Budget-friendly things to do in London this week for £5 or less.
Explore Museum of the Home with tours and teas
Hoxton's Museum of the Home offers a number of free and cheap events each week: learn more about some of the objects in its collection (Weds, Fri, Sun), sip on a locally blended brew and meet new friends on any Free Tea Friday (at this week's you can make paper boats), or take a tour of two of the restored almshouses (Fri). And specifically this week, you can drop in with your little ones for an engaging session with architecture educators MATT+FIONA (Tues).
Watch bands for free at the Shacklewell Arms
A tireless proponent of fresh, live music, the Shacklewell Arms in Hackney is a fab place to catch upcoming bands for nada: this week, there's The K. (Mon), J Goldwater & The Traditional Commission (Tues), Puerta Negra + PC World (Weds) and a Newly Minted showcase feat. Mabgate + Joshua Zero (Sun).
Meet Croydon's lofty new residents
From Monday, 30 large giraffe sculptures are on display in various locations around Croydon, for the Croydon Stands Tall art trail — part of the Borough of Culture programme. Each has been decorated by a local artist, and 30 smaller giraffe sculptures, decorated by local school and communities, will also be on display.
Free, 21 August-27 October. If animal-themed art trails are your thing, the free gorilla sculpture trail is still in situ in Covent Garden too.
Swing by In The Neighbourhood
This middle week between the two main weekends of All Points East festival sees the festival venue in Victoria Park repurposed for In The Neighbourhood, a free programme of events and activities that's open to everyone.
Watch live theatre shows at the Bus King theatre on board a Routemaster, visit the Orchestra of Objects sound garden and make music from everyday objects — and take part in workshops and wellbeing activities.
Free, 20-23 August.
Enjoy the final days of Summer Screens 2023
We're in the final few days of the free Summer Screens in Canary Wharf. Tuesday this week is the final free Movie Night of the year, a screening of Wes Anderson's animated film Isle of Dogs. Cricket matches and documentaries are also shown this week.
Free, until 24 August.
Take the family on a Roman quest
Travel back to Roman Londinium on a family day out, where the kids can learn some history while having fun. The Roman London Family Quest is a free trail between two Roman sites in the City of London, the London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, and the Roman Amphitheatre at Guildhall. Walk between them following a map which highlights Roman points of interest, and take part in family activities and quests.
Free, 25-26 August.
Step back in time at Victorian Vauxhall
The historic Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens are the place to head for Victorian Vauxhall, a Victorian-style funfair and day of entertainment. Wander among performances, vintage displays, and activities for all ages, including traditional parlour games. Don't know the area? Look out for the static hot air balloon flying over the site.
Free, 26 August.
Take Fido along to The Big Woof
Bank holidays aren't just for humans to enjoy. King's Cross hosts The Big Woof, a free dog festival for International Dog Day. Free events include workshops in dog training tips and animal communication, as well as a dog show and an exhibition of dog art (that's art featuring dogs rather than art by dogs). There's also a canine-centric market selling dog food, fashion and more.
Free, 26-27 August.
Dance in the streets at Notting Hill Carnival
Europe's biggest free street festival takes place in west London this weekend. The launch event on Saturday is ticketed, but on Sunday and Monday, it's completely free to watch the procession and performances, and wander around soaking in the atmosphere and different sound systems. Whether you're a Carnival newbie, or you've been before but need a refresher, read our guide to Notting Hill Carnival 2023 for all you need to know, plus some handy tips.
Free, 27-28 August.
Get stuck into GDIF
International performing arts festival Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (or GDIF) begins on Friday with a programme of 35+ events over the coming fortnight, many of them free.
Head to General Gordon Square in Woolwich on Friday night for Open Line, the launch event seeing tight-rope walker Tatiana Mosio Bongonga crossing overhead. Greenwich Fair takes place on Saturday, with multiple events and performances in the town centre, and the programme continues into the following week and beyond.
Most events free, 25 August-10 September.
While away a bank holiday weekend in London
This weekend is a bank holiday, so use our guide to spending a bank holiday in London to plan yours. There are plenty of free ideas in there, included self-guided walking routes, and parks and green spaces to visit.