Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 25 September-1 October 2023

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

Grease is screened for free in Waterloo on Thursday.

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.

Attend a relaxed opening of the Cartoon Museum

The Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury holds a special relaxed opening for children and young people with autism spectrum conditions or sensory processing differences and their families. It’s aimed at 5-25 years olds and their families, and is a chance to explore the museum’s exhibits and collections in a more relaxed environment, without the usual visitors. There are also drop-in cartoon workshops aimed at 8-14 year olds.

Free, 25 September.

Get the lowdown on microplastics

Gresham College is focusing several of its free lectures on environmental issues at the moment, including a series on net zero targets. On Monday the legacies of toxic waste series continues with a closer look at the truth about microplastics.

Dr Ian Mudway, Visiting Professor of Environmental Health, talks about the science on microplastics and whether we should be concerned about them, compared with other known environmental hazards.

Free, 25 September.

Take a free tour of Fitzrovia Chapel

Ever been to — or even heard of — Fitzrovia Chapel? It’s a beautiful building with an ornate interior, tucked away in plain sight in central London. Regular guided tours run, including one this Wednesday lunchtime, offering you a chance to learn more about over 30 minutes. Tours are free but spaces are limited and they operate on a first come, first served basis, so get there in plenty of time to make sure you get a place.

Free, 27 September.

Take a guided tour of the beautiful Fitzrovia Chapel. Photo: Matt Brown

Sing along at a free screening of Grease

Grease is the word at Lower Marsh in Waterloo, where the final free outdoor film screening of the summer is the 1978 musical film. Get yourself down there early to nab a good spot — and if you get a bit peckish or the singing makes you thirsty, local traders are on hand with special food and drink deals.

Free, 28 September.

See this brand new exhibition about Spies

We’re fairly excited about the new, free exhibition opening at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth this week, tackling the intriguing topic of espionage. Spies, Lies and Deception covers a century of spy history from the first world war to the present day, with 150 objects plus film and photography showing how the deception is managed.

Free, from 29 September.

The Imperial War Museum opens a major exhibition about spies. Here’s a box of matches containing one match specially adapted for writing secret messages used during the second world war. Image: © IWM (EPH 178)

Take the kids to a nature documentary screening

Barbican’s Family Film Club usually offers child-friendly animated or feature films, but this Saturday it’s showing a documentary instead. Earth: One Amazing Day is a BBC film made in 2017 and narrated by Robert Redford, following animals on our planet over a 24-hour period, from remote islands, to lush jungles, to underwater kingdoms.

Arrive an hour before the screening to take part in a free, family-friendly workshop too.

£3.50/£2.50, 30 September.

Celebrate the harvest at Fulham Palace Apple Day

It’s orchard harvest time at Fulham Palace, something that’s celebrated every year with Apple Day. Everyone’s welcome at the open day which has a market selling autumn-themed goods, a tombola and a baking competition, plus garden games, crafts, face painting and storytelling for children.

£3/£1, 1 October.

See an outdoor exhibition in central London’s ‘secret’ park

The Phoenix Garden, just off Shaftesbury Avenue, is one of those London ‘secrets’ everyone seems to know about. Nonetheless, it’s a tranquil little spot to hide away from the bustle of central London for a few minutes — and right now, it’s exhibiting its Art in the Park show — a touching display of artworks by children who have had a cancer diagnosis.

Free, until 7 October

Frieze Sculpture is in town. Cheshire (Janus), 2023 Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery and MASSIMODECARLO

Explore the history of a Clapham Church

Photos, maps, prints, architects’ plans, and various other archive materials are curated into Treasures Revealed, a free exhibition at (and about) St James’ Church in Clapham. The show also features photos of 20 different churches, designed by St James’ architect, Nugent Cachemaille-Day.

Free, until 15 October

Hunt out the artworks at this year’s Frieze Sculpture

Frieze Masters art fair in Regent’s Park isn’t known for being wallet-friendly… but the accompanying Frieze Sculpture is. The free art trail sees sculptures by 21 different artists from all over the world, installed around Regent’s Park. It’s free to seek them out, no ticket required, and they’re in situ for over a month.

Free, until 29 October.

Take yourself on an autumnal walk

We’re heading into autumn proper now, with London beginning to look rather lovely as the leaves change. Get yourself out in the fresh air and take in the different hues on one of these autumnal walks through London’s parks and gardens — the majority can be accessed for free.

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