Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 18-24 September 2023

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

Turning Tides Festival is back at Greenwich Peninsula.

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.

Immerse yourself in the abstract coastlines of Sarah Adams

The monumental splendour and hidden secrets of the coastline around Padstow in Cornwall is the subject of Sarah Adams’ exhibition of abstract paintings. They’re on display at The Maas Gallery in St James’s until the middle of next month — and are free to enjoy (although if you have several grand to spare, you can take one home).

Free, until 13 October.

Enjoy the coastal abstracts of Sarah Adams

Get buzzing about London’s Bee Superhighway

Head along to North Kensington Library to find out about the Bee Superhighway project taking place in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, to protect bees, butterflies, flies, moths and other pollinators living in the area.

Alice Laughton, the council’s ecology manager, talks about how such creatures are being affected by climate change, the other threats they face, and what individuals can do to help them survive and thrive.

Free, 18 September.

Take yourself along to a lunchtime concert

The free lunchtime concerts at Lauderdale House in Highgate are back for another season. This Tuesday, resident pianist Stephen Hose performs a 45-minute concert of music by Franz Schubert, Carl Nielson and Yohann Strauss in the Long Gallery, with views over Waterlow Park.

Free, 19 September.

Dig into free artisanal workshops

Artisan workshop community Wecandoo hosts a free party in Shoreditch for London’s curious creatives; you can carve a wooden butter knife, screen print a tote bag or sample Greek food and wine — all for nada — plus there’s plenty more happening. Make sure you book a space.

Free, 19 September.

Follow in London’s Queer Footprints

London Metropolitan Archives hosts a special evening event to celebrate the launch of new book, Queer Foot Prints, about London’s LGBTQ+ history. Author Dan Glass reads from the book and shares previously unheard material about Farringdon’s Queer history, discussing how he used the archives to research. Expect readings and conversations with Glass’s friends too.

Free, 20 September.

The Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival takes place on Sunday. Image: iStock/Casarsa

Get your ears around an organ recital

If you find yourself in Croydon on Thursday (perhaps in search of that colourful herd of giraffes), head to Fairfield Halls for a lunchtime organ recital by Christ’s Chapel Dulwich organist Marilyn Harper. Tickets are just a fiver, or free to under-18s.

£5, 21 September.

Dance the weekend away at Turning Tides festival

Summer festival season isn’t over yet! Turning Tides returns to Greenwich Peninsula for two days of live music, performing artists and entertainers in the open-air alongside the Thames. African fusion band Afriqoui headline on Saturday, supported by Pongo, Village Cuts and others. On Sunday it’s the turn of London-based, all-female group Los Bitchos. Entry to the festival is free, but you need to book a ticket in advance.

Free, 23-24 September.

See sheep driven over Southwark Bridge

One of London’s wackiest annual events is the London Sheep Drive and Livery Fair, taking place on Sunday this week.

Each year, a chosen celebrity has the honour of herding sheep over Southwark Bridge — Alan Titchmarsh, Mary Berry and Kate Humble are among the previous herders. Keep an eye on the website for this year’s announcement. It sounds like one of those barmy ancient traditions that London does so well, but in fact the event only started in 2013.

Everyone’s welcome to watch the sheep strut their stuff, and visit the livery fair next to the Monument afterwards.

Free, 24 September.

Dust off your buttoned attire for this Harvest Festival

There’s a double dose of ceremonial events in the City on Sunday — in addition to sheep, the Pearly Kings and Queens are out in force for their annual Harvest Festival.

The Pearlies assemble in Guildhall Yard from 1.30pm for live entertainment, including hearty renditions of cockney standards like The Lambeth Walk, with appearances by various mayors, dignitaries and Chelsea Pensioners. The event moves to St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside for a 2.30pm service — which is open to the public, but gets very busy.

Free, 24 September.

Get creative at a craft session for adults

Colour expert and Londonist contributor Momtaz Begum-Hossain runs another of her mindful crafting events for adults at the Well Bean Co Cafe in Royal Docks. Take a couple of hours out of your busy schedule to unleash your inner artist and enjoy the therapeutic powers of crafting.

Projects vary each session and could include anything from painting and collage to mindful sewing and embroidery. Whatever you end up making, all materials are provided and no previous art/craft experience is necessary. Tickets are available on a donation basis, with the option to ‘pay it forward’, so that somebody who couldn’t otherwise afford to can also attend. Age 16+.

Donation, 24 September.

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