Free Things to Do in London
It is commonly known that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Whether you are staying short-term to improve your English, or longer-term to experience a new culture, much of your budget will be spent on going out and having fun. With more daylight hours in July and August, you will also want to explore all the attractions the capital has to offer. Having lived here for seven years, I now present you with five things to do in London without spending a penny.
FOR THE ROMANTIC: Pergola and Hill Gardens
Created by the architect Lord Leverhulme, the Pergola and Hill Gardens in Hampstead is a fine example of Edwardian extravagance. This secluded secret garden, with its dramatic pathways and overgrown plants is a favourite with wedding photographers. Few places in London evokes this much atmosphere and charm, and walking through the pergola really feels like you are in a movie set. Highly recommended.
Tip: Take the 210 bus from Archway Station (towards Brent Cross) and get off at Inverforth House.
FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC: Dover Street Market
Can’t decide between shopping or an exhibition? Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garcons combines the best of both worlds at its new flagship store on the city’s Haymarket. Dover Street Market is more than just a department store, but also a design and architectural showcase. Each of the represented brands is given a designated space to exhibit their products, in a heritage listed building by Thomas Burberry in 1912.
Tip: The Rose Bakery on the 5th floor serves some of the best scones and tea in the West End.
FOR THE COUNTRYFOLK: Kenwood House
Third on our list of free things to do in London is the recently restored and renovated, Kenwood House on the edge of Hampstead Heath is one of the capital’s hidden gems. The amazing interiors were created by the 18th century architect Robert Adam, and now houses paintings by the likes of Rembrandt and Vermeer. After enjoying the unique art collection, visitors can relax in the Brew House café with one of their homemade cakes.
Tip: Don’t miss the Great Library, which was restored to its original colour scheme in 2013.
FOR THE LOVER OF HEIGHTS: Sky Garden
With 360 degrees views across the city of London, the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is one of the most exclusive spaces at night. It operates an online booking system for free visits during the day, but most people don’t realise that they have a walk-in policy from 6pm on a weekday and from 9pm at weekends. When they have explored the beautifully planted terraces and landscaped gardens, guests can enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many bars.
Tip: They have a smart casual dress code in the evening, which means no jeans, trainers, and beachwear.
FOR THE ARTIST: Victoria Miro Gallery
On display until 30th July, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition of paintings, sculptures and installations at Victoria Miro is wonderful and hypnotic experience. Those who are familiar with the artist’s works will be pleased to see the trademark pumpkins return, in all shapes, sizes and materials.
Tip: Go there on a weekday to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxing experience.