Free And Cheap London Events: 4-10 May 2015

By Londonist Last edited 36 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 4-10 May 2015

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

All Week

ELECTION ART: The puppet of Margaret Thatcher, on show at James Hyman Gallery. Copyright Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox

ELECTION ART: With the election taking place this week, visit one of these five free political art exhibitions to get you in the mind frame.

CRAFT WEEK: The first London Craft Week takes place, with events, workshops and demonstrations in both high-end department stores and small manufacturing labs celebrating London's artisan traditions. Most events are free, prebooking required, 6-10 May

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

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

Monday 4 May

SOUTHGATE FAIR: Southgate May Fair takes place on Southgate Green, raising money for North London Hospice. 11am-4pm

DUCK POND MARKET: Lauderdale House's Duck Pond Market brings together a festival atmosphere with interesting stalls, local and ethical food, crafts, workshops for children, music and arts.  Free, 11am-5pm

STAR WARS FAIR: Star Wars meets a traditional May Fair with maypole dancing, food and drink, craft stalls and bouncy castles at Lloyd Park in Walthamstow. There’s also a dog show, including prizes for best Star Wars outfits (adults, children and dogs). May the fourth be with you. Free, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

CANAL CAVALCADE: Canalway Cavalcade is a waterways boaters’ gathering with boats and trade show stalls that has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983. As well as boating activities there’s Morris dancing, food stalls, a real ale bar, little shops selling the weird and the wonderful and many beautiful narrow boats. Free, just turn up, final day

Tuesday 5 May

The Billroth Quartet perform at Lauderdale House

LUNCHTIME WALK: City of Westminster guides lead a series of lunchtime walks. Today's walk goes south west from the cathedral and includes the story of a familiar structure which was built on a filled-in canal basin, plus a nearby hidden river, a garden square and the tale of what was previously on the site of Westminster Cathedral. £5/£7, prebook, 1.10pm-1.50pm

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: The Billroth Quartet will perform British composer Malcolm Arnold’s Arnold Quartet no.2 at Lauderdale House. Free, 1.15pm-2pm

OPEN AUCTION HOUSE: Christie's auction house in South Kensington marks its 40th anniversary with a series of late night openings. Tonight the focus is on Asian art, with live music, specialist talks, a calligraphy demonstration and more. Free, just turn up, 6pm-8.30pm

ELECTION POETRY: This month's Genesis Poetry Slam has an election theme to it. The three-round poetry slam has a special guest feature by Rik The Most. Free, prebook, 7pm

BURN AFTER READING: The regular poetry night is at Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden. Special guests are poets Martin Figura and Hannah Lowe. £5, just turn up, 7.45pm

Wednesday 6 May

OPEN PALACE: Lambeth Palace has the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London, and it's open to the public on the first Wednesday of the month . See the historic 1556 fig tree bursting into growth, and the unusual Tulip Tree in flower along with viburnums and roses coming into bloom, late spring hyacinths and tulips. £4 adults (children free), 12pm-3pm

THEATRE PLATFORMS: It's a double whammy of Platform events at National Theatre today. First, actor Antony Sher talks to Sue MacGregor about playing Falstaff in Year of the Fat Knight (2.30pm). Then, Stanley Wells talks about his new book, Great Shakespeare Actors: Burbage to Branagh, examining the most notable performances in the key roles of actors such as David Garrick, Ellen Terry, Judi Dench and Antony Sher (6pm). Both £4/£3, prebook, and both followed by a book signing.

JOURNAL LAUNCH: The US-based Journal of Aesthetics & Protest launches its new issue, which considers the intersections of art and radical politics, at Housmans bookshop in King's Cross. £3, 7pm

WELFARE STATE: Professor of Politics at Cambridge University Andrew Gamble is at Conway Hall to discuss the future of the welfare state and whether it can survive. £5, prebook, 7pm

FILM QUIZ: Bigger Boat Film Quiz kicks off its 10th birthday celebrations with a quiz at the Assembly House in Kentish Town. £5, just turn up, 7.30pm

DASH CAFE: Dash Cafes are free events featuring live music, film, performance literature and discussion. Tonight, in collaboration with City of London Sinfonia, there's a discussion about the pressures of growing up in an artistic family. Takes place at Rich Mix. Free, 7.30pm


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Thursday 7 May

ELECTION RESULTS: Today's election day. Once you've voted (even if you live in a safe seat), if you're looking for somewhere to watch the results come in (or take part in other election-themed activities) try one of these.

PUTNEY DEBATES: On Election Day, National Theatre actors read from the 1647 debates about how this country should be run for the benefit of all. £4/£3, prebook, 1pm/6pm

RUSH HOUR CONCERT: Avoid the usual overcrowded trains and wait out rush hour at Southbank Sinfonia's concert at St John's Waterloo. Free, just turn up, 6pm/8pm

CINEMANIA: Deptford Cinema hosts a screening of Wasted Youth, about a teenager skater and a middle-aged policeman crossing paths in Athens. Folowed by a conversation with the film's director, Argyris Papadimitropoulos. £4.99/£3.50, prebook, 7pm

GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND: This Gresham College event at Barnard's Inn Hall looks at the environmental initiatives and legislation affecting the British countryside. Free, just turn up, 6pm

Friday 8 May

VE DAY EXHIBITION: Trafalgar Square, the scene of VE Day celebrations in 1945, hosts a free photography exhibition to commemorate the 70th anniversary. The same exhibition runs at City Hall from today until 5 June. Free, just turn up, until 10 May

LANDSCAPE OF MURDER: This new exhibition at Rich Mix is a photographic series documenting all the sites where murders have occurred in London between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2012. It encompasses 210 sites. Free, just turn up, until 30 May

LANGUAGE CHANGE: The British Academy holds a lecture about the subtle but persitent changes in human language over time. Speaker-listener interaction prevents human language from ever remaining static. Free, just turn up, 4.15pm

This photo is part of The Landscape of Murder at Rich Mix

Saturday 9 May

IMPERIAL FESTIVAL: Imperial College celebrates the best science and arts on offer, through a weekend of talks, tours, workshops, performances and hands-on demonstrations. Free, 9-10 May

NEW GOVERNMENT: Head to Southbank Centre to join members of the cultural world and debate the value of arts and culture. Free, prebook, 3pm

Sunday 10 May

The 2012 Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival. Photo: Where The Art Is

CAVALRY SUNDAY: On the second Sunday in May every year, in Hyde Park, Cavalry Sunday takes place. There's a march past by former and serving members of many cavalry regiments, followed by a short service to commemorate those who were killed on active service. Free, just turn up, 10.45am

PUPPET FESTIVAL: Every year, the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival celebrates the art of puppetry and the history of Punch & Judy with a grand procession, special church service, puppet shows and more. Free, 10.30am-5.30pm

VE DAY CELEBRATIONS: Following a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day, a parade of over 2,000 service personnel, veterans and their guests will march from Westminster Abbey to Horse Guards Parade. There will also be a Red Arrows flypast. More details here.

FESTIVAL FAIR: Head to Goose Green in Dulwich for the Dulwich Festival Fair. There will be food stalls, a bouncy castle, beer tents, handmade children’s t-shirts, homemade cakes, designer jewellery, local photography and more. Free, 12pm

OPEN SUNDAY: Stephens House & Gardens in Finchley aims to recreate the events of 70 years ago when up to 10,000 people of Finchley and surrounding areas descended on the grounds to mark the end of WWII. Expect stalls, live music, maypole dancing and more. Free, 12pm-5pm

CHESTNUT SUNDAY: The Bushy Park Chestnut Sunday parade starts at 12:30pm on Chestnut Avenue at Teddington Gate, featuring marching bands, classic cars, military vehicles and more. Other entertainment on site includes fairground rides, historical re-enactments and local group displays. 12.30pm-4.30pm

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

Last Updated 03 May 2015