Things to do in London run the gamut from experiencing some of the most prestigious museums in the world to shopping at some of the most exclusive retailers to visiting internationally popular attractions from the London Eye to Buckingham Palace. If you are planning a trip to the city, you will find that there are a whole host of free things to do in London and a wide range of activities for just about everyone in your group.
London has been a major European settlement for at least 2,000 years from the time of the Romans gave the then newborn city the name Londinium. The long history of London and the role of England as a whole in the affairs of the rest of the world for two millennia means that the museums are filled with artifacts from every corner of the globe. Among the free things to do in London, there may not be a better option than visiting either the British Museum (located between Bloomsbury and SoHo near Russell Square) or the National Gallery. The British Museum features an encyclopedic collection of artifacts from all corners of the globe, from the Elgin Marbles to paintings and sculptures from the greatest artists in modern history. Visiting the museums are activities in London that are fun, informative, and in the case of the two above mentioned—free.
One of the most popular things to do in London is go shopping. The diverse and vibrant shopping scene in the city covers everything from highly valued antiques on the Portobello Road to Selfridges on Oxford Street and the luxury retailers of Knightsbridge. Other exciting and unique shopping experiences can be found in Camden Town, Islington, Covent Garden, SoHo, and just about every other corner of the city.
Visit this wonder of architecture that gives you 25-mile panoramic views of London on clear days. The London Eye is perhaps the most widely recognized Ferris wheel in the world. When construction was finished in 1999 it was the biggest of its kind in the world. The trip around the wheel takes over a half hour and provides eager riders the opportunity to see London from a most unique and memorable perspective.
Visiting this historic royal place of residence is another of the free things to do in London. Stand outside of the gates and watch the changing of the guard and witness the awe-inspiring Victoria Memorial Monument located in the middle of the Queen’s Gardens. Take a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park for an ice cream or a pedal boat ride when you are finished, or simply rent a chair and sit back and relax. Hyde Park, St. James Park, and Green Park are all within a few minutes' walk of the palace.
Visiting Trafalgar Square is one of the most popular activities in London. This famous destination is at the heart of the city and is accentuated the formidable Nelson’s Column, an eighteen-foot statue that commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 in which the British Admiral Nelson was victorious in one of the most contentious battles of the Napoleonic Wars. The statue is guarded by four lions that stand watch on all corners of the square. There are a variety of restaurants and stores and many of the most popular attractions are just a few steps away from the National Gallery to Piccadilly Circus.
The best way to figure out your favorite things to do in London is to get a map and walk the city. You can opt for a guided tour, but exploring on your own or with your group allows you the freedom to go at your own pace and see only the places that interest you. The public transport system is highly efficient and you can always catch a cab so do not be afraid to venture as far from your hotel as you can. There are unlimited activities in London just waiting for you to discover them. There are also a whole host of free things to do in London so get on your walking shoes and begin to make London a more familiar place for you. Also, be aware that you can purchase a London Pass which gains you access to nearly 60 attractions for a fixed cost.
You can also take boat trips down the Thames River and other such adventures that give a unique perspective of the city from the water. There are regularly scheduled cruise that start at Greenwich, Westminster, and a number of other places, all of them providing unique experiences in terms of exploring the ciy.
If you're not so much the type that likes to tackle the entire sightseeing process on your own, then you are in luck. There are a variety of tours available in London, from walking tours of some of the city's top attractions, to double deck bus tours, to audio and guided tours of all the big museums.