Want to see some sites?
From the Romans to the Vikings, from the Saxons to the French: England - or rather the United Kingdom - has been a place of constant change that has shaped its culture, identity and history.There are many places of interest both in the local area and further afield which will give you an insight into how the United Kingdom used to be, how it has evolved and what kind of a place it is today. Please bear in mind that prices and timings are subject to change and that you should check these when planning your trip.
When you have spare time in London on field studies days, here are some quick suggestions for interesting and inexpensive places to visit:
National Portrait Gallery
- Trafalgar Square
- Tube: Charing Cross/Embankment
- Large and superb gallery of portraits old and new. Best bathroom in central London, pricey café.
Pick up a leaflet in the lobby of any hotel or check their website to see which walks are on offer. They range from Shakespeare’s London to the Beatles’ London to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel. This is the best walking company to go with. £5.
- Great Newport Street: in two different adjacent buildings.
- Tube: Leicester Square/li>
- Excellent free exhibitions of contemporary and canonical photography. Great bookshop./li>
Sir John Soanes Museum
- 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
- Tube: Holborn
- Weirdest museum in London. Three houses crammed with 19th century architect’s collection of paintings, antiquities, oddities. Utterly fascinating.
Museum of London
- London Wall
- Tube: St Paul’s
- The Museum of London illustrates over two thousand years of London's social history, from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. Very interesting.
- 210-220 Regent Street
- Tube: Tottenham Court Road
- Mock Tudor building housing one of London’s classic clothing and housewear shops. Great cafés. Free to look, but deadly for your credit card.
Camden Lock Market
- Tube: Camden
- Excellent market for secondhand clothes, cool books, CDs, food, etc.
- 5 Parkway, Camden Town
- Tube: Camden
- Great small venue with high quality music.
- 49 Dean Street, W1
- Tel: +44 (0)20 7437 2799
- Tube: Leicester Square
- Situated in the middle of Soho, this is a former meeting place of Charles De Gaulle during World War II. Dylan Thomas and Francis Bacon also regularly drank here. Dylan Thomas forgot the manuscript of Under Milk Wood after overdoing it one night here. The pub serves half pints only to make it more Frenchified, so don’t ask for a pint. Sylvia Plath signed her first book contract here.
- 75-77 Borough High Street, SE1
- Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 2056
- Tube: Borough, Tube/Rail: London Bridge
- Now owned by the National Trust, this is the last surviving galleried coaching inn in London, dating from 1676. It is said to be the site of the Tabard Inn where Chaucer's pilgrims gathered.
The Lamb and Flag
- 33 Rose Street, WC2
- Tel: +44 (0)20 7497 9504
- Tube: Covent Garden
- Due to its location right in the centre of Covent Garden, The Lamb and Flag can sometimes get very busy, but it is a top place to hang out. It was once known as The Bucket of Blood when prize-fighters used it as their local pub.
There are several art galleries in London, many of which are free to enter. Tate Modern focuses on contemporary art while Tate Britain displays British Art from the sixteenth century to the present day. Other major London art galleries that are free include the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square where you can marvel at work by the world’s greatest artists. In addition to this, there is also The Wallace Collection just off Oxford Street.
Tube: Southwark / Blackfriars
Tube: Leicester Square / Charing Cross
|National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
Tube: Leicester Square / Charing Cross
|The Wallace Collection
Tube: Bond Street / Baker Street
London has hundreds of museums and exhibitions, large and small. All the major museums in London have been free since 2001, though most of them have special, limited time exhibitions which usually charge a fee.
The British Museum is housed in one of Britain’s architectural landmarks, and holds a collection of art and antiquities from ancient and living cultures around the world spanning two millions years of human history.
The Science Museum contains more than 10,000 exhibits from the nation's collection ranging from the Panhard et Lavassor car to the Apollo 10 Command module.
The Imperial War Museum covers all aspects of life during wartime and the Victoria and Albert Museum (more commonly known as the V&A) is arguably the world’s greatest museum of art and design.
The most popular museums for visitors to London are listed below. These are only a tiny fraction of the wonderful range of free cultural resources available in London.
|National Maritime Museum
Tube: Bank, then DLR to Cutty Sark
|The British Museum
Great Russell St
Tube: Russell Square
|Imperial War Museum London
Tube: Lambeth North
|Museum of London
London EC2Y 5HN
Tube: Barbican/ St Paul's/ Moorgate
|Victoria & Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL
Tube: South Kensignton
Tube: South Kensington
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, then one of London’s many picturesque parks will make an ideal location. The views on a clear day from Alexandra Palace or the Royal Observatory hill in Greenwich Park are some of the finest in London. You will also find the Queen Mary's Rose Gardens in Regent's Park, and St. James's Park offers one of the best views of Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park is the one of the larger parks in London and includes the ever-popular Diana Memorial Fountain and the Peter Pan Statue. As well as being free to enter, these public spaces frequently play host to organised events. There are often free talks and guided walks in the royal parks so do check the What's On section of the Royal Parks web site.
Free Sporting Events
Amateur sport, taking place on any given Sunday across the capital, is usually free to watch and almost always great fun. Local newspapers are the best sources on information for sporting events near you. If you are particularly adventurous, own a pair of roller-skates, and can stop effectively with them on, then you might try a group skate around London. This is fantastic way to meet people, and can give you a unique view of the city. ‘Friday Night Skate’ and ‘Sunday Rollerstroll’ are two of the biggest free events. Skaters of all skill levels are welcomed, and different routes are planned every week.
Be A Member of a TV Audience
The BBC offers free tickets for BBC TV and Radio shows. Recordings of BBC television and radio shows can be particularly enjoyable. On the BBC Tickets 'How to apply' page there is a search facility for type of show, name of the show, date, and venue. From there you fill in a form and the BBC will send you tickets two weeks before the show date. If you haven't planned ahead and want to find out if you can see a BBC show this week, then check the See a BBC Show This Week page. Once you've seen what's available, you can call the BBC and book your tickets. For a chance to be in the audience for popular programmes such as ‘The News Quiz’, and ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’, go to the relevant section of the BBC website.
Other sites to check for free TV and radio recordings are www.applausestore.com, www.chortle.co.uk, www.tvrecordings.com as they offer free online tickets to some of the best entertainment TV show recordings in London. To get a ticket is a very simple process: register, choose a show, print an e-ticket, then go to the show!
Most shows take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours so be patient and allow plenty of time as you usually can't move from your seat once the recording starts. The studio staff will do their best to keep you entertained during set changes or if there are any technical hitches delaying proceedings.
Free Nights out
Comedy nights can be an excellent source of evening’s entertainment for those with empty pockets as admission prices are often kept low (or free) to entice punters (AKA customers) to the bar.
These free nights at London’s comedy venues can be good fun. On a Wednesday evening, ‘Warren Street Comedy Therapy’ at the Grafton Arms on Grafton Way (off Tottenham Court Road), and ‘Scabby Tabby’ at the Red Lion in Soho, are definitely worth a go. On Sunday nights at the Rosemary Branch in Islington, ‘Off the Cuff’, an improvised comedy show from an all-female group of comediennes, is highly recommended.
The Comedy Café is one of the few purpose built comedy clubs in London, situated in the heart of Shoreditch. All of their customers are given a table for the evening from which they dine and watch the show. (Nearest tube stations are Liverpool Street and Old Street).
Watch a Trial at The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey is probably the most famous criminal court in the world. You can watch the proceedings from the public galleries from 10am, Monday to Friday. Nearest tube is St. Paul’s.
Movie premieres in London are often held in Leicester Square and it is free to stand and watch the stars as they walk down the red carpet. It can be a great way to spend an evening to watch your favourite celebrities walking up the red carpet - just be sure to take your camera.
Herstmonceux Village (pronounced Herst-mon-zoo) is a perfect example of a traditional English village that grew up as the centre for the surrounding agricultural lands, and as such it provides good views to the North of rolling fields. Among the newer buildings you will find some that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries and it is well worth a walk around to look at the old cottages. The names of some of the buildings also give clues as to their original use. The village has formerly been known as Gardner Street, and this is still the name of the main street that runs through the centre. The village still retains a busy life, housing Herstmonceux School (children from 5 to 12), the Doctor’s surgery, a Post Office, a general store, a chemist, a hairdresser, and a butcher. There are also a number of other shops that seem out-of-place but manage to do a good trade; among these are a music shop, a toyshop and a pine-furniture shop. Herstmonceux is famous for a wooden basket called a Sussex Trug. These baskets are uniquely still made in the traditional way in the village and there are two shops that make and sell them. One is Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop, ‘The Original makers of the Royal Sussex Trug’, which is situated just past the School. You can sometimes see the Trugs being made outside on the grass. The other shop, The Truggery, is further down the road towards Hailsham, about a mile out of the Village.
Food in Herstmonceux
Herstmonceux, though a small village, has a good selection of restaurants and pubs that are not to be missed. The Brewer's Arms is a traditional village pub. Serving food in the evenings and at weekends, they have a good selection of English food like The Brewer's Arms Pie and usually at least a couple of Italian and Indian dishes, too. The Brewer's Arms, like most British pubs, shuts at 11:00pm, which is when Last Orders is called; after this you have 20 minutes to drink up and leave. The other pub in the village is The Woolpack Inn and this pub is open all day and also serves food at lunchtime and in the evening.
The two restaurants in the village are The Sundial (Tel: 01323 832217) and the Indian restaurant, Eastern Promise (Tel: 01323 832533).
Herstmonceux is only a couple of miles away from the Castle. The easiest way to reach it is to walk down Church Road and then turn left; this will take you about forty minutes. From the Castle grounds you need to go out the West Gate, which is the gate by the Church and turn right into Church Road. There are also a number of footpaths across the fields that will take you from the Castle grounds to Herstmonceux village or other surrounding villages like Windmill Hill.