Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 2-8 September 2019

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Last Updated 02 September 2019

Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 2-8 September 2019

All week

It's the first full week of Totally Thames. Photo: Annette Price

TOTALLY THAMES: Fully immerse yourself in the watery offerings of the river (not literally) at the first full week of Totally Thames 2019. Events that won't cost you a penny include ogling the photogenic Ship of Tolerance, a free exhibition about the Barking Stink, and a VR wildlife experience with ZSL. Various locations and prices, 1-30 September

SKULLPTURE: It's the final week of Skullpture, an art-meets-science exhibition showcasing experimental new artworks by students from the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. They were created in response to the Grant Museum's collection of weird and wonderful animal specimens. Grant Museum (UCL), free, just turn up, until 7 September

Last chance to see UCL's Skullpture exhibition

DRIVERLESS CARS: Consider this your periodic reminder that Science Museum has an excellent (and free) exhibition about driverless cars. Get the lowdown on autonomous vehicles, including the science behind them and the ethical problems they create. There's even a model of Boaty McBoatFace. Science Museum (South Kensington), free, just turn up, until October 2020

ART THE ARMS FAIR: The world's biggest arms fair comes to London this week. Art The Arms Fair is a protest response to that, using art, comedy and music to expose the dark side of the arms trade and explore peaceful alternatives. There's a charge for the events, but the exhibition itself is free, showcasing work by award-winning and provocative artists. AMP Studio (Old Kent Road) and two other Peckham locations, free, just turn up, 3-13 September

Monday 2 September

See a comedy show by Eric Lampaert

COMEDY: Comedian Eric Lampaert regales his trials and tribulations from birth to escaping a psychiatric hospital to now, in new show, Borne of Chaos. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 6.45pm-7.45pm

SHORT FILMS: Watch an evening of short films on the theme of women of war, each showing the conditions that women have endured in warzones all over the world. The Shorts On Tap event showcases the finalists of this year's World Citizen Short Film Competition, and is followed by a panel discussion with some of the film makers. Regent Street Cinema, £4, book ahead, 7.30pm-11.30pm

STORYTELLING: First love is the theme of this week's Spark True Storytelling. The rules are simple — your story has to be true, about you, and up to five minutes in length. Seasoned yarn-weavers and first-timers are welcome, or you can ease yourself in gently by just watching others tell their tales. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm-10.30pm

Tuesday 3 September

Enjoy a free lunchtime concert

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Spend your lunchtime in the luxurious settings of Lauderdale House, listening to live classical music as you look out over Waterlow Park. Makes a change from a soggy sarnie al desko. Lauderdale House (Highgate), free, just turn up, 1.15pm

CROMWELL DAY: On 3 September every year — the anniversary of Oliver Cromwell's death — members of the Cromwell Association gather for a commemoration service by his statue in Westminster, including the laying of a wreath. The service itself isn't open to the public, but you're welcome to watch it taking place from the pavement nearby. Westminster, free, just turn up, 3pm

ALIEN: The nights are getting darker, but there's still time to squeeze in a few more outdoor film screenings — especially when they're free. Tonight, watch Ridley Scott's 1979 classic Alien, in the shadow of London's 21st century skyscrapers. Take your own picnic blanket to sit on. Canada Square Park (Canary Wharf), free, just turn up, 9pm

Wednesday 4 September

Take a free tour of the Wellcome Collection Library

LIBRARY TOUR: Join a guide for a free, informal tour of the Wellcome Collection Library, and find out what's kept there. Learn about some of the more unusual items in the collection and how everything is kept and cared for. Wellcome Collection (Euston), free, just turn up, 11.30am-12pm

DOGGETTS COAT AND BADGE: Every year, the Doggett's Coat and Badge Wager is held on the Thames. Pick a spot on the riverside between London Bridge and Albert Bridge, and watch up to six young watermen racing the 7.4km course, in a tradition that's been running continuously since 1715. London Bridge/Albert Bridge, free, just turn up, 2pm

LATE NIGHT BOOKS: Indulge in a spot of late night book shopping at London Review Bookshop. It's completely free, includes a glass of wine, and you get 10% off any books you purchase on the night — but there's no pressure if you're just browsing. The cake shop stays open late too selling seasonal bakes, and is well worth swinging by. London Review Bookshop (Bloomsbury), free, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

Thursday 5 September

Step into a butterfly biosphere

ART BOOK FAIR: Whitechapel Gallery transforms into a book fair for four days, as creative publishers sell their arty tomes. Large-scale and indy publishers are represented, and various talks and events led by people in the business take place. Whitechapel Gallery, free entry, just turn up (book for talks), 5-8 September

BUTTERFLY BIOSPHERE: An iridescent butterfly biosphere pops up in Mayfair, the work of immersive experience experts Bompas & Parr. Wander through the shiny pink cavern getting up close to the creatures, try a sip of nectar, and learn about the difficulties facing butterflies in the wild. Grosvenor Square, free, just turn up, 5-15 September

MUSEUM LATE: You've probably never heard of the Royal College of Physicians Museum, but tonight's your chance to see inside at a late night opening. See museum collections covering five centuries of medical history, including a set of 17th century human remains, as well as portraits and silverware belonging to the RCP. Royal College of Physicians (Regent's Park), free, book ahead, 5.30pm-8pm

Friday 6 September

The Classic Boat Festival comes to St Katharine Docks

BOAT FESTIVAL: Say 'ahoy' to the Classic Boat Festival as it moors up in east London. Ogle more than 40 beautiful vintage sailing and motor boats. Some, including Dunkirk Little Ships, are open for the public to hop on board and have a look around. Back on dry land there's craft workshops, talks, live music and street food. St Katharine Docks, free, just turn up, 6-8 September

PALACE GARDENS: It's the final 2019 opening of Lambeth Palace Gardens, the private grounds of the Archbishop of Canterbury's London residence. Donate £5 to charity to get inside, and spend the afternoon wandering among fountains, trellises and pagodas. Lambeth Palace, £5, just turn up, 12pm-3pm

VEGAN VIBES: Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet combine a night of dancing with vegan food and Vegan Vibes. Don your best disco outfit, and bop the night away to 70s and 80s tunes, refuelling on vegan Greek, Ethiopian, Italian, Jamaican and Korean dishes. Greenwich Market, free entry, book ahead, 6.30pm-10pm

Saturday 7 September

Pick up a bargain at Crafty Fox Market

CRAFT MARKET: Go on a spree or simply browse at Crafty Fox Market's latest outing. The curated range of stallholders include painters, jewellery makers, ceramicists, printmakers and textile artists, and it's a chance to buy gifts and homewares directly from the local artists who made them. Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free entry, just turn up, 7-8 September

HUGGLETS: The Hugglets Teddies Festival brings together collectors and teddy bear lovers from all over the world to buy, sell and swap bears, and meet other people with similar interests. View special exhibitions relating to the history of the teddy bear too. Kensington Town Hall, £5, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US: Part of both Totally Thames and the Feats of Architecture event programmes, Thank You For Having Us is a free street performance by French street-theatre titans Générik Vapeur and flying trapeze experts Gorilla Circus. It's raising awareness of the plastic problem, by transforming the City's streets into the 'eighth continent' — a giant rubbish dump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. City of London, free, just turn up, 8pm-9pm  

Sunday 8 September

Visit The Mayhew

THE MAYHEW: Animal welfare charity The Mayhew hosts an open day, inviting the public in to find out what it does, and have some fun. Meet some of the cattery's residents, browse stalls selling products for you and your pets, and get stuck into a veggie barbecue, live music and games. The Mayhew (Kensal Green), £3/£2, just turn up, 11am-4pm

VINTAGE FASHION: Refresh your wardrobe at The Vintage Collections, a vintage fashion fair with items dating back more than 100 years. More than 50 traders sell women's, men's and kids' clothes, along with accessories and homewares — have a rummage through the racks and see what you come up with. Freemasons Hall (Covent Garden), £5/£2, just turn up, 11am-5pm

HACKNEY CARNIVAL: Line the streets of Hackney between Mare Street and Landsdowne Drive (route map here) to see the floats of Hackney Carnival go past. Reggae bands, gymnasts, marching bands and dancers are just some of the performers in the procession, while other performances and events take place in clusters around the area. Hackney, free, just turn up, 11am-7pm