diamond geezer

 Saturday, July 02, 2016

I thought I'd try putting together a list of the best free events taking place London this month. I thought how difficult can it be? In a world where paid-for events get the promotion, quite hard. Please help.

Weekend 1: July 2/July 3
» Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (Sat): This year's final events are dancing at Canary Wharf, and mechanical animals and percussive fireworks in Woolwich.
» Firepower Royal Artillery Museum (Sat): Woolwich's Royal Artillery Museum closes permanently this week (the last day is Friday 8th) so this is the very last weekend to visit (only £3).
» March for Europe (Sat, 11am): Big demo, starting out Hyde Park way, aiming to end to political indecision about Britain's future. Good luck with that.
» Bermondsey Carnival (Sat, noon-8): Music-based event in Southwark Park, with Paul Young the half-six headliner.
» Leytonstone Festival Weekend Launch Party (Sat, noon-6): Puppetry, a market and live music, peaking with a samba parade, as a prelude to a fortnight of events.
» Art Night (Sat, from 6pm): Ten art installations in important central, often out-of-the way, locations, pre-booking not always necessary.
» Jester Festival (Sat, Sun): Stage and stalls, sports and funfair, across the weekend from noon on Fortune Green NW6.
» The Big Fair (Sun, 11-5): Heath Street is taken over by over 100 stalls, as part of the Hampstead Summer Festival.
» Transported by Design (Sun, noon-6): TfL takes over Regent Street with a cavalcade of vehicles, moquette, roundels and other design classics, zoned into past, present and future. A proper one-off.
» Greenwich World Cultural Festival (Sun, 12.30-5pm): International-themed family event around Eltham Palace (includes juggling and samba workshop in the moat).
» Leyton Get Together (Sun, 1-7pm): Soulful event with a Rio theme, a javelin's throw from the Olympic Park.

Weekend 2: July 9/July 10
» The Mayor's Newham Show (Sat, Sun, from noon): A slightly worthy shindig in Central Park, East Ham.
» Urban Art Fair (Sat, Sun, 10am-6pm): 200 artists stage an outdoor gallery in Josephine Avenue, Brixton.
» Hayes Carnival (Sat, 12.30-6pm): Family-focused fete in Barra Hall Park (includes appearance by the Verona Chard Musical Balloon Band).
» People's Day (Sat, noon-8pm): Lewisham council's big summer bash, in Catford, with Misty In Roots.
» St Margarets Fair (Sat, noon-7.30pm): Proper heart-of-the-community fete, running since the 1970s, near Twickenham.
» Bow Back Rivers Cruise (Sat, 2-6): A public cruise to celebrate plans for re-opening the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park waterways.
» Wapping Summer Shindig (Sat, 2pm): Music, a guided walk, and the Wapping River Police Museum will be open.
» Eid Festival (Sun, noon-6): Annual food'n'culture event in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the end of Ramadan (bet Sadiq'll be there)
» Hackney Summer Fete (Sun, 2-7): A sprawling affair around St John's church, including dog show.
» Swing East (Sun, 2pm): 1951-themed event at Chrisp Street Market, with dancing and vintage cars.

Weekend 3: July 16/July 17
» Il trovatore (Thur 14th, 7.15): Verdi's classic is screened live in Trafalgar Square, courtesy of the Royal Opera House. Anvil Chorus, anyone?
» Lambeth Country Show (Sat, Sun): Thank goodness this marvellous stalwart survives, filling Brockwell Park with semi-rural entertainment and civic pride from noon.
» Walthamstow Garden Party (Sat, Sun): Festival of arts and music (and food) in Lloyd Park, with a bit of help from the Barbican.
» Copped Hall Extended Tour Day (Sun, 10am-1pm): Enjoy the house and garden of this under-renovation mansion by the M25, near Epping. [my report from last month]

Weekend 4: July 23/July 24
» Anniversary Games (Fri, Sat): A major celebration of athletics at London Stadium, just before West Ham move in, and prominently sponsored by a yoghurt.
» Roman Road Festival (Sun, 11am-7pm): The third year of mixing talent, heritage, culture and arts amid the trading centre of E3.

Weekend 5: July 30/July 31
» RideLondon (Fri, Sat, Sun): Annual cycle safari, with QEOP warm-up on Friday, the amateurs ambling around in central London on Saturday and the professionals heading off to Surrey on Sunday.
» Rainbow Afternoon Tea Boat (Sat): If you're the sort of person who likes pissing their money away on sugar-based frippery, this 80 minute meringue-fuelled boat trip with "unlimited Tea Pigs" should devour £63 with ease.
» ? (???): Sorry about that. Surely there's more free stuff happening, surely.

Alternatively, if out-of-London takes your fancy, an extremely good summer deal from South West Trains is currently offering off-peak return tickets to anywhere on their network for £16. That's any day of the week until 9th September (excluding the last weekend in July and the bank holiday weekend in August). You have to book the day before, but this includes online and in person. You don't get anything extra deducted for a railcard, but kids go for just £3. You could go to Portsmouth, or Southampton, or Salisbury, or Winchester, or Bournemouth, or Poole, or Dorchester, or Weymouth, or Bristol (the slow way), or Exeter, if not quite the Isle of Wight. I suspect I'll be heading southwestwards more than once.

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