Reading this will make you fall in love with London

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For those of you who have always wanted to visit London, but have only ever watched it through the magic of cinema, there must be countless amounts of things that you want to do there.

However, and if you can imagine it, cinema and TV shows only begin to scratch the surface of all the things there are to do and see in this great city.

It’s worth going to the big smoke, as the locals like to call it, if only for the beautiful places to stay: Shaftesbury Hyde Park International¬†and Grand Royal London Hyde Park Hotel on Bayswater Road are two of our favourites.

These are perfect for if you want to stay right next to all of the city-centre action, they’re also great if you’re going to be staying in London as part of a working holiday because they’re very handy, but there’s also lots to see and do in your spare time.

We’ve got the top ten best things to do for when you’re visiting the capital, what’s even better is that nearly all of them are free!

See the sights

London is a place that has literally a millennium of history that is just waiting to be discovered and you usually don’t have to pay a penny to get into the sights that house this history and learn something new.

As it’s starting to get warmer now, we recommend that you take a walk to Primrose Hill and have a picnic that gives you one of the most stunning views over Hampstead Heath – a particularly affluent area of the city.

Cross the River Thames at night to see the lights of London for free, but don’t forget to head back this way to walk along South Bank in the day and pop into the Tate Modern for some arts and culture.

Art doesn’t have to cost a thing

As we mentioned above, the Tate Modern is an interesting collection of arts and sculpture from all over the world.

However, lots of the best artwork can be seen in London for free, as nearly all of the galleries and collections can be entered without charge.

Stop by the National Portrait Gallery for the finest look at portraiture in the UK; often there are competitions held in the gallery itself, so you might even see some live painting while you’re there.

Brick Lane

This is a highly favoured spot by everyone and not least of all by Londoners themselves, thanks to its mix of shops, cafes, pubs and markets.

It’s fast becoming one of the most famous areas of the city and this is truly where modern London likes to flourish, which you can see for yourself in the street art.

The Changing of the Guard

This is really something that needs ticking off the bucket list when you’re travelling around London, and it should be seen once by everyone.

Where Brick Lane represents the present day of the city, with its street performers and bric-a-brac markets, the Changing of the Guard is perhaps one of the most traditional representations of London that you could ever come across.

It’s been taking place since the 19th Century, ever since Queen Victoria took up official residence in Buckingham Palace.

The handover of one group of guardsmen wearing bearskins and red tunics to the other group happens every day, you can’t miss it.

Speaker’s Corner

If you’re going to be staying in the Grand Royal London Hyde Park Hotel in Bayswater, then you’re in the perfect spot to catch Speaker’s Corner.

Arguably this what the park is most famous for, as it allows anyone to stand up and exercise their freedom of speech.

It has been the home of debates, poetry and a little bit of nonsense since 1866, but it’s every Sunday that speakers from all over London gather and give their opinions and thoughts on the burning issues of the day.

South Bank

We mentioned it briefly a little earlier, but London’s South Bank is practically a day out in itself.

It’s entirely outside, so you’ll need the weather to be on your side, but as long as it’s dry you’re sure to have a lovely day walking along the River Thames.

Interesting food stalls flock the sides too, why not buy yourself a lobster roll and a glass of champagne as you dander around?

Afterwards, take a jaunt up to the London Eye, to get one of the best views of the city – this is particularly romantic at night.

Markets

The markets of London are places for you to feel at home, whether you’re looking for some one-of-a-kind clothing or quality food, there’s something for everyone.

Our top favourite market is Borough Market, which is where the foodie in you will find heaven. Walk among hundreds of fresh ingredients and explore some things you’ve never seen before.

There’s food to be eaten as you walk around too, and you might catch sight of a michelin-starred chef or two, picking up some scallops for their dinner service that evening.

Bookshops

It might not surprise you to know that there are excellent bookshops scattered throughout London’s streets.

The houses that bore the genius of Virginia Woolf and George Orwell are well worth a visit, and there are many literary tours around the city. But, don’t leave London without having a good old browse around a bookshop, they’re there to be loved, dear reader.

Our top two would be Hatchard’s, which is a well-known browser’s haven, and Cecil Court, which is great for antique and rare books.

St Martin-in-the-Fields

This is an excellent place to visit if you’ve been at the National Portrait Gallery in the morning, as it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away in the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square.

Of course, the square itself is particularly famous, enjoy the buzzing sense of London life as you pass through it – and don’t forget to go and see the famous Christmas tree, time of year permitting!

But it’s St Martin-in-the-Fields, the English Anglican Church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, that you mustn’t miss.

This place has the most beautiful free lunchtime concerts that are avidly attended by many. Don’t worry though, you’ll still be able to get a spot, as the church is incredibly roomy.

If you haven’t eaten yet, the church cafe is known for it’s tasty and heartwarming food, unless you prefer discovering the many eateries that surround Trafalgar Square – you won’t go hungry in any case!

The British Library

We’re back to books again, and who can blame us? London is simply full to the brim with literature and literary history, so where better to spend a few hours than looking around the British Library?

Located about a five-minute walk from King’s Cross St. Pancras underground station, the British Library holds the record as the second-largest library in the world by the number of items catalogued.

See it for yourself as you stroll around its halls for free, the staff there are friendly and very welcoming to visitors.

If you’d like to stay and soak up the atmosphere, the library has a coffee shop in which you can relax and open up a copy of one of your own favourite books.

There are also reading rooms in the building, if you would like to spend some time with one of the beautiful books in the collection – the choice is yours!

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