Top 5 free places to visit in London

London is an incredibly popular tourist destination, and is also one of the most expensive – it can be off-putting when some attractions cost upwards of £100 for a family to visit, but there’s no reason you can’t have a good time in London on a smaller budget – in fact, some places cost nothing at all and are great fun for the whole family. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.

  1. The National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place, WC2

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Photo: Julie Kertesz

The National Portrait Gallery boasts an amazing collection of original portraits in a variety of mediums and styles, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Some exhibits sometimes charge an admission fee, but the permanent collection is always free and features paintings, photography, drawings, sculptures, and more by a wide range of famous artists.

  1. Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10

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Photo: Bruno Girin

This delightful park is the largest of the capital’s eight royal parks, covering over 2,500 acres of unspoiled woodlands, grasslands and hills. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve, Richmond Park is home to around 650 deer, as well as other wild animals including foxes, birds, bats, shrews, mice and voles.

  1. The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7

The science museum is open daily from 10am until 6pm, and is a wonderful place to visit for all ages. With over 15000 objects on display, there’s something here for everyone, whether it’s the Apollo 10 command capsule, Stephenson’s Rocket, or the amazing interactive ‘Who am I’ exhibition. Great fun for adults and children alike.

  1. Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace, SW1

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For a quintessentially British display of pomp, ceremony and tradition, look no further than the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace. The ‘Changing the Guard’ or ‘Guard Mounting’, is the process involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard which happens every day between April and July, and every other day for the remainder of the year. It occurs at 11:30am, but make sure you get there by 11:15 to get a good viewing spot.

  1. Barbican Conservatory, Silk St, London EC2

This hidden gem in London’s famous Barbican Centre, the conservatory is open on Sundays and is home to exotic fish and over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, and is the perfect way to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends and family, especially during the winter, as the heated greenhouse provides all the enjoyment of the outdoors without anything so harsh as the famously bitter British weather! The conservatory is sometimes closed on Sundays for special events, so be sure to check the timetable at http://www.barbican.org.uk/visitor-information/conservatory.

Ask at your London hotel reception for more info.