11 Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 8-14 May 2023

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11 Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 8-14 May 2023

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

Free and cheap things to do: a rainbow kite against a clear blue sky
The Streatham Common Kite Day takes place on Sunday. Photo: Caleb Hernandez Belmonte via Unsplash

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.

1. Make your own pasta at a free class

Fancy crafting your own fresh pasta dough, rolling it out — then forming it into different shapes and styles? That's what you can do at a free pasta making class at SITU LIVE in Westfield Shepherd's Bush. No kitchen nous needed... just a love for pasta!

Free, 8 May

2. Peruse the peaceful paintings of Nick Williams

Oil painting of a subtropical garden
© Nick Williams

Artist Nick Williams found Cuba to be a happy, peaceful place — and over the years he has revisited it in his mind — and on canvas — over and over. See some of these lucent, almost dreamlike oil paintings in his exhibition at 54 The Gallery in Mayfair, alongside some of his own subtropical garden in Cornwall.

Free, until 14 May

3. Test out your knowledge at a quiz night

Gather your smartest friends and head to Boxpark in Wembley for the weekly Big Fat Quizbox, a pub quiz led by DJ Reno. Topics could include — but aren't limited to — current affairs, music, culture, travel and fashion. As for the prizes, they range from cold hard cash to... bubblegum.

£2 admission, 9 May. Age 18+.

4. Hear from British Museum curators

Classical frontage of the British Museum

Heard about the British Museum's new exhibition, Luxury and power: Persia to Greece? On Thursday, you can get the full lowdown on it with a free online curator's introduction.

Exhibition curator Jamie Fraser and Keeper of the Department of the Middle East Paul Collins discuss the context, scope, themes and highlights of the exhibition, which explores luxury as a political tool in the Middle East and southeast Europe from 550-30 BC. Gold, silver and glasswares are among the exhibits on show.

Free, 11 May. (Note: there's a charge for the exhibition itself).

5. Take the kids to a Party in the Park

The annual Dulwich Festival kicks off on Friday, with dozens of events going on over nine days, including live music, exhibitions, guided walks, talks, comedy shows and more. Some — though not all — events are free or come in under the £5 mark, including Friday's launch event, a Party in the Park for older children (8-16 year olds) with an inflatables course and other activities. There's a suggested donation of £2.

Free, 12 May.

6. Raise a glass to this Veuve Clicquot exhibition

Free and cheap things to do: inside the Veuve Clicquot exhibition

Works by nine renowned female artists including Yayoi Kusama, Sheila Hicks and manga artist Moyoco Anno go on display together for the first time. The reason? Champagne.

Champagne brand Veuve Clicquot celebrates its 250th anniversary by bringing its travelling exhibition Solaire Culture to Regent Street, following stints in Tokyo and LA. Go on an immersive journey, through the brand's heritage, with a focus on Madame Clicquot, one of the world’s first female entrepreneurs who took over the reins of the house in 1805 .

Free, 12 May-6 June.

7. Cross your fingers for hot air balloons

It's now been four years since a flotilla of hot air balloons floated across the London sky — but if the weather plays ball, the Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta may well take to the skies this Sunday morning. It's free to watch and should be visible from multiple locations on the ground, though the exact route depends on wind conditions on the day.

The catch? It's an early start — if it goes ahead, the balloons will start taking off from Battersea Park at 5.30am. We'll keep you updated here as to whether it's going ahead, so do keep checking back. If Sunday 14 May doesn't happen, this year's reserve dates are 21 May and 2 July.

Free, 14 May (hopefully!).

8. Let's go fly a kite at Streatham Common Kite Day

You don't even need tuppence to see kites in action this week — the Streatham Common Kite Day is back, and it's completely free to watch. Head to SW16 to enjoy live demonstrations by kite experts, using all different sizes and styles of kite, including a blue whale kite that's 30 metres long.

Got your own kite? Take it along and join in the fun. Stalls will sell kites for anyone who wants to try their hand at it, along with food and drinks stalls, and bouncy castles and face painting for kids.

Free, 14 May.

9. Clown around at the Puppet Festival

Free and cheap things to do: a traditional Punch & Judy puppet show
Image: Alternative Arts

The anniversary of the first recorded sighting of Mr Punch, an early version of today's Punch & Judy shows, is the focus of the Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival. Across the course of one afternoon, the free entry event includes a grand procession, a special church service, live music, maypole dancing, stalls and workshops. Definitely one of London's more unusual events.

Free, 14 May.

10. Get yourself to an urban fete at Greenwich

Just because London's a stinking great metropolis, doesn't mean it doesn't have summer fetes. Now in its seventh year, Greenwich Peninsula's Urban Village Fete features a DJ set from Mr Scruff, hands-on workshops from Black Girl Knit Club, nosh from Canteen Food Hall, and lashings more besides. Make sure you reserve your free spot.

Free, 14 May

11. Track your way to a model railway open day

Choo choo! You may remember that back in February, we got a peek inside the world's oldest model railway club, which can be found in an unassuming building near King's Cross. Now you've got the chance to go inside, at the club's Spring Open Day, an 'open house' type event where the public can ogle the layouts (both complete and still-in-progress) and meet members of the club.

Free (donations welcome), 14 May.

Last Updated 04 May 2023

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