Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 10-16 July 2023

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 10-16 July 2023

Budget-friendly things to do in London this week for £5 or less.

Exterior of the museum, a brick warehouse-style building on the canal.
The Ragged School Museum recently reopened to the public.

Looking for more free things to do in London? Here are 102 of em! We've also compiled this epic map of free stuff in London.

Visit the recently reopened Ragged School Museum

After three years of closure to the public, the Ragged School Museum in Mile End has recently reopened, thanks to a refurbishment project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Located in a converted warehouse on Regent's Canal, the building was once home to one of the largest Ragged Schools — institutions which offered free education to destitute children — in 19th-century England. The museum is still home to an authentic Victorian classroom, and offers an insight into local life at the time, through installations and exhibits.

£5 adult/£2.50 child, open weekly, Wednesday-Sunday.

Watch the final week of Wimbledon

As we head into the second week of this year's Wimbledon tennis championships, plenty of places around London show the live action on big screens — especially this weekend, when the all-important finals take place. You could watch the matches canalside in King's Cross, among the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, or on a floating pontoon at St Katharine Docks, among others. Here's our full guide to Wimbledon screenings in London.

Most venues free, until 16 July.

Seek out gorillas in Covent Garden

A gorilla sculpture coloured in a variety of colourful motifs including planets, a clockface, a pair of eyes and a peacock.

15 life-sized sculptures of gorillas — each designed and decorated by someone different — pop up in Covent Garden. The Tusk Gorilla Sculpture Trail has contributions by musician Ronnie Wood, photographer Rankin, and artists Chila Kumari Singh Burman and Adam Dant, among others, and aims to raise awareness of — and money for — the plight of African wildlife, particularly gorillas. It's the work of conservation charity Tusk, and though the trail is free to follow, there are QR codes where you can make a donation if you wish. Once the trail is over in October, the sculptures will be auctioned off to raise more money for Tusk's work.

Free, from 14 July.

Celebrate street art at the Whitecross Street Party

People in the street at a previous Whitecross Street Party, with street art visible on walls in the background.
Street art is the focus of the Whitecross Street Party.

Though it hosts a lively street food market most week days, Whitecross Street near Barbican really comes alive for the annual Whitecross Street Party.

The theme this year is Art Not War, with live painting and street art taking place, and the works left in situ until next year's event, plus a music and words stage, family activities, food stalls and more.

Free entry, 15-16 July.

A double party in Croydon

Central London's isn't the only Pride festival in London — the second-largest is Croydon Pride, taking place in Wandle Park this Saturday after a parade through the centre of town. Browse stalls and enjoy live performances by acts including Abbalicious and local drag queen Asifa Lahore.

The park has a quick turn around for Croydon Mela on Sunday — a free celebration of the borough's Asian communities featuring dance and music performances, food and craft stalls, and plenty more.

Both free entry, 15-16 July.

Set foot on Eel Pie Island

The annual summer open weekends at Eel Pie Island take place this weekend and next. It's a chance to set foot on the mysterious and private island in the Thames and visit the artists who live and work there in their studios — and of course, buy artworks straight from the source.

Free entry, 15-16 and 22-23 July.

A man walking over a pedestrian bridge over the Thames, which joins Eel Pie Island to the mainland.
A rare chance for the public to visit Eel Pie Island. Photo: Londonist/James FitzGerald

Try your hand at chess in Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square hosts a free chess festival, open to all, whether you're a seasoned player or want to learn the game from scratch. This year's Chess Fest includes a living chess set with 32 actors taking on the role of the pieces, and giving various performances throughout the day, including recreations of games by celebrity chess masters. Elsewhere, take part in free lessons (for both adults and children) or sit at one of the hundreds of chess tables and challenge someone to a game.

Free, 16 July.

Discover the little-known Elsyng Palace

Ever heard of Elsyng Palace? We'd hazard a guess that not many Londoners have, not least because it was demolished almost 400 years ago. But on Sunday this week, there's a chance to learn about it, at a free family day held at Forty Hall in Enfield — close to where the palace stood.

Find out about the Tudors who lived there, watch a team of archaeologists on a dig and ask them your questions, and take part in quizzes and craft activities.

Free, 16 July.

Get moving at these free dance workshops

Caribbean, Disco, Robot and K-Pop dance styles are all on the programme at Rambert Dance Day in Wembley Park, a day of free dance workshops led by members of the British dance company. You can also have a go at '50s and '60s style Rock & Roll and hip-hop dance, with no experience required for any of the classes.

Free, 16 July.

Last Updated 11 July 2023

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