London For Free

Competitions & Prizes
Theatre
Concerts
TV & Radio
Talks & Discussions
Readings & Live Appearances
Auctions
Outdoor & Ceremonial Events
Event Calendar
Not Exactly Free But . . .


Competitions & Prizes

There are no competitions at present

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Theatre

Laurence Olivier Awards
Each autumn the Society Of London Theatre selects fourteen enthusiastic and knowledgeable theatregoers to join one of the four judging panels for Britain's premier theatre awards - the Laurence Olivier Awards. Panellists receive a pair of free tickets for all shows playing in the West End during the following calendar year. Members of the Theatre panel are expected to attend about 60 play or 20 musical performances, Dance about 40, and Opera and Affiliates (visiting shows in Off West End venues) about 20 each.
Further information from Laurence Olivier Awards

Kids Week in the West End
Children go free to West End shows with paying adults during the last week in August.
Further information from Kids Week

National Theatre
An extensive programme of events ranging from foyer music to platform productions and discussions, some requiring booking and payment, some not at 6.00pm, plus Watch This Space festival of outdoor events in Theatre Square during the summer months.
Further information from the Royal National Theatre

Royal Opera House
Occasional live relays of opera and ballet performances on a giant screen in the Covent Garden Piazza during the summer months.
Chamber music concerts on Mondays at 1.00pm
Further information from the Royal Opera House

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Concerts

Concert Venues

Barbican Centre
Foyer music weekdays from 5.30pm and Sundays from 12.30pm, plus ad hoc talks, workshops and events related to current season.
Further information from the Barbican Centre

LSO St Luke's
Concerts on Fridays at 1pm, plus open rehearsals by the London Symphony Orchestra at various times.
Further information from the LSO St Luke's

Royal Festival Hall
Foyer music of all kinds Wednesdays to Sundays from 12.30pm, jazz on Fridays from 5.15pm, plus outdoor events on the terraces in the summer months.
Further information from Royal Festival Hall

Churches

The Grosvenor Chapel W1
Concerts on Tuesdays at 1.10pm.
Further information from The Grosvenor Chapel

St Anne's Lutheran Church EC2
Concerts on Mondays and Fridays at 1.10pm.
Further information from St Anne's Lutheran Church

St George's Cathedral Southwark
Organ and other recitals on Fridays (and occasional Saturdays) at 1.05pm.
020 7933 5256
Further information from St George's Cathedral Southwark

St James's Piccadilly
Recitals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1.10pm.
Further information from St James's Piccadilly

St John's Waterloo
Concerts on Wednesdays at 1.10pm.
Further information from St John's Waterloo

St Martin-in-the Fields
Concerts on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 1.05pm.
Further information from St Martin-in-the Fields

St Pancras Parish Church
Recitals Thursdays at 1.15pm.
Further information from St Pancras Parish Church

St Paul's Cathedral
Organ recitals on Sundays at 5pm, and choral recitals on certain weekdays at 1.15pm.
Further information from St Paul's Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral
Organ and other recitals on Mondays and Tuesdays at 1.10pm.
020 7367 6700
Further information from Southwark Cathedral

Temple Church
Organ recitals on Wednesdays at 1.15pm.
Further information from Temple Church

Westminster Abbey
Organ recitals on Sundays at 5.45pm, and band concerts in College Garden on Thursdays at 12.30pm in the summer months.
Further information from Westminster Abbey

Colleges

Guildhall School of Music & Drama
An extensive programme of lunchtime and early evening concerts during term time.
Further information from Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Royal Academy of Music
An extensive programme of lunchtime and evening concerts during term time.
Further information from Royal Academy of Music

Royal College of Music
An extensive programme of lunchtime and evening concerts during term time.
Further information from Royal College of Music

Trinity College of Music
An extensive programme of lunchtime and early evening concerts during term time.
Further information from Trinity College of Music

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TV & Radio

Applause Store
Recordings of TV & Radio comedy shows in London.
Further information from Applause Store

BBC TV & Radio Shows
Recordings of a variety of TV & Radio programmes in London and Birmingham.
Further information from BBC Online Tickets

Clappers
Recordings of TV comedy and light entertainment shows in London and the south of England.
Further information from Clappers

Granada Entertainment
Recordings of TV entertainment shows in London and the south of England.
Further information from Granada Entertainment

Hat Trick Productions
Recordings of TV comedy shows in London.
Further information from Hat Trick

Lost In TV
Recordings of TV quiz, game and comedy shows in London.
Further information from Lost In TV

SRO Audiences
Recordings of TV light entertainment and comedy shows in London.
Further information from SRO Audiences

TV Recordings
Recordings of TV comedy shows in London.
Further information from TV Recordings

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Talks & Discussions

Academic Institutions

Birkbeck College
Lunchtime and early evening lectures and seminars during term time.
Further information from Birkbeck College

Goldsmiths College
Lunchtime and evening lectures and seminars on performing and visual arts during term time.
Further information from Goldsmiths College

Gresham College
Lunchtime and evening lectures and debates covering a wide range of topics.
Further information from Gresham College

Imperial College London
Lunchtime and evening lectures and seminars during term time.
Further information from Imperial College London

Institute of Classical Studies
Lunchtime and evening lectures and seminars during term time.
Further information from Institute of Classical Studies

Institute of Education
Lunchtime and evening lectures and seminars during term time.
Further information from Institute of Education

Institute of Historical Research
Lunchtime and evening lectures and seminars during term time.
Further information from Institute of Historical Research

Kings College London
Lunchtime and evening lectures and debates during term time.
Further information from Kings College London

London School of Economics
Lectures and discussions covering topics across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences.
Further information from London School of Economics

University College London
Lunchtime lectures during term time.
Further information from University College London

University of London School of Advanced Study
A diverse programme of lectures, recitals and readings provided by 12 individual institutes.
Further information from London School of Advanced Study

University of Westminster
Evening lectures during term time.
Further information from University of Westminster

Cultural Institutions

Asia House
A varied programme of cultural activities presenting the traditional and contemporary arts of Asia through exhibitions, performances and lectures.
Further information from Asia House

BBC Proms
A series of fringe events including poetry, lectures, talks and conversations with composers accompany the main concert programme each summer.
Further information from BBC Proms

Czech Centre
A range of cultural events embracing current issues in all the arts.
Further information from Czech Centre

Goethe Institute
A programme of lectures and seminars covering a wide range of European cultural topics.
Further information from Goethe Institute

Great Britain China Centre
A range of performances, exhibitions and other Chinese cultural events.
Further information from Great Britain China Centre

Hungarian Cultural Centre
A programme of talks, exhibitions, concerts and films related to Hungarian culture.
Further information from Hungarian Cultural Centre

Institut Francais
A programme of talks and debates bringing together French and British speakers aimed at helping us to understand our differences and similarities better.
Further information from Institut Francais

Italian Cultural Institute
A programme of discussions, lectures, exhibitions, symposia and concerts related to Italian culture.
Further information from Italian Cultural Institute

Nehru Centre
A programme of music, dance, films, discussions, lectures and exhibitions related to Indian culture.
Further information from Nehru Centre

POSK Polish Cultural Centre
A programme of exhibitions, plays, cabaret, concerts films and dances related to Polish culture.
Further information from POSK Polish Cultural Centre

Societies & Associations

The Architecture Foundation
A programme of exhibitions, discussions, talks and events throughout the year exploring architecture and the built environment.
Further information from The Architecture Foundation

The British Association For The Advancement Of Science
A series of talks and events throughout the year exploring scientific ideas and themes.
Further information from The BA

Royal College Of Physicians
A programme of lectures and events throughout the year about medical topics.
Further information from Royal College Of Physicians

Royal Geographical Society
A programme of lectures, films and interviews about explorers, people and physical aspects of the planet.
Further information from Royal Geographical Society

Royal Institute of British Architecture
A series of meetings, talks and events throughout the year covering issues relating to architecture.
Further information from Royal Institute of British Architecture

Royal Institution of Great Britain
A series of talks and events throughout the year covering science, medicine and mathematics.
Further information from Royal Institution of Great Britain

The Royal Society
An extensive programme of lectures and discussions covering scientific topics throughout the year.
Further information from The Royal Society

Royal Society of Arts
An extensive programme of lectures from October through to May. Many of the historic rooms are open on the first Sunday morning of each month.
Further information from Royal Society of Arts

The Zoological Society of London
A series of meetings, talks and symposia throughout the year covering a range of conservation and environmental issues.
Further information from The Zoological Society of London

Other Venues

Conway Hall
This landmark of London's intellectual, political and cultural life for over 75 years features a wide range of lectures, meetings and debates.
Further information from Conway Hall

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Readings & Live Appearances

Readings

In addition to signings, bookshops often stage readings of prose and poetry - sometimes accompanied by slides - and even music performances and quiz nights.

Blackwell's
Academic, professional and specialist bookshops.
Further information from Blackwell's

Bookmarks
Britains leading socialist bookshop.
Further information from Bookmarks

British Library Bookshop
Events based around new non-fiction works.
Further information from British Library Bookshop

Forbidden Planet
The nation's leading bookshop for science fiction and fantasy.
Further information from Forbidden Planet

Foyles
One of the world's greatest bookshops.
Further information from Foyles

Hatchards
Piccadilly's historic bookshop.
Further information from Hatchards

Royal Court Theatre
Specialising in contemporary plays and publications on the theory and practice of modern drama.
Further information from Royal Court Theatre

Stanfords
The nation's leading bookshop for travel writing and maps.
Further information from Stanfords

Waterstones
Various branches across the West End and City.
Further information from Waterstones

The Westminster Bookshop
The bookshop specialising in politics, history and biography.
Further information from The Westminster Bookshop

WHSmith
Various branches across the West End and City.
Further information from WHSmith

Live Appearances

Record stores often stage live appearances, signings, competitions and performances by artists and bands of all kinds.

HMV
Various branches across the West End and City.
Further information from HMV

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Auctions

Most of the sales at the major auction houses are open to the public, with viewing days preceding the sale.

Bonhams
Salerooms in Knightsbridge, New Bond Street, Bayswater and Chelsea.
Further information from Bonhams

Christieís
Salerooms in St Jamesís and South Kensington.
Further information from Christieís

Sotherbyís
Salerooms in New Bond Street and Olympia.
Further information from Sotherbyís

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Outdoor & Ceremonial Events

Outdoor Events

Broadgate
Lunch time and early evening music and entertainment events May to September. Ice rink October to May with skating every afternoon and Broomball matches on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The Broadgate Live monthly diary gives full details.
020 7505 4000
Further information from Broadgate

Canary Wharf
An arts and events programme throughout the year, outdoors in summer.
Further information from Canary Wharf

Covent Garden
The centre of street entertainment in London, plus occasional live relays of opera and ballet.
Further information from Covent Garden Life

Leicester Square
Film premieres throughout the year, and performances by music and dance groups in the summer months.
Further information from Westminster City Council

The Royal Parks
Most of the Royal Parks - Green, Greenwich, Hyde, Regent's, Richmond and St James's, and Embankment and Kensington Gardens, have music and other events in the summer months. The Summer Entertainment Programme booklet gives full details.
020 7298 2000
Further information from The Royal Parks

The Scoop
An open air amphitheatre next to City Hall staging play performances, and lunchtime and early evening concerts July to September, and a children's play in December, plus other one off events.
Further information from The Scoop

Trafalgar Square
Summer in the square music and entertainment events July to September, and the Christmas tree and carols during December.
Further information from Greater London Authority

Ceremonial Events

Buckingham Palace
The Changing Of The Queen's Guard takes place on alternate days at 11.30am.
Further information from The British Army

Horse Guards, Whitehall
The Changing Of The Queen's Life Guard takes place daily, Monday to Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 10am.
Further information from The British Army

Tower Of London
The Ceremony Of The Keys takes place every night at 9.30pm as the Yeoman Warders and military guard lock the outer gates and deliver the keys to the Resident Governor.
Further information from Tower Of London

City Farms

Freightliners City Farm
Houses a wide variety of animals, and specialises in rare breeds, with some animals for sale.
Further information from Freightliners City Farm

Hackney City Farm
Over 20 years this has become one of the most developed of the city farms in London.
Further information from Hackney City Farm

Kentish Town City Farm
Houses around 50 animals, with pasture areas, a riding arena, a wildlife pond and community gardens.
Further information from Kentish Town City Farm

Mudchute Park And City Farm
Located in Docklands it covers 31 acres and includes an equestrian centre.
Further information from Mudchute Park And Farm

Spitalfields City Farm
The nearest city farm to the square mile, and as well as animals and crops it features a farm shop.
Further information from Spitalfields City Farm

Surrey Docks Farm
As well as farm animals the site includes an orchard, herb garden, vegetable plots and wildlife area.
Further information from Surrey Docks Farm

Markets

Camden Passage Islington
A range of antiques shops, arcades, malls, and markets, with main market and trading days Wednesdays and Saturdays, but many shops open all week.
Further information from Camden Passage Islington

Camden Market
Six different markets in one, each with its own distinctive flavour, and all open every day of the week.
Further information from Camden Market

Covent Garden
A vibrant combination of shops, stalls, bars and restaurants, plus the famous street performers.
Further information from Covent Garden

East London Markets
Brick Lane, Columbia Road, Petticoat Lane and Whitechapel between them capture the diverse cultures of London's East End.
Further information from East London Markets

Walks

The London Adventure
Monthly walks around London locations connected with neglected authors, illustrators and publishers.
Further information from The London Adventure

London Wild Life Trust
Regular walks around woods, farms, nature reserves and other locations all over London examining nature and wild life.
Further information from Wild London

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Event Calendar

New Year's Day London Parade
Marching bands and floats parade around the West End on 1st January.
Further information from London Parade

Chinese New Year
Chinatown celebrates with lion dancing, fire crackers and food in late January.
Further information from Chinatown Online

Gun Salutes
Gun salutes in Hyde Park at noon and on Tower Green at 1pm on 6th February marking the Queen's accession.
Further information from The British Monarchy

St Patrick's Day Parade
Marching bands and community groups parade around the West End on 14th March.
Further information from London St Patrick's Day

Head of the River Race
Processional race for 420 rowing eights on the Thames from Mortlake to Putney on the third Saturday in March.
Further information from Head Of The River Race

The Boat Race
Oxford and Cambridge universities rowing battle on the Thames from Putney to Mortlake on the last Saturday in March.
Further information from The Boat Race

Distribution Of The Butterworth Charity
Hot cross buns and coins distributed to the widows of the parish in the churchyard at 11.30am on Good Friday.
Further information from Priory Church of St Bartholomew The Great

Easter Parade & London Harness Horse Parade
Bonnets galore with a procession and Fun Fair on Easter Sunday, and horses with period working carts parading on Easter Monday in Battersea Park.
Further information from Battersea Park

Gun Salutes
Gun salutes in Hyde Park at noon and on Tower Green at 1pm on 21st April marking the Queen's actual birthday.
Further information from The British Monarchy

Chaucer Festival
Costumed procession from Southwark Cathedral to the Tower of London for a medieval Fayre celebrating Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in early April.
Further information from Southwark Cathedral

Shakespeare's Birthday
A programme of celebrations including city walks to Bankside on 23rd April.
Further information from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Museums & Galleries Month
Special events at museums and galleries in May.
Further information from Museums & Galleries Month

May Fayre & Puppet Festival
Commemorates Punch and Judy's first appearance in Britain under the portico of St Paul's Church Covent Garden in 1662 on the second Sunday in May.
Tel: 020 7375 0441
Further information from Covent Garden Life

Gun Salutes
Gun salutes in Hyde Park at noon and on Tower Green at 1pm on 2nd June marking the anniversary of the Queen's coronation.
Further information from The British Monarchy

London Garden Squares Day
An opportunity to visit the private gardens in 80 of London's squares on the second weekend in June.
Further information from London Parks & Gardens Trust

Trooping The Colour
The official birthday of the Queen is marked by a military parade and march past on Horse Guards Parade on the second Saturday in June.
Further information from The British Army

Midsomer Village Fayre
A traditional summer fete with celebrities in attendance in the churchyard of the Actors' Church from noon on the second Sunday in July.
Further information from St Paulís Covent Garden

Beating Retreat
A display of music and marching on Horse Guards Parade with the salute being taken by the Queen or another member of the royal family, on two successive evenings in June.
Further information from The British Army

Spitalfields Summer Festival
Concerts, walks and talks in historic buildings in the Spitalfields area during the middle two weeks of June.
Further information from Spitalfields Festival

Architecture Week
Talks, exhibitions and events celebrating London's diverse architecture in the last week of June.
Further information from Architecture Week

City Of London Festival
Concerts, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions in historic city buildings from the last week of June to mid July.
Further information from City Of London Festival

Greenwich And Docklands Festival
Outdoor music, dance, theatre and puppetry events in Greenwich and Docklands during July.
Further information from Greenwich And Docklands Festival

Doggett's Coat and Badge Race
Six waterboatmen take part in one of the oldest rowing contests in the world, racing with the tide from London Bridge to Albert Bridge in competition for the prize of scarlet livery with a silver badge around noon on 22nd July.
Further information from Waterman's Hall

City Showcase - Spotlight London
A mini festival of events featuring new talent in music and fashion during the first week of September.
Further information from City Showcase - Spotlight London

The Great River Race
An open competition for any kind of vessel propelled by human powered oars or paddles on the Thames from Richmond to Greenwich on the second Saturday in September.
Further information from The Great River Race

London Open House
The scheme that allows public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings on the third weekend in September.
Further information from London Open House

Thames Festival
Family activities, street theatre, music and events along the river and in the streets and parks nearby on the third weekend in September.
Further information from Thames Festival

State Opening Of Parliament
The Queen rides in a formal procession to open the new session of Parliament each year in late October or early November.
Further information from The British Army

London To Brighton Veteran Car Run
Pre 1905 cars assemble in Hyde Park prior to setting off for Brighton on the first Saturday in November.
Further information from London To Brighton Veteran Car Run

The Lord Mayor's Show
The newly elected Lord Mayor's parade weaves its way from the Guildhall through the historic streets of the Square Mile on the second Saturday in November.
Further information from The Lord Mayor's Show

Remembrance Sunday
Ceremony and march past at the Cenotaph in Whitehall at 11am on the second Sunday in November.
Further information from The British Army

Christmas Lights
Festive decorations in the main shopping streets from mid November until the New Year.
Further information from Oxford Street
Further information from Regent Street

Spitalfields Winter Festival
Concerts, walks and talks in historic buildings in the Spitalfields area during the second week of December.
Further information from Spitalfields Festival

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Not Exactly Free But . . . Very Cheap!

Special Offer Links

ShowSavers & ConcertSavers
Special offers theatre, concerts and entertainment events
Further information from ShowSavers

BIG NIGHT OUT Show & Meal Deals
FREE pre theatre meals with top West End shows
Further information from Theatre-Ticket

TicketsTONIGHT!
Late availability tickets and offers for all the shows happening today and the next few days

TODAY AT tkts
Shows that are available at the Official Half Price & Discount Theatre Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Canary Wharf
These tickets must be purchased in person at the Booths

Venere Hotel Reservations
Over 200 locations in London from 5* Luxury to Bed & Breakfast
Special offer packages with up to 60% discount on standard rates
Further information and online booking at Venere

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