While accommodation and dining out in London can eat up a large proportion of a traveller’s budget, there are many ways to save money in the capital and still not miss out on the many activities and London attractions that are free.
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It’s a wonderful city to explore, but it is vast. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have full mobility and there are mobility products available that can help. Powered wheelchairs like these from Fenetic Wellbeing have been designed to help the user push themselves along independently meaning they can enjoy the city in its entirety.
Many of the capital’s major museums are free to enter. Although contributions are warmly accepted, there’s no formal entry fee for world-class institutions like the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert or the Natural History Museum. The British Museum in particular is an essential attraction for travellers on every budget. It’s an eclectic delight; a vast complex of galleries featuring graceful Greek and Roman art, brooding Aztec religious items and unforgettable Egyptian statuary.
The British Museum is situated in the gracious area of Bloomsbury, very close to the leafy expanse of Russell Square. Instead of spending money on the over-priced cafes of the area, why not pack a picnic and enjoy it in the square, taking in the beautiful Victorian architecture of the surrounding buildings?
Although London is a vast and sprawling city, it can be highly rewarding to explore on foot. Take the Tube to Westminster and walk the Parliament Square area; you’ll see the gorgeous Victorian Gothic design of the Houses of Parliament and of course Big Ben. Keep an eye out for famous journalists and politicians; they often record short interviews in the small park outside the Houses of Parliament.
If you’re interested in politics you may even be able to attend the proceedings of one of the parliamentary select committees and see inside the building itself. Details of forthcoming committee meetings can be found at the parliamentary website.
Shopping in London can be a delight, even if you don’t intend to spend much money. The affluent area of Knightsbridge is home to Harrods, one of the best-known department stores in the world. Be sure to take some time to explore this monument to luxury; the Victorian-style sculpture in the store’s food halls alone are worth a visit.
Smaller shops are to be found in Covent Garden; a largely pedestrianised complex of market halls where you can window shop for hours. You’ll often find a variety of street entertainers drawing crowds of tourists here; some more talented than others!
If your tastes run to the alternative, try the Goth-Mecca that is Camden market, where you’ll find more corsets and Doc Martens than you ever imagined in one place.
Depending on the timing of your visit, you may be able to catch one of the many community events that take place in the city throughout the year. Chinese New Year, the Notting Hill Carnival and Trooping the Colour on the Queen’s birthday in June are all free to attend.
London has a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world and it’s not entirely unjustified. With a little forward planning, a good street map and some comfortable shoes, though, the savvy traveller can have a wonderful time in the capital.
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