Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 20-26 May 2024

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Last Updated 20 May 2024

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 20-26 May 2024

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

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.

Check out a visual history of the Soho Housing Association

The Soho Housing Association has been providing homes for local people in Soho and central London for half a century. To mark this, a free exhibition — My Home in Soho — is currently on display at its Great Pulteney Street HQ, featuring a curated a timeline of images and newspaper cuttings, along with a neon sign quoting Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities: "The echoing footsteps of years".

Free, until 8 June.

Explore Croydon Urban Room

A area of London obsessed with reinventing itself, Croydon is once again plotting its future. In the town's Whitgift Centre right now, Croydon Urban Room has appeared: it's a space where you can flick through literature on Croydon's history, as well as some of its rebrands — such as when it aimed to be London's 'Third City' — which never saw the light. You can also share your thoughts on what the Croydon of tomorrow should look like, and get involved in various workshops and events taking place over the next one and a half years.

Free, until 2025.

A wall of images of Soho
My Home in Soho marks 50 years of the Soho Housing Association.

See west London in Bloom

The notoriously-pricey Chelsea Flower Show takes place this week, but if your pockets aren't that deep, there are other completely free floral events taking place this week too.

Chelsea in Bloom sees giant floral installations popping up around the area, in public squares and outside shops and restaurants. This year's theme is 'floral feasts', centred around a blooming interpretation of beloved children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Sloane Square. Likewise, neighbouring Belgravia in Bloom has a 'floral fun and games' theme for 2024.

Chelsea in Bloom, 20-26 May. Belgravia in Bloom, 20-27 May. Both free.

Gen up on AI from the experts

Open to everyone, the free King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence showcases the latest developments in the field of AI and the impact they may have on our lives. Talks, screenings, panel discussions and demos span topics including why AI needs the arts, how AI can assist in healthcare, and whether machines can and should be conscious.

Free, 21-25 May.

Notes from people on a board discussing the future of Croydon
Visit Croydon Urban Room to discover about the area's past, and share your thoughts on where it should be headed. Image: Londonist

Watch the Lord Mayor's Ride Around The City

Ride Around the City sees The Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli and the Sheriffs of the City of London, Alderwoman Dame Susan Langley and Alderman Bronek Masojada, riding through the City of London on horseback. It's a charity event, raising awareness and fundraising for The Lord Mayor's Appeal at various stops along the way — why not turn up to show your support?

Free to watch, 22 May.

Get a close look at fancy cars

Start your engines! All manner of high-end and classic cars and motorbikes park in central London for Concours on Savile Row, a free-entry event combining motoring with tailoring. The street closes to traffic, with tailors displaying their wares alongside the vehicles, and a live stage for music and talks.

Free, 22-23 May.

Dunkirk at the Docks begins with a free tea dance. Details below.

Catch a lunchtime lecture at the V&A

Thursday's V&A Academy lunchtime lecture focuses on luxurious items owned by the wealthy which symbolised the identity of the New World during the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, hawksbill turtle shells from Jamaica were used to make turtle shell wig combs. The free lecture is given by the V&A's African Heritage Guide Joy Johnson.

Free, 23 May.

Watch a film about the 'lungs of Edmonton'

Head to Fore Street Library for a free screening of new documentary Pymmes Park: The Lungs of Edmonton. Funded by the Untold Edmonton Grant Scheme, it tells the stories of the many communities linked to the local green space, as well as the nature which calls it home.

Free, 23 May.

A bao bun
There could be a free bao bun with your name on it at Master Bao.

Scoff free bao buns

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Westfield Stratford City between Wednesday and Sunday, it might be worth your while swinging by the newly-opened Master Bao, because they've giving away 150 bao buns each day. It's first come, first served.

Free, 23-26 May.

Hear about life during the Bosnian War

Hear from Major General Peter Williams as he reveals what it was like to command the Coldstream Guards armoured infantry battalion during the civil war in Bosnia. You can watch his talk in person at the National Army Museum (Chelsea), or online.

Free, until 24 May.

Catch the end of this free film festival

The Herne Hill Free Film Festival has three final screenings this week. South London-set Pretty Red Dress is shown at the Half Moon on Monday; there's a screening of short films about cycling at Herne Hill Velodrome on Thursday, and the festival culminates with Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at the Velodrome on Friday.

Free (donations welcome), until 24 May.

Soapbox Science promotes women and non-binary scientists and the work they do.  © ZSL

See Dunkirk 'Little Ships' moored up here in London

St Katharine Docks in Wapping hosts the Dunkirk at the Docks classic boat festival, with a number of the vessels which were involved in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation mooring up for the weekend. Admire the ships (many prettily dressed in bunting), learn more about the part they played in the second world war, chat to owners, and maybe even step aboard one or two.

Free, 24-26 May. There's also a free tea dance on 23 May.

Hear from some of London's leading scientists

Soapbox Science is an initiative promoting women and non-binary scientists and the work they do. Their events are a chance to chat to real scientists, including at South Bank (near the OXO Tower) this Saturday. 12 scientists from several disciplines take to their soapbox to share their research, and get the public excited about science — from cancer research to conservation.

Free, 25 May.

Ride on London's roads, traffic-free

RideLondon is a huge bike ride from London out into the Essex countryside, with a choice of 30-, 60-, or 100-mile routes. Not quite up to that? There's also the FreeCycle, when Londoners of all ages and cycling abilities are invited to ride around the streets while they're free of traffic. The eight-mile route passes the likes of Holborn Viaduct, Piccadilly, Pall Mall, St Paul's Cathedral, Strand, Trafalgar Square, Victoria Embankment and Whitehall/central Westminster, with two festival zones located at Bank and St Paul's.

Free, 26 May.