Living in the UK, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the way in which London is viewed around the rest of the world. The dazzling success of the 2012 Olympic Games has only amplified the degree to which it is seen as a geniue world city, p there with New York, Rome, Paris and Tokyo as a place which any self-respecting traveller simply has to take the time to see.
Of course, if you’re visiting as part of a Grand Tour of Europe ‘holiday of a lifetime’ style trip then it’s safe to assume that money is pretty much no object. For UK residents, on the other hand, the fact that a trip to London is likely to run up the kind of bills often associated with capital cities is one of the factors which makes it seem unattractive. Once a family has paid for their hotel, travelled down by rail or road, been on the London Eye and taken an open top bus tour, then they’ll already probably be several hundred pounds out of pocket, and it’s not even the end of the first day.
Add on to this the fact that London, like many big cities, has a reputation for being a dangerous place, and it’s easy to see why many people in the UK never get round to making the effort. It has to be admitted that visiting London, as with any any big city, does contain some risks, but it should always be remembered that the odds are firmly against any particular individual getting hurt and that, if they are, they will be able to seek compensation for their injuries. You can find out more on this at claims 4 negligence.
This is true in the event of accidents caused by negligence and also in the case of criminal injuries, even if the perpetrator is never caught. The huge majority of visitors leave London unscathed and happy, however, which leaves the issue of how much the trip is going to cost. Fortunately, beyond the obvious tourist attractions, London offers a host of fascinating places and activities which, as well as being family friendly are not merely cheap but are actually completely free of charge. The following is just a brief section of the attractions within central London which won’t set you back a single penny:
The British Museum – the appeal of the British Museum begins with the stunning architecture, in particular the glass roof over the inner courtyard, and extends to vast collections of exhibits which mean you could spend literally the whole day exploring the world’s greatest ancient civilisations. (Great Russell Street).
Tate Modern - a companion piece to the British Museum above, Tate Modern is based in the converted Bankside Power Station and exploring all of the fabulous modern art it has to offer will probably take more than a day. As well as the permanent collection, the vast turbine hall plays host to specifically commissioned large scale works by leading modern artists every six months. (Bankside SE1).
Hunterian Museum – if you’ve got teenage children, especially those with an eye for the grotesque, then this could just be the place to make their visit. John Hunter, one of the fathers of modern surgery, built up an impressive if gruesome collection of skeletons, diseased organs and anatomical oddities. (Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2).
Skateboard Park – continuing the teenage theme, the underside of Queen Elizabeth hall on the South bank is home to an impressive skateboard and graffiti park. Even if you can’t go six inches without falling over, watching the exploits of the experts will prove hugely entertaining. (Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1).
National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery – two vast art collections side by side. The former offering paintings and sculptures of every kind, the latter, as might be guessed, featuring portraits of everyone from Henry the Eighth to David Beckham. (Trafalgar Square, WC2/ 2 St Martin's Place, WC2).