London is home to world-class galleries, museums and theatres but there are so many that you can’t possibly hope to visit them all in a day. So we’ve handpicked a little walking trail, all within a couple of miles of London Waterloo, and all completely brilliant. What’s more, they're free to visit.
We start at the British Museum (if you like, you can take the Northern Line five stops from London Waterloo to Tottenham Court Road). Established by Royal Decree in 1753, this extraordinary collection created the template for almost every other museum in the world. It’s impossible not to be awestruck as you wander the galleries, gazing at the Sutton Hoo hoard one moment, face-to-face with an Ancient Egyptian king the next, and looking at the Rosetta Stone the moment after.
Afterwards, a quick stroll south through Theatreland along Shaftesbury Avenue and on to Leicester Square takes you to the National Portrait Gallery. This is a treasure trove of portraits from Tudor times to the modern day – in sculpted, photographed and painted form. From Shakespeare to Bowie, Queen Elizabeth to Princes William and Harry – the definitive portraits are here.
Keep heading south and you’ll come to Tate Britain where you can take the ‘Walk Through British Art’ which features stunning pictures from 1545 to the present day. Here you’ll see all the greats of British painting including Turner, Constable and Bacon.
To round off your day, return to the Southbank Centre and spend some of the money you’ve saved on a couple of theatre or film tickets before you take the train home, and why not visit the Southbank Centre Food Market for a bite to eat?