Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 14-20 August 2023

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Last Updated 14 August 2023

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 14-20 August 2023

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

This is the final week of the Morph Art Trail. Photo: Matt Brown/Londonist

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 screening of 10 Things I Hate About You

If you grew up in the 90s, teen film 10 Things I Hate About You probably needs no introduction. Head to Canary Wharf on Tuesday to watch the classic flick about popular teenager Bianca, who isn't allowed to date until her older, less popular sister Kat also dates. The screening takes place in Canada Square Park — bring your own blanket, and stock up on snacks and drinks at the surrounding cafes and restaurants. It's the penultimate Movie Night of the year here.

Free, 15 August.

Pack your teens off to a museum late

Once again, the Wellcome Collection opens its doors specifically to younger visitors, with a museum late for 14-19 year olds. The current Genetic Automata exhibition is the central focus of the evening; it examines race and identity in an age of avatars, video games and DNA ancestry, and visitors to this late can view it outside normal hours.

In addition, there's live music and performances, workshops — and free snacks and soft drinks.

Free, 16 August.

Book your daughter a free footie sesh with Karen Carney

Karen Carney giving out advice to a group of girls
Karen Carney leads footie coaching masterclasses. Image: Powerleague

As Women's World Cup fever continues, sports journalist and former footie pro Karen Carney is offering free coaching masterclasses to young female footballers. The sessions — which take place in Shepherd's Bush — last an hour each, and are divided into various age categories.

Free, 16 August.

Get an insight into Dickensian servants

We don't know much about the everyday lives of Victorian servants, predominantly because more is recorded about their wealthy employers. While researching her book, Charles Dickens and Georgina Hogarth: A Curious and Enduring Relationship, Christine Skelton got some insights into the domestic household of Dickens. Head to the Charles Dickens Museum — the novelist's former home — for a free talk about the relationships, and even  friendships, which formed between servants and their employers.

Note that although the talk is free, you'll need to buy a separate ticket if you want to visit the rest of the house museum while you're there.

Free, 16 August.

Have a laugh at Top & Bottom Comedy

The Book Club in Shoreditch hosts new laughs night Top & Bottom Comedy. The exact line-up hasn't been revealed yet, but we're promised new and upcoming acts honing existing material and trying out completely new jokes.

£3, 16 August.

Double up on new exhibitions

There's a double whammy of new exhibitions at Highgate's Lauderdale House, and both are free to view.

Magic of Ink Brush Painting showcases the work of London-based artist Helena Hung, who uses traditional brush painting techniques to create her depictions of the natural world, including birds, flowers and animals.

Meanwhile, A Sense of Place is a joint exhibition by Andy Gashe and Louise West, who both depict landscapes in their work, yet in very different ways. Gashe focuses on the multi-layered urban environment, while West's landscapes visually record a sense of liminal spaces.

Free, from 16 August.

Kickstart your weekend with a jazz jam

Close up of a saxophone being played
Listen to jazz standards and new discoveries, at Oxford House. Image: iStock/piola666

Head along to Oxford House in Bethnal Green on Friday afternoon for a jazz performance by young musicians who have already performed in the likes of Ronnie Scott’'s Jazz Club and the Royal Albert Hall.

Expect to hear a mixture of well-known classics, standards and new discoveries, by the group who play across sax, double bass, keys and drums.

Free, 18 August.

Take part in a thrifty fitness class

As part of the ongoing Barking Riverside Summer Sessions, you can take part in a 40-minute HIIT and LBT class by the water — led by certified instructor Nate. Mats are provided, but bring your own bottle of water and towel.

£5, 19 August.

Summer family festival

South Kensington's V&A Museum celebrates its new display of work by sculptor Thomas J Price with a free family festival, on a theme of 'The Shape of Us'. Spend the day at the museum making your own sculptures, getting involved in costume-making activities and taking part in parades through the building, dropping in for storytelling sessions, and relaxing in wellbeing workshops.

Free, 19 August.

Let off steam in one of London's free playgrounds

The school summer holidays continue, and we have plenty of ways to keep kids and teenagers busy — though they're not all budget-friendly.

What is budget-friendly — free, in fact — are London's many playgrounds. We've mapped every playground that we know of in central London, to help you find the nearest for your kids to let off steam at, whether you're on your way to or from a museum, theatre, or event — or are just out exploring London.

Hunt out Morph before he disappears

This is the final week of the free Morph Art Trail, a collection of 56 sculptures of Aardman character Morph, each uniquely designed and decorated. They can predominantly be found around South Bank and the City — though there are a couple as far afield as Notting Hill — and they're totally free to enjoy.

To mark the final day of the trail on Sunday, there's a free day of Morph-themed activities at Summer by the River. Take part in an arts and craft workshop to design your own Morph, or use paint pens to contribute to a large Morph colouring wall. There are also free screenings of Morph's Epic Adventure throughout the day.

Free, until 20 August.

Get In The Neighbourhood with All Points East

All Points East music festival begins in Victoria Park on Friday, and though tickets aren't cheap, In The Neighbourhood is a free four-day programme of activities and entertainment, taking place between the festival's two weekends, and open to everyone.

The programme encompasses live music, film screenings, creative workshops, dance, theatre and sports activities.

Free, 20-23 August