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Carlos Calika

Free things to do in London this summer

From some of London’s best theatre and art to sheep-shearing and sculptures made of vegetables, here are the best free things to do in London during summer 2019

By Bobby Palmer
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London has a pricy rep but some of the best things in this city are… well, you know. The capital is home to everything from out-of-this-world green spaces to city farms full of cute animals and some of the most iconic art galleries in the world, all with a £0.00 entry price. And during summer there’s even more free stuff on. Over the next few months – without spending anything – you’ll be able to see Shakespeare plays and West End musical numbers, do paddle-boarding classes and watch parades, and even tuck into some free food. Here are 18 fab free things happening in London over the summer. 

RECOMMENDED: See the very best of free London

1. Festival 30

Things to do Event spaces Seven Dials

Missed out on summer music festival tickets? Head to Festival 30, Seven Dials’ free thirtieth birthday celebration where (thankfully) wellies will not be required. What you will get is live music, a pop-up lawn to lounge on, free drinks, tasting sessions with Hotel Chocolat, alfresco workouts with swanky gym Another Space and crafty workshops, including the chance
to make a summer wreath (you know, it’s like a Christmas wreath
only… summery). Seriously, who needs Glasto?

Summer Science Exhibition TWILIGHTThe Royal Society
Summer Science Exhibition TWILIGHTThe Royal Society
T Croggon

2. The Royal Society

Things to do Literary events St James’s

Even if you never really thrived in your science GCSEs, you can become a bone-fide boffin at the Summer Science Exhibition, a week-long festival at The Royal Society. There will be exhibits covering space (what would it be like to live on the moon?), driverless cars (should we trust them?) and the ‘quietest place in the universe’ (it’s next to the M6 motorway, apparently), as well as talks on astrophysics, artificial intelligence and many more scientific things that you’ve always wanted more than a cursory, Wikipedia-based understanding of.

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Jyll Bradley, Dutch Light

3. Sculpture in the City

Every year, Sculpture in the City peppers the Square Mile with eye-opening outdoor artworks. This year’s selection includes a ‘floating’ neon poem, a massive sculpture made from brightly coloured sheets of plexiglass and a pair of secondhand armchairs cast in concrete. That last one probably isn’t the comfiest of spots to take a seat, but then that’s kind of the point – it’s art, remember? Also, you’re probably not actually allowed to sit in them anyway.

4. London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Things to do Royal Docks

No fire-breathers here. In fact, water is the name of the game at the annual London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival where teams of rowers go head-to-head on the Thames – and allow you to have a go yourself. The whole thing is a celebration of Chinese culture, so there’ll be t’ai chi, Chinese lion dancing and street food aplenty (from China and beyond). à Royal Docks Adventure.

Put away your wallet

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