Everyone knows that a trip to London can be expensive, but there are lots of ways to keep the cost down. For a start, you can skip the costly overnight stay by returning within the day and make transport better value for money by hiring a coach. Then, once you’ve arrived in the capital, stick to the free attractions, of which there are many.
Natural History Museum
A firm family favourite, the Natural History Museum is a place of wonder for children and adults alike. From the impressive 25.2-metre blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of the historic Hintze Hall to the biggest collection of coloured diamonds anywhere in the world, prepare to be amazed.
The British Museum
Explore human art, history and culture at this impressive museum, which is home to Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. Take part in free family trails and see which of the over four million artefacts really spark the imagination in your little ones.
The innovative use of the former Bankside Power Station as a gallery for contemporary art could not be more appropriate. With a stunning permanent collection and fascinating visiting exhibitions, it’s a great way to discover cutting edge art trends.
The National Gallery
Everybody has heard of the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci, but nothing compares to seeing their work in person. Check out some of the most iconic paintings in the world and marvel at the quality of the brush strokes, which cannot be properly understood by looking at a book.
There’s always so much going on at the Southbank Centre that you’re sure to stumble across something interesting, no matter when you visit. This multi-arts institution plays host to visual and performance art events, as well as the Hayward Gallery, which has just been reopened to the public.
If your kids are more about getting hands-on than looking at exhibits in cases, then the Science Museum is for them. Discover how the world works through interactive displays and marvel at the science between rockets, steam engines and all manner of machines.
For something a little bit more traditional, plan a trip to Somerset House, where paintings by Old Masters line the walls of the Courtauld Gallery. Whether you love Francisco Goya or get excited by Anthony van Dyck, there’s a piece to fall in love with here.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Prince Albert was a lover of the arts and the V&A stands testament to his legacy. Continuing in the tradition of royal connections, the Duchess of Cambridge has just been announced as the museum’s patron. Wander its exhibitions of art, sculpture and fashion spanning three millennia.
National Portrait Gallery
A face can tell an incredible story and the myriad visages on display at the National Portrait Gallery convey the tale of the whole country. There will be people you recognise, as well as those who you’d never heard of before, but all of them will be interesting.
Royal Museums Greenwich
Often overlooked on a trip to London, the Royal Museums in Greenwich are one of the country’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites. Learn about Britain’s maritime history amidst the stunning architecture in this part of London.
Photo credit: iStock/JoseASReyes