Free And Cheap London Events: 25-31 May 2015

By Londonist Last edited 87 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 25-31 May 2015

All Week

There's all sorts of activities going on at Thamesmead Arts Festival

HALF TERM: Need inspiration for things to do with your little Londoners over the coming week? Look no further.

THAMESMEAD ARTS FESTIVAL: Thamesmead Arts Festival has a full programme of events and activities including live music, theatre, cinema, exhibitions and creative workshops. Many events £1, some are free. See website for further information. 25-31 May

LAST CHANCE: Henry Hudson’s Plasticine Art needs to be seen up close to be believed. Free, until 29 May

WANDSWORTH HERITAGE FESTIVAL: There’s a fortnight of events on offer for all age groups to celebrate heritage in the borough as part of Wandsworth Heritage Festival 2015. See individual events for pricing and booking information. Until 7 June

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

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

DIY CULTURES: Rich Mix opens a new exhibition, DIY Justice, which focuses on the War on Terror, prisons crisis and curtailment of civil liberties, and ways we can fight back. Free, until 12 June

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

ILLUSTRATION AWARDS: See this year’s entries to the V&A Illustration Awards at the museum. Works consist of book, editorial and student illustration. Free, just turn up, until 2 August

Monday 25 May

South Asian dance at Southbank Centre

ANATOLIAN CULTURE: It's the last day of the The Anatolian Cultural Fete, which marks its ninth anniversary with band concerts, children’s theatre and, er, oil wrestling, in Clissold Park. 22-25 May

SOUTH ASIAN DANCE: YUVA at Southbank Centre is a showcase of South Asian dance. Free, 11.30am-6.30pm

PUTNEY FOLK DEBATES: The Cat’s Back, a Victorian pub nestled in the new Riverside Quarter between Putney and Wandsworth, is hosting the Putney Folk Debates, a free music and community festival. Free, just turn up, 2pm-10pm

ACOUSTIC MENU: Head to Rich Mix for Smile Acoustic, an evening of acoustic songs from upcoming artists. Free, just turn up, 4pm

Tuesday 26 May

BATTERSEA HISTORY: Battersea Arts Centre hosts the first in a series of free talks about the incredible history of the old Town Hall building and local area. Historian Prof. Penelope Corfield and writer David Rosenberg highlight the work of local author Charlotte Despard. Free, prebook, 6pm

PHOTOGRAPHY SOAPBOX: Brighton based photography group Miniclicks hold the first of their new talks in London. Five photographers are given seven minutes on stage to talk about their work and inspirations at The Dissenting Academy in Dalston. Free, 7pm

DUKE MITCHELL FILM CLUB: The monthly film club is at The Phoenix Artist Club again for an evening of trailers, short films and giveaways. Tonight's feature film, The Neighbourhood (aka Mission Hill) (1982) is a bit of a wild card, as the organisers themselves haven't seen it and will be watching it with the audience for the first time. Free, 7pm

COMEDY GROTTO: Kevin Eldon, Joseph Morpurgo and more take to the stage at The Star of Kings in King's Cross for this week's Comedy Grotto, a mixture of sketch and character comedy. Free (donations for the PBH Free Fringe welcome), 7.30pm

FILM QUIZ: You’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat film quiz celebrates its 10th anniversary at Ritzy Brixton. Test your film knowledge in this multimedia quiz, complete with film and sound clips. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

POLARI: LGBT literary salon Polari showcases the best in emerging and established testimony to queer hearts and lives at Southbank Centre. Tonight: Gerry Potter presents his new poetry collection, The Chronicles of Folly Butler, with further contributions by Rowan Coleman, Gavin McCrea, Karen Campbell and Iain Finlayson. Age 18+. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

Polari at Southbank Centre

Wednesday 27 May

FARRINGDON WALK: Meet at Farringdon Station for this guided walk around the area including where Oliver met Fagin, the virgin queen danced and there’s gold in the very dust on the floor. £3, prebook by emailing, 12.45pm

MUSIC FESTIVAL: The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance holds a day long music festival at London Fields Brewery in Hackney. It features 16 acts of all genres, consisting of alumni and current students of the Institute. There's also craft beer, pizza and other surprises throughout the day. £5, just turn up, 1pm

OPEN AIR LECTURE: What’s next for the Large Hadron Collider? The first open air public lecture on the steps of Granary Square features Professor Tara Shears from CERN, who will be talking about the LHC restart and what scientists hope to discover. No prior physics knowledge needed. Free, prebook, 6pm

GUERILLA GARDENING: Morley College starts a new season of penny lectures with a talk from Richard Reynolds, blogger and author of On Guerrilla Gardening. 1p, 6.30pm

SCIENCE MUSEUM LATE: Science Museum in South Kensington is open late for adults only. The theme this month is Let There Be Light. Explore cosmic light and the northern lights, and discover how lasers are used in distilling whiskey and how sunlight is used to generate electricity to power your home. There are also games, demonstrations, a silent disco and more. Free, just turn up, 6.45pm-10pm

POPLAR FILM: Poplar Film Club hosts a free screening of Drugstore Cowboy, an American crime drama based on an autobiographical novel by James Fogle. Best of all, the screening takes place in a pharmacy (Lansbury Pharmacy on East India Dock Road, to be precise). Age 18+. Free, prebook, 7pm

JAWDANCE: Head to Rich Mix for Jawdance, an open mic night of spoken word, music and poetry.  Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

Thursday 28 May

SHOPPING PARTY: The Carnaby area has a shopping event where many shops and restaurants are offering discounts and holding special events including live music, fashion talks and a dreamcatcher workshop. Free, prebook, 5pm-9pm

LOST RIVERS: Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers and Vanished City is at Putney Library to give a talk about London's lost rivers, such as the Wandle and the Fleet, and what they can tell us about the history of London. Free, prebook by emailing, 7pm

TALK TO ME SOCIAL: Head to the Camden Eye for a screening of some of the films from the 1000 Londoners project, followed by a social discussion about them. £3, prebook, 7pm

LEVEL UP HUMAN: Level Up Human at UCL takes a light hearted look at what it means to be human, and what the alternatives might be. Simon Watt and guest researchers from UCL will be recording a new podcast series, focusing on the process of evolution and how it has slowed down. Free, prebook, 7pm

ANIMAL SEX: London Fortean Society meets at The Vaults Bar at Dirty Dicks on Bishopsgate for a talk by scientist Menno Schilthuize about the evolution of animal genitalia, including penises that have lost their spines. £3/£2, 7.45pm

Head to Carnaby for discounts and special events

Friday 29 May

WEB WE WANT: It's the final weekend of Southbank Centre's Web We Want festival, so there's plenty going on. There's an installation paying tribute to some of the most successful products of the web, a look at how the workforce is changing thanks to the internet, a gaming lounge, a Minecraft build and more. Free, until 31 May

SUMMER MARKET: Embankment Gardens are taken over by the Embankment Summer Market this weekend, with designers, artists and makers selling their goods, plus food stalls, a Meantime Brewery bar and live music. 29-31 May

LEWISHAM PHOTOS: Do you have photos of Lewisham in the 1970s? Take them along to Lewisham Library to take part in a history project about the local area. Free, prebook, 3pm-7pm. Later on, there's an evening of talks and music, exploring the lasting significance of 1970s Lewisham in UK Black history. Free, prebook, 8pm

MUSEUM LATE: It's the last Friday of the month so Natural History Museum is open late for adults to explore the exhibits after hours. Payment and booking required for some exhibitions. Plenty of food and drink is available to buy. Free, just turn up, 6pm-10pm

Natural History Museum is open late

Saturday 30 May

TFL FREE WALKS: TfL runs a weekend of 40 free guided walks around the capital, from 1.5 mile ambles to 17.5 mile hikes. Find your nearest walk. Free, just turn up, 30-31 May

WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT: Feeling limber? Good. Get thee to Wandsworth Common to take part in an attempt to break the record for the greatest number of people performing jump squats simultaneously at a single venue. Free, prebook, 9.30am

CHURCH OPEN DAY: St Leonard's Church, the oldest structure in Streatham (PDF), has an open day where the public can visit parts of the restored church not normally accessible, such as the bell tower from c1350 and the 19th century crypt. Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

OPEN STREETS: London’s first Open Streets event takes place on Great Suffolk Street in Southwark. Born in South America in the 1970s, Open Streets is a global initiative which seeks to close roads to motor traffic, so that adults and children can safely play, walk, bike, run, shop, eat or just relax. There will be a variety of activities on offer in the Fitness, Relaxation, Arts, Kids, Cycling, Dance and Discovery zones delivered by local businesses and community groups ranging from bee keeping, children’s crafts, football and Latin American dancing. Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

FOUR LONDON POETS: Poets Rosemary Norman, Valeria Melchioretto, Dónall Dempsey and Michael Wyndham are on the bill at Four London Poets at Rich Mix. Free, just turn up, 8pm

Sunday 31 May

VINTAGE FAIR: Clerkenwell Vintage Fair celebrates its sixth birthday at the Old Finsbury Town Hall with a Summer Fair. Buy pre-1980s clothing, eat homemade cakes at the vintage tea rooms,  see a live singer performing classic songs or get a vintage manicure. £4/£2, just turn up, 11am-5pm

GARDEN OF THE DEAD: Join storyteller Vanessa Woolf (of London Dreamtime) in a secret and incredibly atmospheric corner in the heart of the city of London for a journey into the world of the dead. Stories from Vanessa, with music from Gentlefolk and folk musician Nigel of Bermondsey. £3, prebook, 2pm

BOARD GAMES: The Beer Hive Brewery in Loughborough Junction holds fortnightly board game afternoons. Bring your own game or use one of the plentiful supply that the brewery has, and enjoy a beer while you play. £5 table fee, just turn up, 2pm-7pm

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

Last Updated 24 May 2015