In July, Wimbledon will attract many tennis enthusiasts.

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Free is still free

The savviest way to save money, of course, is not to spend it in the first place. Most major London museums are free, including the British Museum and the Tate Modern (which opened a space devoted to performance art last year). Likewise gratis: the Ulster Museum in Belfast, the World Museum in Liverpool and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

If you hit Albion in August, head for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta — Europe's largest annual hot-air balloon gathering — and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; both events are free. Every U.K. city makes free walking tours available via apps; I'm partial to the Charles Dickens London Walking Tour and the Walking Heads music tour of Glasgow. And speaking of music, one of my favorite freebies has a quintessentially British air: It's the classical music played every weekday around lunchtime inside St. Martin in the Fields, a church in London's Trafalgar Square.

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Get sporty

Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon should be a rite of midlife passage. The Championships at the All England Club, 20 minutes by train from central London, take place July 3-16 this year, and general admission starts at £8. (Catching the finals at Centre Court will set you back £190.)

Ninety minutes west of London in Berkshire, head to Coworth Park, the only hotel in the U.K. that provides its own polo fields and practice facilities. You can take a one-hour polo lesson for £175 or a half-day polo master class for £400.

See also: Places to explore near London

The Welsh Hawking Centre, 10 miles southwest of Cardiff, offers a three-hour introduction to falconry (also called hawking) for £75; you'll learn how to pick up and hold a variety of birds, and even have a chance to fly hawks to your fist.

Or perhaps driving a set of 007's favorite wheels is more your speed? If so, head to Silverstone, home to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, for "The Thrill": three laps around the track in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage for £99. (American visitors will need an international full-manual driving license.)