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The best free outings in London this summer

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7 July 2016 | Money Matters

A day out in London doesn't need to be eye-wateringly expensive - here are our top picks for a great free day out in the capital.

Discover secret Japanese gardens

Hidden deep inside Holland Park, the largest park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, visitors will find the Kyoto Garden, donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991.

With its colourful plants and flowers and calming water features, exploring the gardens is fun for all the family, and there's always a lovely spot for a picnic.

Holland Park opens its gates between 8am and 9pm each day.

It is just a short walk from Holland Park tube station (Central line) - but if you're heading there during July, use Shepherd's Bush (Central line and London Overground) or Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle and District line) tube stations, as Holland Park is closed for improvements until August.

See the arts in the great outdoors

The Scoop, located next to City Hall, is a sunken amphitheatre which seats up to 1,000 people and is absolutely free to enter.

During the summer months, it hosts live music and plays during the day and outdoor film screenings in the evening.

You'll find The Scoop a short walk away from London Bridge station (Northern line).

Visit a museum

When the inevitable summer rain begins to fall over London, escape the unfavourable conditions by visiting one of the world-class museums the capital has to offer.

Whether history, science, art or literature is your thing, there will be a museum or gallery to suit - and most of them are free to enter.

See the famous dinosaurs at the National History Museum and get inspired at the Science Museum (both close to South Kensington station).

If art piques your interest, visit The National Gallery (Charing Cross or Leicester Square station) or Tate Britain (Pimlico or Vauxhall station) for classic pieces, or the Tate Modern (Southwark or Blackfriars station) for more modern works.

For something a bit different, try the Bank of England Museum (Bank station), where visitors can hold a genuine gold bar, or explore the history of the city itself at the Museum of London (Barbican or St Paul's station).

Take in stunning views

To capture the true beauty of London's landscape, a trip to Parliament Hill Hampstead Heath is a must.

Some of the capital's most famous landmarks - including Canary Wharf, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul's Cathedral - are visible from its summit, making Parliament Hill a favourite spot for everyone from runners to those looking for somewhere to enjoy a picnic with a view.

The closest station is Hampstead Heath overground, or take the tube to Hampstead station and Hampstead Heath is only a short walk away.

South of the river, take in the city's landmarks from Greenwich Park - it's the oldest enclosed Royal Park in the area, and is home to a small herd of deer.

The spot offers particularly stunning views of the curve of the River Thames and Canary Wharf, with the city's landmark buildings also visible.

Take the DLR to Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich station or Greenwich station, and Greenwich Park is a short walk away.

Alternatively, Maze Hill station is very close to the north-east corner of the park - Southeastern trains run here from Cannon Street and London Bridge.

Witness a regal handover

Be a true tourist and enjoy the very British pomp and circumstance of the famous Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The new guard replaces the old guard during the ceremony, which lasts for around 45 minutes.

It takes place daily at 11.30am between April and July, and on alternate days for the rest of the year, weather permitting (check the provisional schedule).

The event, also known as Guard Mounting, is very popular, so make sure you arrive in plenty of time to get a good vantage point.


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