How often is this saying true? Sadly, not often enough! But once in a while you’re lucky, so read on to see if this might be your lucky day.
The bad news is that TripAdvisor recently reported that London was one of the most expensive cities to visit. But the GOOD NEWS is that they also said that London offers fantastic opportunities to do things for free. Yes, you’ve read it correctly, London is unrivalled in the vast array of things to do and see which are absolutely free!
So what do you want to do during your trip to London? How about the colour and drama of English pageantry? Did you know that they change the guard at Buckingham Palace in a historic ceremony of ritual and colour every day at 11.30 am from May to July? Guardsmen resplendent in their scarlet and gold tunics with a rousing musical accompaniment, exchange guard duties in the front courtyard of Buckingham Palace in a historical ceremony which is splendid to watch and perfect for those quintessential London photos. And it’s free! A similar ceremony takes place daily at 11 am at Horse Guard’s Parade.
How many English television detective dramas series have you watched featuring be-wigged barristers, in flowing black gowns? You can see a real-life trial and witness the drama and posturing of judge and jury live. The Old Bailey with its famous roof top scales of justice is the most famous criminal court in England. During a normal court day, the entrance is thronged with earnest legal bods, gowns billowing, ready to attend a trial. Visitors can sit, for free, in the Public Gallery every weekday from 10 am – 1 pm and 2 – 5 pm and observe the tension and suspense of a real trial. More information about this can be obtained on the city of London website.
What about a visual feast? Harrods Food Hall in the basement of the famous Knightsbridge department store opened in 1849 by Henry Charles Harrod, offers counter after counter of delicious and tempting displays of food. Be it cheese from around the world, fruit and vegetables, fish and sea food or chocolates, the counters are not only mouth-wateringly delicious but fascinating too with their range of the exotic and the mundane. If you’re feeling peckish you can usually find some free tastings such as olive oil, biscuits or breads. And to look costs nothing! The Food Hall is a sight not to be missed. Open Monday to Saturday 9 am – 9 pm and Sunday 11:30 am – 6 pm.
And not to be forgotten are the world class museums and art galleries, all open to visitors, free of charge. Dip in and out of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and luxuriate in the famous paintings of artists such as Constable, Renoir, van Dyck, Vermeer, to name but a few. Down the river is Tate Modern renowned for contemporary art and Tate Britain for British art from 1500 to the present day. Kensington offers the riches of The Victoria and Albert and the Natural History and Science Museums, and the list goes on and on of delights and treats for all the family. And it’s all FREE!
So book your Loving Apartment now and look forward to a bargain break in one of the greatest capital cities of the world. You won’t be disappointed!
Unless you’re one of the select few (now financially strapped) individuals, that requested tickets for almost every event going at the London 2012 Olympics, and was successful, it is highly likely your schedule will allow you some free time to enjoy the alternative attractions that London has to offer. If you’re short of time during your visit, then it will certainly be a wise decision to base yourself in a convenient area of the capital, where you will be within easy reach of the Olympic events, while also benefiting from great access to some of London’s most-loved landmarks, nightlife, and famous parks. Here are the top 5 places to consider when searching for your London accommodation, and the reasons why.
1. Canary Wharf – Canary Wharf may be the largest financial business district in the capital, but it also has a great deal to offer for those in search of entertainment or sport. Located just across the River Thames from the North Greenwich Arena, Canary Wharf is the ideal location for spectators for the Olympic events of Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline, Basketball, and Wheelchair Basketball. A one stop journey on the Underground, you can travel from Canary Wharf to North Greenwich in just 3 minutes. The Olympic Park is also easily accessible, taking just a further 10 minutes on the Jubilee Line. In between performances of pirouettes and slam dunks, you can experience the delights of the Museum of London, located within Canary Wharf, or take a stroll around Greenwich Park, which is set to host the Equestrian events during the Olympics.
2. Bermondsey – Nestled along the South Bank of the Thames, Bermondsey offers not only great transport links to the various Olympic venues, but also fantastic views, and endless attractions to visit. Tower Bridge - one of London’s most iconic structures - is just a short walk away, and if you’re looking to enjoy the city’s infamous nightlife, then you will not be disappointed by Bermondsey’s selection of stylish bars and restaurants. Staying in Bermondsey, you can hop on the Jubilee line to the Olympic Park, which takes approx. 15 minutes.
3. Farringdon – Located north of the City of London, Farringdon is extremely well connected to the rest of the capital, along a variety of Underground lines and rail services. Farringdon’s transport links make it a desirable location for holidaymakers, as it is just a short journey from the likes of Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Embankment. Recently redeveloped, Farringdon has an endearing combination of traditional buildings and modern bars and restaurants, offering a buzzing social atmosphere, day and night. Travelling to the Olympic Park from Farringdon takes about 20 minutes on the Underground, changing at Liverpool Street straight up to Stratford.
4. Camden – Known for its market culture, Camden is a unique area in London where you will find everything you would expect from a city market, and much more. Camden is known for its individuality, attracting residents and visitors looking to express their alternative culture, whether it be through music, fashion, or art. Camden is an exciting area of London, and while home to many attractions itself, it is also easily accessible to and from the Olympic Park. There are many possible routes, and perhaps one of the easiest is to take the Underground to Bank, and change to head towards Stratford.
5. City of London – The City of London is the area considered most central to the capital, and is where London’s great expansion originated, with the development of historic buildings such as St. Paul’s Cathedral. The City of London now has an impressive skyline, with iconic towers such as Tower 42, and the Swiss Re Tower, or ‘The Gherkin’, as it is more commonly known. You will be spoilt for choice with places to visit and things to do, and being located in the heart of the business district, you will get a real feel for the busy, thriving atmosphere London is known for. It couldn’t be quicker or easier to travel to the Olympic Park from the City of London, with a variety of Underground stations offering direct routes. Travel from Bank on the Jubilee line, or on the DLR, or from Liverpool Street located nearby.
With London being such a diverse and glamorous city, it’s no surprise that most people excitedly plan their holiday well in advance and are clear in which of London’s iconic attractions they want to visit. However, doing so can mean you miss out on some of London’s most entertaining, interesting and exciting things to do that perhaps you may not have heard of. As such, our list is to help enlighten you to some of London’s most underrated and often overlooked activities. These gems may not be on most people’s minds initially, but as anybody who has visited them can testify, there is a whole heap of entertainment and culture bursting out of London just waiting for you to enjoy. What’s more, all of them are completely free to visit, meaning you can still save your money for the other attractions you have a desire to see.
One of the largest and busiest markets in London, the Borough Market is home to a tantalising array of food that will delight and amaze you. There is a huge, diverse range of foods ranging from cakes, cheeses, fruit & vegetables, pastries, bread and fish from countries such as Morocco, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico, giving you some truly one of a kind dishes. The market is perfect for people with a passion for food, whether you’re an accomplished chef or an amateur when it comes to cuisine. However, besides the weird and wonderful food, the atmosphere it what sets Borough Market apart, giving you an insight into the market culture London is so famous for. It is free to roam around the markets and there are plenty of free samples to try, with the market open Thrusdays 11am-5pm, Fridays 12pm-6pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm. The nearest tube stations are London Bridge and Borough, so if you are a foodie a visit to the diverse Borough Market is an absolute must.
Whilst Hyde Park is the most famous in London, Victoria Park is one that is close to the hearts of many Londoners. Covering a huge area, the park has various sporting facilities and activity playgrounds for children, but what makes the park so special is the tranquillity of the fields and the divine flowers garden, home to some truly stunning and radiant flowers. There are also several historic monuments, such as a piece of the original and iconic London Bridge that sits proudly in the park and war memorials to honour fallen soldiers. The lake also offers a serene backdrop for a relaxing stroll, showing that there truly is something for everyone in this popular park. The nearest tube station is Hackney Wick, which will allow you to enter Victoria Park south-side.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly abbreviated to the V&A museum, is one of the fienst collections of art and culture in the world. Incredibly, it has approximately four million exhibits from around the globe, some dating back thousands of years. The museum’s collection of fashion, history and art provides some truly unique pieces and a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, the architecture of the building itself is just as impressive, boasting some beautiful Victorian architecture and distinctively devine designs. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5.45pm (8.00pm on Wednesdays and the last Friday of each month), with its nearest tube station being South Kensington. However, the fact that this incredible museum is completely free makes it a must-visit and a great way to spend an afternoon for all culture vultures.
Located in between St Pancras and Euston tube stations, the British Library has the largest number of items for a library in the world, with some dating back to 2000 BC. Containing a mind-blowing 150 million books, articles, drawings, magazines and prints, its sheer variety will ensure you certainly find something that interests you. However, with manuscripts from original classic literature such as Shakespeare’s plays and hand-written manuscripts of songs from artists such as John Lennon, what makes the British Library so special is the value and importance of its unique pieces. Complete with its own café and restaurants, the British Library truly is a wonderful and interesting way to spend an afternoon or evening in London. The library is open daily from 9:30am-6pm except for weekends when its hours are shortened, with it being a very short walk from two of London’s busiest tube stations, King’s Cross and Euston.
Although the likes of the London Eye and Big Ben are instantly what you think about when it comes to London, the city’s rich diversity is what really sets it apart from other cities in the world. There is so much to see and do when you’re here renting London Apartments, some of its most enjoyable wonders are often overshadowed. Hopefully by reading this blog, you are now more aware that, although these gems may not appear on any postcards, they are still as rewarding as any others attractions London may proudly boast.