Empty Olympic hotel rooms available at bargain prices

Empty Olympic hotel rooms available at bargain pricesPA

As well as empty seats in the Olympic Stadium, there are thousands of empty hotel rooms all over London - and many of them are now available at bargain prices.

The Sunday Times reports that during the past month, prices have been slashed by 17 per cent, according to the comparison website Trivago.co.uk

This is largely because there have been numerous new openings in recent months, adding 13,300 rooms since 2009. This means that there are now more than 123,000 hotel rooms in the capital, and at least 30 per cent of these are currently empty. This is expected to rise to about 55 per cent (about 67,000 rooms) after the closing ceremony.

Last year, demand for hotel rooms during the Olympics was expected to exceed supply - and prices rocketed as a result.

But reports of rising rates are believed to have scared off tourists, and now prices are falling sharply.

There are likely to be even more bargains available after the games, with some hotels offering discounts of up to 60 per cent.

So if you've planning a trip to London, August could be month to do it!

Click on the image below to see our pick of London's best free attractions...

London's best free attractions
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Empty Olympic hotel rooms available at bargain prices

Head to Buckingham Palace where you can see the Changing the Guard ceremony for free. From May until July it takes place every day at 11.30am and on alternate days for the rest of the year, depending on the weather. The process sees a new guard exchanging duties with the old guard accompanied by a guards band. The music varies from traditional military marches to pop songs. It lasts around 45 minutes and is a must-see if you're visiting Buckingham Palace.

As the largest urban farm in London and with free entry, it's well worth visiting Mudchute Farm. The farm is located in the Isle of Dogs with 32 acres of open parkland, horse riding, a huge range of plants, farm animals and a tea shop. Events taking place throughout the year include the Easter Parade, Summer Open Day, Christmas Fair and Spooky Halloween. What more could the kids and adults need from a free day out? Visit mudchute.org

Art and design enthusiasts will love the Victoria and Albert Museum, which celebrates 5,000 years of art from the UK and beyond. Its collections include fashion, photography, books and furniture among many others. Don't miss the world's oldest dated carpet in the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, silver and gold dating back to medieval times in the Whiteley Silver Galleries and the temple sculptures in the Buddhist Sculpture Gallery. Visit vam.ac.uk

Music buffs should visit the famous pelican crossing where the Beatles posed for the cover of their album Abbey Road. Here you can do the same walk and feel like a rock star too! Further up the road is Abbey Road Studios where the band recorded many of their songs, including Love Me Do and All You Need Is Love. Arrive at St John's Wood tube station, where it's a five-minute walk.

Home to Nelson's Column, the famous lion sculptures, the Fourth Plinth and lots of pigeons, Trafalgar Square is one of the capital's most vibrant open spaces and a must-see attraction if you're visiting London. Events like St Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year are celebrated here throughout the year and at Christmas, you can see the huge Christmas tree given as a gift from Norway. Close by you'll find Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, just a short walk away.

The whole family can enjoy a day out at Greenwich Park, where you can play Frisbee, have a picnic and check out the views of Canary Wharf, the River Thames and St Paul's Cathedral from London's oldest enclosed Royal Park. Other things to see around the park include the Greenwich Meridian Line, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Old Royal Naval College. Visit royalparks.gov.uk

The National Gallery has one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world and it's free to visit. Here you can see Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Monet's Bathers at La Grenouillere and da Vinci's The Virgin of the Rocks. You can get closer to the paintings with free tours, trails and talks, plus it's located in one of the capital's most iconic settings, Trafalgar Square. Visit nationalgallery.org.uk

This renowned gourmet food market is foodie heaven, with producers from all over the country selling fresh produce including breads, coffees, cakes, cheeses, ciders, meat and fish. There's international food too, with treats from as far as Mexico and India. Borough Market is open from Thursday to Sunday and is located near London Bridge and Southwark Cathedral. Visit boroughmarket.org.uk

Enjoy stunning views of some of the city's most iconic landmarks, like Big Ben, the London Eye and the River Thames from London's South Bank. You'll find restaurants, shops, art venues, theatres and street entertainment here for a fun day out the whole family will love. The riverside walkway is ideal for people watching and admiring some of London's most impressive architecture. Don't miss browsing amazing art at Tate Modern and walking the Millennium Bridge to get closer to the Thames. Visit southbanklondon.com

If you're looking for one of the UK's best free attractions, it's the British Museum, where you can explore collections of art and artefacts ranging from prehistoric to modern times. There are trails for children, free activity backpacks and you can use the museum's library and art supplies free of charge. Don't miss the architecture of the Great Court (pictured), the Rosetta Stone and the Mold Gold Cape. Visit britishmuseum.org

Explore the BFI National Archive at the Mediatheque hidden under Waterloo Bridge, where you can watch rare and extraordinary titles in British film and TV for free in the digital jukebox. All you have to do is log on to a viewing station and choose from over 2,000 films and TV programmes to view. Some great titles include London Calling, Essentially British and Reality Bites. Visit bfi.org.uk

This neo-Gothic wonder that dates back to the mid-19th century and is home to Big Ben is full of houses - most famously the House of Commons and House of Lords. UK residents can visit the Palace of Westminster, as it's also known, and even reserve a spot to watch the antics during Parliament sessions through their local MP. You can experience a 75-minute tour of the Palace and climb the 334 steps to the top of Big Ben. It's all free but you will need to book months in advance as demand is high. Visit parliament.uk

If you love browsing as much as you do shopping, Columbia Road Market in London's East End is a top place to visit and where you can see the street ablaze with a wide variety of beautiful flowers. There's everything from bedding plants to 10-foot banana trees and a lovely atmosphere with a great scent in the air. Market day is Sunday and it's open until 3pm, so you can take a leisurely stroll while listening to the chants of the flower sellers. There are also vintage clothes stores, art galleries and independent shops lining the street - a great shopping experience, even if you're not buying anything. Visit columbiaroad.info

Visit London's largest public gallery dedicated to photography from emerging talent and established artists to see photography in all its forms. The Photographers' Gallery was founded in 1971 by Sue Davies, OBE at 8 Great Newport Street in a converted Lyon's Tea Bar and in 1980 it expanded to included gallery space at 5 Great Newport Street. At Britain's first independent gallery devoted to photography, you can see exhibitions like Camera Obscura and browse a unique range of experimental cameras in the Bookshop that aren't available on the High Street. Visit thephotographersgallery.org.uk

One of London's most popular open spaces with hills, ancient woodlands and ponds, Hampstead Heath, boasts beautiful countryside and rich wildlife in the city. The Heath, as it's locally known, is one of the highest points of London and runs from Hampstead to Highgate. It's ideal for a family day out with a huge range of recreational opportunities, like walking, swimming, kite-flying and petanque. The Heath is home to a zoo, an athletics track, three swimming ponds, a lido and an adventure playground for children. It adjoins the attractive Kenwood House and is where you'll find Parliament Hill, which has a spectacular view over London that's protected by law.

Love books? Then you need to experience the Carnaby Book Exchange where you can pick up a book, relax in an armchair and explore a huge range of topics like fashion, travel, music, photography and history. It's located in Kingley Court, just off Carnaby Street and is the perfect place to get some peace in London. Plus if you bring a book that you no longer want, you can leave it here and pick up another for free! Visit carnaby.co.uk

Ever wondered where Londoners go on unexpectedly sunny days? The city is home to some great lidos, like Tooting Bec and London Fields, which sees flocks of Londoners on hot summer days. But for swimming without the chlorine, head to the freshwater Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, which is lots of fun for adults and children. There are 110 yards of open-water swimming, a good spot for sunbathing, changing facilities, a playground and a child-safe paddle pool. Who needs the beach when you can have all this in the middle of London?

Movie buffs should visit Temple Church off Fleet Street, which was a setting for the film The Da Vinci Code. The 12th-century church was where an action-packed scene took place, which saw characters Robert Langdon, Sophie Neveau and Leigh Teabing arrive here pursuing the answer to their latest riddle. Temple Church has antique mystery, with a dark atmosphere and Gothic-Romanesque architecture. In the old round church lays the 10 knightly effigies that are positioned in different ways and were believed to be tombs until it was revealed there were no bodies after World War 2. Don't miss the Oblong with its colourful stained glass windows and the Norman door for its circle of grotesque portrait heads. Free on most Sundays from 2-4pm. Visit templechurch.com

With lots of unusual clothes, second-hand furniture and bric-a-brac to browse, Brick Market is a great place to visit on a Sunday when you can soak up the vibrant East End atmosphere without having to spend a penny. At the bustling artistic hub you'll see street performers and can spend hours looking at the enormous range of goodies, with everything from cheap leather jackets to old magazines and Art Deco furniture on sale. There are plenty of inexpensive ethnic restaurants and cafes lining the street if you want to stop for lunch, including Bangladeshi curry houses and Jewish bagel shops.

For stunning views of London and one of the capital's best spots to watch a sunset, head to this hill located on the north side of Regent's Park. You can see clear views of central London to the South East, as well as Belsize Park and Hampstead in North London. With Primrose Hill being one of the city's more fashionable districts and an exclusive residential area, you may even bump into some celebrities who live in the area. The hill is ideal for a day in the sun and a top spot to enjoy London outdoors.

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