Free Attractions in London


Winter is definitely here but there is still time to make the most of London and whether you live there or are visiting there are a whole host of free attractions to suit all tastes, so get out and beat that credit crunch. Below are a selection, please check individual web sites for additional information:

*** St Patricks Day Parade March 15th 12:00 - 18:00 Leaving Hyde Park at 12:00 ending in celebrations in Trafalgar Square. A free family day out to experience all things Irish - food, dance, crafts, culture and music. ***

*** Why not take a look at the Oxford and Cambridge boat race - lots of viewing points along the river - Sunday 29th March ***

*** 23rd April sees the St George's Day celebrations in London with a parade and celebrations at the Globe and Covent Garden ***

or make the most of the more traditional attractions in London - check out their web sites for the latest news - don't forget that museums and many art galleries are FREE entrance and we've highlighted special EASTER events for you:


The Wallace Collection (Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN). Based in a London townhouse the The Wallace Collection is a national museum. With 25 galleries covering French 18th century paintings, furniture and porcelain and a world class armoury it is not to be missed. Special half term activities and other family days - please check the web site for details.

Serpentine Gallery (Kensington Gardens W2) The Serpentine Gallery is world renowned, showcaseing work by some of the finest contemporary artists and their Talks and Events programme offers visitors a diverse selection of ways to experience, discuss and get involved in contemporary art, regardless of knowledge, experience or age.

British Museum (Great Russell Street, WC1B). The museum contains an amazing collection of art and antiquities from ancient to living cultures.  Free talks, lectures and tours together with trails for the family to enhance the whole experience.

Imperial War Museum (Lambeth Road, SE1 6HZ). Britains best know museum of war memorabilia including the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Look out for the Easter Eggsploration 2009 - a fun trail for teh children.

Kenwood House (Hampstead, NW3 7JR). A wonderful place to visit for both the house with its artwork by masters such as Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Vermeer and the grounds where scenes from Notting Hill and Mansfield Park were filmed. Don't miss the Easter Egg trail around the parkland for children over the four days of Easter .

National Gallery (Trafalgar Square, WCN2). Houses one of the greatest Western European Art collections in the world  including Monet, Van Gogh, Botticelli, Turner, and Constable – free entrance including tours and talks and family workshops.  Some special events are charged.

National Portrait Gallery ( St Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE). Celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2006 the gallery has a primary collection of 10,000 portraits with works by Holbein, Van Dyck & Reynolds, through Gainsborough, Millais & Tissot, to Cecil Beaton, David Bailey & Patrick Heron  Family events are run at weekends from March to June.                                             

National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House ( Greenwich, SE10 9NF). Various exhibitions and galleries to explore covering maritime and astronomical history, some exhibitions may make a small charge for entry.

Natural History Museum (Cromwell Road, SW7). Free entrance to world-class collections and fantastic exhibitions that aim to promote the discovery, understanding, enjoyment, and responsible use of the natural world.  They include dinosaur exhibitions and the earthquake room where you can experience an earthquake. Some temporary exhibitions may be charged for. From September 2009 Museum visitors will be able to explore, study and preserve the natural world in the new Darwin Centre - the new 8-storey, £78 million landmark building.

Science Museum (Exhibition Road, SW7). Exhibitions and hands on activities of scientific, technological and medical interest from the eighteenth century to date. Tours of the ‘behind the scenes’ collections are also available with lots of action for children you can even have your party there. Charges apply for the IMAX 3D Cinema, simulators, as well as for some special exhibitions including Wallace and Gromit present a world of Cracking Ideas from March 28th.

Somerset House (The Strand, WC2R). Housing some of the finest art in the country and a fine building too with fountains in the courtyard. Entrance to Somerset House is free including the Courtauld’s Institute Gallery, other areas are charged.

Tate  – Tate Britain (Millbank, SW1P). Britain’s national gallery of British art from tudor times to present day and Tate Modern (SE1 Bankside) the national gallery of international modern art. The latter created in 2000 from a disused power station in central London, the building itself is of as much interest as the contents. River boats are available between the two galleries (the other two Tate galleries can be found in St Ives and Liverpool).   

The Royal Parks There are nine Royal parks in London, so take your pick, with many activities throughout the summer months for young and old from guided walks to seed planting and bumblebee trails!

Victoria & Albert Museum (Cromwell Road, SW7). Composed of the V&A, in South Kensington which covers art and design over 3000 years including ceramics, textiles etc, the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green which houses one of the worlds largest and oldest collection of toys and childhood artifacts. Finally, there is the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden.

They may not be free but don’t forget:

  • two for one when you go by train on a whole host of attractions from exhibitions to theatre tickets.  
  • if you collect Tesco clubcard ( or Nectar points ( you can use those on many attractions in London, check out their websites to find the latest news.

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