP; Tel: 020 7405 2107

How to Reach?

Tube: Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines)

6. The Geffrye Museum

Geffrye Museum is one of the hidden gems of London. Not very popular with the tourists, The Geffrye Museum houses the history of English interior design since 1600. It contains a series of period rooms reflecting the changing decor of English homes since last 5 centuries. The entry is free and it is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM. Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 12.00 PM to 5.00 PM

Address: 136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, E2 8EA; Tel: 020 7739 9893

How to Reach?

Tube: Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines), then bus 149 or 242, Old Street-exit 2 (Northern line), then bus 243 or a 15 minute walk.

Buses: 149, 242, 243, 67, 394

7. The National Gallery

The National Gallery located at the famous Trafalgar Square in London was founded in 1824 and has a collection of more than 2000 paintings. The gallery came into being when the House of Commons in 1824 agreed to pay £57,000 for a collection of 38 paintings of the banker John Julius Angerstein. Hence the gallery was constructed and pictures displayed in it. Since then the collection has increased many folds and houses some of the finest and rarest pictures found in Western Europe.

The Gallery is open all days from 10 AM to 6 PM and on Wednesdays from 10 AM to 9 PM. The entry is free for all.

Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

How to Reach?

Tube: Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines), Embankment (Northern, Bakerloo, District and Circle lines)

Buses: Buses around Trafalgar Square 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453

8. Changing of the Guards

You can watch the Changing of the Guards ceremony, free of cost, outside the Buckingham Palace. To see the ceremony be there at 11.00 AM but make sure to check beforehand if the ceremony is taking place on that particular day. You can check it out here

How to Reach?

Tube: Victoria (Circle, District and Victoria lines), Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines), St James’s Park (Circle and District lines) or Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line)

9. Ceremony of the Keys

The ceremony happens at the Tower of London every evening and is free but you have to make reservations beforehand through a written application. Since only a few people can be part of the ceremony hence you need to apply about 2 months in advance.

There are many Museums in London as are in most of major European cities. But really, there is lot more to London than just museums and galleries. I do not bother to give you details of all the museums in London. I suggest you plan your stay in London so that you cover important museums and yet have a lot of time to do hundreds of other things there are to do.

Address: Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4AB; Tel: 020 7488 5663

How to Reach?

Tube: Tower Hill Station (Circle and District lines)

10. Hyde Park

Hyde Park is London’s finest and one of the most famous historical landscape’s. Covering 350 Acres of park land, it is the most ideal place to spend a picnic day out with the family. Start early, pack a nice heavy English breakfast and set out for Hyde Park with your family. With more than 4000 trees, a beautiful lake and meadow, Hyde Park is all set to take your breath apart.

Apart from this, Hyde Park also hosts a lot of actors, comedians, performers who come and perform for free. You can also take part in discussions and debates on various topics with a lot of people who are more than willing to chat with you.

For children, there are horse rides and bird feeding.

How to Reach?

Tube: There are 5 tube stations around the edges of Hyde Park. Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge stations (Piccadilly line), Queensway, Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch stations (Central line), Bayswater (Circle and District lines) is also close to Queensway station

Buses: From North London: 6, 7, 10, 16, 52, 73, 82, 390, 414; South London: 2, 36, 137, 436; West London: 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 148, 414; East London: 8, 15, 30, 38, 274

11. Regent’s Park

The Regent's Park covering 410 Acres has both open parkland and spectacular formal gardens, including the stunning Rose Garden with more than 400 varieties of roses. The park is home to a wide variety of sports activities as well as other interesting activities such as a boating in its large lake and an open air theatre. Regent’s Park is also home to the London Zoo. It is open from 5 AM until dusk.

Regent’s Park is also a great place for picnic. In addition, it is a nice place to rest your feet while exploring London. Tourist Attractions near Regent’s Park include London Planetarium and Madame Tussaud’s.

How to Reach?

Tube: Regent's Park (Bakerloo line), Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle & Metropolitan lines), Baker Street (Hammersmith & City, Circle, Jubilee, Metropolitan & Bakerloo lines), St John's Wood (Jubilee line), Camden Town (Northern line) tube stations

Bus: 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 274, 453

12. St James Park

St James's Park is at the very heart of London covering 58 Acres. It is often used for ceremonial and national occasions. Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace and St James’s Palace skirt the St James Park. Hence in addition to being an attraction in itself, the park is also a great resting place while visiting any/ all of the above palaces.

How to Reach?

Tube: St. James's Park (District and Circle lines), Charing Cross Station (Northern, Bakerloo, BR lines), Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle lines), Green Park (Piccadilly, Victoria & Jubilee lines), Victoria - Victoria, Circle & District, BR lines

Buses: 3, 11, 12, 24, 29, 53, 77a, 88, 91, 148, 159, 211, 453


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