The London 2012 Olympic Games is the biggest event to hit the capital of the UK since the last times it hosted the Games in 1908 and 1948. Millions of athletes and avid sports enthusiasts will flock to the British capital over the two-week event. Despite the premier attraction being the thrills of competition, London is still open for tourism!
It is not surprising that tickets for the Olympic Games are expensive. Much of a tourist’s budget will be set aside for accommodation, flights, food and entrance fees for the events. London has a great deal of tourist attractions that beg for attention, and the good news for Olympic travellers is that plenty of these major attractions are free of charge. Come and see the greatest sporting event in the world, in one of the greatest cities of the world, without breaking the bank!
Parks, monuments, art galleries and museums are the main sites offering free entry. Few people know that tourists can actually spend an entire holiday in London without spending anything on entrance fees. It is only a matter of knowing where to look. But what are the free things to do in London during the Olympics?
London’s parks and gardens are free, and provide some breathtaking spots for tourists to explore. Everyone has their favourite park, but a collection of the best parks and gardens in London include: St. James’ Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Queen Mary’s Rose Garden and Richmond Park. Hyde Park is an amazing inner-city green space and the beautiful Buckingham Palace can be seen from St. James Park.
If you need a dose of culture, most of London’s largest museums are free to enter. However, tourists have to be aware that some exhibits within the museums have an entrance fee. So which museums are the best to visit? The Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London and the Science Museum are commonly regarded as the most important museums in London.
Museums are only one part of London’s cultural sites. Galleries are also often free and in abundance. Since 1900, the Tate Modern has been the busiest and most significant art gallery in the city. The Tate Britain is the national art gallery of Britain and has been since 1500. For contemporary art, head to Chelsea’s Saatchi Art Gallery. These galleries will be free during the Olympics, but be ready for heavy crowds.
Once visitors have seen the Tate Galleries, they can go for a walk through the River Thames’ South Bank district. There are plenty of sites along this stretch of the river, including the fabulous London Eye. Tickets to go on the Eye are costly, but taking pictures of this modern monolith is absolutely free of charge.
If tourists are not busy at around 11:30 each day, they can head to Buckingham Palace for the National Changing of the Guards ceremony. This spectacle has become a military tradition for decades and can be seen from the gates of the palace at no cost.
Convent Garden Market provides street performances each afternoon. In addition, visitors should check out the many street markets found throughout the capital. Portobello Market, Greenwich Market and the always popular Camden Market are great markets to explore. Just experiencing the lively atmosphere will no doubt delight tourists and you don’t need to spend a penny to browse the interesting collection of goods on sale.
John wrote this guest post for Alamo car hire in the UK. If you need some inspiration for things to do in London during the Olympics why not take out a cheap London car hire deal with Alamo and explore some of London’s outer boroughs!