This week I thought I’d do a little post on six FREE things to do in London (as I’ve done quite a lot of them, and as a former Londoner myself I thought it would be a great thing to do)! I’ve entitled this part 1, as there is a LOT to do in London and lots of free things that I plan to so in the future!
So, if you only have a few days next time you go to London, be sure to consider some of these lovely things to do – fun for the whole family – enjoy! 😊
no.1: Visit the Horniman Museum & Gardens, Forest Hill, Southeast London
Formally called the Horniman Free Museum, it it a lovely place to go to in the suburbs of London, in Forest Hill (SE London), to see beautiful objects from around the world. It contains many artefacts that its founder, Frederick John Horniman, brought back from his travels, as well as some special exhibitions (some of which are free) and an aquarium (although to my knowledge you have to pay for this, sorry)! It has as well some stunning gardens overlooking the beautiful skyline of central London, facing north and also contains a small city farm.
I have a lot of personal emotional attachments to the Horniman, as I visited this place a lot as a child, and, as much as ever, it is a very child-friendly place to visit!
Check out the Horniman Museum & Gardens website for more details.
no. 2: Visit the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Central London
This is another one of the many free museums/art galleries that are free to visit in London – not only does it have beautiful pictures, but it also has stunning architecture, especially its interior. It contains some of the most treasured and famous paintings on the world, including Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gough and The Japanese Bridge (The Water-Lily Pond) by Claude Monet. It also has an expansive shop, with one of the largest collections of prints available to buy in Europe (I bought quite a few – they’re just so lovely to have in bedrooms and around the house!).
Here’s their website if you’d like more details…
no.3: Visit the The Museum of London, City of London
Another lovely museum which I visited a lot during my childhood! For starters, the walk there is beautiful: get off at London Blackfriars and walk past St. Paul’s Cathedral, in its gardens, walk along the road going north, go up the escalators, walk along the bridge and you’re there! It contains loads of lovely exhibitions – my favourite bit when I was there was the a recreation of a historical street that they had made (it was either Tudor or Victorian… can’t quite remember 🤔). There is also a window looking out onto some Roman ruins, so I found that quite interesting, and there is also a huge picnic area outside, ideal for families. Or, if the weather is not so nice (as it often is in Britain lol ☔️) then you can eat in the café instead! There is also, like most of these museums, a lovely shop with lots of London-related goodies!
This is definitely a good museum to combine with other visits to places whilst you’re in Central London – it is just off the north bank of the Thames so it is within easy walking distance of the South Bank too and all it has to offer – including the Tate Museum (which is also free, and may feature in a future post, hint hint!). Here’s the Museum of London website it you’d like to learn more!
no.4: Visit Museum of London Docklands, Isle of Dogs, East London
Yep, you guessed it! It’s another museum in which I spent a lot of my childhood! Again, it’s very easy to get to (especially if you live in Lewisham like I did, although it is relatively easy to access from all parts of London) – the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) goes there, and the journey alone there is so much fun, as if you go to the front of the train, you can pretend you’re driving, as they are driverless trains! Definitely the most exciting thing in the world if you’re an eight-year-old like I was!
Anyway, the museum itself is also definitely worth a visit – There are plenty of exhibitions for adults, as you’ll be able to see on their website, but what I remember the most about it is their Mudlarks exhibition for under 10s! This was a lovely interactive room full of insight as to what life may have been like living and working in the London Docklands (I was very sad when it was my 10th birthday, meaning I could no longer go there 😞)! So, if you have kids under 10, definitely consider going there with them, they’ll LOVE it, I’m sure, and again, it makes for a great family day out!
[note: The Museum of London and the London Docklands Museum are partner museums, which I didn’t know!]
no.5/no.6: Visit the National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, Southeast London
This is a beautiful museum in Greenwich, located just south of the Thames, and on the edge of Greenwich Park, one of the grand Royal Parks of London (which has an AMAZING playground, by the way!). Anyway, again it has so many interactive things for people of all ages, and my favourite part of it was learning how to do morse code, obviously a very important part of communication when you’re at sea in the 18th Century! There is also an AMZING café and gift shop there because, you know, that’s obviously an important part of your visit! 😜 Have a look at their website for more details. Fun fact: it’s the world’s largest maritime museum! 😮
It is also near the beautiful Old Royal Naval College, also free to visit, plus the Royal Observatory and the Meridian (where Greenwich Meantime – GMT – comes from), although unfortunately you’ll have to pay for this, sorry 😕.
So, I hope you enjoyed this blog -it was slightly different from what I usually do, but I hope you liked it nonetheless! Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s blog when I’ll be telling you about all the books I’ve read this month in the next instalment of my series – I hope to see you then! Click here for last month’s post, in case you missed it!