Although the exchange rate of late has been more favourable, London remains one of the world’s most expensive cities for travellers. If you’re a first time visit, however, the good news is that there are plenty of free things to see and do which won’t put a dent in your wallet. For a start, London has many art galleries which don’t have a fee to visit; the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Serpentine Galleries, and the Tate Britain and Tate Modern are just a few, with another favourite, the Royal Academy of Arts, offering free tours. When it comes to music, the Royal Opera House hosts lunchtime recitals on Mondays between March and July, while St James’ Piccadilly, St Olave’s in Hart St and Trafalgar Square’s St Martin-in-the-Fields offer lunchtime concerts during the working week. Essential for many first-time visitors to London is seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace; it takes place every morning during the warmer months, and every other day in winter.
London also has an esteemed lineup of world class museums offering free entry, including the British Museum, the Museum of London, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, the Natural History Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the Science Museum. The Victoria & Albert Museum is another, also offering free talks and tours. And there are plenty of wide open spaces in the British capital to enjoy free of charge, including Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, St James’s Park, Victoria Park, Greenwich Park, and Hampstead Heath, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park new the lineup since the 2012 Olympic Games. And finally you should put Granary Square’s dancing fountains on your list if you’re in the city during the warmer months. Located in Kings Cross, head there after dark to see around 1000 spouts squirt and bubble in choreographed patterns lit by colourful bulbs.