Five of the Best Free Things to Do in London this Summer

We know the feeling all too well - it’s only the second week of the month and your pay check already seems to have vanished. If you're in the capital this summer, though, you won’t need to stay in and eat baked beans with our pick of the best free things to do in London...


London Festival of Photography

The London Festival of Photography is back for its second year - and with more venues than before. There’ll be over 18 exhibitions dotted all around London from teeny spaces right up to ones at the British Library, the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the V&A. There’ll be everything from street photography, to documentary and concept photography, all under the theme 'Inside Out: Reflections on the Public and the Private', as well as plenty of workshops, talks and screenings to keep you inspired.


Address: At various places across London;

The Prince’s Drawing School

So, this one’s mostly for any art students, but it’s brilliant. Founded by the Prince of Wales at the top of a beautiful converted warehouse in Shoreditch, the Prince’s Drawing School offers a huge variety of drawing courses both in the studios and at the Royal Academy of Arts. Students can attend free drop-in life drawing classes and free evening etching classes. And you don't need to worry if you’re not a student, either - you can still attend one of the free life drawing classes on the first Thursday of every month and get reduced rates the rest of the month. We’re hooked.


Address: Prince's Drawing School, 19-22 Charlotte Road, EC2A 3SG;

Nike Runs

If you’re put off by the soaring rates of gym memberships in London, but still need a bit of encouragement when it comes to fitness, you can join in on the Nike Town free runs. Every Monday they offer women-only runs starting from the Nike Town store at 6pm (Tuesdays are for mixed groups). You can take part in any one of the three runs they offer that go from the store up through Regent’s Park and cover three, four and seven miles. Just the sort of persuasion we need to get fit this summer.

Address: Nike Town, 236 Oxford St, W1C 1DE; Oxford Circus tube.


While this one looks a bit scruffy on the outside - it’s in a faceless residential block, a few minutes' walk from Dalston tube - it’s being transformed into one of London’s hottest new music venues. New bar Birthdays has been built over two floors with a huge sound system and has a jam-packed programme of free and cheap gigs every day throughout the summer.

Address: 33-35 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BJ;

Sundae Jazz at the Forge and Foundry

There’s nothing we like better here at ELLEuk than a bit of a lazy Sunday in London. And there are few better places to spend it than outside listening to some live jazz. You can do just that at the brilliant Forge and Foundry in Camden. The restaurant opens out onto an outdoor courtyard with a vertical garden, and is the place to sit and listen to their new ‘Sundae Jazz’ sessions (a summer programme of free afternoon jazz performances from 8th July). We’ll be trying out their new homemade ice cream sundae range while we listen, and keeping our fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine.

Address: The Foundry Camden, 3-7 Delancey Street, NW1 7NL;

Like our pick of the best free things to do in London this summer and looking for more inspiration? Check out our picks of best London festivals or best hidden London art galleries.

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