A love letter to the capital – my favourite free or cheap things to do in London

School’s out and the kids are bored. Can I recommend London for a cheap day out ..seriously ! Pack a lunch a hop on a train (tip – trains to London are much cheaper at weekends).

So here’s my listicle / love letter to London, based on our actual days out…..#staycationinspiration

  1. King’s Cross

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One fine sunny Sunday I had the brainwave that I would take my little Weasley (eight year old Potter obsessed Kitty) on a Harry Potter film locations scooter trail around London. Unfortunately my map reading skills leave something to be desired and we only really found Leadenhall Market, aka Diagon Alley (see below), but we did queue for an hour to get our photos taken at Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross, which was free as another Muggle took this photo for me. Kitty then spent three months worth of pocket money in the neighbouring shop on a Ginny Weasley wand. I was channeling my favourite character Bellatrix Lestrange. This one is a must for Harry Potter fans – but be prepared to queue.

 

2. The city at the weekends

London’s financial centre is strangely quiet at the weekends, save for the odd lost Harry Potter fan. We started around The Bank of England and eventually found Leadenhall Market. The Kitty saw The Monument and wanted to climb it, which cost £4.50 for me and £2.50 for her.

 

After a long climb to the top we were rewarded with views across the river and we were able to see a load London sights/ Harry Potter filming locations from the top – i.e. the Knight Bus journey from ‘ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.

3. The South Bank

I love the South Bank – it is my top tip for a day out.  My train takes me straight to Blackfriars next to the The Tate Modern, I love to wander into the Turbine Hall and see what’s on. This summer it is full of Lego – what’s not to like ? 

I am also fan of the new extension at the back of the Tate building and the square which is an outdoor gallery.

 

The South Bank is my top recommendation if you only have one day in London;  you can walk as little or as far as you like, see loads of iconic London sights, spend as much or a little money as you please, catch a Shakespeare play at The Globe or just enjoy the street performers and marvel at the skateboarders showing off their tricks at the Southbank Centre. I come back here again and again. It is a great place to meet people as the transport connections are so good. Not to mention Borough Market, London Eye, The Cutty Sark and the wobbly bridge. It is always busy,  but always fun. Walk as far as Tower Bridge and The Tower of London, then head back down the other side, cutting back across the Millennium (wobbly) Bridge.

 

4. Camden

Disclaimer – I work in Camden…. and I never get bored of it. There’s is such a vibrant buzz about the place. It is great place to take teens who are bored by regular sightseeing. I walk along the canal from Kings Cross right into the heart of Camden Lock. If you are lucky you might get to see my friend Mr Heron, star of my instagram feed, he is often hanging around pretending not to notice me taking photos of him.

 

Once in Camden you can mooch around the market or escape to the back streets for a street art tour. I wrote a post about this a while back : https://staycationer.co.uk/2017/04/25/camdens-secret-street-art/

But the outdoor gallery is always changing and here’s a selection of some of my current favourites :

 

5. Primrose Hill

When the buzz of Camden gets too much … and it does…. head up to the top of Primrose Hill and enjoy the ever changing panorama of the capital,  and an ice cream –  you deserve it.

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And the rest….. I could write so much more about London and cheap/ free fun things to do…..perhaps I will in another post, but for now I will also recommend Kenwood House; The Diana Memorial Playground; The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum.  

Happy holidays and happy staycations ! Tweet me and tell me what is your #staycationinspiration ? 

 

NOTE : All photos on this post were taken by me. Follow me on instagram for more #staycationinspiration

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