Making the Most of London

So…. I’m such a fidget-bum, get bored easily and relaxing just isn’t in my nature so a jam-packed City break with loads to do is always right up my street! London is one of the most spectacular cities in the world and has a plethora of things to keep anyone and everyone entertained. However, whenever I come to London, seeing as I firmly identify as a Northerner (and cheapskate student) I quiver at the prices of ….well, basically everything! However, the beauty of our capital city is, you can easily spend a day (or two!) trazzing around on the tube or pottering about on foot without hardly spending a penny! This post is my very own personal devised tour equipped with freeby things to occupy you on a day out in London, complete with underground station stops (because I’m nice like that).

 

Start at Westminster and get walking! (Westminster Tube stop on the circle and district line)

This is the main place to be for your selfies, sightseeing and holiday snaps!

Tube station: Westminster Stop on the Circle and District Line

Photo check list:

  • Big Ben – AKA Elizabeth’s tower, Britain’s most iconic clock and bringer in of the new year. Completely made of iron works but bricked up on the outside so it doesn’t look like a Tim Burton creation.
  • Houses of Parliament – The architecture is spectacular, find the rather controversial statue of Oliver Cromwell, forever known as the man who banned Christmas (and head Puritan, British civil war blab la bla)
  • Obligatory red telephone box selfie
  • St Pauls Cathedral (see if you can find the painted on window) – Site of many royal weddings and again a lot of spectacular architecture. It’s been added to by kings and queens throughout the years to make it bigger and grander.
  • Parliament square, take a selfie with Gandhi, Churchill and Nelson Mandela (and a lot of other cool, famous dead guys)

Prices if any of these have peaked your interest:

  • St Paul’s Cathedral – £2saving online with fast track entry (the queues are immense in peak season) £16 adult, £14 concession, £7 child
  • Houses of Parliament tour – Self-guided audio tours are £18.50 for adults, £16.50 for students and £7.50 for children. Guided tours are £25.50 for adults, £21 for students and £11 for Kids when booked in advance

Now you have a choice….. You can walk along the side of the houses of parliament down to the River Thames…

Photo check list:

  • Another great view of the Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
  • Beautiful view of the Thames and the London Eye
  • See if you can find the infamous Scotland Yard, sat just back from the Thames if you take the road rather than the bridge

The other option is to walk away from the Houses of Parliament towards the Household Cavalry…

Photo Check List:

  • Take a picture with the household cavalry horses – if the history of these guys interests you the household cavalry museum is very inexpensive and you can see the stables and learn a bit more about the cavalry men through time. There is also a changing of the guard here too as well as the main one at the palace.
  • 10 Downing Street – A little further down the road you will come to what shrouded view you can now see of the Prime minister’s residence. Despite the limited view, it’s still another site ticked off the hit list.

Price of the Household Cavalry Museum – Adults £7, Students and children £5

Next head to Trafalgar Square… because if you haven’t got your picture with a Trafalgar Lion then have you even been to London?

This is a fantastic place to while away some time, there are street artists and buskers which give the place a really cool atmosphere. The national art gallery sits right behind the square and is free to go and look around for all you art keenos and of course you can climb onto the lions to have your picture taken.

Tube station: Charing Cross Stop on the Northern Line

Photo Check List:

  • Look out for the LGBT road crossing signs – The pelican crossings around the square all have different LGBT symbols when the pedestrian light turns green to mark the place where the London Pride march passes through
  • Take a picture with the lion …. Beware; as I found out, it’s harder to scale those lions than it looks but definitely worth a try! Get the help of some unsuspecting strong looking fellow to help you up otherwise (I managed it on my own, all be it rather ungracefully!)
  • Trafalgar Fountains – Fun fact, the pigeons have become such a pest that they fly Falcons around early in the morning to scare them away (thankfully the Falcons are well fed to avoid a pigeon massacre) quite a clever idea!
  • Lord Nelson on his Podium
  • The National Art Gallery – It’s free so go take a look inside!
  • Whatever is on the blank aka ‘artists’ podium – in Trafalgar square every podium but one has a historical statue on it, it has now been donated for artists to show their work there, with a new piece exhibited every 12-18 months.
  • The street art and the weird and wonderful entertainers – there are some fantastic and quite frankly bizarre things in Trafalgar square, all worth a photo

When you’ve had your fill of Trafalgar walk down to the Queen’s front gates and head on down the Royal Procession

Buckingham Palace is on every tourist’s hit list when visiting London, so why not walk the same route the royalty takes on their processions? The view down to the palace is spectacular with all the union flags blowing in the breeze and the statue of Queen Victoria towering before the palace.

Tube station: Victoria Stop on the Circle and District Line

Photo Check List:

  • At about head height on the Queen’s front gates down to the royal procession see if you can Find Napoleon’s nose stuck on the side of one of the archways. This was part of an art project where a guy decided to stick noses on various buildings around the city. The one on the Queen’s gate has gained celebrity status in its own right!
  • The Royal procession
  • Queen Victoria’s statue
  • Buckingham Palace in all its glory – look out to see if the queen is in by checking what flag is flying. Her royal standard will be flown if she’s in, if not just the Union flag can be seen.
  • A photo of the Royal Guards – look up the timings for the changing of the guard to see the procession, be warned it gets incredibly busy so get there early to grab a good spot to watch.

Price to see inside Buckingham Palace (summer months only) – £23 for an adult, £21 for a student and £13 for a child

Now that you’ve checked the Palace off your list, take the scenic route back through St James’ Park…

What used to be private royal gardens has now been opened for the public to enjoy. It’s a fantastic place to sit with a picnic on a nice day and I you are a fan of nature there’s an abundance of it. Here pigeons will sit in your hand, squirrels will climb up your leg and ducks and geese will flock to you like something out of the pied piper, it’s like a scene from Snow White!

Photo Check List:

  • Look out for the Princess Diana Memorial slabs on the pavement in honour of the nation’s favourite princess
  • Take some fantastic snaps from the bridge in the centre of the park – in both directions, it looks like something out of a Disney movie with Buckingham palace at one side and the London eye at the other. Definitely a good photo opportunity!
  • Spot the pelicans – these rather unusual residents were a gift to the royal family many years ago and have thrived in the park and have become some of the most popular residents there!

If You’ve worked up an appetite from all that walking head to Camden for some cheap eats, culture and quirky shopping experience…

Camden will remain one of my favourite places in London. It has a charm in a quirky, artsy, grungy kind of way and the place, the people …everything about the place fascinates me. It’s a great cheap place to pick up souvenirs and a cheap place to get something to eat.

Tube station: Camden Town Stop on the Northern Line

Photo Check List:

  • Take photos of the amazing street art
  • Get a few snaps of the crazy high-street décor
  • Camden used to be where the horses for the royalty were housed, now converted into markets, there are still numerous horse statues to commemorate the original use of the place. These can make some great shots.

Personally… I could spend all afternoon in Camden but if you’ve had your fill I’m going to advise you visit my other favourite free destination ……. The Natural History Museum!

Tube station: Gloucester Road Stop on the Picadilly Line

Free and fabulous! The Natural History Museum is arguably one of the greatest collections in the world and the place is huge, you see new things every time and the place never ceases to leave me in awe of our earth. Take some snaps with the Dinosaurs and marvel at the colossal blue whale skeleton. I can’t even begin to list the photo ops in this place, I’d be here all day, but just take your time and spend the rest of the day soaking up some knowledge about the natural world.

8 thoughts on “Making the Most of London”

  1. Great information I wish I had this prior to our visit! We missed a lot due to cost for many of the attractions. Love your writing style very easy and entertaining to read. Karen

  2. I like your photo check lists 🙂 I live in London but I don’t think I’ve seen everything yet! Looks like you had a fabulous time!! Great photos!

  3. My son works and studies in LONDON from a couple of years. Suggested him many times to write a blog about his experiences. I will share him to explain how could be interesting..;)

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