Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 26 August-1 September 2019

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 26 August-1 September 2019

All week

Thabiso Sekgala: Here Is Elsewhere opens at Hayward Gallery

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: Make the final days of the summer holidays memorable with our guide to family-friendly things to do in London over the summer. Whatever their age and whatever your budget, you'll find something to keep the cries of 'I'm booooored' at bay.

ILLUMINATED RIVER: Final chance to see Illuminated River, an exhibition dedicated to the project to light up the Thames bridges at night. The exhibition showcases architectural drawings and animations of what the project will look like once complete, as well as historic paintings of the river. Guildhall Art Gallery, free, just turn up, until 1 September

SIR THOMAS GRESHAM: If you're in Guildhall for the above exhibition, make time to see this display dedicated to Sir Thomas Gresham. It coincides with the 500th anniversary of the birth of the merchant and financier, and covers how he served four Tudor monarchs, built the Royal Exchange, and introduced to England concepts and ideas that he'd discovered on his travels. Guildhall Library, free, just turn up, until mid-September

Learn how to grown your own food at National Army Museum

GROW YOUR OWN FOOD: National Army Museum's school holiday activities continue with an introduction to growing your own food. Inspired by the second world war 'dig for victory' campaign, every child attending receives a cress head to decorate, and take home to grow. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, just turn up, 26-31 August

IMAGINARY CITIES: It's the final week of Michael Takeo Magruder's Imaginary Cities exhibition. He's used a combination of traditional collage methods, 19th century maps and new technology to create fantastical and futuristic cityscapes. British Library, free, just turn up, until 1 September

This exhibition about women's football closes this week

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Also ending at the British Library this week is this exhibition about the history of women's football. It covers the female version of the beautiful game over the last century, from the first recorded match in London, to women being banned from playing in stadiums, and the game finally getting recognition from the FA in 1993. British Library, free, just turn up, until 1 September

THABISO SEKGALA: Home, intimacy, place and belonging are the main themes in Thabiso Sekgala's new exhibition, Here Is Elsewhere. It highlights 50 works by the late South African photographer, taken between 2009-2014 in South Africa, Jordan and Germany. Hayward Gallery (Southbank Centre), free, just turn up, 28 August-6 October

Bank holiday Monday 26 August

Notting Hill goes big for Carnival

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: Europe's largest street festival goes big for its final day, with sound systems, a parade route, food stalls, dancing, music and colour throughout the Notting Hill area. Read our guide to Notting Hill Carnival so you know what to expect — from getting there, to food and drink, to the all-important toilets. Notting Hill, free, just turn up, all day

STEAM DAY: Visit a Grade-II listed engine hall, and see a restored, working steam-powered beam engine dating from 1888 in action. The Markfield Beam Engine & Museum only opens a couple of times a month, and is a great chance to see a piece of Victorian industrial heritage. Markfield Beam Engine & Museum (Tottenham), free (donations welcome), just turn up, 11am-5pm

COMEDY: As London's comedians return from a month in Edinburgh, Ellie Taylor tries out new material at this work in progress show, supported by other comic acts. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 3pm-4pm

Tuesday 27 August

See young magicians try out new tricks

SUPREME COURT: The UK Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and today's open day is a chance to go behind the scenes and find out how it works. See inside three courtrooms, and the usually-off-limits library, and hear from staff about what it's like to work there. UK Supreme Court, free, just turn up, 9.30am-4.30pm (repeated tomorrow)

SMOKE AND MIRRORS: Youth collective RawMinds offer a free performance of magic tricks by 14-19 year olds. They also delve into the science behind the tricks, explaining the psychology that makes the magic work. Wellcome Collection (Euston), free, just turn up, 1.30pm/2.30pm

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: Ben Stiller plays a night security guard tackling exhibits that come to life in 2006 film Night at the Museum. Watch it for free in the shadow of Canary Wharf's skyscrapers — bring your own blanket to sit on. Canada Square Park (Canary Wharf), free, just turn up, 7pm

Wednesday 28 August

Science Museum stays open late for an evening about driverless cars. © Science Museum Group

FIRE BRIGADE: Did you know that London has a pop-up Fire Brigade Museum (permanent one hopefully coming soon)? It hosts a day of family-friendly activities, including a chance to see a fire engine, meet a firefighter and learn about their uniforms. Fire Brigade Pop-Up Museum (Lambeth), free, just turn up, 10am-3pm

GARDENERS' QUESTION TIME: Radio 4 institution Gardeners' Question Time continues its tradition of recording in different locations by hosting an episode at the British Library. The panel of gardening experts tackle questions put to them by green-fingered enthusiasts. British Library, £4.50, book ahead, 5.30pm-8.30pm

MUSEUM LATE: Science Museum stays open late for an evening themed around the driverless cars exhibition. Comedy, talks about the future of autonomous vehicles, a robot race and silent disco are just some of the activities on the programme. Age 18+. Science Museum (South Kensington), free entry, book ahead, 6.45pm-10pm

Thursday 29 August

Classic cars park up in Greenwich Market

CATHEDRAL GRAFFITI: Not two words that usually go together, but this family-friendly tour reveals some medieval graffiti which is hiding in plain sight, and gives clues as to the building's history. Look out for names (and monsters) carved into the cathedral's fabric, and bring a small torch to get a closer look. Southwark Cathedral, £5/£3, book ahead, 11am-12pm

SHIPS' LETTERS: Ever heard of the Prize Papers? The term refers to papers seized from ships captured in wartime between 1650 and 1815, and often used in court to prove that their owners were the enemy. Learn more about them in this free lecture, including correspondence between wives and husbands, parents and children, and business partners. National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm

PARK IT IN THE MARKET: Classic cars and bikes park up in Greenwich Market tonight for a showcase of vintage vehicles. Ogle them while you tuck into street food and enjoy live rock music. Greenwich Market, free entry, just turn up, 7pm-10pm

Friday 30 August

Attend a lunchtime lecture at the RAF Museum

WALLS HAVE EARS: Learn about the 'secret listeners' of the second world war — British intelligence officers who bugged the conversations of thousands of German prisoners of war. Dr Helen Fry introduces her new book, The Walls Have Ears, on the topic, focusing on locations in London and Buckinghamshire. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

WAR LECTURE: If military history and strategy is your thing, head to this lunchtime lecture which takes a deep dive into the Egyptian Expeditionary Force's use of Western Front command structures and techniques during fighting in Palestine in 1917-18. The Army and Air Force are often viewed as separate institutions at this time, with their successes as a combined unit overlooked. RAF Museum (Hendon), free, book ahead, 12.30pm

MUSEUM LATE: Natural History Museum stays open late, opening the doors to its cabinet of curiosities which contains more than 80 million specimens. Visit the galleries and exhibitions after hours, learn about climate change and food crops at pop-up science stations, and hear about an ambitious new project to sequence the genomes of every single species living in the UK. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free entry, just turn up, 6pm-10pm

LIVE MUSIC: Musician Elisabeth Flett performs an evening of songs interspersed with stories. Expect traditional Scottish folk tunes played on the fiddle. Sourdough pizzas, craft beer and wine are available to buy during the show. Poplar Union, free entry, just turn up, 7.45pm

Saturday 31 August

Camberwell Fair takes place on Camberwell Green

LONDON MELA: Celebrate South Asian heritage and culture at the family-friendly London Mela. Dancers, musicians and DJs provide two days of entertainment across several stages, plus there are dance workshops, an Asian food market, and a children's fun area. Southall Park, £2, just turn up, 31 August-1 September

FIRE STATION: Learn about west London's firefighters and what their job involves at Hainault Fire Station's open day. Get a close-up look at a fire engine, have a look around the station, and learn about fire safety. Hainault Fire Station, free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

CAMBERWELL FAIR: A mini, family-friendly music festival rocks up in Camberwell. Three stages form the backbone of Camberwell Fair's entertainment. Head to the Wormfood Stage for afro, reggae and dancehall tracks, see local talent on the Camberwell Stage, while local restaurant Louie Louie hosts its own stage with live DJs. Camberwell Green, free, just turn up, 12pm-9pm

CHINGFEST: Waltham Forest keeps the Borough of Culture events coming with Chingfest, a music festival for residents of all ages. Local performers including Incognito, Lemzi and DJ Luck and MC Neat headline the main stage, and talks, workshops and other performances take place elsewhere. Ridgeway Park, free, just turn up, 1pm-9pm

Sunday 1 September

Head to Regent's Canal for Angel Canal Festival

TOTALLY THAMES: Month-long celebration of the river Totally Thames begins today. Plenty of items on the festival's extensive programme are free, including an exhibition about the Barking Stink, and the Ship of Tolerance, which moors up near Tate Modern. 1-30 September

CANAL FESTIVAL: The Towpath around City Road Lock and Basin is taken over by a huge party for Angel Canal Festival. Live dance, music, theatre and comedy performances take place on dry land, with boat trips, kayak and pedalo sessions and a floating market on the water. City Road Lock, free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

PALMERS GREEN FESTIVAL: Broomfield Park — hopefully soon to be home to a wild swimming lake — keeps things on dry land for the Palmers Green Festival. Listen to live music at the bandstand, get moving at the dance zone, hear the thoughts of local people at speaker's corner and watch Fido and Rover strut their stuff at the dog show. Broomfield Park, free, just turn up, 12pm-7pm

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Charles Dickens' novel gets a steampunk makeover at this free performance in Hoxton. It takes place in Geffrye Museum's gardens — bring your own blanket, and pack a picnic, or buy something on site. Geffrye Museum (Hoxton), free, just turn up, 2pm/7pm

Last Updated 23 August 2019