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Visiting the UK?

London

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

Samuel Johnson may have had a point but there’s no getting away from how expensive it can be. In the first of an occasional series on free places to visit in towns and cities around the UK, we’re starting with our team’s top picks for the capital. If you’re planning on visiting the UK any time soon you might find this a useful five-minute read.

For culture...

The majority of museums and art galleries in the UK offer free entry but of course this does mean that they’re often busy. Choose off-the-radar ones and you’ll beat the crowds and get a bit more up close and personal with what they have to offer. We love The Wallace Collection for the Canalettos, Rembrandts, silk-covered walls and a peaceful atmosphere, The Grant Museum of Zoology for the feeling of stepping into a Victorian collector’s study and Sir John Soane’s Museum for antiquities and artworks in the former home of the architect of the Bank of England.

For coffee and browsing…

Borough Market. OK, we’re slightly biased as our flagship store is here but it’s a hugely popular destination for tourists and Londoners alike. It’s rich in history, having been part of this area of London since 1014 and today over 16 million hungry customers wander from stall to stall, sampling as they go. From artisan cheeses to air-dried hams and from exotic fruit and vegetables to goat’s milk ice cream, Borough Market is the place to come to browse, discover and enjoy a huge variety of international foods. Pop into the Rabot 1745 café for one of the iconic hot chocolates whilst you’re there!

For green spaces…

London’s Royal Parks are the green heart of the city and attract more than 80 million visitors a year. You can swim, cycle, walk, listen to music, ride a horse, play tennis or just sit and enjoy the peace. For children, St James’ Park offers a chance to feed the pelicans.

For views to wow you…

Since the fifteenth century Richmond Park has been the playground of several English kings. The view from King Henry’s Mound offers incredible panoramic views of the Thames Valley to the west and, through a carefully maintained tree-framed sightline, a view of St Paul’s Cathedral to the east. The view is now protected and no new building is allowed to impede it.

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