Free Entertainment in London

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Covent Garden
Southbank Centre
Comedy Cafe
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Speakers' Corner
British Museum
Trafalgar Square
Free Walking Tours
 

 

If you're after a break from West End shows and bank-breaking stadium gigs, fear not! London does, despite appearances to the contrary, have a number of free and fun entertainment options for those seeking an alternative night out. You just need to know where to look...

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Free Outdoor Events

Come rain or shine, festivals and celebrations are held outdoors in London all year round

Central , Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 
 

Positioned at the heart of the capital, Trafalgar Square is a natural home for protests, marches and celebrations. It's also where a number of free outdoor events, hosted by the London Mayor, are held throughout the year. Festivals marking London's multicultural mix start with Chinese New Year celebrations in January and end with carols around a huge Norwegian pine tree in December. Celebrations for St Patrick's Day, St George's Day, Vasisakhi and Diwali take place in between with music, dance and street theatre making these colourful spectacles. When the occasion warrants it a big screen is erected here broadcasting major events live including the Olympics, Wimbledon Charity matches, the First Night of the Proms and VE Day celebrations. Even if you don't manage to time your visit to coincide with one of the free festivals, Trafalgar Square is one of London's top free attractions. Overlooked by Lord Nelson, with the National Gallery on one side and the fountains in the middle, people flock to this pedestrianised space to sit on the great bronze lions and take in the buzz of the city. It's always interesting to see what's on The Fourth Plinth, Britain's most prominent site for contemporary sculpture. Each work is allocated 12 to 18 months on display and the commissions are always exciting, sometimes controversial and a great showcase for modern art.

 
 

Events at Trafalgar Square

West End LIVE
Ends TodayFree Event

Saturday 24th June 2017 at 11am-6pm & Sunday 25th June 2017 at 12noon-5pm | Free

 
West End LIVE Trafalgar Square 2017-06-242017-06-25 Where:
Trafalgar Square, Central London London, WC2N 5DS
Category: Other Attractions

Thousands of people gather in Trafalgar Square to enjoy performances from West End shows.

David Shrigley: Really Good OngoingFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

29th September 2016 to 29th September 2017 | Free

 
David Shrigley: Really Good Trafalgar Square 2016-09-292017-09-29 Where:
Trafalgar Square, Central London London, WC2N 5DS
Category: Other Attractions
Eid Festival 2017 On SoonFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Sunday 2nd July 2017 - 12noon-6pm | Free

 
Eid Festival 2017 Trafalgar Square 2017-07-022017-07-02 Where:
Trafalgar Square, Central London London, WC2N 5DS
Category: Other Attractions

Where Christians have Christmas, Muslims have Eid - which gives you an idea of how big the celebrations are. It's certainly a major event in London - and since 2006 there has been a mass ...more

Pride in London Parade On SoonFree Event Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

Saturday 8th July 2017 | Free

 
Pride in London Parade Trafalgar Square 2017-07-082017-07-08 Where:
Trafalgar Square, Central London London, WC2N 5DS
Category: Other Attractions

With growing numbers year on year, the Pride in London Parade is back for 2017 for another colourful occasion of dancing, marching and rollerskating through London. Celebrate the people and organisations who've contributed to lesbian, ...more

Pride In London
On SoonFree Event

Saturday 8th July 2017 - 1pm-8pm | Free

 
Pride In London Trafalgar Square 2017-07-082017-07-08 Where:
Trafalgar Square, Central London London, WC2N 5DS
Category: Other Attractions

Members of London's vibrant LGBT+ community, their family and friends march proudly from Baker Street, along Oxford Street and Regent Street, ending in Trafalgar Square with a concert featuring chart acts, musicians, dancers, West End ...

All events at Free Outdoor Events
 
 
 

Barbican Centre

This huge, multifaceted arts hub puts on a range of free cultural events

Silk Street, City, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station

 
 

One of London's two largest arts centres and bastions of culture, the Barbican Centre does its best to allow everyone to enjoy the arts, even if you can't afford the usual ticket price. Alongside paid for events there free concerts, talks, exhibitions, events, music and festivals which regularly take place throughout the year. You'll also come across free exhibitions, live music, or talks. If you're lucky you'll hit off a major arts celebrity confiding to a small crowd in some odd corner of the building. Don't be put off by the mass of concrete and confusing corridors which can be tricky to find your way around, this is one of the most impressive and dynamic cultural sites in London and its free events are certainly worth seeking out.

 
 

Events at Barbican Centre

London Symphony Orchestra

Sunday 25th June 2017 - 7pm | £10-£42

 
London Symphony Orchestra Barbican Centre 2017-06-252017-06-25 Where:
Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS
Category: Arts Centres

Daniel Harding conducts Mahler's Symphony No 3, with the alto, Anna Larsson.

Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

3rd June to 1st September 2017 | £14.50, concs/NUS/under 17s/mems £12, under 14s £5

 
Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction Barbican Centre 2017-06-032017-09-01 Where:
Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS
Category: Arts Centres
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life After 1945 Ends Today Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

23rd March to 25th June 2017 | Standard £14.50, concession £12

 
The Japanese House: Architecture and Life After 1945 Barbican Centre 2017-03-232017-06-25 Where:
Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS
Category: Arts Centres
Hackney Schools Music And Dance Festival Launch Concert
On Soon

Monday 26th June 2017 - 6.30pm | £7, concs £4

 
Hackney Schools Music And Dance Festival Launch Concert Barbican Centre 2017-06-262017-06-26 Where:
Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS
Category: Arts Centres

Students perform classical and other music, plus dance.

Picture This: The Music Photography Of Sheila Rock
On SoonFree Event

26th April to 4th July 2017 - 9.30am | Free

 
Picture This: The Music Photography Of Sheila Rock Barbican Centre 2017-04-262017-07-04 Where:
Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS
Category: Arts Centres
All events at Barbican Centre
 
 
 

Southbank Centre

This thriving riverside arts complex hosts tons of free entertainment

Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 
 

At the Southbank on Fridays and Saturdays, the Royal Festival Hall hosts free lunchtime concerts in its central bar; there are free book readings and recitals at the Poetry Library on the fifth floor of the Royal Festival Hall; and in the summer you can see certain performances for free as part of the E4 Udderbelly festival. Go to the Southbank Centre's ticketing website to find listings of all the free events. A stroll along the Southbank is free too: browse among the book stalls, take in the terraces and see the skateboarders - a happy architectural accident has made this complex the best spot for skateboarding and BMXing in the capital, meaning it is loved by London's counter-culture as much as by its highbrow elite.

 
 

Events at Southbank Centre

Dear Home Office: Still Pending
Ends Today

Saturday 24th June 2017 at 7pm & Sunday 25th June 2017 at 2pm and 6pm | £12, concs £6

 
Dear Home Office: Still Pending Southbank Centre 2017-06-242017-06-25 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres

Ten young refugee men tell versions of their own stories laced in some cases with humour in Phosphorus Theatre's follow-up to its acclaimed and timely drama, Dear Home Office.

Festival of Love Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

3rd June to 28th August 2017 | Various

 
Festival of Love Southbank Centre 2017-06-032017-08-28 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
Adventures In Moominland
Ongoing

16th December 2016 to 20th August 2017 - Various Times | £12 & £13.50, child £10 & £11.50, disabled £12

 
Adventures In Moominland Southbank Centre 2016-12-162017-08-20 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
Film Scores Live Ends Today Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

2nd October 2016 to 25th June 2017 | £45, £35, £25, £20 | Premium £55

 
Film Scores Live Southbank Centre 2016-10-022017-06-25 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
Gamelan Group Workshop
Ongoing

14th September 2016 to 20th July 2017 - 9.30am-5.30pm | per group £195

 
Gamelan Group Workshop Southbank Centre 2016-09-142017-07-20 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
Belief and Beyond Belief Ongoing Editor's Top Pick - Recommended

16th January to 17th December 2017 | Various, Free to £45 | Day pass £15, Weekend pass £25

 
Belief and Beyond Belief Southbank Centre 2017-01-162017-12-17 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
Outi Pieski: Falling Shawls
OngoingFree Event

13th January to 31st December 2017 - 10am-11pm | Free

 
Outi Pieski: Falling Shawls Southbank Centre 2017-01-132017-12-31 Where:
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road London, SE1 8XX
Category: Arts Centres
All events at Southbank Centre
 
 
 

Comedy Cafe

Mid-week hilarity (and a little humiliation) all for the price of a pint

66-68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY

Tube: Old Street Station

 
 

While you may have to pay for the privilege of seeing well known comedians there are hundreds of aspiring funny men (and women) who are quite happy to deliver their one-liners for free. A good place to start is the renowned Comedy Cafe†on a Wednesday night when 'New Act Night' sees eight acts (as opposed to the usual four) on stage, so even if someone is really struggling they're not on long enough for total humiliation. On a good night you can see some utterly hilarious performers without paying a penny. In the past the Comedy Cafe has been a much loved hang-out for comedic geniuses such as Eddie Izzard, Mark Lamarr and Jo Brand. Who knows, you may spot the next Russell Brand before they become famous. Another good source of free comedy is the pub - or more specifically, the room above a pub. London has more than its fair share of these. The Queen's Head, close to Piccadilly Circus, is just one example of a pub mixing pints and jokes at their absolutely free comedy night. †On Mondays at the Carnivale just off Whitchapel Road are 'Comedy Bin' open mic nights where you get to see new comic talent for the mere price of a pint. Cheers!

 
 
 

Southwark Cathedral

Pay a visit to Southwark Cathedral for serene surroundings and free lunchtime recitals

Bridge, Bankside, London, SE1 9DA

Tube: London Bridge Station

 
 

Some of London's most beautiful churches and cathedrals provide stunning acoustics for organ recitals and classical concerts, some of which are free. Southwark Cathedral, London's oldest Gothic church (dating back to c1220) hosts free lunchtime concerts with organ recitals taking place on Monday lunchtimes and Tuesdays afternoons and there are regular choral services allowing the cathedral's fine Lewis Organ to display its magnificence. The cathedral is also open during the day for visitors to explore and includes a chapel commemorating John Harvard, benefactor of Harvard University. Similarly, St James's Church Piccadilly is well known for its lively programme of events and while some of the evening concerts do require an admission fee the 50-minute lunchtime recitals are often free (with a suggested donation). In the heart of London, overlooking Trafalgar Square, the roof of St Martin-in-the-Fields is often raised by the sound of religious and classical music ringing out with its choral scholars among those performing gratis. Candelit concerts are held from Thursday to Saturday and there are free lunchtime recitals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. All profits go to support the work of the church, with its particular ministry to the homeless.

 
 

Events at Southwark Cathedral

Sam Russell
On SoonFree Event

Tuesday 18th July 2017 - 1.15pm | Free

 
Sam Russell Southwark Cathedral 2017-07-182017-07-18 Where:
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge London, SE1 9DA
Category: Historic Buildings
Proms At: Southwark Cathedral

Saturday 12th August 2017 - 3pm | £15

 
Proms At: Southwark Cathedral Southwark Cathedral 2017-08-122017-08-12 Where:
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge London, SE1 9DA
Category: Historic Buildings

David Hill conducts the Nash Ensemble and BBC Singers to perform a programme of sacred music to include Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Offertorium 'Confitebor tibi, Domine' and Missa 'Confitebor tibi', plus Judith Weir's In The ...

All events at Southwark Cathedral