Friday, June 20, 2008
Ten free things to do in London during the rest of June
» The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (Thu 19 - Sun 22): This rocks. Every year this outdoor multi-evening extravaganza brings dynamic performance art to the East End masses, both north and south of the river. In previous years I've seen giant giraffes and swirly firewheels, and this year they've promised even bigger. Last night a camp pink caterpillar crawled through Woolwich, and tonight it's athletic choreography in Greenwich. The best event of the festival is often in Mile End/Bow, and this Saturday's E3 highlight is theatrical pyrotechnics on Wennington Green. And finally, on Sunday afternoon, a lot of exuberant Latin dancing around Canary Wharf. Something for everyone.
» London Festival of Architecture (Fri 20 June - Sun 20 July): This also rocks. A huge number of building-based events, many of them free, spaced out across five select London hubs over five weekends. It's Kensington and Chelsea this weekend (Exhibition Road gets pedestrianised on Saturday), and Stratford and Docklands next (with a free boat service to Trinity Buoy Wharf). Seriously, if you can't find something of interest on the month-long event's website, you're probably a very dull person.
» Wellcome Collection is One (Sat 21): The medical gallery on the Euston Road is celebrating its first anniversary with tours, workshops, juggling and freebies. Even if you don't go this weekend, I'd heartily recommend a visit sometime.
» Free train travel (Sat 21): Yes, free train travel. There's a catch, of course. You have to start from Mitcham Eastfields, the brand new station just south of Streatham. But turn up at the ticket office on Saturday and they'll give you a free ticket to the destination of your choice (so long as it's on their shortlist).
» Empire Windrush 60th Anniversary celebrations (Sat 21): Head east to Tilbury Docks for a rare tour of the London Cruise Terminal, at which London's multicultural future docked on 22nd June 1948. The historic landing will be re-enacted, a plaque will be unveiled and ice creams will be sold. Or visit the year-long exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.
» Lee Valley Festival (Sun 22): Lots of riverside greenery, up Tottenham way. Bring the family, bring a picnic, and enjoy the performance.
» Free Films at The Scoop - Withnail & I (Wed 25) The Sound Of Music (Fri 27): That swirly amphitheatre outside City Hall screens classic movies on the big screen.
» Bank of England Open Day (Sat 28): Fancy a free half hour tour round the innards of the Old Lady? It's only open to the public twice a year, and this is the much-quieter without-the-queues date. I've been before, twice, and I can heartily recommend a look around. Part of the City of London Festival (runs until mid-August).
» High Street 2012 Picnic (Sat 28): There are big plans afoot to upgrade the 2012 marathon route from Aldgate to Stratford, generating "long-term public realm improvement". If you see the special consultation ice cream van, do stop off to give them your views and you should get a yummy 99 (with strawberry sauce) for your efforts.
» Bow Garage Centenary Open Day (Sat 28): Most Londoners won't care that it's my local bus garage's 100th birthday this year, but if you're reading this blog then I might just see you there. You can even ride to E3 by vintage bus from Aldwych. But be warned, the rules of the Low Emission Zone are tightened on July 1st, and many of these old buses won't be allowed to drive through London again.
[for more, see London is Free]