London can be a pricey city. But there’s no need to hibernate at home when your purse is feeling a little empty. Our city is full of world-class free museums, incredible free exhibitions and attractions that won't cost you a penny to enter. And don’t forget all those wonderful green spaces you’re free to enjoy at no cost. Here are a whole load of incredible and totally free things to do in London this week.
RECOMMENDED: The best free things to do in London
Cerith Wyn Evans’s work looks impressive. His big, sprawling, humming white neons are real eye-pleasers. Their splintered, chaotic composition sits somewhere between hectic randomness and studied composition. You search them for patterns as they thrum and vibrate and fill the room. And they’re not just pretty shapes. Written into their lines and curves are early twentieth-century designs for helicopters by Paul Cornu and the shadows cast by Marcel Duchamp’s famous bicycle-wheel sculpture at MoMA. Movement and the play of light, all frozen in a discombobulating moment. A neon curtain made of Japanese kanji is a translation of a Proust description of a fountain (another Duchamp nod); a series of glass panels scream with screeching improvised sounds opposite crystal flutes hanging from the ceiling that emit clashing but gentle notes. There’s inspiration taken from experimental classical music and Japanese Noh theatre here, but it’s Marcel Duchamp who looms largest. He’s the inspiration for the room of shattered folding screens and windshields as well as those neons. Don’t get me wrong, all of these works are nice, but Evans is dealing with the same concerns that artists were dealing with back in the 1950s and ’60s. It feels a little old hat. Movement, light, Duchamp, improvisation – this could’ve been made half a century ago. If you’re being generous, you’d say that these are eye-tingling works that play with shape and form. But if you’re being a bit harsher, you might say tha
‘Why do you want to paint my portrait?’ Ed Sheeran asked David Hockney. The artist looked up from his easel, lifted the cigarette from his lips and uttered gently ‘it’s because I’m in love with the shape of you’. An awkward silence filled the air. ‘Although my heart is falling too,’ he continued, ‘I’m in love with your body’. That’s probably what happened. We’re just guessing here. But either way, you’ll be able to see the result of the ginger megastar’s encounter with the great British artist at Annely Juda Fine Art at the end of February, which is nice. There’ll be other portraits on show too, but who cares. Ed Sheeran by Hockney. What a time to be alive.
Ten years ago Banksy ushered in an army of graffiti artists into an abandoned tunnel beneath the old Eurostar terminal and created a colourful graffiti paradise. Now, Leake Street Arches is letting everyone in on the action with their new free programme of events. Every Thursday night you'll be able to join free graffiti workshops led by artists Sophy Robson (aka SoFLY) where you can leave your own mark on the walls. There'll also be live music and the Arche’s bar and restaurants will be offering special discounts. Special monthly events which see guided silent discos led by Secret Sunrise and mass paint jams take over the street. Better get your Leake on.
Gorge on tasty treats from more than 50 of London’s top traders at this market in a former tram shed. Each month’s market is centred around a different theme from vinyl to vegan food.