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Cheap, Free or Just Parsimonious in London?

In addition to the travel passes, museum passes, and other deals mentioned on the other pages, here are suggestions of ways in which you can enjoy what London has to offer -- at minimum cost. Some are a lot of fun, and it just shows that enjoying an expensive city like London can be done on any budget!

Picnics and people-watching

Pack a picnic or get as easy takeout sandwich and head to any of these places for a picnic or a bite on a bench: Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park or Hampstead Heath.There is a Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park where anyone can get on a soapbox and say just about anything at all, as long as it is not considered to be treason and against the Queen of England. You will usually see a crowd gathered around, in bafflement or wonderment at the spoutings of the speaker.

Hampstead Heath is a huge open area, flanked by the lovely Village of Hampstead (you can get there on the Northern Line). You can browse the shops (it has a nice bookshop or two), and enjoy the architecture of the village, and then head to the heath for a walk and your picnic, enjoying the sight of locals with their dogs and their strollers.

Markets

Besides the trendy Covent Garden market shown on the left, there are many other markets, some open during the week, some on weekends. They are fun to browse and, depending on the area, will give you ample opportunities for people-watching. Admittedly, some of the wares are junky, but that adds to the color of the experience! For a quirky and very honest review of different markets, see http://www.londontourist.org/markets.html

Most famous amongst these are the Portobello Road Market and the Camden Market.

Free concerts

Yes, you read correctly. There are hosts of free concerts all over London in churches and in the business area of London (what they call "the city"). Foremost amongst these is St. Martin-in-the-Fields right in the middle of things. There is also St. James' Piccadilly and others, featuring many young, up-and-coming artists, many of whom are destined for big things. http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/home_feat_where_free_lunchtime.asp

Even the London Symphony Orchestra gives free lunchtime concerts at certain times of year. And then there are the music schools (Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music) which also feature talented students in concerts and in ensembles.

For a listing of concerts and concert venues at any given time, check your Time Out magazine.

For other freebies, look at http://www.londonfreelist.com/home.asp



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