Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 11-17 March 2024

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 11-17 March 2024

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

Two women walking among giant iridescent bubbles
Last chance to see Elysian Arcs in the City. Image: Mickey. F Lee

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.

Catch a free exhibition on democracy

It's your last chance to get to the Living Democracy exhibition at Brunei Gallery near Russell Square, before it closes later this week. Film, photography, paintings, audio and art installations capture the relationship between elected politicians and those they claim to represent, in countries including Brazil, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, the US and the UK.

Free, until 16 March (closed Mondays).

Ogle Constable's sketches of Hampstead Heath

A landscape painting of Hampstead Heath
Photo credit: ©Royal Academy of Arts, London; photographer: John Hammond

Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath currently has a trio of John Constable oil sketches in its possession, painted by the great artist shortly after he rented a house in Hampstead in the summer of 1819. Until the end of July, they're on loan from the Royal Academy, and join the 'Hampstead Heath with Pond and Bathers' sketch by Constable that's part of Kenwood's permanent collection. Why not work in your visit with an invigorating stroll around the Heath.

Free, until 24 July.

Get the latest on cancer research

Gresham College brings together a knowledgeable panel to discuss the latest developments in cancer research and treatment. Radiology expert Dr Richard Sidebottom, medical oncologist Professor James Larkin and consultant thoracic medical oncologist Professor Sanjay Popat talk about new treatments including immunotherapy, genomics and AI imaging — and the hope they offer to cancer patients.

You can watch the discussion in person at Barnard's Inn Hall in Holborn, or online.

Free, 12 March.

Get the lowdown on Lucian Freud

Gill Saunders, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the V&A, gives a free lunchtime lecture about artist Lucian Freud's work as a printmaker, specifically through a collection of etchings recently acquired by the V&A. Find out about Freud's long-term collaboration with printer Marc Balakjian, and how Balakjian's skills boosted Freud's work.

Free, 14 March

Lose yourself in the world of labyrinths

A circular labyrinth artwork
Get lost. Image: TfL

Nearly every culture in the world has some form of labyrinth pattern. Find out about their history, their meanings, and how they are constructed, at a free talk at Guildhall Library. City Guide Robert Stephson hosts the event.

Watch in person at Guildhall Library, or online.

Free, 14 March.

Head to this free entry live music night

Big Penny Social hosts a free-entry live electronic music night. Un-Covered showcases the talents of up-and-coming musicians: this time round, catch performances by singer-songwriter Sansha, Sheffield-born, south London-based solo artist Moxon, and dance-pop singer Freddie Joon.

Free, 14 March.

A colourful ice cream van with a tiger on top which appears to be vomiting out various objects
The Smile You Send Returns to You by Chila Burman is one of the options in the Fourth Plinth exhibition. Photo: James O Jenkins

Immerse yourself in the London art world

There's a lovely community of London art-lovers over on our Urban Palette newsletter — with free weekly reads sent out every Monday rounding up some of the biggest news, reviews, interviews and insights from London's art world and plenty of (also free!) opportunities to meet up at exhibitions around the city. Sign up at the link to become part of the community.

Stay late at Imperial College

Imperial College in South Kensington stays open late for an evening focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), and how it might shape our future. Experts give a range of talks, demos and workshops on topics including who would benefit from a world managed by AI, and try out AI-proof face paint.

Free, 14 March.

Get a glimpse of these glowing rainbow arcs

Time's running out to see — and wander through — Elysian Arcs, a free installation of giant rainbow arches that's popped outside the Leadenhall Building (AKA the Cheesegrater). The 20ft high arcs come to life at dusk when they start to glow from within, showing off all sorts of colours and reflections, and they have their own soundtrack too. Should make for a good snap for the 'gram.

Free, until 15 March (10am-8pm daily).

Get your broken stuff fixed for free

Close of up electrical circuitboard being repaired
Get your stuff fixed at a free workshop in Hackney. Image: ReLondon

Repair Week runs from 11-17 March (check out our article here), and in Hackney on Saturday, the Makers Cabinet Repair Shop is inviting you to bring along a broken item to be fixed (you'll need to let them know what it is and when you're coming) by one of their 10+ professional artisan 'fixers'. There's also an open fire, live music and free tea and biscuits.

Free, 16 March.

Take the kids to watch Encanto

If you're looking for ways to entertain kids on the cheap on a Saturday — particularly if the weather's not on your side — it's always worth checking out Family Film Club at Barbican Cinema. It runs most weeks of the year, showing a family-friendly film, and tickets are just £3.50 for an adult, or £2.50 for a child. To maintain the family atmosphere, all kiddos must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by kids.

This week, animated Oscar-winning Disney film Encanto is shown. Guarantee the whole family will be singing about Bruno the whole way home.

£3.50/£2.50, 16 March.

Celebrate Ireland at the St Patrick's Day Parade

A women wearing shamrock glasses, green fluffy hat, and feather boa in the colours of the Irish flag at the London St Patrick's Day Parade
London knows how to through a St Patrick's Day celebration! Photo: aurélien via creative commons

London puts on its green party gear this Sunday, as the St Patrick's Day Festival and Parade comes to town. The procession begins at Hyde Park Corner, with Irish drag queen and activist Panti Bliss as Grand Marshal, and makes its way to Trafalgar Square where there's free live entertainment and activities all afternoon. It's for all ages, and we reckon there'll be more than a couple of renditions of Danny Boy as the day progresses.

Free, 17 March.

See what's up next on the Fourth Plinth

This is the final week to see the National Gallery's Fourth Plinth Shortlist Exhibition, which contains miniature models of the seven artworks shortlisted to be displayed on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth in 2026 and 2028 (full details of the artworks here). You can vote for your favourite on the National Gallery website.

Free, until 17 March.

Last Updated 04 March 2024

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