Still a working place of worship, the current St. Paul's Cathedral is the fourth since 604 A.D. to stand in London. Its dome is an integral part of the London skyline, and the church itself serves as a symbol of London's strength and resilience throughout the centuries.
The ground floor is open to the public and free to enter, and its regular services are free and open as well. For a price you can climb to the upper floors, up to the infamous dome, where you can get a breathtaking view of the city. Make sure to take pictures outside; photography is not permitted within the cathedral.
While much of London has changed with the times, some parts stay the same. Speakers' Corner, a living tribute to the British democratic tradition of "soapbox oratory," has been alive and kicking since 1872 and is considered one of the city's more original and theatrical attractions.
Every Sunday, on the corner of Park Lane and Cumberland Gate, near the Marble Arch tube station, people from all walks of life stand on a platform and preach to anyone who will listen about anything and everything. Back in its heyday, Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin used the platform to push their political and social agendas. Though the corner has less of a celebrity status now, it is still a popular venue for free speech.
No reservations are necessary, so visitors must just wait for a turn. Whether you go to observe, heckle or even speak your mind, the experience is bound to entertain.
While London may be expensive, its culture comes free. All the major museums and galleries in London have free admission, so any tourists on a bootstrap will never run out of intellectually stimulating material.
Some special exhibits might cost extra, but don't worry if you cannot afford them; most of the museums are large enough that even in one visit you will not have enough time to see everything. Some of London's must-sees are the British Museum, the National Gallery, The Tate Modern and Tate Britain, the Victoria & Albert design museum, the British Library, and the Museum of London.
Once one of Henry VIII's hunting parks, Regent's Park is now the largest of the Royal Parks and the home to some of London's most spectacular gardens and greenery. Walking into the park evokes memories of the Secret Garden and feels like a complete escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Perfectly groomed flower beds, trees, shrubberies, pathways, lawns and athletic fields blanket the park, and Londoners as well as visitors flock there to exercise, study, relax, or wander.
Queen Mary's Gardens are particularly enchanting, and if you feel like spending some money, the London Zoo and the Open Air Theatre, Britain's only permanent professional outdoor theatre, also reside within the park's gates. If you would like to explore more Royal Parks, Hyde Park and St. James Park are worth a visit as well.