Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 17-23 June 2024

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Last Updated 11 June 2024

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 17-23 June 2024

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

The cast of the Lion King in colourful costumes smiling and waving at the camera
West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square. Photo: Pamela Raith

See photos themed on 'Freedom from Torture'

Refugee Week runs from 17-23 June, and there's a special show at the Velorose art gallery near Barbican to mark it, hosted by human rights charity Freedom from Torture. Images from 24 photographers address the question: "What does freedom mean to you?", and feature Free Running in Gaza by Danish photographer and explorer Klaus Thymann, That's One Small Step for Women by photojournalist Xinlei Lee, and Broken Wings
by street photographer Zade Basil-Thanoon.

Free, 17-29 June.

Catch another free photo exhibition

The Royal Geographical Society — located near the Royal Albert Hall — unveils the free Earth Photo 2024 exhibition on Tuesday. It features the winning photos and videos across several categories including people, place, nature, changing forests and a climate of change.

Free, 18 June-21 August. Note that the venue only opens Monday-Friday.

People performing parkour on buildings in Gaza
Free Running in Gaza, featuring parkour performers, features in a 'Freedom from Torture' exhibition. ©  Klaus Thymann

Hear the history of Wandsworth Prison

Stewart McLaughlin, curator of Wandsworth Prison Museum, is at London Metropolitan Archives on Wednesday evening to give a free talk about the prison's history, from being opened in 1849 as the Surrey House of Correction, through to the present day.

Free, 19 June.

Glug a free marg by the canal in King's Cross

We had you at free margarita, didn't we? Head to Granary Square at King's Cross on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 June — between 12pm and 5pm each day — and there's a free can of margarita with your name on it (assuming you're at least 18), courtesy of the long black barge with 'MOTH' on the side. They've giving away 1,000 altogether, though it goes without saying the earlier you show up, the more chance you'll have of snaffling a drinky-poo.

Free, 19 and 20 June.

Someone holding a small can a margarita
There's one of these with your name on it (if you're over 18, natch).

Watch a film for Pride month

North Kensington Library Film Club screens 2014 film Pride, about gay and lesbian activists who raised money to support the striking miners and their families affected by the British Miners' Strike in the summer of 1984.  The screening is free, with tea, coffee and popcorn are available — and there's time for a chat about the film afterwards.

Free, 20 June.

Celebrate Vivienne Westwood at a Christie's Late

You'd imagine the late designer Vivienne Westwood had QUITE the wardrobe. In fact, you needn't imagine it anymore — as some of said wardrobe is being auctioned off by Christie's, and ahead of that, there's a chance to check out various garments, jewellery and accessories worn by Westwood — at a special late, Radical Thinking: A Celebration of Vivienne Westwood. Various panel discussions, performances and workshops take place throughout the evening. It's free but you must register — and it's worth getting down there early, as a one-in-one-out system will be in operation once the venue reaches capacity.

Free, 20 June.

The exterior of the Bank of England
There's an evening of architecture at the Bank of England Museum. Photo: Matt Brown/Londonist

Stay late at the Bank of England

Also open late on Thursday is the Bank of England Museum, for a special London Festival of Architecture event. Learn about the Bank building's history through a talk by Curator Jennifer Adam, and a trail tracing its history, from its first premises on Cheapside to its current location.

Free, 20 June.

Catch a free, open-air concert

If the weather's playing nicely, spend lunchtime on midsummer's day enjoying a free open-air concert. Musicians from Opera Holland Park offer occasional Songs on the Steps performances, outside the venue. Anyone's welcome to take a picnic blanket or chair along and make themselves comfy to watch the 40-minute show.

Free, 21 June.

Visit the St Pancras Water Tower

You'll need to book ahead for Saturday's rare chance to visit the St Pancras Waterpoint Tower, with one-hour tours available, where you can learn more about the pretty-yet-practical structure, and get inside the building — including up to the viewing platform at the top if you fancy it.

Free, 22 June.

Children playing in a tug of war next to colourful flags
The Royal Wharf Summer Fete takes place on Saturday.

Delight in the fun of a summer fete

It's fete season — and today it's the turn of Royal Wharf Park in east London to shine. The free-to-enter fete stars a line-up of activities, many of which are are free or cheap, including morning fitness sessions with One Element, children's workshops with Macaroni Penguin garden games with Sharky & George, and live music and DJ sets. Book ahead.

Free entry, 22 June.

Celebrate Windrush Day at the Garden Museum

Lambeth's Garden Museum marks Windrush Day with a family-friendly craft workshop, where you can make hummingbirds and hibiscus flowers from paper, inspired by a children's book about the birds and flowers of Jamaica.

The workshop is suitable for ages 3-10, with parents or carers required to stay with children. It's a drop-in event, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Free, 22 June.

Watch historic barges racing down the Thames

The 50th annual Thames Historic Barge Race comes to London's main waterway on Saturday. 12 teams of four-six crew members each steer and row a 30-ton Thames barges along a seven-mile course between Greenwich and Westminster Bridge — a journey lasting around 90 minutes.

Head down to the river — or onto one of the bridges — along the route to watch it for free.

Free, 22 June.

People sitting and standing around on a lawn watching a performer on some steps
Songs on the Steps takes place on Friday lunchtime.

Sing and dance along to West End Live

Things get rather lively in Trafalgar Square this weekend, when free musical theatre festival West End Live returns.

Across two days, cast members from various West End shows appear on stage in Trafalgar Square, performing songs from their musicals for free. Cast members from Back to the Future, The Book of Mormon, Hamilton, The Lion King, Magic Mike Live, Mamma Mia!, Sister Act, Six, and many, many more shows are taking part this year.

It's a VERY popular event, and in recent years there have been reports of people queuing for hours or being turned away when it reaches capacity, so arrive early to make sure you get in. Alternatively, for the first time, there will be another viewing area, with a large screen set up on Pall Mall, screening the stage live.

Free, 22-23 June.

Take the kids along to a festival on the canal

Boat rides, kayaking and paddleboarding are among the activities on offer at the family-friendly Hayes Canal Festival, taking place on the Grand Union Canal near Hayes & Harlington station on Sunday. There's plenty to do on dry land too, including crafts and face painting.

Free, 23 June.

Celebrate Eid in west London

Celebrate Eid at the West London Eid Fair in Greenford, which includes live entertainment, Halal food and shopping stalls.

Free, 23 June.