Looking for more places to explore in London that won’t set you back financially? Here are
9 10 places I’ve visited that you might enjoy! (Please note, this list does not include churches – separate post to come – or main museums – see post on my Top 10 museums & galleries.)
All Hallows Church By the Tower‘s Crypt Museum
Visit the Crypt Museum beneath the oldest church in the city of London to see the remains of 2nd century Roman tessellated floors; a collection of Roman, Saxon, and church artefacts; and a few small chapels. Why not consider donating a coin or two to preserve history?
This renovated 1810 Georgian building in Brixton was once Raleigh Hall and now houses exhibits on Black British history. Last month, I visited a free exhibit on Black Georgians!
The home of the Canadian High Commission was recently renovated and reopened in February 2015. So far, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, and The Duchess of Cornwall have had a tour of the 21st Century Canadian interior designs. You don’t have to be Canadian to visit, just sign up. Who knows how long Canada House will allow visitors to explore their beautiful building! Before you leave, you can also check out the small temporary exhibition room (Canada Gallery) showcasing Canadian talent (photos, products, paintings, etc.).
Admire the grand medieval Great Hall of Guildhall (entrance from the left of Guildhall Yard) and the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre (entrance via the Guildhall Art Gallery, lower level). From Guildhall Yard, you’ll be able to see the outline of the amphitheatre.
I had no idea this was free until I saw a sign outside. On the Lower Ground level, there’s a permanent exhibition with the history on the building and the Supreme Court. Visitors can also visit the court rooms on the upper floors.
19 Princelet St (Museum of Immigration and Diversity)
This very rarely opened museum in Whitechapel focuses on the history (and current situation) of immigration and refugees. Built in 1719, the house became a Jewish synagogue 150 years later. What I love about this small museum is that everything appears as it had without touch-ups. The colourful glass ceilings are dirty. There are cobwebs on the chandeliers. The paint on the walls are peeling off. It’s beautiful and simply perfect! Consider donating to chip in on the costs to keep the building standing!
The RA is usually accessible for members only. However, on Open Saturdays, non-members can join a free tour to see the architecture of the rooms and see a few paintings. You will, however, still need a ticket to see visiting artwork.
St John’s Gate / The Museum of the Order of St John
The Order of St John’s headquarters in England was once one of the richest and owned a great deal of land in Clerkenwell until King Henry VIII’s dissolution of monasteries. Today, St John’s Gate has a museum on the ground level, with an exhibition of the almost 1000-year-old history of the Order of St John, from its beginnings as a religious order in Jerusalem to the work of the St John’s Ambulance around the world today. There’s a tour on Fridays and Saturdays that will give you access to the upstairs galleries, as well as the Priory Church and the 12th century Crypt (across from the museum), at a suggested donation of £5 (some did not donate), which goes to the St John’s Ambulance.
This narrow 300-year-old flagship tea shop on the Strand has a small display of old tea caddies and tea-related collections at the back. If it’s not too busy, you can also sample some tea at the Loose Tea Bar!
The Royal Academy of Music Museum is on the ground level and 1st and 2nd floors. Here you’ll learn about the history of the Royal Academy of Music, and see a collection of stringed instruments and pianos, including this six-pedalled 1815 Viennese piano: