Free & Cheap London Events: 28 April-4 May 2014

By Silvia Baretta Last edited 77 months ago
Free & Cheap London Events: 28 April-4 May 2014

Interesting and unusual things to do for a fiver or less this week.

Make your own Oyster card and London-themed objects at The Make Escape. Details below

All Week

FREE FILM FESTIVALS: A rich programme of free films in unusual venues characterises the New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival (25 April-4 May) and the Herne Hill Free Film Festival (2-31 May). You can just turn up and enjoy the film in most of the venues. Free, until 31 May

AFFORDABLE ART: The monthly Spitalfields Art Market is a chance to buy affordable art, including painting and photography, directly from up-and-coming artists. Recent exhibitors have included treescape artist Gillian Beadle and internationally renowned photographer AJ Silistrie. Free, 1-4 May

Monday 28 April

ST KATHARINE’S: Christopher West will be talking about, and signing copies of, his new book, The Story of St Katharine’s, which covers the history of the dock. Takes place on the Thames barge, Lady Daphne, on the pontoon in West Dock, close to International House. £5, prebook, 5.45pm

ROYAL SOCIETY: How does the biodiversity of tropical forests affect our planet? Find the answers at the Royal Society, where Professor O Philips will tell you more about climate change issues. Free, just turn up, 6pm

CRAFTY: The Ritzy Cinema in Brixton hosts a craft event dedicated to the world of Alice in Wonderland. Get creative and try to reproduce some of the colourful objects appearing in the story. Free, prebook, 7pm

RICH MIX: East End Backpassages: Tales Less Told is a theatrical event at Rich Mix in Shoreditch that celebrates the launch of a new anthology of stories from the less explored side streets of East End social history. Local authors and storytellers join forces for an evening of East End's discovery. Free, prebook by email, 7pm

FREE FILM: Enjoy some free cinema: Alibi Film Club screens 1968′s Barbarella as part of Classic Sci-Fi month at The Alibi in Dalston (Free, just turn up, 7pm) and The Duke Mitchell Film Club presents 1989's Split, for a Sci-Fi Freakout experience at the Phoenix Artist Club (Free, RSVP on Facebook, 8pm)

LGBT WRITING: Philip Hensher reads from his new novel The Emperor Waltz, at Southbank Centre. The event, Polari salon, provides a platform for new and emerging LGBT literary talent and showcases the very best queer writing. £5, prebook, 7.45pm

Tuesday 29 April

CELEBRATION DAY: Westminster Reference Library dedicates a whole day of celebration for Ellaline Terriss, who was the leading musical stage actress at the Aldwych and Hicks (now Gielgud) theatres during the first decade of the 20th century. The day includes a talk, a concert and a screening: event is free but £5 donation is suggested to cover the costs. Free, just turn up, 10am-4.30pm

TALK: Connected to King's College current exhibition Rwanda in Photographs, join a panel of Rwandan and international photographers to discuss how Rwanda is depicted in images 20 years after the genocide. £5, prebook, 6pm

AUTHOR'S TALK: As part of Cityread 2014, Chipping Barnet Library hosts an author's talk with Adele Parks, in conversation about her book Spare Brides, set in 1920. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm

SPOKEN WORD: BoxPark in Shoreditch hosts BoxedIn, an evening of spoken word performances. Free, just turn up, 7pm

DIY LONDON: Get crafty and create your own London-themed object at the Hackney Attic, where The Make Escape holds a free craft event. You're welcome to bring along your own project and realise it. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

FILM QUIZ: You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat is the touring cinema quiz that this time comes to the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. Free, just turn up, from 7.30pm

FILM CLUB: Genesis Cinema in Stepney hosts a free screening and filmmaker Q&A. This time is the turn of Woodhouse, by director Fred Rowson. Free, prebook, 8pm

Wednesday 30 April

ART EXHIBITION: Ben Uri Gallery presents the exhibition Painting London, taking place in their gallery in Cork Street — Mayfair. Displayed scenes show the city, by Suzanne Perlman. Free, until 17 May

MUSEUM LATE: Science Museum Late takes place tonight, focusing on the science and technology behind music. Expect live performances, a pub quiz, Punk Science comedy shows and a silent disco. Free, just turn up, 6.45pm–10pm

CULTURE TALK: The Crystal Palace Information Project presents the debate: Who owns culture? Park, space, building. The event takes place at the Salvation Army Worship Hall. Free, prebook, 7.30pm

BOOK SWAP: Head to the Great Northern Railway Tavern on Hornsey High Street for Big Green Bookshop‘s book swap, with comic book authors Mike Carey and Joel Meadows. Bring along a book to swap. £3, prebook, 7.30pm

Thursday 1 May

ROOFTOP: The Queen of Hoxton pub in Shoreditch opens its rooftop, which will be open throughout the summer for events. Entry is free, unless you're attending a special event. Free, just turn up, open daily noon-10pm

CARNABY STREET: Shopping lovers and fashion victims should head to Carnaby Street Shopping Party for a whole afternoon of free events. The line-up includes free talks, music performances, giveaways and 20% off on all the shops along the road. Free, prebook, 5pm-9pm

LIVE MUSIC: The National Theatre’s pop-up bookshop continues its series of free live music evenings. This time, see The Blondettes vocal trio, who perform swinging re-imaginations of pop classics. Free, just turn up, from 5pm

ART & FILM: The Romanian Cultural Centre launches the exhibition Pride and Concrete, telling the stories of successful Romanian emigrants. During tonight's private view there will be a screening of a short film connected to the exhibition, followed by a Q&A with the creators of the project. Free, prebook  by email, 6.30pm

HORNIMAN MUSEUM: Get behind the scenes of the Horniman Museum with an evening about Life in the Kalahari Desert. Anthropologist, film-maker and activist Hugh Brody tells about his experience with the San people of the Kalahari Desert, using exhibits from the museum's collection. £5, prebook, 7pm

COMEDY: The Avant Garden is an evening of pay-what-you-can comedy, with award-winning comedians on stage. It takes place at Cafe Crema in New Cross. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

Friday 2 May

VIOLIN CONCERT: The Gallery at Foyles in Charing Cross hosts international famous violinist Renaud Capuçon who plays classical music (Free, prebook, 6.30pm). On the same day, Foyles Gallery launches its exhibition The First 111 Days, about the gallery history. Free, until 30 May

DYE WORKSHOP: The Free Space Gallery in Kentish Town hosts a Natural Dye Workshop in the space of its Well-Being Garden. Learn how to  extract dye and pigment from plants that can be grown at home. Free, prebook by email, 2.30pm-4pm

ART WORKSHOP: The Vaults Gallery hosts an alien-shaped collage mask workshop. Make your own mask, wear it and then get photographed. You'll be emailed an hallucinatory and animated version of it. Collage materials, magazines and masks provided (donations welcome). Free, prebook by email, 6pm

ON THE PIER: Flamingo Pier Launch Party kicks off the summer season of this monthly summer street food and music party held at the Counter Cafe pontoon and canal boat in Hackney Wick. There will be food, drink and music. £3, just turn up, from 6pm

FILM SCREENING: The Portico Gallery in West Norwood screens The Devil Rides Out. The film is preceded by a film critic's talk. Free, just turn up, 7pm  

FOLK IN A BOAT: Listen to some folk music on board of the Golden Hinde II, modelled on Sir Francis Drake's most famous galleon. All money raised will support the Tiller Flat Folk Club. £3, prebook, from 7pm  

OPEN MIC: Mad About Tottenham Chances is an evening of variety, poetry, comedy and music taking place at T.Chances in Seven Sisters. Free, just turn up, from 8pm

Saturday 3 May

RETAIL HISTORY: John Lewis' new exhibition, Stories of a Shopkeeper, launches at the Oxford Street store on Saturday to celebrate 150 years of the business. Free, just turn up, until June

VINTAGE MARKET: North London Vintage Market runs a bank holiday weekend special at St Mary's Parish Hall in Crouch End. There will be different traders on both days, and Saturday visitors can come back on Sunday for free, plus for those who've been before, there will be new traders specialising in vintage hair and make-up. My Little Cake Tin will be selling all manner of cakey goodness (go on, it's a bank holiday...). £1.50, just turn up, today and tomorrow

MALAYSIAN FOOD: The first ever Malaysia Kitchen Spring Market takes place on Southbank, with restaurant stalls spread out between the OXO Tower and Waterloo Bridge. Free, just turn up, 10am-7pm, today and tomorrow

FLEA MARKET: The monthly Hackney Flea Market takes place at Abney Hall in Stoke Newington today and tomorrow and offers bargain hunters a chance to buy vintage clothes, furniture and records, Scandinavian glass, handmade jewellery and more. Free, 11am-6pm

DANCE: Drink Shop Do's weekly party evening happens tonight. Expect cheesy tunes and dance floor classics. Free before 11pm, £3 after

SPITALFIELDS: So Vintage's monthly market comes to Old Spitafields, giving shoppers a chance to revamp their wardrobe with clothes dating back to the 1950s, reworked jewellery, and homewares. Free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

FREE WALK: The theme for this weekend's CoolWalk is Rebels and Revolutionaries. Explore Kennington and the surrounding area’s links to revolution, rebellion and alternative communities. Free, just turn up at Brandon Library in Kennington, 12.30pm

KENTUCKY DERBY: GOAT in Chelsea hosts a Kentucky Derby themed party with horse-racing sweepstakes, country music and Kentucky-inspired food. Free, just turn up, 8pm

PARTY NIGHT: Hipsters Don't Dance is the party night happening at the Shacklewell Arms in Hackney. The music is a mix of hip-hop, dance and electronic. Entry is £3 before midnight and £5 afterwards. £3/£5, just turn up, 9pm-3am

Sunday 4 May

VINTAGE: Vintage extraordinares Judy's Vintage Fairs return to Bethnal Green with their novel approach to clothes shopping. The Vintage Kilo Sale lets shoppers buy a kilogram of vintage clothing (which works out a 4-5 items) for £15. Jewellery starts from just 50p per item. £1, just turn up, 11am-4pm

MORE VINTAGE: Frock Me! Vintage returns to Chelsea Town Hall with over 50 stalls of vintage clothing, textiles, haberdashery & accessories. Plus refreshments from Blackbird Vintage Tea Rooms. £4, just turn up, 11am-5.30pm

PHILOSOPHICAL WALK: There is a philosophical and social walk on Hampstead Heath today. Go along, meet new people, have some discussions. Free, just turn up at Hampstead Underground station, 2.30pm

GIG: The Fiddler's Elbow  in Camden hosts a night of garage, punk and blues from some new and established bands. £5, just turn up, 8pm

Check out our map of free things to do in London for more frugal fun. Or pop over to who also have plenty of great ideas.

Last Updated 26 April 2014