Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 6-12 August 2018

By Maire Rose Connor Last edited 29 months ago

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 6-12 August 2018

All week

A free, open air theatre returns to the banks of the Thames.

VICTORIAN LONDON IN PHOTOGRAPHS: Head to Aldgate Square a rare glimpse of some of the first ever Londoners to be photographed, from studio portraits to families living in slums. Discover a city on the periphery of dramatic change; there's images of Tower Bridge, Crystal Palace and Blackwall Tunnel under construction, as well as the first underground railway track. Aldgate Square, free, just turn up, until 12 August

SYSTEM: Musician and performance artist Gaika invites you to look beyond the media perception of Notting Hill Carnival via an immersive installation that showcases its under-celebrated fixed sound system culture and its links to immigration, blackness, and raw technical power. Lancaster Rooms, Somerset House (Temple), free, just turn up, 2-26 August

FROM SHADOW TO LIGHT: From wartime photography to snapping celebrities and fashion models for US magazines, Tony Vaccaro's 8 decade-spanning career has certainly been rich and varied. See the his iconic work, and discover never-before-seen images at the photographer's first exhibition in over 50 years. Getty Images Gallery (Fitzrovia), free, just turn up, 6 August-21 September

OPEN AIR THEATRICS: Now in its 15th year, London's free open-air theatre returns to The Scoop to bring you tales of sorcery, adventure, and the fight for the common good. Catch adaptations of beloved British legend King Arthur and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as the sun sets over the River Thames. The Scoop (London Bridge City), free, just turn up, 8 August-2 September

Monday 6 August

A tote-ally awesome evening of crafting awaits at Drink, Shop & Do.

THE PALACE AND THE CHURCH: Learn about the ties between All Saints, the Parish Church of Fulham, and Fulham Parish on a tour of the tombs with curator Miranda Poliakoff. Visit the final resting place of 11 London bishops, which also houses the remains of explorers, a Lord Mayor and Henry VIII's physician. Meet at Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 2pm-3pm

TOTES AMAZEBALLS: With glitter, gems, sequins and sharpies, this fun little workshop has everything necessary to customise a tote bag that just screams 'you'. Who needs a Mulberry, anyway? Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross), £5, just turn up, 6pm

JAMES OD: An Irishman's Psychedelic Adventure does pretty much what it says on the tin, but instead of tripping out on narcotics find yourself whisked away to a land where time has no meaning via acoustic instruments and synthesizers. Join Irish comic James OD for stories, surprises, and tunes including noted crowd-pleaser String Worm. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 9.30pm-10.30pm

Tuesday 7 August

HOLLOWAY HEROINES: What better time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the heroic women who relentlessly fought for the right to vote than on the centenary of women's suffrage? Discover the stories of hundreds of suffragettes who were held in Holloway Prison between 1906 and 1914 at a talk with Caitlin Davies, the author of Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades. Finsbury Library (Islington), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

RICH MIX BLOCK PARTY: East End arts hub Rich Mix and FMM Popup celebrate everything the neighbourhood has to offer with a good old fashioned block party. Expect workshops, panel discussions, performances and fashion shows. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 7pm

AN ELECTRONIC ODYSSEY: Music journo David Stubbs chronicles the electronic music revolution tonight at Foyles. From the cosmic funk of Stevie Wonder, through to today's underground scene — via the likes of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys — discover how the genre evolved over the decades. Foyles (Charing Cross Road), £5, book ahead, 7pm-8pm

Wednesday 8 August

What marvelous inventions lie behind the door of the Charles Dickens Museum?

IMAGINE, INVENT, INVESTIGATE: It's gadget and gizmos galore at the Charles Dickens Museum today. Take the kids for a step back in time and discover just how obsessed our Victorian ancestors were with new-fangled inventions for the home. They even get to have a go at designing their own. Charles Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), £5, book ahead, 11am/1pm/3pm

CORNISH PICNIC: Nothing beats a nice pasty. Though, you've got to admit, they're much better enjoyed on a Cornish beach than surreptitiously scoffed amid the hustle and bustle of the city. Luckily, the folks of Ginsters are bringing Cornwall to the capital with an immersive picnic featuring the sounds, smells, and, of course, tastes of the idyllic county. Bernie Spain Gardens (South Bank), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

AFFECTED BY DETENTION: Individuals who have gone through the UK immigration system share their experiences in detention as part of a new photography exhibition at Stour Space. See them at tonight's launch, where you can also contribute towards a communal collage and take in some performance art. Stour Space (Hackney Wick), free, book ahead, 7pm-11pm

Thursday 9 August

A kart load of fun on Mudchute Farm.

EALING CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL: A free festival just for kids kicks off in west London today. Expect three days of storytelling, yoga, arts and crafts, and dance parties. Multiple venues in Ealing, free, book ahead for some events, from 11am, until 11 August

GO KART RACING: Up for some seriously wacky races? Now in its sixth year, London Play's Go Kart Build and Race, invites teams of up to eight kids and young people to build their own go kart from scratch and then race their opponents to the finish line. Only the most ingenious inventors will emerge victorious. Mudchute Farm (Isle of Dogs), free, book ahead, 11am-4pm

MEDIEVAL GRAFFITI: You might think of street art as a relatively recent invention, but nothing could be further from the truth. Discover the doodles our medieval forebears etched onto the UK's historic buildings and explore what they might tell us about life in the olden days at Cunning Folk's latest outing. The Old King's Head (Borough), £5, book ahead, 8pm

ABA-SHANTI-I: Notting Hill Carnival vibes are coming to Somerset House in the form a reggae and dub set from legendary producer Aba-Shanti-I. His sound system has been a regular at the carnival since 1993, the same year he was voted the world's number one DJ by DJ Magazine. Somerset House (Temple), free, book ahead, 8.30pm

Friday 10 August

A non-gendered vision of fashion at Serpentine Pavilion.

FEATHERS AND FLIGHT: Calling all eagle-eyed explorers. Follow the RAF Museum's new trail and discover the close ties between birds and aircraft design. Then head outdoors to the pop up falconry, where you can meet real live hawks, buzzards, falcons and even a bald eagle. The Royal Air Force Museum (Colindale), £1, just turn up, 10am-6pm, until 11 August

THE COCOA BUTTER CLUB: Get ready for the smoothest soiree you'll ever attend. Hosted by Sadie Sinner the Songbird, this celebration of performers of colour kicks off Raze Collective Weekend — an LGBTQI+ festival of culture. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 5pm-7pm

FINDING HOME, FINDING HOPE: The effects of gentrification in London are laid bare in this show created by youngsters. Their story of a the fight against the demolition of a Tower Hamlets estate offers a microcosmic look at the changing landscape of our city. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 7.30pm

PARK NIGHTS: Unisex fashion brand TELFAR present a preview of their S/S19 collection tonight at the Serpentine Pavilion. They're joined by South African band FAKA for an all vocal choral performance. Serpentine Pavilion (Kensington Gardens), £5, book ahead, 8pm

Saturday 11 August

Have a ball at Chingfest.

ROMAN WOMEN: Learn what life was like for the ladies of ancient Rome (hint: it was no a bed of roses). Meet a Roman woman who tells of the fight for basic rights, before designing your own empress or goddess inspired trinket. Guildhall Art Gallery (Guildhall Yard), free, just turn up, 10am-4pm

STELI: Make your mark on a vibrant wooden structure that basically looks like a giant version of pick-up sticks. Created in collaboration with Castello di Rivoli in Italy, this interactive sculpture bridges the gap between contemporary art and performance. Bell Square (Hounslow High Street), free, just turn up, 12.30pm/2.15pm/4pm

BALAGAN CAFE BAND: For the last in their series of outdoor concerts, the Gallery Cafe is welcoming world music sensation Balagan Cafe Band down the garden path. From Parisian jazz, to the Chaabi music of Algeria and Argentinian tango, it's an odyssey for your ears. Gallery Cafe (Bethnal Green), free, just turn up, 1pm-2pm

CHINGFEST: What if we told you that you could see The Supremes, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang and the Temptations all on one stage? If you answered 'too good to be true', you'd only be half right. See top tribute acts for the superstars of soul and R'n'B perform live at Chingford's free music festival. Ridgeway Park (Chingford), free, just turn up, 1pm-8.30pm

Sunday 12 August

Another kid-friendly concert from Wake Up Gigs.

WAKE UP GIGS: Having kids shouldn't mean having to fork out for babysitter every time you want to enjoy some live music that's not CBeebies-adjacent. Wake Up Gigs is back with another child-friendly concert from genuinely decent artists — this month its the turn of Only Girl and Rob Green. Ace Hotel (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 1pm-3pm

HIS MASTER'S VOICE: Bored of the latest crop of mainstream cinematic offerings? See something completely different with the help of The Japan Foundation. It's hosting not one but two screenings of His Master's Voice, a Japanese drama set in the Edo era. Courthouse Hotel Cinema (Soho), free, book ahead, 2pm/6.40pm

CALLY BEATON: After three decades as a corporate high flyer, it's time for this wannabe comedian to Re-Cally-Brate. Help Cally Beaton find the stomach for radical reinvention at her new stand-up hour. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5, book ahead, 9.30pm-10.30pm

Last Updated 03 August 2018