Free exhibitions in London
Wander around an immersive sculptural garden at Now Gallery. Indirect Sunlight, by Glasgow-based artists Laura Aldridge and James Rigler, is packed full of playful sculptures, patterns, cermaic fruits and blossoms, water fountains and plenty of greenery. Head along to make a newspaper pot, plant salad leaves, nasturtiums, runner beans and cucumber seeds and take it home and watch it grow. Gallery planting workshops: Half hour slots are available every day. Extra planting days with Urban Growth Available on a first come, first served basis: Saturday 21st July, Saturday 18th August, Sunday 19th August, Saturday 1st September.
Thank your lucky stars for antibiotics. The wonder drugs have helped humans combat disease that was once untreatable, even deadly. But now, bacteria are fighting back by evolving into superbugs that are resistant to event the most powerful antibiotics. 'Superbugs: The fight for Our Lives' features twelve real bacteria colonies, an interactive exhibit examining the microscopic world of bacteria and personal stories of those waging war on superbugs, all exploring how humanity is tackling this unprecedented threat. Find out more here.
Find out all about the East London Federation of the Suffragettes - a radical group led by Sylvia Pankhurst - at 'The Women's Hall' exhibition. Tower Hamlets Local History Library has been transformed into the 1914 headquarters of the East End suffragettes, which was known as The Women’s Hall. Explore the space to find out all about the group's battles with the police, why they were kicked out of the Women’s Social and Political Union, and remarkable stories of their wartime work. There'll also be a programme of talks, creative workshops, film screenings and guided walks running alongside the exhibition. Don't miss a recreation of the suffragette wartime ‘Cost Price Restaurant’, which will be dishing out food on a 'pay-what-you-can' basis. Find out more on the East End Women's Museum website.
The Representation of the People Act was passed 100 years ago, giving (some) women the right to vote in the UK for the first time. Take a closer look at some of the less well known suffragettes whose perseverance made it all happen at Votes for Women, an exhibition from the Museum of London. As well as a film showing some of the figures who campaigned tirelessly to achieve votes for women, Emmeline Pankhurst's hunger strike medal and Louise Mary Eates pendent, presented to her on her release from prison, will be on display. Find out more here.
To mark 70 years since the Empire Windrush carried hundreds of migrants from the Caribbean to London, this exhibition at the British Library explores why people came to the UK, what they left behind and how they have shaped Britain. Listen to jazz and calypso, hear personal reflections from some of the first Caribbean nurses to join the NHS, see manuscripts of Andrea Levy’s novel ‘Small Island’ and Benjamin Zephaniah's poem ‘What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us’ and learn about Jamaican feminist poet Una Marson, who became the first black woman to be employed by the BBC. Find out more on the British Library's website.
Idris Elba makes his directorial debut with ‘Yardie’ this month, partly set and filmed in Hackney. Ahead of its release, Autograph, an east London-based arts charity exploring questions of cultural identity, human rights and social justice through photography and film, has curated an exhibiton at Hackney Picturehouse, giving a snapshot of London in the ‘70s and ‘80s and exploring race and representation.
Check out long-gone landmarks, vanished streets and neighbourhoods that are no more at the London Metropolitan Archives' exhibition 'Picturing Forgotten London'. Through drawings, photographs, engravings, maps, films and contemporary recollections discover bits of London that have been lost over the years, from 'The Devil’s Acre', which used to lie next to the Palace of Westminster, Columbia Market in Bethnal Green, London’s first Chinatown in Limehouse, the Great Wheel in Earl’s Court and Wyld’s Monster Globe in Leicester Square.This is the story of London’s forgotten buildings. Find out more here.
Enter Room 131A at the V&A and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a dazzling display of visual delight. This specially commissioned project created by Pentagram is inspired by the First World War concept of Dazzle, which saw the surface of ships covered in experimental camouflage. Influenced by Cubism, Vorticism and animal camouflage, the wild shapes and angles painted onto the ships were designed to confuse the enemy. Find more London Design Festival events
Remember Paul Cummins and Tom Piper's mega-popular installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' and it's torrents of ceramic red poppies sweeping over the Tower of London? When it went on tour around the country, London lost a seriously emotive work of art. But, the poppies are back in the capital this year for 'Weeping Window'. This time they'll be filling the grounds of the Imperial War Museum. Find out more here.
Discover the best free museums in London
Soak up the city’s most exciting cultural offerings without spending a penny.