London on the cheap. It can be done, especially now that British Pound is a bit of a better deal against our Canadian Loonie. And, yes, add to that the best free things to do in London. We asked some of the city's ultimate insiders – top hotel concierges – to give us the scoop on the best things to do in for less, and especially, for free.
Let's just start with some of the most interesting museums and art galleries in the world, many of which are free entry. "An amazing and often overlooked gallery is The Wallace Collection," says Theo Dubroy, the head concierge at The Arch London. (He's also a transplanted Canadian, so he kept that in mind when he created his list for you, dear reader.) Entry is free and they offer free tours, he adds. "The Wallace Collection is an old mansion and only 5 minutes walk from The Arch. It has a range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms and armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries."
It's also an opportunity to visit a grand family house of the times – and learn a little blue-blood family gossip, without paying admission. "It was established in 1897 from the private collection mainly created by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), who left it and the house to his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace (1818–1890), whose widow bequeathed the entire collection to the nation," says Dubroy. The museum opened to the public in 1900 in Hertford House, Manchester Square, and remains there, housed in its entirety, to this day. A condition of the bequest was that no object ever leave the collection, even for loan exhibitions. www.thearchlondon.com
Along with Theo Dubroy at The Arch London, we asked Jamie McDowell, the deputy head concierge at The Savoy (it's a Fairmont-managed property, so we'll call him an honourary Canadian) and Andrius Petrucenia, the assistant head concierge, Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard. After all, who better than the ultimate insiders – the concierges – at some of the best hotels in London to tell us how to get luxe for less?
Click through for our insiders' guide to the 10+ best free – and almost free – things to do in London.
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