10 Iconic British Experiences on a Budget

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London is expensive.
Considering you have to pay just to use the toilets in most places in the UK, it’s a miracle you can find anything to do for free, or cheaply, at all.
I am nothing if not determined. I have curated a list of the top ten things think you should do in London, and you can do it all without spending any money on admission fees!
Yeah. I’m not kidding. You can have at least 10 iconic British experiences in London for free!
 
I have also listed the nearest tube station next to each attraction for your convenience.
 
You’re welcome 😉
1. St Paul’s Cathedral – ST PAUL’S
The completely free option would be to attend one of the services. While you won’t be able to explore the Cathedral or participate in a guided tour, you will be able to experience the cathedral as well as the service.
Daily Service is offered at 7.30am, 8.00am, 12.30pm and 5.00pm, and on Sunday at 8.00am, 11.00am, 3.15pm, 4.45pm, and 6.00pm. For a truly unique experience, attend the 5.00pm weekday or the 3.15pm Sunday service that features the Choral Evensong. Their church preformances are hauntingly beautiful and wonderfully crafted.
Alternatively, entrance to the Cathedral would include entrance to the floor, crypt and the three galleries in the dome, as well as multimedia guides and guided tours. The cost is £18.00 per adult. It really boils down to what kind of experience you would like to have, and the budget you are working with.
st pauls cathedral
2. Victoria and Albert Museum – SOUTH KENSINGTON 
The V&A is the world’s largest decorative arts and design museum with over 145 galleries that span 5000 years of art from ancient times through to present day. This museum is incredibly beautiful and would probably take days to properly explore the entire thing, so it’s no wonder it has become one of the country’s best-loved cultural institutions.

3. Changing of the Guard – GREEN PARK/ST JAMES PARK

My main advice for this experience is simply this: Triple check the date you want to go by visiting the Changing of the Guard calendar HERE. The crowds do get quite large in the summer time, so if you can try to go to one that isn’t happening at 11.00am (which is the main and most popular time). Either way, it is probably the most iconic London experience and it is completely free.
changing of the guard

4. Trafalgar Square – CHARING CROSS 
My advice for Trafalgar Square is to go on a weekend in the early afternoon! That tends to be when the street performers come out in full force and brings the entire square to life. Everything from live music to levitation is on display. The square itself is picturesque with the backdrop of the National Gallery  and it’s many fountains, statues and memorials scattered throughout. This is a great place to grab a seat and enjoy a packed lunch!

5. Westminster Abbey – WESTMINSTER
This is pretty similar to St Pauls Cathedral. The free option is to attend a service. The service times at Westminster Abbey are generally Weekdays at 7.30am, 8.00am, 12.30pm, and 5.00pm. On Sunday they offer service at 8.00am, 10.00am, 11.15am, 3.00pm, 5.45pm and 6.30pm. Admission for general visitors is  £20.00 per adult and would include a Verger Guided Tour.
Westminster Abbey

6. Golden Jubilee Bridge – CHARING CROSS
This bridge is located very close to Trafalgar Square in the heart of the West End. While it is beautiful during the day as well, it truly offers an incredible night skyline with Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and the London Eye illuminating the Thames River below.

7. St. Dunstan’s-in-the-East – MONUMENT 
St. Dunstan’s is one of the few remaining structures from the aftermath of the London Blitz. Once the war was over the property was not restored, but rather converted into a garden. It is a stunning piece of history that sits tucked behind the modern architecture of East London.
st dunstans
8. Camden – CAMDEN TOWN

The North West District of Camden is chock full of markets, shopping, pubs, restaurants, street art, and colour. While I can’t guarantee that you won’t end up spending money shopping here, it is simply a beautiful and eclectic part of London that is absolutely worth an afternoon of wandering around. Be sure to check out Regent’s Canal while you are in the area, and if you are looking for some incredible nightlife this is definitely the place to be.


9. British Museum – TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD
The British Museum is super central, super beautiful, and super FREE. It offers a wide selection of exhibits, the most extensive being the Egypt exhibit. While many museums in major cities tend to have expensive admission prices, London has so many amazing free museums to explore. I highly recommend you take advantage while visiting London.

British Museum
10. Imperial War Museum – LAMBETH NORTH
With exhibitions like Curiosities of War, The Holocaust Exhibition, Edmund Clark: War on Terror, and Syria: A War Explored, this museum offers a wide and unique view on many of the wars of the past and present. With many describing it as eerie and haunting, I also find it incredibly intriguing and eye-opening. It is open daily from 10am-6pm, including bank holidays, and you guessed it, it’s FREE!

Do you know of any iconic, budget friendly London experiences? Let me know in the comments below!

– Kenzie


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