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56 fantastic and free things to do this summer

By DavidClack
Paying for stuff is for suckers. Here’s how to make it through to autumn without once opening your wallet.


Cultural things

The Line London
A stirring look at the monochrome London of yesteryear. 
London Metropolitan Archives, Clerkenwell. Until October 8.
After-hours fun at the world-famous auction house. 
South Kensington. July 7.
A summer-long programme of happenings themed around mankind’s biggest emotion. 
Southbank Centre. Until August 31
Space: more photogenic than you thought. 
Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Until July 19.
A stunning new sculpture trail through Greenwich and Stratford.
A week and a bit of on-the-house music, theatre, dance and more in SE10.
Various venues. Jun 26–July 5.

Spanish architect duo SelgasCano have designed a colourful outdoor space for the project’s fifteenth year.
Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park. June 25–October 17.
New work from the man behind the famous Blur portraits.
Alan Cristea, Piccadilly. Until July 18.
Open House London
A chance for a snoop behind the scenes at some of London’s most exclusive addresses.
Various venues. September 19-20.
A chance to explore the museum after dark, drink in hand. 
Knightsbridge. July 29.
Catch talks, performances, music and more at this after-hours opening.
Knightsbridge. July 31
Spoken word night at Boxpark. Would-be poets can put their name down on the night.
Boxpark, Shoreditch. Monthly from June 30.
The innovative summer sculpture park returns for its ninth year a top of the disused Peckham car park.
Peckham multi-storey cap park. Until September 27.
An exhibition about the history of sewage and sanitation.
London Bridge City Pier, Borough. Until July 2.
Frivolous Friday night hijinks, where visitors can play together or against each other at a series of intriguing games.
Wellcome Collection, Euston. July 3.

Funny things

Angel Comedy London

Angel Comedy
Get your fill of gratis giggles every week night at the Camden Head pub.
Camden Head, Angel. Daily.  

A weekly helping of free improv comedy to go with your gravy-soaked roasties.
Water Poet, Shoreditch. Sundays throughout summer.
A mix of sketch, musical comics, character acts and straight stand-up.
The Harrison, Bloomsbury. Regular dates throughout June and July.

Musical things

London music

Kopparberg Urban Forest
A five-week, loosely Scandinavian-themed pop-up featuring top bands, DJs, bars and street food.
Hackney Wick. Until July 12

A day of gigs and party vibes in NW1’s market halls and canalside yards.
Camden Lock Market. July 10.
Pick up and strum one of 12 guitars placed in little booths around the City of London.
Various locations. June 22–July 10.
Live tunes from music makers of all sorts.
Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich. July 18–19.
Free music from around the world, plus a host of kid-friendly happenings. 
Lloyd Park, Walthamstow. July 18–19.
Music is the focus for this family-friendly day out, with Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel headlining.
Southwark Park, Surrey Quays. July 4.

Generally awesome outdoors-y things

Appearing Rooms London
Forget the Boat Race, this 40-team event is more oarsome by far.
London Regatta Centre. June 28.
The New Covent Garden Dance Orchestra leads an afternoon of fancy footwork and traditional brews.
Spitalfields Market. June 24July 29 and August 26.
A colourful, cosmopolitan weekend of events and performances in Stratford. 
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. July 3–5.
Free music, theatre, film and more down by City Hall. 
The Scoop, Tower Bridge. Every day throughout summer.
Hula-hooping, tug o’ war, ukulele music and more similarly quaint shenanigans.
St Anne’s Church, Soho. July 5
Berets at the ready for this food-centric celebration of the French national day. 
Borough Market, Southwark. July 12.
A month of exclusive events, demos and tastings in SE1.
Various venues. July 1–31.
Deck chairs, a tiki bar and 150 tonnes of sand turn the Roundhouse’s terrace into the country’s least likely seaside resort. 
Roundhouse, Camden. July 17–August 23.
Finchley Road’s Jewish community centre gets a seaside makeover with deck chairs, barbecue food and sundry summery bits.
JW3, Finchley Road. July 5–August 31
Three weeks of free events in one of central London’s prettiest green spaces. 
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair. July 6–26.
A weekend-long feast of cycling that sees an eight-mile loop of roads around central London closed to regular traffic.
August 1–2.
London’s largest urban beach features more than 200 tonnes of sand, deckchairs and a programme of family-friendly activities. 
Royal Victoria Dock. July 14–August 30.
The Croydon events space becomes a sandy oasis for six weeks over summer.
Platform, Croydon. July 23–September 7.
A traditional summer fête, in the heart of Mayfair.
Mount Street Gardens, Mayfair. July 5.
Jeppe Hein's interactive fountain is a refreshing addition to summer at Southbank Centre. 
Southbank Centre. Until August 31.
Join cheerful meet-up society The Lutrinians for a picnic in the park to share food, drink and games with friendly new faces.
Regent’s Park. July 5.

Boozy/party things

Independent London labels
Beer and vinyl (and, inevitably, beards) in Spitalfields Market. 
Spitalfields Market. July 11
A pop-up party on a canalside Hackney Wick terrace, with DJs, street food vendors and cocktails.
Hackney Wick. Until August 29.
London's first co-operative brewery showcases a range craft brews from its current residents.
Arch 238, Brixton. July 4.

Sporty things

Summer of Wimbledon in London

Wimbledon Screenings
Want to watch Andy Murray make his bid for a second Wimbledon crown? There’ll be open-air screenings in Granary Square in King’s Cross, Lyric Square in Hammersmith, Exchange Square in the City and Sheldon Square in Paddington

June 29–July 12.

A weekend of athletics – featuring some of Team GB’s biggest stars – to mark three years since the 2012 Olympic Games.
The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. July 24–26.

Family things 

Music hall mayhem in London
A specially designed double decker will host 80 adult and 80 junior competitors in the London heats to celebrate the game's 80th anniversary.
Kenwood House, Hampstead. July 5.
Put your pooch through its paces at this day of fun for families and their four-legged friends. 
Hyde Park. July 5
An afternoon of storytelling in the grounds of Strawberry Hill. 
Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham. June 25, July 25, August 22. 
A day of performance, games, workshops and participation for all ages on Hampstead Heath Bandstand and Green.
Parliament Hill Bandstand, Hampstead. June 28.
The Horniman Museum’s gardens play host to an eclectic mix of African dance and drumming. 
Horniman Museum, Forest Hill. July 5.
For the forty-first time, Brockwell Park is filled with traditional country fayre fare.
Brockwell Park, Herne Hill. July 18–19.
Family entertainment on the day will include chess, dancing, sports and street entertainment. 
Heath Street, Hampstead. July 5
Go on a south London safari with these guided nature trails featuring craft workshops, scavenger hunts, games and performances. 
Various locations. July 12.
Let your kids run riot in the Square Mile at a festival that hopes to turn five-to-eleven-year olds into 'architectives'.
Various venues. July 25–26.
A free club for everyone who loves cats and/or knitting.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. July 15
Enjoy some fun for free at this family-friendly event featuring singing, dress up and photobooths.
Sutton House, Hackney. July 26

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