Who said you can’t have fun without spending a dime? London might be notorious for its ridiculous prices but there are some great gems out there that cost little to no money.

We’ve rounded up the ten best pop-ups, exhibitions and events happening across the capital this summer that are absolutely free, from big screens on the Thames to the Sex Pistols exhibition to know about.


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Summer by the River

Summer is officially here and where better to spend it than soaking up the sun at the Summer by the River festivities. The cultural season has returned to London Bridge City, bringing with it a wealth of activities and entertainment to get involved with. 

This year’s theme centres around 1930s Miami so expect art deco inspired bars, pina coladas, tacos and tequila and a lot of party energy throughout. 

On until the beginning of September, the space will make way for Dabbers Bingo, Gospeloke – think a karaoke night with a live gospel choir, hip hop dance battles, Shakespeare classics given a Love Island remix, and BBC Introducing showcasing brilliant unsigned artists. There’ll be a big screen too for the movie heads to watch their favourites in the open air.

WHEN: UNTIL 02.09.2022



Rooted Beings

Explore the wonderful world of plants and fungi in the Wellcome Collection’s free exhibition, Rooted Beings. On display until 29th August, the collection explores how we, as humans, can learn from plant behaviour and the impact of colonial expeditions on the exploitation of natural resources and indigenous knowledge.  

Expect botanical archives from the Wellcome Collection and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on display, as well as works from Gözde İlkin, Ingela Ihrman and Joseca, with new commissions by Patricia Domínguez, Eduardo Navarro, RESOLVE Collective and Sop.

When: Until 29.08.2022

Where: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE

Website: www.wellcomecollection.org


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West End Live

Musical theatre lovers, unite! West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square this month, bringing with it a whole host of free performances from top West End musicals.

Expect performers from & Juliet, Back to the Future The Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Heathers the Musical, Disney’s Frozen, My Fair Lady and more.

WHEN: 25.06.2022 – 26.06.2022



Summer Lights at Canary Wharf

Who said light festivals were reserved only for winter? Canary Wharf’s annual Summer Lights display returns to the capital for another season of colourful installations, sparkling sculptures and beautiful patterns.

Opening to coincide with the summer solstice, the free festival sees Canary Wharf’s six permanent light displays joined by 11 new sculptures. Expect to be dazzled with bright colours popping up across the estate, from Toni Alter’s ‘Bird’, a three-metre-wide pointillist bird made from 98 translucent discs to Ottotto’s ‘The Long and Winding Road’, made from corrugated drain pipes where visitors can walk within and be bathed in yellow light streaming through the pipes.

When: 21.06.2022 – 20.08.2022

Where: Throughout Canary Wharf

Website: www.canarywharf.com


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Screen on the Canal

King’s Cross and Coal Drops Yard never disappoints with their on-going family-friendly activities, and this summer is no exception. Head down and lose yourself in the adventure trail around the King’s Cross neighbourhood, from the art installations to Camley Street Natural Park. 

Throughout the summer there’ll also be the Screen on the Canal, a season of free blockbusters shown on the big screen on the river. From family favourites to cult classics, head down to the Canalside Steps to see everything including Spider-Man: No way Home, Free Guy, Belfast, Dune, Matilda and an Encanto Sing-a-Long.

When: 27.06.2022 – 07.08.2022

Where: Canalside Steps, Granary Square, King’s Cross

Website: www.kingscross.co.uk

Sculpture in the City

London’s annual sculpture park returns to the city for another summer of innovative and unique artworks spread across various locations in the City. 

Open from this week, look forward to exploring works from the likes of Alice Channer, Claudia Wiser, Jesse Pollock, Jun T.Lai, Mike Ballard and Victor Seaward.

When: From 22.06.2022

Where: Closest stations include Liverpool Street, Bank, Monument & Aldgate

Website: www.sculptureinthecity.org.uk

Keiken, Player of Cosmic ༄ؘ ° Realms, 2022. Exhibition view, Among the Machines, Zabludowicz Collection, London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch

Among the Machines

At a time when we, as humans, are dominated by machines, Zabludowicz Collection’s exhibition ‘Among the Machines’ asks: how will we respond to a stage of evolution beyond the human? 

The collection, available to view until 17th July, explores how humans interact with machines and non-human objects, showcased through works that explore video, sculpture and interactive computer installations. Including works from 13 international artists, it investigates how humans could eventually exist alongside these other lifeforms.

When: Until 17.07.2022

Where: Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road, NW5 3PT

Website: www.zabludowiczcollection.com


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In need of a little breather from the everyday? Look to Dreamachine, the immersive sleep experience that’ll take you on a journey to explore the potential of your mind. 

You’re invited to sit back, close your eyes and enter a colourful world that comes alive only in your mind. Every experience is different; you could see shapes and colours, cities and landscapes or waves of shifting colours. 

A truly unique journey, Dreamachine is personal to you.

WHEN: UNTIL 24.07.2022



Superman is Dead: Sex Pistols Exhibition

If the latest Disney Plus series, Pistol, has whetted your appetite for the iconic punk band, then you’ll want to visit Seven Dials’ new free retrospective, Superman is Dead: Sex Pistols Exhibiton. On display until mid-July, the photographic exhibition offers fans an insider’s look at one of the most influential bands of the 1970s. 

Explore photographer Dennis Morris’ unrestricted collection, spanning the band’s chaotic lives, from touring life to band photoshoots. The space will be centred around the photograph ‘Destroy’, a recreation of the hotel room trashed by Sid Vicious during their 1977 tour.

When: 22.06.2022 – 15.07.2022

Where: 53A Neal Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9PJ

Website: www.sevendials.co.uk


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This Bright Land

Somerset House is set to undergo a mesmerising transformation this summer, turning its courtyard into a wonderland open to all. Titled This Bright Land, the space has been created by Somerset House Studio artists Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl, and will feature the likes of day-and-night performances, music, dance, talks, workshops and a 35m observation wheel and open-air Vogue Balls. 

Not all of Somerset House’s magical world may be free, but it’s definitely worth heading down for to soak up the experience to its fullest.

When: 01.08.2022 – 29.08.2022 

Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA

Website: www.somersethouse.org.uk

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