London is famous for its green spaces, and there are many small parks located along the north and south banks of the river between Westminster and Tower Bridge. These areas are used by Londoners and visitors alike to take a nice break and recharge their batteries.
London also has the Royal Parks, which are huge public spaces designed by the Victorians so that all Londoners would have the chance to enjoy the natural world. St James’s Park (nearest pier: Westminster) is one of the smallest, but it is also one of the most famous because it houses Buckingham Palace. In the summer, visitors to the park can enjoy the daily sights of the Changing of the Guard in the morning and the Four O’clock Parade (or Dismounting Ceremony) in the afternoon at Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall.
Other world-famous residents of St James’s Park are the pelicans that have lived in the park since 1664 when a Russian ambassador gifted some to King Charles II. They’re fed every afternoon between 2.30pm and 3pm, but they also fish for themselves in the lake and have even been known to swallow a pigeon!
The South Bank is one of the most vibrant areas of London, and we never tire of sailing past it. There’s always something to do, whether it’s watching the buskers and free entertainment, looking at the sculptures and statues, or just finding somewhere to sit, relax and watch the world go by. If you see one of our boats, remember to give us a wave!
The green spaces in the area provide somewhere for you to sit and enjoy a money-saving picnic in the summer months, but it probably wouldn’t break the budget to buy some street food, or sit and have lunch in one of the many cafés lining the route.
Always check the websites of places you’re planning to visit in case you can find a special offer. These days, there’s a bargain to be had around every corner for the careful planner, so it’s always worth seeing what’s available.
If you love classical music, then check out the free lunchtime concerts at St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square (nearest pier: Embankment). And if you want to treat yourself to a reasonably priced - and atmospheric - lunch before or after the concert, check out the Café in the Crypt.
You could easily spend the entire day in the Trafalgar Square area (nearest pier: Embankment) without needing to spend any money at all. The Square itself is a great place to sit and watch the world go by or take in Nelson’s Column and Landseer’s famous lions that guard it. See artwork by new artists on the Fourth Plinth in the Square, or spend time looking at some of the world’s most famous masterpieces in the National Gallery and some of the world’s most famous faces in the National Portrait Gallery - all for free!