London is one of the most exciting cities in Europe to explore. However, living costs (mostly rent) and travel costs means there is little left from the budget to see the city. Never you fear, I have found some free and cheap things to do in London so money doesn’t have to prevent you from exploring the capital city.
British 10km run
The annual 10km run takes place on Sunday the 13th of July. It is a great course, the loop takes runners through central London, starting at Green Park, running down Lower Thames Street, past St Pauls and it finishes at Westminster. There are always lots of spectators to welcome cheer on the runners. For those feeling a like getting fit and can afford the entry fee of £50 each, enter the race and do your personal best. I will be raising money for Help for Heroes. I hope to complete the race in under an hour. I am not a natural runner and therefore I am training a lot in the lead up to the run.
The Championships kicked off last week at SW19. The pressure is on for Andy Murray to defend his title. Every year hundreds of fans queue up to secure Centre Court tickets but this gets sold out very quickly. The others that gained entry have a day pass that gives them access to all the other courts (besides Number 1). For those who do not wait in line but still want to watch the tennis with the atmosphere, go to City Hall. There wis a giant screen that shows the action for free ! Take a cushion with you as the ground is quite hard.
The nearest tube station is London Bridge.
Beach in Camden
Who needs to board a plane or train to visit a beach? This summer, Camden has its own beach at The Roundhouse. It is on a much smaller scale than you would find in Spain or South of France, but it is a nice touch, providing some summer relaxation on the terrace of the Round House. There are also end of the pier attractions what you may normally find at Brighton Beach. The best thing about the Camden beach is it is free !
Check it out for yourselves:
Chalk Farm Rd
Chillax in the Parks
London has many parks in the center of the city. Green Park is one of my favorites and is located right by Green Park station which is on the Victoria and Jubilee line. There is step free access which is great for families with prams and those in wheelchairs. It is a beautiful walk from the park to Buckingham Palace. St James’ Park is on the opposite side of The Mall and has a pond with bridge across it. There is also a couple of ice cream and hot drink stand. Hyde Park is the biggest park in Central London, the nearest station is Marble Arch, the west of Oxford Street. During the summer months, there are many concerts that take place in the park. For those on a budget, bring a picnic and sit down outside the fenced area, so you can hear the music for free. From the 3rd of July until the 13th of July, Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park, so lets hope it is good weather for you to enjoy.
Nearest Tubes: Green Park, St James Marble Arch
Be a Tourist
It is always fun to explore London. All you need is a camera (or your iPhone/Android) and a good pair of walking shoes. There are also free walking tours to go on where you can learn about the history of England’s capital. I have not been on any in London yet, so I cannot recommend any in particular, but this one on Visit London has had some good reviews. For those that want to go on a self guided tour, check out Walk London, there is an interactive map with 6 different routes to take.
Watch the Tour de France
If you are a keen cyclist, then check out the Tour de France. The top cyclists in the world will leave Yorkshire on the 5th and 6th of July. They will bike through Epping Forrest and then Queen Elizabeth Drive. They will then pass by some of London’s most famous landmarks including Tower Bridge, Buckingham palace with finishing at the Mall.
For more information, visit the LeTour website.
The House of Illustration
Sir Quentin Blake will feature in the worlds first public gallery devoted to the art of illustration. The event will take place at King;s Cross and will show Blake’s work including illustrations from the Roald Dahl’s books. Sir Quentin Blake will be setting up a charity to cover the costs of his archive, giving the House exclusive use. Inside Stories will run until November 2nd. Full price admission is £7.70.
Location: 2 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
Nearest tube: King’s Cross
For those who want to get fit and healthy, there is no better way than on your bike. There is a the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle on the 9th of August from 9am to 4pm. All cyclists, any age, and all abilities can take a spin around London. All the roads will be closed to traffic. It is free to take part but register in advance to avoid disappointment on Prudential Ride London. I wish I could take part, but I am currently selling my bike below as I could not bring it over from Sydney, Australia with me. If you know of anyone looking for a bike, contact me.
Notting Hill Carnival
The carnival is the biggest street festival in Europe and always takes place on the Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend. Now in its 48th year, (started off in 1966) it has grown to attract more than one million revellers. There are twenty miles of vibrant colorful costumers, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls and 40,000 volunteers. Attending Notting Hill Carnival is one of the highlights of London in the summer.
The Southbank Centre Festival of Love
The urban beach returns this year from the 6th of June to the 14th of September. The beach is part of Southbank’s Festival of Love where there are hundreds of artists, communities and partners hosting free events. There are pop ups, takes and different themed weekends. “The Festival of Love explores and celebrates the complexity of human relationships in all their forms.” At Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love, they have chosen seven of the most powerful of these words to guide all of us towards a greater understanding of the emotion which makes the world go round.
Every Sunday in July, Regent Street will be closed to traffic for “Summer Streets“. This Sunday, July 6th, the street will be turned into a garden party. There will be a live jazz band, face painting and a marquee. I am looking forward to next Sunday (same day as the British 10km run), as the focus is food. There will be 60 stalls serving food and there will also be a strawberry dipping bar with live performances from City Academy, West End Kids and Jive Aces.
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly
Well there you have, 11 great fun and cheap things to do in London this summer. You don’t need to have a lot of money to enjoy the richness of London and take advantage of all it has to offer.