Explore mysterious Stonehenge and nearby Lacock, Wiltshire.

Explore mysterious Stonehenge and nearby Lacock, Wiltshire.

Stonehenge is a fun and historic attraction not too far from Bath.  It could also be a day trip from London by bus (2.5 hours) or train to Salisbury. In Salisbury, you will have to pick up a bus.

If coming from Bath, there are some tours that advertise in the city.  Just purchase your ticket for the tour and hop on the bus (round trip).  This tour was one for Stonehenge. However, it also included another small town called Lacock which was 15 minutes from Bath.

Stonehenge

Once you arrive at Stonehenge, purchase a timed ticket from EnglishHeritage.org, to view the stones.  While this ticket can be purchased online ahead of time, do note that you have to arrive in the time that your ticket is stamped for.  If visiting in a peak timeframe (ie. Summer), then it makes sense to buy a timed ticket.  If non-peak, then buy your ticket on-site.  Click here for pricing & times.

A visitor center resides next to the stones where you can get all the history of the stones and the area.  Definitely worth it to check out.  From the visitor’s center, walk down a platform and walkway towards the stones.  They are roped off so as to preserve them.  But your best pictures are from a distance anyways so that you can get the circle effect.

Stonehenge, along with Avebury, constitutes a World Heritage Site.

For other things to see and do at Stonehenge, click here.

Solstice@Stonehenge

Visit Stonehenge during the summer and winter solstice and gain free admission to the site.  Check your calendars to reconfirm if June 21,2017 is the summer solstice.  Crowds gather at sunset and sunrise to view a beautiful scene at the stones.

 

 

Lacock, Wiltshire

After Stonehenge, the tour stopped at Lacock (Wiltshire), a very quaint, small and charming town.  This town is owned by the National Trust (after being bequeathed in 1958).

Some pictures of this lovely town.

 

 

Per our tour guide, this house was used in one of the Harry Potter films as Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia’s home.  I’m not sure of which movie in the series it is.

 

stonehenge lacock

 

St Cyriac church

An interesting tidbit about this church is that it’s where Camila Parker Bowles’ (yes, that Camila) daughter got married in 2006.  It’s a very small church in comparison to Lacock Abbey in the town center.  Lacock Abbey was also used in Harry Potter Sorcerer’s Stone.  St. Cyriac is smaller but more charming and blends in perfectly with the surrounding homes and cobblestone streets.

 

stonehenge lacock

 

I would advise/recommend this tour from Bath (or London).  Depending on how long you would like to spend at either Stonehenge or Lacock (or other village), it can be done in a day trip from London or ½ day from Bath.  Coming out into the countryside really shows a different side of England than the very cosmopolitan London.

To read more about Bath, check out my post, Visit Bath on a beautiful day trip from London.

 

Visit Bath on a beautiful day trip from London

Visit Bath on a beautiful day trip from London

Visit Bath in a relaxing and beautiful day trip from London.  The city of Bath is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Bath is aptly named because of the thermal hot springs that bubble up to the surface within the city. Hence, the city is considered a spa town. In addition, Bath has been referenced many times in English literature. Most notably by Jane Austen who was also a resident of the city at one point.

Bath is elegant, beautiful and easy to navigate. There are two time periods reflected in the city’s architecture – Roman & Georgian.  As you walk around, you’ll notice them in the buildings and town which have been very well kept/preserved.

 

visit bath

 

The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are a unique attraction with over 1 million liters of water bubbling up through this hot spring at a 46 degree Celsius or 114.8 degree Fahrenheit.  That is hot, hot, hot.  Check out the Roman Bath walkthrough for a close up look.  Click here for a Roman Baths Floorplan.

Although the Roman baths are no longer used publicly for bathing, there are other spas in town for spa-ing. Do note that the popular, Thermae Bath Spa, isn’t the Roman baths. This is a rooftop bath/spa.

 

visit bath abbey

Bath Abbey

Nearby to the Roman Baths is Bath Abbey.  Admire the beautiful architecture outside and inside.

 

visit bath abbey

The Fashion Museum

Visit a fascinating and fun Fashion museum that showcases clothing from the Georgian time period. Previously called the Costume museum, in 2007 there was a name change and the size of the museum tripled.  This museum is in a building called the Assembly Rooms which is also a beautiful example of Georgian art and architecture. The Assembly Rooms are free to enter but the fashion museum requires a ticket. Onsite, grab a tea or bite at the Assembly Room café.

The costume museum is in the basement and often showcases changing exhibits of clothing from the 17th, 18th and sometimes 16th century.  Also, there are exhibits featuring more modern clothing.  However, the dresses and gloves shown below are from a different era.

 

Take a stroll around Bath

There are lots of shops and places to eat in Bath. The city is bustling with retail activity.

 

visit bath
visit bath

Bath offers so much to see

In addition, there are fun rabbit sculptures in the city, Royal Victoria Park (named after Queen Victoria, 1800’s), Pulteney Bridge which crosses over the River Avon and No 1 Royal Crescent or The Circus which shows off beautiful architecture. Check out the slide show below for these sights and more during your visit to Bath.

 

Getting there – Visit Bath

To visit Bath, easily access the train, bus or car.  From London’s Paddington station, purchase your train ticket to Bath Spa (and return ticket).  This trip is 90 minutes.

There is a slower train from Waterloo at a cheaper price.  However, if you are going as a day trip, I would advise to take the train from Paddington instead.

In addition, there are coach buses (National Express, etc) going to Bath from London.  This can take 3-4 hours and for a day trip doesn’t make sense.  I think your time would be better spent taking the faster train from Paddington.  Bath has a lot to see and it’s better to spend your time sightseeing in Bath than on a bus.

 

Roman Baths

Bath Abbey

The Fashion Museum

Queen Victoria Park

Pulteney Bridge

How to plan a trip to London on a budget

How to plan a trip to London on a budget

How to plan a trip to London on a Budget

London is one of the most vibrant, dynamic, culture-filled cities in the world.  Thus, it often makes its way on to many travelers’ short list of must-see places.  Unfortunately, it is also one of the most expensive.  However, if you plan your vacation, there’s no reason why you couldn’t travel to London and see all the sights that you want.  Below, I share some tips to do just that – Plan a trip to London on a Budget!

 

1.  Save with a favorable Currency rate

Now is a great time to take advantage of the current exchange rate on the British pound.  When I visited London, it was 2 British pounds to 1 USD, which is expensive for most travelers.  Today, the exchange rate is closer to 1 British pound to 1 USD.  Thus, London is basically 50% off which makes it the perfect destination for anyone looking for a budget trip!  Finally, it won’t break the bank to take a trip across the pond and actually be able to comfortably sightsee, eat and travel.

 

2.  Get a London Pass

The London Pass is a sightseeing pass to major attractions around London.  Depending on how long you plan to visit London, getting this pass can result in significant savings.  Take a look at my blog post, Is the London Pass worth it? for more detailed info on visiting major London attractions at a discounted rate.  Also, check out Take a Royal Tour -Visit 4 Royal palaces and Visit the Top sights in Central London.  These will give you more details on attractions to see with your London Pass.

 

3.  Get a Transportation Pass

There are numerous transportation options in London.  But using them in a single format can add up budget wise.  Consider getting a transportation pass to get more savings as you move about.  My post, “How to get around London”, discusses the various transportation options for you to get the most bang for your buck.  If you’re coming from the airport, there are also options for you to save on trains from the airport to central London.  The 2nd tab of this post discusses “Travel Card vs. Oyster Card” references two pass options for London tube/metro, bus and rail.  There can be significant savings from a transportation pass as you get around London.

 

4.  Discover free things to see and do

In a city as large as London, there are countless options for entertainment and culture.  And not all of them have to be costly.  Discover “10 Free things to see and do in London” for 10 great options to stay on budget while in London.  These 10 things could keep you busy for a few days and they are all centrally located & free.

 

5.  Food on a budget

There are some great options for eating cheaply in London including the many ethnic restaurants and outdoor markets.  You can opt to purchase your meals at these places, any small shops selling sandwiches or grab a tea and snack.  You also have the option to bring back your food to your hotel or lodging.  Thus, avoiding a service charge at a sit-down restaurant.

You can cook your meals but I just don’t believe in that for vacation.  Breakfast maybe. I usually buy breakfast items at a supermarket. However, this is more “assembly” than “cooking”.  Dinner can be had so cheaply in London that I recommend “take-away” instead.  Try a kebab house, Indian food or a food market.  Besides, if you are like me, you’ll be in the throes of sightseeing that dinner time will sneak up on you and you’ll have to make some quick decisions.

 

6.  Secure an Award Ticket or Reservation 

Getting a flight to London and securing accommodation can still be pricey.  However, if you get a travel credit card (either hotel or airline card) with a big points/miles sign-on bonus, you will have lots of loyalty points/miles banked.   This will enable you to secure an Award flight or hotel reservation using points or miles.  Sometimes, your plane ticket or hotel can be completely free.

Or, you can use a combination of points and $money or miles and $money to help cut the cost of your hotel or flight.  Either way, it’s a savings that leaves you with extra money in your pocket to spend on your vacation.

Another option is using a % cash back card so that when you book your flight or hotel, you get back a %.  It’s like a small discount off the price.  Still prefer the Award Ticket or reservation however as that can be minimal or zero money out of pocket.  For inspiration on Award travel, review my post, “How to travel on an Italian vacation for free” for how I did this on my Italy trip.

 

7.  Find affordable Lodging

If not using award travel (above), consider a hostel or Airbnb for a family or larger group.  These options will allow you to take control of your lodging budget.  Also, consider hotels outside of central London.  The savings you get from a discounted hotel room rate can add up.  And, you can put some of those savings towards a Transporation Pass (#3 above) that you may have gotten anyways.

 

Visit the Top sights in Central London

Visit the Top sights in Central London

Top sights in Central London

There are many top sights in Central London to visit, in addition to the Royal Palaces.  Many of these structures were built almost 1,000 years ago and is a testament to the upholding of British tradition of ceremony.  Many are used by the Royals today as well as every day Londoners.  If you’re sightseeing, consider checking these sights out.  They are all included in the London Pass. Read my post, Is London Pass worth it?

 

Westminster Abbey

A UNESCO World Heritage site

 

Top sights in Central London - Westminster Abbey

 

If you appreciate Gothic architecture, then you will love this church.  It’s equally beautiful on the outside and on the inside.  In recent events, it’s memorable for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William & Kate) on 4/1/11.  However, there’s a lot more history to Westminster.  Since 1066, the British monarch has used Westminster Abbey for coronations, weddings, burials and commemorations.  Queen Elizabeth, the longest serving monarch, was coronated here in 1953.  There are over 3,300 people buried in Westminster.  Some notable names include Charles Dickens, Chaucer, Isaac Newton, Henry V, the Tudors (except Henry VIII), etc.

When I visited, I was amazed by two things: 1) How intricate and beautiful the architecture was and 2) How much smaller it was than what I saw on TV.  It’s true what they say, TV does add an extra 10 pounds, lol.  When Kate walked down the aisle, it seemed so much larger.  But maybe she just walked really, really slow.  It’s amazing what all fits in that space.

Check out the abbey treasures and other Westminster Abbey information.

Westminster Abbey is next to the Westminster Palace or House of Parliament.  Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the famous Big Ben clock tower is attached to Parliament.  Also, there are sometimes a very raucous session of politicians in session.  Parliament has tours but note that it is in a separate building from the Westminster Abbey church.

Click on my two brochures that provide more description on Westminster Abbey 1 and Westminster Abbey 2.

For directions, click here.

 

St Paul’s Cathedral

 

Top sights in Central London - St Pauls Cathedral & Millenium Bridge

 

St. Paul’s Cathedral is an architectural must-see which was designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren (who also worked on Hampton Court Palace).  The cathedral is impressive inside and out.  Some of you may recall this cathedral from the wedding of Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.

Another memorable association is from the movies.  St. Paul’s has been featured in Mary Poppins, 2 Harry Potter films and others.  One is the scene in Prisoner of Azkaban when students are climbing the staircase to Professor Trelawny’s Divination classroom.  This is the Geometric Staircase, located in the South West Bell Tower of St. Paul’s.  Another is during the scene in The Half-Blood Prince when the dementors swoop around St. Paul’s and cause the Millenium Bridge to collapse.

To explore the cathedral in more detail, click here.

Climbing to the top

If you have the time, I recommend climbing to the top of the dome.  Within the cathedral, there are 3 levels of ascent to the top.  The first ascent is to the Whispering Gallery (259 steps up).  Here you can whisper along the wall to someone sitting on the opposite side of the circle 100 feet away.  A whisper travels around the wall circle to the other person.  This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced and it’s an architectural marvel.  This isn’t the only or first whispering wall as I believe their origins are from Arabia.

The second ascent is to the Stone Gallery which is outside on the perimeter of the dome (378 steps up).  From here, you can take pictures of your climb and outside.  The final and highest ascent is to the Golden Gallery which is around the lantern’s base (530 steps up).  This level offers the best pictures for panoramic London.

For directions, click here.

Click my brochure for more information on St Pauls Cathedral.

 

Tower of London

A UNESCO World Heritage site

 

Top sights in Central London - Tower of London

 

Almost 1000 years old, the Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror to protect Norman rule.  The Tower of London is actually a fortress, castle and prison in one guarded complex.  The Medieval Palace was where the Royal members resided and the Tower Green is where the prisoners were held.

Just below the Tower Green, in the courtyard, is the ‘Scaffold site ‘ where many were beheaded.  Memorable names include Anne Boleyn (Queen of England to Henry VII), Catherine Howard (Queen of England to Henry VII), Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days after Henry VII’s death), Thomas Cromwell and Robert Devereaux.  Conclusion: don’t mess with Henry VII because he’ll have your head chopped off!

Henry VII actually was very paranoid especially towards the end of his life.  He had many of his wives beheaded.  In addition, he formed the “Beefeaters” who were his bodyguards at the fortress.  They were his “taste-testers” in case someone tried to poison his beef.  Ie. in case someone had a ‘beef’ with King Henry lol.  These Beefeaters are known today as Yeoman Wardens and are still at the castle.  However, they no longer taste food but keep the security of the castle under ‘lock and key’ literally.  The Yeomen give tours every 30 minutes lasting 60 minutes.

Henry VII was an interesting character.  I’ve read many of Phillipa Gregory’s novels about the different royals and supporting persons that were at court during Henry’s time.  I would recommend a read to any of her books if you’re interested in this time period.

The Crown Jewels

But the piece de la resistance of the Tower of London is the Crown Jewels.  They are spectacular and do live up to the hype.  The collection contains royal pieces that are used for ceremonial occasion (such as a coronation) as well as jewels that are in use regularly.

When I visited, there was a moving belt (like the ones you see at airports) to move you along as you view the Koh-i-noor diamond on top of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth.  This diamond is so spectacular that it is the crown jewel of them all (IMO).  There is a moving belt so that tourists don’t flock to the Crown and remain there.  I can see why they have the belt but I need more time to gape.  Thus, you have to have your camera out and ready.  You can rejoin the queue to get back on the belt if you want.  Lots of beautiful shiny objects in here.

Considered one of the top sights in central London, definitely take the time to explore this complex.

For directions, click here. Located at Underground/Metro: Tower Hill.

Click on my brochure to find a map and details of Tower of London.

 

Tower Bridge

 

Top sights in Central London - Tower Bridge

Photo by Richard Ley

This unique and famous London landmark is an interesting and historical attraction.  Here, you’ll experience the glass walkways or bridges connecting the two towers.  Then, learn about the history and see the bridge lift up.  In addition, get some great pictures of London from this vantage point.   Choose between panoramic view of London (looking up and out) or birds eye view (looking down/below) of the bridge opening.

Watch this video (from Tower Bridge UK website) and experience the glass walkway of Tower Bridge.

 

 

Click on my brochure for more information about Tower Bridge.

For Bridge lift times, click here.

For directions, click here.

 

Westminster Abbey

Tower of London

Tower Bridge

St Paul's Cathedral

Take a Royal Tour of London – Visit 4 Royal Palaces

Take a Royal Tour of London – Visit 4 Royal Palaces

Take a Royal Tour of London.  Visit 4 Royal Palaces.

 

When planning my trip to London, one of the sightseeing areas of interest that I was drawn to was the Royal Palaces. For Americans, the Royal family and all their goings-ons are almost like a make-believe. We don’t have an equivalent here in the US yet there is a fascination with this group of people and their lifestyle. They seem to be Britain itself. And when you are in London, it’s hard to not notice all the souvenirs of HRH (Her Royal Highness) and Royal stuff.

Luckily, with my London Pass in hand, a few of the Royal residences were included so I could see what all the fuss is about. The only Royal residence that is a separate ticket is Buckingham Palace.

So, let’s begin our Royal Tour of London.

 

Buckingham Palace

 

Royal Tour of London
Royal Tour of London

Open only during the summer months of July and August.  Buckingham Palace is both a residence and an official, working office.

Here you’ll see the 19 State apartments furnished with items from the Royal Collection as well as the Picture Gallery.  Your ticket will also get you access to “Royal Gifts”.  This is a special 2017 exhibit that displays the many gifts the Queen has received during her reign from all over the world.

I visited prior to 2017 so I haven’t seen the Royal Gifts” exhibit.  However, during my visit, some of these items were on display at the Tower of London.  It’s amazing what small, non-wealthy, 3rd world countries will part with to give as a gift to the queen.  When I visited, there was a gown exhibit/ display of the different outfits worn by Queen Elizabeth during her reign.  Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the State Rooms so I have no pics to show for that.  The apartments are very lavish and decorated with many different art works and beautiful furniture.

Although there’s no photography in the state rooms, you can take pictures in the garden.

Currently, Buckingham Palace is also offering a Royal Day Out.  This includes the Palace along with the Royal Mews and Royal Art Gallery.  For directions, click here.

 

Kensington Palace

 

Royal Tour of London - Kensington Gardens Sunken Gardens

 

Kensington is synonymous with Princess Diana as it was her residence during her life.  Today, William and Kate and Harry now reside at Kensington.  But there are parts of the Palace still open for the public.

Your London Pass provides entrance to Kensington but do make note of the days and times.  Read my blog post, Is London Pass worth it?

Kensington Palace features the King and Queen apartments and the Kings Gallery and Staircase.  An exhibit called Enlightened Princesses is also included in your entry ticket (now until November 2017).  In addition, the Sunken Gardens (pictured above) is being transformed in honor of Princess Diana to “The White Garden“.  This altered garden recently opened in the spring (April 2017 through summer) and features mostly white flowers and plants that are inspired by Princess Diana’s life and memories.  From the pictures, the White Garden looks very beautiful.  2017 marks the 20th year since her death.  Thus, there are many special events planned in her honor this year.

 

Diana, her Fashion Story

 

There is an exhibit called “Diana, her Fashion Story” which has been brought back to display (open Feb 2017-2018).  During my visit to Kensington (a few years ago), I was able to see this exhibit and I do recommend seeing it.  It’s a showcase of Diana’s famous gowns and clothing as well as photographs (many of them very, very large and in black and white) by Mario Testino.  Diana resided at Kensington Palace and having this exhibit there to commemorate her seems only fitting.  I felt as if something would be missing if she wasn’t somehow a part of the Palace.  And, I was happy to hear that this exhibit was revived.  It’s also sold out on many dates.

Click the link for a look at a copy of my Kensington Palace brochure.

In addition, I recommend a stop over at The Orangery which is part of Kensington Palace.  Grab lunch or a tea service in an elegant and beautiful setting.

Hampton Court Palace & Gardens

 

Royal Tour of London - Hampton Court
Royal Tour of London - Hampton Court Palace

 

One of my favorite Palaces anywhere, Hampton Court Palace, doesn’t disappoint.

It’s a sprawling building with many things to see inside and out.  There are state apartments, Henry VIII’s Great Hall, Henry VIII’s Kitchens, the Chocolate Kitchens, a Royal Chapel and an art gallery.

Outside there’s as much stuff to see as inside.  This includes the Great Maze (the largest maze in the world), beautiful & intricate gardens reconstructed to mirror the original 1700’s style, the Kitchen Gardens (where food was planted and reaped), Royal tennis courts and the Great Vine (the largest single vine producing grapes!).

Attached is a copy of my Hampton Court Palace brochure so you can see the layout of the Palace and descriptions.

 

Royal Tour of London - Hampton Court Gardens

 

My favorite part was the Gardens.  There, I took a ton of pictures with the well manicured trees shaped into upside-down ice cream cones.  When I was there, they had not discovered the Chocolate Rooms as yet.  So boo-hoo for me to not see that because I just love chocolate!

You can get a free Audio Tour of Hampton Court Palace & Gardens.  There are some guided tours as well but those are seasonal.

Plan on taking some time to get out to Hampton Court.  It is 40 minutes to an hour from central London by train.  As well, plan on at least a half day to enjoy the Palace and Gardens leisurely.  For directions, click here.

Attached is a copy of my Hampton Court Gardens brochure which shows a map of the Gardens and short descriptions.

 

Windsor Castle

 

Royal Tour of London

 

Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world (900+ years), is where the Queen typically spends her weekends.  If she is in residence, her personal banner (standard) flies from the Round Tower.  The Castle is also used for state and ceremonial affairs and is considered to be ‘in use’ or a ‘working’ Palace.

Entry will get you into the State Apartments, St. George’s Chapel (weekdays – visitors; weekends – worship only) and the semi-state apartments (in winter only).  You’ll also be able to see Mary’s Dolls House which is incredible that such detail went into a dolls house.

Click this link to explore the different rooms of the Dolls House.

Or watch the Vimeo video below from The Royal Collection Trust about the restoration of the Dolls House.

 

 

If you have a London Pass, Windsor Castle is included as a pass attraction.  For more information, read my blog post, Is London Pass worth it?

To get the full history of Windsor, join the Precincts Tour, a guided tour, which lasts 30 minutes and is free!

As well, M-Sa at 11am, there is a ‘Changing the Guard’ ceremony at Windsor (in addition to the one at Buckingham Palace).  The ceremony starts in the town of Windsor and arrives/ends at Windsor.  This occurs between April and end of June and on alternate days for the remainder of the year.

Check the timetable if/when booking to make sure the Palace is open and what you can see with your tickets at what time.

Click on a copy of my Windsor brochure for a map of Windsor Castle.

Click here for directions.

Madames and Messieurs, this concludes our Royal Tour of London and its many Royal Palaces. Now, get a spot of tea and move it along.

10 FREE things to see and do in London!

10 FREE things to see and do in London!

Photos by (1) Roberto Catarinicchia, (2) Fano Miasta and (3) Patxi Olaeta

10 Free Things to See and Do in London!

1.  Changing the Guard

10 free things to see and do in London

As the name implies, this is a ceremony that involves one Guard regiment changing over to another during the course of 45 minutes. Held outside of Buckingham Palace during the morning, this is quintessential English pageantry at its best. Click here for exact times and more information.  Metro / Tube: Victoria, Green Park or St. James Park.

 

2.  Covent Garden

10 free things to see and do in London

Located in the West End area of London, Covent Garden Piazza consists of 3 covered buildings filled with all types of shops selling all types of things: British-made crafts, teas, handmade soaps, leather, jewelry, antiques, sweets, arts, crafts, etc. There are also many restaurants around the 3 buildings. Metro / Tube: Covent Garden.

 

3.  Flower Market – Columbia Road

10 free things to see and do in London

Photo by Alice Achterhof

Open Sundays 8am-3pm, Columbia Road transforms to a street filled with flowers and plants, many grown locally. As well, there are 60+ independent retail shops on Columbia Road with handmade, artisan goods. For a street view of Columbia Road, click here.

Closest Metro / Tube: Bethanal Green or Old Street. It’s a lengthy walk from the Metro stations. Better to take the bus – click here for bus & parking info.

 

4.  Trafalgar Square

10 free things to see and do in London

Visit Trafalgar Square, a main spot for people gathering and people watching. Stop by the National Museum which is located on the north side of the square (also free). And, take your pictures with the large Landseer lions, fountain, Nelson’s Column and beautiful architecture in the largest square in London. Metro / Tube: Charing Cross

 

5.  National Portrait Museum

10 free things to see and do in London

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Not only does this museum house many British faces of the past but some of the present. The most recent was Duchess Kate and the Queen Majesty.   If you are inspired by all those portraits, you can sign up for a free drawing class on Thursdays or Fridays 6-9pm, aptly called, Drop in Drawings.  Metro / Tube: Charing Cross or Leicester’s Square.

 

6.  Kensington Gardens

10 free things to see and do in London

Stroll through the greenery at this 275 acre park & garden. Visit the Italian water gardens, the Albert Memorial (an ornate dedication to Prince Albert), the Peter Pan statue, the Princess Diana playground, the Serpentine Sacker Art gallery and many more. Click here for more detailed info.  Metro / Tube: Queensway, Lancaster Gate or Bayswater.

 

7.  Piccadilly Circus

10 free things to see and do in London

Piccadilly Circus is alive, vibrant and constantly in-motion. I would compare it to Times Square in NYC. There are lots of souvenir vendors, restaurants, buses, people, advertisements, lights and action. Not to be missed. For me, when I think of London, I always think of Piccadilly. The name alone warrants a visit. You can pick up some fun, cheap souvenirs in this square.  Metro / Tube: Piccadilly Circus.

 

8.  Borough Market

10 free things to see and do in London

Bring your appetite to this food market featuring over 100 stalls/vendors filled with bakery, cafes, street food as well as cheese, meats, dairy, seafood, fruits, veggies, etc.  A limited number of stalls are open M-Sa 10am – 5pm.  However, the full market is open W-Sa 10am – 5pm (or 6pm on Friday).  Expect the weekend to be the busiest. There is locally-made/produced food as well as food from abroad.  Metro / Tube: London Bridge.

 

9.  National History Museum

10 free things to see and do in London

Explore dinosaurs, volcanoes, moths, photography and more. Most notable is the Photographer of the year and the Leopard photography exhibit. Most exhibitions are free but there are some that are not (like the After-hours or Butterfly exhibit).  Click for hours & admission, exhibits and map.  Metro / Tube: Gloucester Road or South Kensington.

 

10.  Walking Tour of London

10 free things to see and do in London

Photo by Johan Mouchet

Get to know different areas of London from a Londoner! Don your most comfy pair of sneakers and join a walking tour of London with any of these companies: Strawberry Tours or Free London Walking Tours. While tours are free, be kind and leave a tip. You can also get a map from the London Tourist Info which shows different walking routes.