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The Pergola in Hill Garden, Golders Hill Park

Wednesday 25 January 2012

London For Free

As much as we love London, it can be an expensive city. That said, there are plenty of memorable places you can visit for free. Here are our top five:

1. The South Bank
Talking a walk along the South Bank is one of the best ways to get to know London and, if you haven't already, fall in love with it. It's a journey that even the most seasoned Londoners enjoy repeating!

Take the Jubilee line to Westminster station and cross the River Thames via Westminster Bridge (the one next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament). There are steps leading down to the riverside walk on your left – take these and head towards the London Eye and beyond.

On a weekend, the South Bank bustles with activity. There are always plenty of street performers and buskers, as well as a massive second-hand book sale outside the BFI Southbank. Keep on walking and you'll pass the OXO tower, the Tate Modern (also free) and the replacer Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Further on you'll see HMS Belfast, a Royal Navy cruiser which now functions as a floating museum, and then finally the beautiful Tower Bridge.
http://www.southbankwalks.com


2. Museums
You'll be amazed at how many of London's biggest museums are completely free. Our favourites include the British Museum (glorious architecture and a dazzling range of exhibits), the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs!), and the V&A, which houses more than 4.5 million works and is reputed to be the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design.

There are too many to go into much detail, but Time Out online has a great guide to the city’s free museums: http://www.timeout.com/london/feature/1461/free-museums-in-london


3. Spitalfields
Old Spitalfields Market is – as the name suggests – not only old, but the capital's oldest: it was established in 1638. In recent years it has evolved into a trendy weekend haunt for shoppers and food lovers. It can get really busy on Sundays, and the market stalls are not open on Saturdays (only the shops), but if you're unperturbed by a bit of hustle and bustle you'll love browsing Spitalfields' mix of vintage, handmade and commercial fare.
http://www.spitalfields.co.uk


4. Speakers' Corner
Bear with us on this one – it will require getting up early on a Sunday morning! Speakers' Corner is found in the north-east of Hyde Park, and it’s a spot where anyone can turn up and talk on any subject they wish to whoever fancies listening, as long as the speech in question doesn’t tread any dodgy ground (such as inciting racial violence). While this isn't unique to London, the concept did originate here before spreading to several other countries. Past speakers have included Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell. Although there is no designated 'slot' for speakers to appear, Sunday mornings are the best time to visit.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakers%27_Corner


5. Golders Hill Park
Keeping closer to home, we love Golders Hill Park. It's only 15 minutes from campus. Although this park is relatively small compared to its neighbour, Hampstead Heath, it includes a miniature zoo with lemurs and kookaburras, and some well-maintained tennis courts. Our favourite part of the park is Hill Garden (accessed through woodland beyond the deer enclosure), which features a gorgeous Pergola. Well worth a little exploration!
http://bit.ly/wCUjc7

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