Budget-friendly things to do in London this week for £5 or less.
1. Laugh your socks off in a Hackney basement
Lurking beneath a bougie Argentinian eatery in Stoke Newington, Poster Comedy puts on free comedy shows most nights of the week (Fridays are their only night off), hosting emerging stars to stand-up A-listers. There's also a happy hour from 5pm-8pm, where two cocktails cost just £15.
Various nights of the week, free
2. Learn about writing about art
Londonist art critic Tabish Khan makes an appearance at the All About Art 2nd Anniversary Weekend, celebrating two years of the All About Art podcast. Head to the Textile Building in Hackney on Monday evening to hear Tabish talks to author Ruth Millington, Sarah Bolwell of The Burlington Magazine, and art-critic comedian Verity Babbs about the different ways of writing about art, the sort of jobs it can lead to, and who decides what gets published and what doesn't.
£4, 24 April.
3. Get the lowdown on Nursing Beyond Borders
The Royal College of Nursing stays open late for a free evening of talks and activities on the theme of international nursing. Hear about the lives and careers of British nurses internationally including Mary Abbott, Marjorie Simpson and Sheila Quinn; find out why so many British nurses were enquiring about working abroad in the 1960s; and take a tour of a new resource showcasing the international achievements of British nurses.
Free, 25 April.
4. Find out why Leytonstone Loves Film
Barbican Cinema decamps to Good Shepherd Studios in Leytonstone on Saturday, for a day of activities, workshops and film screenings. It's part of the Leytonstone Loves Film series, celebrating the cinema industry in the local area — it was Alfred Hitchcock's birthplace, so they know a thing or two about the big screen.
Free, 29 April.
5. Celebrate Eid in London
Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting in daylight hours. Although it was officially celebrated in the UK on 21 April, there are a couple of big Eid events in London this weekend:
- Eid in the Square: a day of Islamic-inspired music, food and family activities, taking place in Trafalgar Square. Free, 29 April.
- Eid Festival London: apparently Europe's biggest Eid Celebration, with three days of festivities including Halal street food stalls, in-store activities, shopping stalls, live entertainment, and much more, all taking place at Westfield in Shepherd's Bush. Free entry, 29 April-1 May.
6. Take to the water at the Canalway Cavalcade
Every early May bank holiday, the Little Venice area is taken over by the IWA Canalway Cavalcade, a lively celebration of London's waterways. Dozens of boats moor up, decked out in bunting and other decorations, and take part in events include a pageant, and an illuminated boat parade at night. Back on dry land there are food, drink, art and craft stalls, live music, and entertainment for the kids.
Free, 29 April-1 May.
7. Peruse artworks in a shopping centre
Artist Rod Kitson opens up his studio in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, for his latest exhibition 'Communities'. It's a retrospective of all the shows he's done in his Art of Isolation space since moving here in 2019 — and includes furniture from a cardboard 'living room', and a large rug painted in sections by members of the public. There's also a selection of portraits from Kitson's ongoing Where Are We Now project, in which he's ambitiously (but successfully) painting the faces of 350 Londoners.
Free, until 3 May (closed Mondays)
8. Get to know Croydon's Caribbean influencers
As part of Croydon's tenure as London Borough of Culture, catch Citizen UK: Caribbean Influencers, a free exhibition at the Museum of Croydon which shows how Caribbean migration has influenced the borough.
Put together in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, the display explores the stories and influence of Croydon residents who have shaped the borough through their Caribbean roots, but are often uncredited or underrepresented, including the Metropolitan Police's first female Black police officer, the late Sislin Fay Allen, sibling champion boxers Clinton and Duke McKenzie and renowned musical director, composer and performer, Ken Burton. Jamaican musician Desmond Dekker also features.
Citizen Researchers held workshops in which they explored archive material and themes, collected oral histories and considered whose stories were missing from the public record. The exhibition tells these stories using archive material, spoken word and portraits, giving a snapshot of the local histories uncovered.
Free, until 18 June (Wednesdays and Fridays only).
9. Rediscover the Lost East End
The current exhibition at Oxford House in Bethnal Green is Lost East End, a display of work by local photographer Philip Cunningham, depicting people, places and community activism in 1970s east London. Many of the images on display in the exhibition have not been seen in over 50 years.
Free, until 27 October (open Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm).
10. Have a budget-friendly bank holiday weekend
The weekend of 29 April-1 May is a bank holiday weekend (as is the following one, FYI). If you're lucky enough to have a bit of extra time off work, peruse our guide to spending a bank holiday in London. There are plenty of budget-friendly options, including walking and cycling routes, and parks to visit. Lovely.
11. Indulge in bluebell spotting
'Tis the season for carpets of lilac, as the bluebells spring up in parks and woodland around London and beyond. Take a look at our guide on where to spot bluebells in and around London to find your nearest spot. Just take care not to pick or trample any of them, as they're a delicate species and can take years to recover.