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Free Things to Do in the City of London

More London for Free Ideas

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The City of London is actually only a small area east of central London, also known as the Square Mile. (See City of London Boundary Map.) This is the financial and business center of London and where you'll find the suit-wearing bankers and stockbrokers dashing around. The area is quiet at the weekend when the workers aren't there. It's well worth a visit as it's full of historical buildings next to modern additions. And, there's loads to do for free.

Don't forget to also see:

 

1. The Ceremony of the Keys

Beefeaters pictured at the Tower of London
© Stephen Pond/HRP/newsteam.co.uk

The Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London is a 700 year old tradition that takes place every night. Essentially it's locking all the doors to the Tower of London and the public are allowed to escort the warden, as long as they apply in advance.

As the Tower must be locked - it houses the Crown Jewels! - they never miss a night because you can't leave the door open, can you?

2. Museum of London

Museum of London
© Laura Porter
The Museum of London's mission is to inspire a passion for London. It documents the history of London from Roman times up to today.

3. Bank of England Museum

Bank of England Museum
© Bank of England
The Bank of England Museum is a hidden treasure down a side-road, off the Bank of England. The absolute highlight for me is the opportunity to lift a genuine gold bar.

4. Visit St. Paul's Cathedral for Free

St. Paul's Cathedral, London
© Laura Porter

St Paul's Cathedral in London sells tickets for visitors but there are ways to visit for free. If you are short on time or money, find out more...

5. Gresham College Free Lectures

Gresham College, High Holborn, London
© Laura Porter
Gresham College has no students and does not teach courses but is an educational institution of higher learning that exists to provide free public lectures. The free public lectures have been running for over 400 years.

6. Free Lunchtime Recitals at St. Olave's

St Olave's Church is a small medieval church, where Samuel Pepys, London's 17th century diarist, and his wife Elizabeth lie buried. St. Olave's is a peaceful place to listen to music, with a lively lunchtime recital series.

7. The London Stone

London Stone, Cannon Street, City of London, UK
© Laura Porter
The London Stone is a fragment of a 3,000 year old piece of limestone that for years was considered to be the symbolic heart of London. Its age and original purpose are not known, although it has been suggested that it was the point from which the Romans measured all distances in Britannia.

8. Guildhall Art Gallery

Guildhall Art Gallery London
© Laura Porter

The Gallery was established in 1885 to house and display paintings and sculpture belonging to the Corporation of London. Located in the historic heart of the City next to the medieval Guildhall, the present building opened to the public in 1999. As of April 2011, the Gallery it is now free to visit the Gallery and Romam Amphitheatre.

There are free Friday tours of the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Roman Amphitheatre showing highlights of the Gallery's permanent collection. The tours take place every Friday at 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm. Booking is not needed.

9. Whitefriars Crypt

Whitefriars Crypt, City of London
© Laura Porter
Whitefriars Crypt in the City of London is the remains of a 14th century medieval priory that belonged to a Carmelite order known as the White Friars. Find out more including where to find it and how to see it for free.

10. Clockmaker's Museum

Clock Museum entrance, Guildhall, City of London
© Laura Porter
The Clockmakers' Collection was begun in 1814 and is the oldest collection specifically of clocks and watches in the world. The exhibition of 1000 exhibits form a sparkling display in a single room off Guildhall Library. It tells the extraordinary story of "The Clockmakers of London" from c.1600 to the present day.

Address: Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, EC2P 2EJ

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9.30am – 4.30pm

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