Everyone knows how much it costs to travel. If it was free, we'd all be doing it. But of course, every trip comes with its costs. From airfare to lodging, food, and admission to attractions, the costs never seem to stop adding up. When it comes to European travel, few countries are as expensive as England.
The daunting price of airfare and lodging is hard to dodge, but one thing you can be sure to find are many free and worthwhile attractions. While they're not the end all be all of activities, many of these ideas are perfect ways to spend your vacation, both in satisfaction and practicality.
10 Simply Sightseeing
London alone has some of the most iconic sites of any city on earth. It seems everywhere you look has something to awe at. Simply exploring the city by foot is sure to offer some of the best sites of any vacation. A walk along the Thames can offer glimpses at Big Ben and Parliament, The London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe, and Tower Bridge.
But even outside London, some of the best ways to spend your day is simply absorbing the cities and towns. Waltzing down the Shambles of York, or marveling in Bath Abbey outside the Roman Baths are just two examples of wondering at quintessential English atmosphere.
9 Educate Yourself In London Museums
Being one of the largest and most influential cities on earth means hosting some of the most impressive museums around. England is renowned for its contribution to academia, and its museums are a result of that.
Luckily, many of the best museums in London are free. The British Museum offers glimpses at artifacts from all around the world, including a head from Easter Island and the astounding Greek Parthenon. More in the mood for Art? Tate Modern and The National Gallery has you covered. The Museum of Natural History offers beautiful architecture as well as an astounding scientific collection.
8 Visit Platform 9 3/4
This is the perfect little stop for Harry Potter fans. London and England have been the backdrop to so much iconic film and TV, but no more so than the Harry Potter series. There are tons of Harry Potter sightseeing tours out there, and the Warner Bros. Studio tour certainly pays for itself.
But, one of the best things to do is also free. Just a quick trip over to the iconic King's Cross Station is the real-life Platform 9 3/4. The secretive wizard train platform is available for a fun little photo-op, replete with a trolley with all your Hogwarts school supply. It might be a small thing, but you can't deny your inner child the joy of it.
7 Embrace Rambling
No nation on earth values its country walks more than the UK. The Brits invented Rambling, a happy medium between heavy hikes and a simple walk. Rambling through the English countryside is a perfect free way to appreciate the landscape, and to take part in a purely British tradition.
The UK actually has permanent laws and policies concerning the rights of ramblers. Throughout England and Wales specifically, there are hundreds of public footpaths that anyone has a right to take advantage of. Farmers and landowners must honor these rights, opening up their land to these countryside explorers.
6 Revel In Royal Displays
England is one of the last remaining monarchies, and because of this, one of the last countries that offer a bit of that old world pomp and circumstance. Some of the best free experiences that one could ask for are examples of these bombastic ceremonies.
The changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace is arguably the most well known, and certainly well attended. Occurring almost daily, the changing of the guard is a must-see. Other less known but just as enjoyable include the Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London or the Changing of the Horse Guard.
5 Discover Any Number Of English Heritage Sites
England has some of the most fantastic sites of historical and natural importance. English Heritage sites are some of the best out there, offering visitors a chance into the diverse and varied history of this island. Out of the nearly 400 sites, they hold stewardship for, over 250 are free to enter.
These remarkable places hold the door cracked for visitors to explore the story of England. Visitors can explore the lives of Neolithic peoples, and their stone circles, long barrows, and henges. Or jumping forward, guests can walk the stately homes of the 18th and 19th century. English Heritage sites are some of the most valuable experiences one could have on their English vacation.
4 Appreciate Public Art
A simple and cheap experience in any city is relishing in all the public art it has to offer. England's cities and towns are full of sculpture, murals, and any number of installations worth gawping over.
Even the complete street artist novice knows the name, Banksy. This renegade street artist has been leaving works around England for years. While some have been painted over and destroyed, there are still some to be found around Bristol, London, and elsewhere. The public sculptures in England are an equal sight to behold, from Eros in Piccadilly Circus to Angel of the North in Gateshead. A personal favorite spot is the Leake Street Tunnel in London, displaying wall to wall street art.
3 Explore Historic Markets
One of the best ways to see the food a city has to offer is through its markets. Open-air, farmers and antique markets are not only a place to grab a bite but to experience the full community of a place. Music, food, craft, and more is on full display.
England has this in loads. London's most beloved has to be Borough Market. Situated on the south bank of the Thames, there has been a market on this site since the 12th century. Leicester Market is another great option, standing as the largest in the country. If you're looking for knick-knacks, the antique market on Portobello Road is a must-see.
2 Lounge In Parks And Squares
Why not take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban centers and relax in the many city parks that England boasts? The nation is full of some of the most beautiful and relaxing urban green spots. London's are some of the best in the country, including St. James' Park, Hampstead Heath, and Hyde Park.
But, cities and towns across England have equal, if not better park options. Newcastle Town Moor in the north is a perfect slice of the desolate English countryside. Consisting of over 950 acres, Newcastle Town Moor is a perfect spot to stretch one's legs or take advantage of the many traveling fairs that visit throughout the year.
1 Soak In The Views Of The Sky Garden
This might be the single best free experience one can take advantage of on their English vacation. London has one of the most iconic urban layouts and skylines. Full of world-famous landmarks, this city deserves a bird's eye view.
While every other tourist is paying top dollar to go up on the London Eye or the Shard, one spot not only offers a free view of the city but also a chance to explore the highest urban garden in the city. The Sky Garden is free to visit and complete with two bars and a restaurant. Be sure to get your reservation to visit ahead of time though, as walk-up visits are out of the question.