Free Things To Do In London by:Lisa Mills
London is probably the most expensive city in the world (least it seems that way). Now we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, so make your sandwiches, pack your rucksack and check out our suggestion of free things to do in London.
Whilst we can list a variety of events and attractions that won't cost you a bean, we can't promise that you won't have to part with a penny or two for travel or refreshments. If you can't face paying for refreshments, don't and get free travel to the local police station.
1. If you fancy living dangerously then why not view a trial in session at the Old Bailey? The Old Bailey is the most famous criminal court in the world, hearing cases from London and all over England and Wales. The original Old Bailey courthouse dates back to 1539. Famous trials held there include; Oscar Wilde, Dr Crippen, William Joyce ('Lord Haw Haw'), the Krays and the Yorkshire Ripper.
The public galleries are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. You may have to queue to gain entry as the Old Bailey has become a popular tourist attraction. You can get a list of the cases to be heard by visiting: Hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/courthearings.htm. The nearest tube is St Paul's.
2. If you've had a hard day at work or have shopped til you dropped and fancy putting your feet up and relaxing, then where better than at the Theatre Royal Stratford East? Very rarely do you find entertainment that is completely free of charge in comfortable surroundings. Monday nights are comedy night. Now you may not have heard of most of the comedians brave enough to stand up and entertain you but everyone has to start somewhere. Imagine being able to tell your friends you saw (insert an unknown comedians name) before he was famous? 'Five Guys Named Moe' started here and look what happened to them!
They usually have free entertainment on every night of the week, ranging from comedy to a variety of musical artists. Visit their website to view the line up: Stratfordeast.com/frameset.htm . The nearest tube is Stratford Station.
3. Go on a wildlife adventure. Bet you never thought you could do that in London eh? London's public parks are a major bonus to the city. We love one in particular - Bushy Park. Bushy Park lies to the North of Hampton Court Palace. Not only will you find wildlife and amazing scenery but there is also a fantastic history contained within the park. To set you up for a day in the crowded smelly city, take a stroll round Bushy Park and spot the red and fallow deer, herons, woodpeckers and many other rare sights. Check out their website for events to incorporate in your trip: Royalparks.gov.uk/parks/bushy_park/about.cfm
4. Dig out your dancing shoes and shimmy on down to Bar Salsa. If you are keen to have your body crushed up against some fit dancing instructor then Salsa is for you. Meet new people and keep fit, what more could you ask for? Get a beginners lesson free of charge on Wednesdays at around 7pm. We should warn you that this is a popular event for newbies, hence we recommend you do not wear open toed sandals. After the event go for drinks in the bar and if you haven't impressed Mr or Mrs Right with your dancing skills, try again after a few drinks. Bar Salsa is in Charing Cross Road and the nearest tube is Tottenham Court Road.
5. Watch a politician in action! See history in the making by watching a debate as it happens in the Houses Of Parliament. Not only would this be a thrilling way to spend your morning or afternoon but you also get to spend time in the historic Palace of Westminster. The Palace was built in 1042 as a royal residence. Some years later the Westminster Hall was built which housed stalls selling many legal accessories. Following a fire in 1834 the Palace was rebuilt and now includes the famous clock tower (Big Ben). If you want to view Prime Minister's question time you will need to book in advance. The nearest tube is Westminster.
6. Visit the Tower of London, after it has closed to tourists. The Tower of London has performed many roles over the years, namely a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution and a jewel house. It is definitely a must see for tourists, however the guided tours can often be crowded and noisy. What about your own personal tour minus the crowds? Few people know of an ancient ceremony that has been performed at the Tower every evening in one way or another for the last 700 years. At precisely 9.30pm the Yeoman Warders and the military guard lock the outer gates to the Tower and deliver the keys to the Resident Governor of the Tower. This ceremony is open to the public by tickets booked in advance. You can watch this ancient ceremony with a small group of people and feel privileged to have gained access to this beautiful piece of history without the crowds. Visit their website for further information - hrp.org.uk/. The nearest tube is Tower Hill.
We have tried out all of the above and can honestly say we really enjoyed ourselves. Our pleasure was obviously heightened by the fact that our entertainment was free. It just goes to show you that there are plenty of things to do in London for free if you know where to look.
About the author
Lisa Mills runs two websites, one selling baby gifts http://www.newbabygiftboxes.co.uk and the other promoting childrens gift ideas http://www.childrensgiftideas.co.uk