The London Starter Kit: Places to go

Posted 22.11.18 by Alex Watson

There’s just always something to do. I know it sounds like a cliché but you can end up doing anything when you have a spare evening or weekend. I love living here and can’t see myself ever leaving. –Sarah, Publicity Assistant

There are amazing places to discover in London, such as John Sloane’s museum in Lincoln Fields (it’s free). Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields is like travelling back in time – highly recommended!… Time Out is great for finding things to do – a lot cheap if not free. Look out for special deals, and ask Londoners where they go to drink/eat/relax. –  Sarah, Rights Manager

London is absolutely crammed with museums and galleries, many of which are completely free to visit. While you may already be aware of the big bastions residing in South Kensington (Science Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A etc.), there are places to cater to your most niche interests if you are prepared to venture off the beaten path.

Below are a few free options you may not have heard of – perfect for a day trip at the weekend.

Grant Museum of Zoology & Comparative Anatomy – a quieter option than South Kensington’s Natural History Museum, The Grant Museum is one of the oldest natural history collections in the UK, and is home to 68,000 zoological specimens.

Wellcome Collection“The free destination for the incurably curious,” The Wellcome Collection is a museum exploring medical history and its role in society, with an enormous range of archives, manuscripts and artefacts.

William Morris Gallery – Based in Morris’s family home in north-east London, this collection of designs, textiles and artwork tells the story of Morris’s career – as a poet, designer, craftsman, retailer and social activist.


With the West End right on your doorstep, take advantage of the plays and musicals for a magical night out. Though tickets can be pricey, you can find discounts on sites like and Lots of shows such as Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child run lotteries, where you can snag fantastic seats at super-low prices.

When summer hits, Londoners take to the parks. Places like Regent’s Park, Victoria Park, Greenwich and Crystal Palace offer oases of nature in the big city, with wild fields as well as manicured lawns and rose gardens to marvel at as you stroll. You’ll find sport and play areas, zoos and picnic areas – something for all the family.

Pubs and Nightlife
Stay out late at one of the many partying venues London has to offer. Check out Time Out’s list of the best nightclubs in London – with venues like The Pickle Factory and XOYO, you’ll be spoiled for choice wherever you are. London’s pubs are steeped in history – try out Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, The Spaniards Inn or the Star Tavern, to walk in the footsteps of literary greats such as Dickens, Byron and Keats, along with less savoury figures like Dick Turpin, and the gang behind the Great Train Robbery.


Volunteering can often get overlooked when you’re settling in somewhere new, but it can take you a long way towards feeling like you belong in your new neighbourhood. You get the chance to meet new people, experience your community, and have the chance to make a valued difference.

The Team London website lets you search for volunteering opportunities according to your interests and location, making it easy to find ways to become an active citizen.

And of course – don’t miss out on the volunteering opportunities at Penguin Random House. Whether it’s fundraising for our partner charity, becoming a volunteer reader at a local primary school, or helping out at with events like JobHack or WriteNow – we have plenty of opportunities for you to help us achieve our 2025 goals in Reading, Inclusion, Community and Sustainability.