Free And Cheap London Events: 11-17 May 2015

By Londonist Last edited 33 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 11-17 May 2015

Interesting and unusual things to do for a fiver or less this week, sponsored by CommuterClub.

All Week

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION: The Deutsche Börse 2015 Photography Prize is on at The Photographer’s Gallery — and there’s no clear winner this year ★★★☆☆ Free, until 7 June 2015

WHAT IS LUXURY?: The V&A’s new exhibition, What Is Luxury?, focuses on luxurious objects in everything from fashion to diamonds. The collection of items ranges from the elegant to the downright impractical ★★★☆☆ Free, just turn up, until 27 September. Also on at the V&A is Staying Power ★★★★☆, a photographic exhibition which explores the history of black culture in London. Free, until 24 May

UP YOURS: Artist Gram Hilleard uses postcards to offer translations of developer speak into cynical, plain English. Free, until 7 June

LAST CHANCE: Several free exhibitions close in the next month or so. Little Heroes: Roy’s People sees tiny superheroes take to the streets of London (free, until 9 May). You can see Ydessa Hendeles's crowd of creepy mannequins (£1) until 17 May. It's a double bill of Torture And Textiles at Serpentine Galleries (both free) until 17 May, and Henry Hudson’s Plasticine Art needs to be seen up close to be believed (free, until 29 May)

Monday 11 May

ALBUM SIGNING: Cathal Smyth, better known as Chas Smash of Madness, is at Fopp in Covent Garden signing copies of his debut solo record A Comfortable Man. We'd recommend getting there early. 6pm

COMEDY: Magician/comic Pete Firman headlines at the Good Ship in Kilburn, plus Sarah Bennetto, Chris Martin, Jim Campbell and your host Ben van der Velde. £4/£5, prebook, 8pm

Tuesday 12 May

The Honourable Artillery Company has an open evening at Finsbury Barracks

SOUND ART: The Engine Room is the second international sound art exhibition at Morley Gallery. Works from emerging sound artists from Singapore, Russia, Germany, Colombia, Italy, Canada, France, the United States and the United Kingdom have been selected for the exhibition. Free, just turn up, until 12 June

ROYAL ARTILLERY COMPANY: The Royal Artillery Company opens Finsbury Barracks to the public for the evening. Meet members of British military units, see a royal salute gun fire, watch a parachute drop, climb aboard a Chinook helicopter and more. Free, from 5pm

NAZI OBSESSION: Why are we still obsessed with the Nazis? This is the topic of a discussion to mark the recent publication of Richard Evans’s The Third Reich in History and Memory and Nikolaus Wachsmann’s KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps. Takes place at Birkbeck University. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

VICTORIA PARK: Head to The Hub in Victoria Park for a film programme selected and introduced by Travis Elborough, featuring Runners (2014), What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? (2005) and Monty The Lamb (2006). Free, prebook, 7pm

POETRY: Poet in the City and Keats House present an event featuring two leading poets from the UK and Germany, Don Paterson and Durs Grünbein. Free, prebook, 7pm

LIARS' LEAGUE: Liars' League is a themed monthly fiction night, where professional actors read new short stories by writers from around the world. Tonight's theme is Master and Servant. It takes place at The Phoenix pub in Cavendish Square. £5, just turn up, 7.30pm

COMEDY: The Comedy Grotto is back at Star of Kings in King's Cross. Line-up includes Kevin Eldon, Lou Sanders and Alex Kealy. Free, (donations in aid of PBH's Free Fringe), 7.30pm

SETTLED WANDERERS: 2015 marks 40 years since Morocco's invasion and occupation of Western Sahara. Poet Sam Berkson recounts his experiences among the Saharawi refugees in Algeria, bringing back poems from the some of the Saharawi greats, translated for the first time into English. Takes place at Rich Mix. Free, 7.30pm

Wednesday 13 May

KING'S CROSS: London Metropolitan Archives hosts a talk by Anne Howeson about renovation and revival in King's Cross. Free, prebook, 2pm

TONGUE IN CHEEK: Head to the Star of Kings for the launch of Tongue in Cheek, a new erotica anthology, with all stories written by women. Free, 7pm

YEATS IN LONDON: South East London Folklore Society meets at the Old King's Head in Borough to learn about a little known side of the poet WB Yeats, and the time he spent in London. £3/£1.50, booking recommended, 8pm


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Thursday 14 May

UNOFFICIAL WAR ARTIST: Imperial War Museum opens a new exhibition today, a retrospective of the work of Peter Kennard, a political artist whose imagery has become synonymous with the modern protest movement. Free, until May 2016

BEATING THE BOUNDS: All Hallows By The Tower claims to be the oldest church in the City of London. Today the annual Beating the Bounds ceremony takes place, in which the parish reaffirms its boundaries by processing round them, stopping to beat each boundary mark with wands and to pray for protection and blessings for the land. As the south boundary of the parish is mid-stream of the Thames, the Beating Party, together with the clergy and the Masters of associated Livery Companies, board a boat which takes them out onto the river to beat that boundary mark. Free, 3.30pm

MUSEUM AT NIGHT: As part of Museums at Night, Dr Johnson's 18th century townhouse is open late. Visit all four floors of the house before enjoying a complimentary glass of wine.  £4.50, just turn up, 5.30pm-8pm

NATURE LATE: Horniman Museum is open late as part of Museums at Night, focusing on how different artists have interpreted nature throughout the years. From reinventing taxidermy, 1920s nature films with an electronic live score to street artists painting wildlife, tours, cocktails, food and more. (Age 18+.) £5, prebook, 6.30pm

BLIND MAN OF HOY: Blind climber Red Széll had always dreamed of climbing Europe’s tallest sea-stack, The Old Man of Hoy, and attempted to do so with the help of guides. Tonight he shares his story at Stanfords in Covent Garden. £3, prebook, 6.30pm

PHONE BOX LIBRARY: Little Free Libraries turn the car park at 229 Great Portland Street into an alfresco late night reading lounge to celebrate its latest wee library. Free, just turn up, 6pm

Friday 15 May

Pulse and Bloom is one of the new installations at Southbank Centre

SOUTHBANK CENTRE: Three new exhibits open at Southbank Centre today. Pulse and Bloom consists of giant lotus flowers, which use pulse sensors to translate human pulses into an LED light sequence. The Singh Project pays tribute to British Sikh men, photographed over the course of a year in the studio. Karachi Stories presents four films about living in Karachi, Pakistan. All free, all until 25 May

ROMAN FORT: Tour the remains of the western gate of London’s Roman military fort, located beneath the streets next to the Museum of London. £5, prebook, 2pm/3pm

Saturday 16 May

Nunhead Cemetery has an open day

RICKMANSWORTH FESTIVAL: The annual Rickmansworth Festival celebrates canals, the community and the environment. Over 100 canal boats come together along with music and performing arts, displays and presentations, traders, boats and catering. Takes place between Stockers Lock and Batchworth Lock. Free, 16-17 May

CHEAM CHARTER FAIR: The Cheam Charter Fair is thought to date back to 1259 when Henry III granted Cheam a charter making it a town. The official opening ceremony is at 9am, followed by a bell-ringing display, a procession, dance classes and more. Free, 9am-1pm

VEIL: This installation at Southbank Centre explores what it means to be a Muslim woman in Britain today. As you move around the space you'll hear recordings of women telling their stories. Age 15+. Installation entry free (charge for the three performances), 10am-10pm

COMEDY CELLO: Kate Shortt, cellist, singer and comedienne transforms her cello into all sorts of animals and characters in this family show at Lauderdale House. Plenty of opportunities for audience participation. £4.50, prebook, 10am/11.30am

NUNHEAD CEMETERY: The Victorian Nunhead Cemetery has its annual open day, with tours of the cemetery, visits to the chapel and crypt, stalls, and a bug hunt and face painting for children. Free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

TUDOR PULL: The Tudor Pull is an annual ceremonial event for Thames Watermen's Cutters. A number of traditional rowing cutters, including the Queen’s Row Barge Gloriana, will be rowing from Hampton Court Palace to the Tower of London. See them at Teddington Lock at approximately 12.15pm or arriving at the Tower of London on the starboard side of the channel at around 4.30pm. Free, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

HURLINGHAM CLUB: The Hurlingham Club near Putney Bridge is best known for polo, but today there's an open garden day in aid of the National Gardens Scheme. Capability Brown and Humphry Repton were involved with landscaping the 42 acre garden, which has many mature trees, two-acre lake with water fowl, expansive lawns and a river walk. £5, just turn up, 2pm-4pm

Sunday 17 May

Come A Maying at the Forty Hall Estate

COME A-MAYING: The Forty Hall Estate in Enfield hosts a family day with folk music, Turkish, Ukrainian and Irish dancing, Morris Men and more. Free (workshop wristband £3.50), 12pm-5pm

MWALIMU EXPRESS: This monthly free pan-African family event takes place at Rich Mix with African music and films, poetry, family dance sessions and more. Free, 2pm

ALLSORTZ: Also at Rich Mix today is Allsortz, an evening showcasing singers, rappers, dancers, comedians and spoken word artists. Free, tweet @Allsortz1 to gain entry, 7pm

Check out our map of free things to do in London for more frugal fun.

Last Updated 10 May 2015