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101 ideas for having fun in London!

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There are so many things to do in London and it might seem that all of it is expensive. But there are plenty of fun things that are either cheap or totally free!

To give you some inspiration try out some of our ideas, which cover every London neighbourhood and a variety of tastes.

Once you've picked out a few, you can then book a cheap hotel with TravelStay and come and visit!

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1. Pedalo in the park
Hire a pedalo or rowing boat for an hour on the Serpentine Lake.
(Hyde Park; Hyde Park Corner; 10am-dusk)
 
2. View London from the top of Primrose Hill
Here you can also do a spot of celebrity-hunting over your picnic.
(Chalk Farm; free)
 
3. Visit the Olympic village 
Take a peek around the Stratford area now teaming with life after the 2012 London Olympics. 
(Bromley-By-Bow; £8)
 
4. Watch the Boat Race
See Oxford and Cambridge go to battle from the riverside over a pint.
(Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge; free)
 
5. Ice skate at Somerset House
During the winter, you can find rinks across London, but the best and most scenic is Somerset House.
(Temple; November to January; from £10.50)
 
6. Visit Harrods
You don't have to buy anything, but it is still worth a visit to this posh department store. At night, it lights up like a Christmas tree too.
(Knightsbridge; 10am-8pm)
 
7. Camp out at Wimbledon
Be sure to grab a day ticket at Wimbledon by camping outside in the queue the night before!
(Southfields; June-July; from £25)
 
8. Marvel at the dinosaurs at Crystal Palace Park
A bizarre series of 19th century sculptures stand in the park, showing what people once thought the extinct mammals looked like.
(Crystal Palace train station)
 
9. Or see the real things at the Natural History Museum
This free museum has a large permanent dinosaur exhibit detailing what they really (probably) looked like, as well as other extinct species.
(South Kensington; 10am-5.50pm; free)
 
10. Read a book in Queen Mary's Gardens
Depending on the weather, nothing beats spending a lazy afternoon in the park, and this one is particularly beautiful.
(Regent's Park; 5am-4.30-9.30pm)
 
11. Pretend you're driving the DLR
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is unmanned, meaning the front seat is free! This feels a little bit like a cheap roller coaster as well.
(Starts at Bank; £5.60 zone 1-2 travelcard)
 
12. Visit Wembley
The iconic Wembley Stadium hosts anything from Take That gigs to American Football.
(Wembley Park)
 
13. Climb Europe's largest escalator
Angel tube station holds the title (reputedly) of Europe's largest escalator. It is 60m long, with a vertical height of nearly 30m and is worth a climb!
(Angel; £5.60 zone 1-2 travelcard)
 
14. See free gigs at Notting Hill Arts Club
Every Saturday afternoon the venue hosts Rota, a showcase of upcoming bands, which is totally free.
(Notting Hill Gate; From 4pm; free)
 
15. Sample free food at Borough Market
See if you can fill up on free samples at London's most famous food market.
(London Bridge; Thursday-Saturday; 8am-5pm; free)
 
16. See inside expensive houses
Every September, Open House weekend invites people off the street to see inside expensive, eco, or historic homes, as well as buildings like the 'inside out' Lloyds headquarters.
(September; various venues; free)
 
17. See the Changing the Guard
Every couple of days you can see the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, the process of them exchanging duties with the old guard.
(Buckingham Palace; Victoria; free)
 
18. Watch the Marathon
See over 36,000 professional athletes and fun runners tread London's streets for 26 miles.
(Greenwich Park to Buckingham Palace; free)
 
19. Visit London's busiest train station
Clapham Junction is actually one of the busiest stations in Europe, with 180 trains an hour passing through at peak times.
(Clapham Junction train station)
 
20. Paddle in the Diana memorial fountain
This cascading water fountain is at the Princess's old home in Kensington Gardens.
(High Street Kensington; free)

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21. Watch the street performers in Covent Garden
From jugglers to professional musicians, Covent Garden always has a number of acts to see and they are often very good.
(Covent Garden; free)
 
22. Visit the German Christmas Market
Get in the spirit at Hyde Park when the traditional market opens from November.
(Hyde Park Corner; free)
 
23. Avoid the kids at the Science Museum
'Lates' are held on the last Wednesday of each month and are exclusively for adults. Each one has special themed events.
(South Kensington; 6.45-10pm; free)
 
24. Hear lunchtime recitals
St Martin in the Fields holds free recitals three times a week to show off emerging classical talent.
(Charing Cross; Mon, Tues and Fri from 1pm; free)
 
25. Eat pie and mash
No visit to the East End is complete without it.
(G Kelly Pie and Mash; Roman Road; Mile End)
 
26. Try out Boris's bikes
Barclays Cycle Hire is a quick and easy way to view the city for as long as you like. The first half hour is free and up to an hour is just £1.
(Throughout London; free-£35)
 
27. Eat yourself silly at Chinatown
Walk the streets to find the one you like before tucking in until you're full.
(Piccadilly Circus)
 
28. Spot a celeb at a London premiere
Leicester Square hosts UK film premieres regularly. Getting in is pricey, standing in the rain is free.
(Leicester Square; various dates; free)
 
29. Go to Hamleys at Christmas
Feel like a kid again at Christmas by battling with the crowds over seven floors of toys.
(Oxford Circus)
 
30. Take a photo of yourself by Sanyo
Now an iconic site of London, one side of Piccadilly Circus is like a mini Times Square.
(Piccadilly Circus; free)
 
31. Make a Queen's Guard laugh
But they never will!
(Around the Mall; Charing Cross; free)
 
32. See ancient books at the British Library
From old maps to Beetles lyrics written on the back of a birthday card, this museum is a treasure.
(Kings Cross; free)
 
33. Visit the Christmas funfair at Hyde Park
Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland has an ice rink, funfair and food stalls.
(Hyde Park Corner; From November; £4.50-£20.50)
 
34. Make a speech at Speakers Corner
Stand where Karl Marx and Frederick Engels once made their political declarations.
(Hyde Park Corner; free)
 
35. Have a curry on Brick Lane
Barter with the waiters outside calling you in to their establishment, which is half the fun.
(Aldgate East)
 
36. Shop at Europe's largest mall
The Westfield shopping centre has so many shops, bars and restaurants that it will take two days to visit them all.
(Shepherds Bush)
 
37. Drink at an old Kray brothers hangout
The Blind Beggar is famous for being the pub where Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell. It also has a good-sized beer garden.
(Whitechapel Road; Whitechapel)
 
38. Visit London's best loos
There are many to choose from, but first try the Crazy Bear, which provides a few too many mirrors.
(Whitfield Street; Tottenham Court Road)
 
39. Walk the Thames Path
This walk can take as long as you like and has a number of key sights to see, such as the Tower and the London Eye. There are signs to guide you, but you can take along an A-Z to help.
 
40. Visit book heaven at Foyles
London's most famous book shop. Here you can find anything from graphic novels to Winnie the Pooh in Latin.
(Tottenham Court Road; 9.30am-9pm)
 
41. See a Rakes Progress at the Sir John Soane museum
The antiquarian has two Hogarth series - A Rakes Progress and An Election.
(Lincolns Inn Fields; Holborn; 10am-5pm; free)
 
42. Visit an original coffee house
Avoid Starbucks and the others and try the Marquess of Anglesey pub, which is the site of the 18th century Will's Coffee House.
(Frith Street; Tottenham Court Road)
 
43. Try different beers at Zerodegrees
This restaurant has its own microbrewery, which you can see when you sit down for your meal. Try its speciality and seasonal beers for less than £3 a pint.
(Blackheath train station)
 
44. Watch the Christmas lights turn on
Get in the Christmas spirit with the switch on, including music performances, on Regent Street.
(Oxford Circus; Early November; free)
 
45. See Shakespeare at the National Portrait Gallery
His portrait hangs at this legendary London gallery.
(Embankment; 10am-6pm; free)

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46. Then be a groundling at the Globe
Standing tickets to Shakespeare's plays are just £5 at this rebuilt 16th century London theatre.
(The Globe; London Bridge; £5)
 
47. See a free event at the Scoop
Check online for free films and shows at the open-air amphitheatre.
(More London; London Bridge; free)
 
48. Tour the BBC
Take an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at this British institution.
(Broadcasting House; White City; £9.95)
 
49. Learn salsa dancing
Try Bar Salsa, which offers free beginners lessons before the place fills up with dancing partners.
(Bar Salsa, Charing Cross Road; Tottenham Court Road; 5.30pm; free)
 
50. See upcoming visual artists
London's Graduate Art Fair provides a sneak peak at the stars of the future.
(Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane; Aldgate East; June-July; free)
 
51. Before seeing established contemporary artists
The Saatchi Gallery is now free, so check out the best contemporary art in the UK.
(Sloane Square; 10am-6pm; free)
 
52. Go ceilidh dancing
There are various events across London, but the Ceilidh Club holds events throughout the year and are always busy.
(Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road; Camden; £14.50)
 
53. See waxworks at Westminster Abbey museum
Getting into the Abbey is pricey, but the museum is free and has a collection of royal effigies, allowing you to see what the Kings and Queens really looked like.
(Westminster; 10.30am-4pm; free)
 
54. Take a Turkish bath
Or use the steam room and pool at Ironmonger Row Baths.
(Old Street; from £3.70)
 
55. Have dinner over opera
Feel cultural as a soprano sings Verdi while you eat at restaurant Viva Verdi.
(6 Canvey Street; Southwark)
 
56. See theatre on the cheap
The Royal Court Theatre offers cheap tickets for various shows throughout the year.
(Sloane Square; from £5)
 
57. Join the audience for a TV show
Sign up to a mailing list to see anything from QI to Jeremy Kyle and TV comedy gigs for free.
 
58. Spot a Banksy
The graffiti artist's work can be spotted around London. Try and find the maid sweeping Camden's streets or the double yellow lines on Pollard Street in Bethnal Green.
 
59. See urban pigs
Hackney City Farm isn't just for kids!
(Bethnal Green; Tues-Sun; free)
 
60. Learn cooking to Michelin standard
Cookery schools never were so posh.
(The Kitchen, New Kings Road; Parsons Green from £4.95)
 
61. Find poetry in Notting Hill
The manhole covers here are engraved with poetry; see which ones you can spot.
(Notting Hill Gate)
 
62. Have breakfast on Sunday at Columbia Road
This flower market is even more enjoyable over coffee and a Danish.
(Columbia Road; Hoxton)
 
63. Sit in-between Churchill and Roosevelt
This rather strange bench monument is on Bond Street.
(Bond Street)
 
64. Take pole dancing lessons
Get fit or just have fun. Classes are held throughout London. The Pole Dancing School has four London locations from £15 a time.
 
65. See live comedy
Big name comedians try out their new material downstairs at the Kings Head in North London, but there are a number of comedy clubs in all London neighbourhoods.
(2 Crouch End Hill; Crouch Hill; £4)
 
66. Drink vodka Polish style
Bar Polksi has around 50 house vodkas and the bar staff are experts on advising you on what to try.
(11 Little Turnstile; Holborn; from £2.50)
 
67. Go to a burlesque night
Bizarrely, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club has the best night in London, but you must go in fancy dress!
(44 Pollard Row; Bethnal Green; £7)
 
68. See retro or foreign films
The Renoir cinema shows true art-house fair, while the Prince Charles Cinema shows vintage, themed and sing-a-long films.
(The Brunswick; Russell Square; and Leicester Square)
 
69. Learn martial arts
Beginners classes at the Martial Arts Place are just £10.
(88 Avenue Road; Swiss Cottage)
 
70. See future stars at the Royal Opera House
Try their 'Firsts' season every November to get tickets for around £5.
(Covent Garden; from £5)
 
71. Examine disused tube carriages
Village Underground is a mix of office spaces and artists studios, converted from old tube carriages. It also holds exhibitions for the public.
(Holywell Lane; Old Street)
 
72. Drink champagne in style
St Pancras station has Europe's longest champagne bar. A drink here provides a great view of 9 metre The Meeting Place bronze that dominates the terminal.
(Kings Cross and St Pancras; 10am-11pm; from £8 a glass)

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73. Go swimming in a pond
Hampstead Heath ponds are open all year round – but they're not heated!
(Golders Green or Archway; from 7am; £2)
 
74. Have a beer at the George Inn
London's only surviving galleried coaching inn is like stepping back to the 17th century from the modern-day bustle of London Bridge.
(Borough High Street; London Bridge)
 
75. Find art shows in London with Artangel
Check out online. This covers anything from music compositions to modern sculptures.
 
76. See musicals for free at West End Live
Each summer this event shows the musical highlights from the West End, including new hits and long-time favourites.
(Leicester Square; June; free)
 
77. See fireworks on bonfire night
From the Thames to London parks, events are hosted throughout London neighbourhoods to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.
 
78. Stand in the ground hall at Fortnum and Mason
Like being in a time warp, smell the coffee and taste the chocolate at this luxury department store.
(Green Park; 10am-8pm)
 
79. Taste historical beers in Greenwich
The microbrewery at the Old Royal Naval College brews beer that Henry VIII would have had. This is not promising that they'll taste nice!
(Cutty Sark; 10am-5pm; free)
 
80. See Goya at the Courtauld Gallery
This gallery is free on Mondays and holds a great collection, often hidden away from the tourist trail.
(Somerset House; Temple; 10am-2pm; free)
 
81. Climb to the top of the Monument
It is worth the climb, but there are 311 steps!
(Monument; 9am-5.30pm; £3)
 
82. See the mummies at the British Museum
The museum's most famous attraction is popular for a reason. The London museum also holds the famous Rosetta Stone and other unmissable artefacts.
(Russell Square; free)
 
83. Visit a cemetery
George Eliot, Henry Moore and Karl Marx are all buried at the Victorian Highgate Cemetery, which is one of the UK's most picturesque mausoleums.
(Archway; tours 11am-3pm on weekends; £7)
 
84. Drink tea by Mr Scruff
Go to the Big Chill Bar and have a cuppa by the famous DJ while dancing at this relaxed London bar.
(Dray Walk; Aldgate East)
 
85. Catch a film at the London Film Festival
Tickets sell out fast, but there are hundreds of films to choose from during the October festival.
(Various venues)
 
86. Check out the view from Parliament Hill
This is the highest point in London, offering brilliant views.
(Hampstead Heath)
 
87. Grab a bargain Burberry
Find the fashion outlet store in East London for knock down prices.
(Chatham Place, Hackney; Hackney Central)
 
88. Have a BBQ outside Cafe 1001
A great place to meet new people and grab a late-night snack.
(Dray Walk; Aldgate East; from £5)
 
89. Take a cheap tour bus
Many London bus routes take in the sights just like the tour buses. Try route 3, which runs between Crystal Palace and Oxford Circus.
 
90. Walk along the canal
Grab an A-Z or just follow your instincts. You can reach Limehouse from Camden along Regents Canal in a couple of hours.
 
91. See the Trooping of the Colour
Another big tourist hotspot, every June the Queen's Guards put on a show and you can join the crowds on the Mall.
(Buckingham Palace; Victoria; free)
 
92. View Alexandra Palace from the lake
Laze away the day on the boating lake and admire the imposing palace.
(Wood Green)
 
93. See the first tube station at Paddington
Or go on the oldest line – the Metropolitan Line.
 
94. Do the Circle Line pub crawl
Have a drink at the first pub at each of the 27 stops, or use a Monopoly board as an alternative pub crawl.
 
95. Find the Leicester Square handprints
Outside the cinemas in Leicester Square you can see hand imprints of Jude Law, Ian McKellen and Arnold Schwarzenegger among others.
(Leicester Square; free)
 
96. See the Sunflowers at the National Gallery
Van Gogh's masterpiece is a permanent hanging in the London gallery.
(Embankment; 10am-6pm; free)
 
97. Celebrate Chinese New Year
This is a huge festival in London every February, with parties going on from Trafalgar Square to Chinatown itself.
(Charing Cross for Trafalgar Square festival; early February; free)
 
98. Feast on fish and chips
Any trip to London should involve at least one meal of fish and chips. The Golden Fish Bar has specials for around £5.
(102 Farringdon Road; Farringdon)
 
99. Recreate the Beetles on Abbey Road
Visit the iconic zebra crossing in the flesh and retrace the steps of the Fab Four.
(St John's Wood; free)
 
100. Drink Guinness on St Patrick's Day
There are plenty of Irish people in London to celebrate with and each year Trafalgar Square fills up for music and dancing, as well as local pubs getting in the spirit.
(Charing Cross; Sunday closest to March 17th; free)
 
101. Use London's first red phone box
This is at the Royal Academy. It doesn't work, but remains a piece of British history.
(Piccadilly; Green Park)

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