Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 20-26 May 2019

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 20-26 May 2019

All week

Last year's Belgravia in Bloom

HITHER GREEN FESTIVAL: We'd make a 'come Hither' joke, but we're sure the residents of Hither Green are fed up hearing them. This festival celebrating the culture of the local area rages on all week, from history walks to a blues jam. Various locations and prices, 17-26 May

ARTS WEEK: Lectures, readings, concerts, film screenings, performances, walks, workshops, panel discussions and exhibitions all form part of Birkbeck College's Arts Week — and if you're exhausted by the sound of it, wait until you see the full line-up. It covers topics as wide-ranging as stories about syphilis, our digital afterlives, and prime ministerial memoirs. Birkbeck College, free, book ahead, 20-24 May

Last chance to see this William Morris Gallery exhibition

CHELSEA AND BELGRAVIA IN BLOOM: Parallel but unrelated flower festivals Chelsea in Bloom and Belgravia in Bloom both return this week, coinciding with the nearby (and pricier) Chelsea Flower Show. Both see floral sculptures, arches and walls installed in the local area, with events and special offers in nearby shops. Belgravia takes on a 'language of flowers' theme this year, while Chelsea is all about marine mammals — and supports anti-plastic pollution charity Plastic Oceans UK. Both free, just turn up, 20-25 May

CULTURAL REVOLUTION: It's your final week to see Cultural Revolution, an exhibition of state propaganda posters looking at life in Mao's China. Encapsulating matchboxes and traditional Chinese landscape paintings it's a glimpse back to a time when Mao declared that "art and literature should serve politics first, art second". William Morris Gallery (Walthamstow), suggested donation £5, just turn up, until 27 May

Monday 20 May

Science in a pub? Yes please.

PINT OF SCIENCE: Science in a pub is the excellent philosophy behind Pint of Science — and it's something we're on board with. Over three days, talks and lectures take place on extremely varied subjects from climate change to cancer to the NHS to what lives in the Thames. Some events have already sold out, so if you see something you fancy, book pronto. Various locations, events £4 each, book ahead, 20-22 May

GALLERY TOUR: As part of Dementia Action Week, the National Army Museum runs a series of sensory gallery tours, aimed at people living with dementia and their carers. Visit the museum's historic uniform collection, and get up close to uniforms from the handling collections. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 2pm/3pm/4pm

COMEDY: A double act of double acts if you will, two pairs of comedians take to the stage to offer a preview of new material. Ed Aczel and Joz Norris pair up for the first time on stage, for a series of character sketches that didn't make it into their short films. The delightfully silly Roisin & Chiara also appear. The Albany (Great Portland Street), £4, book ahead, 8pm-10pm

Tuesday 21 May

Learn about exploring Earth from space

BEE DAY: We're buzzing for World Bee Day, and so are Conway Hall, the Embassy of Slovenia and Bee Midtown, who host this celebratory event. 30 hives from all over the world gather to show off honey, pollen and wax that's distinct to their own region, all to raise awareness of the importance of bees. Conway Hall (Holborn), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm

LONDON SOUP KITCHENS: In the 19th century, soup kitchens for impoverished Londoners were common across the capital. Learn more about the experiences of the poor, and the establishment of the first Huguenot soup kitchen for silk weavers in Spitalfields, at this talk. London Metropolitan Archives (Clerkenwell), free, book ahead, 2.30pm-3.30pm

EARTH FROM SPACE: While many space missions have their eyes on other planets, the ones exploring our own planet are just as fascinating. Professor Jacqueline McGlade talks about what we've learned from data sent back to Earth, including how our globe is changing. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

Wednesday 22 May

Fashion a robot out of Lego

LEGO ROBOTS: Gather your most creative friends and spend the evening fashioning robots out of Lego, helped along by a few drinks. Give your creation a name and a special skill, and enter it for judging at the end of the evening. Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross). £5, book ahead, from 6pm

EUROVISION: Missing your Eurovision fix now the contest is over for another year? Its spirit lives on as Dash Cafe takes on Eurovision. Superfan Richard Dedomenici and expert and media commentator Paul Jordan — aka Dr Eurovision, who wrote his PhD thesis on the subject — offer an in-depth but tongue-in-cheek look at the stories and politics behind the competition.Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 7pm

Thursday 23 May

The London Art Biennale is free to visit

LONDON BIENNALE: Free entry art fair The London Art Biennale brings 120 artist from 40 countries together to exhibit their work. Expect everything from traditional paintings and sketches to interactive virtual reality artworks. Chelsea Old Town Hall, free, just turn up 23-26 May

CORONATION: Full of pomp and circumstance, there's no doubt that a lot of planning goes into a coronation ceremony. But as the ceremonies were originally designed with religious meanings — bestowing religious authority upon the new ruler — there are plenty of elements that have hidden meanings. City Guide Robert Stephenson reveals all. Guildhall Library, free, book ahead, 2pm-3pm

ADVENTURE FICTION: The authors shortlisted for this year's Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize offer an insight into their craft, discussing how they research the far-flung places they write about, whether their characters are based on real adventurers, and if modern technology has made such tales easier or harder to write. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £4, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

Friday 24 May

Get a taste of Spain at Feria de Londres

FERIA DE LONDRES: Say hola to three days of free, open-air Spanish fun here in London. Feria de Londres is a celebration of Spanish culture, resembling the local ferias held in Spain itself. Expect to see flamenco dance performances (and take part in classes), face painting, arts and crafts for kids, and plenty of tapas, paella and sherry. Bernie Spain Gardens (next to Oxo Tower), free, just turn up, 24-26 May

LUCKY ESCAPES: Museum curator Justin Saddington tells stories of incredible death-defying battlefield escapes, using objects from the museum's collections, and discusses their impact on soldiers. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

LEONARDO DA VINCI: 500 years after his death, what's the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci? Impressively working as an artist, sculptor, scientist and engineer among many other specialisms, his work stretches across the arts and the sciences, as discussed by a panel of experts tonight. The British Academy, £5/£3, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

Saturday 25 May

Soapbox Science returns to South Bank. (c) ZSL

HALF TERM: For most London schools, May half term begins today. But fear not — our trusty guide to things to do in the school holidays is on hand, covering child-friendly exhibitions, shows, walks and more.

THE GRUFFALO: Oh help! Oh no! It's a Gruffalo. The beloved children's book character turns 20 this year (yep, that makes us feel old too), and is celebrated with a pop-up shop dedicated to the creature. Watch free screenings of the animated version of The Gruffalo, take part in art and craft workshops, and meet characters from the books. 9 Short's Gardens (Covent Garden), free, book ahead, 25 May-1 June

SOUTH INDIAN CULTURE: The cultural heritage of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam — two traditional dances — is celebrated at this South Indian culture day. Short performances, costume displays and make-up demonstrations are all part of the family-friendly event. National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), free, just turn up, 11am-3.30pm

SOAPBOX SCIENCE: Have a chat with some of London's leading scientists at Soapbox Science, an initiative by ZSL, the conservation charity behind London Zoo. Scientists from several disciplines take to their soapbox to share their research with the general public, and try to get them interested in science. Gabriel's Wharf (South Bank), free, just turn up, 2pm-5pm

Sunday 26 May

Take a guided walk through the Lee Valley's wetlands and rivers

TUDOR MAY DAY: Fulham Palace hosts a family-friendly Tudor May Day, its first event since the building's restoration work was completed. Get up close to falcons, learn how to make a May crown or try candle rolling, with live music, and a parade for anyone in Tudor costume to take part in. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

RECORD FAIR: Serious record fans and more casual browsers are welcome at the Peckham Record Fair. Over 30 tables of vinyl are for sale, including indie record labels, record stores, used/collector/hifi dealers, vinyl cleaning, and local vinyl enthusiasts. Bussey Building (Peckham), free entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

WETLANDS AND RIVERS: Join an expert guide for a 5.7km (3.5 mile) walk through the Lee Valley, focusing on the wetlands and rivers of the area. Find out about the wildlife species that live in the area and what's being done to protect them, and see lakes, reed beds and grasslands. Lee Valley Park Farms, free, book ahead, 11am-1.30pm

Last Updated 17 May 2019