Free Festivals in London Through the Year
By Joshua Neil
Looking for something to do this year? Look no further, because we’ve compiled every cool- and most importantly, free- festival in London for the rest of the year. With so much variety, there’s bound to be something for you: take a look at these free festivals in London, you may just be surprised by what’s happening around you.
Festivals in September[bil]
11-26th September | More London Free Festival
Twelve years in, the More London Free Festival is on of the biggest of the free London festivals at four months long, from June to September. While September-goers will only get to see the film portion, it’s still a free way to check out some of the best films ever, like Indiana Jones, Life of Pi and the LEGO Movie. Seats are first come, first serve, so get there quick!
Where: The Scoop, at More London
12th-14th September | London Analogue Festival
Looking at how analogue technology still has its uses in the modern world, the London Analogue Festival is a cultural heap of lectures, exhibitions and workshops designed to celebrate analogue’s place in art. With over 100 artists from around the world, and several film screenings and lectures every day, this is definitely one for the art-lovers out there. Bear in mind that some of the workshops do charge for entry.
Where: The Barge House, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank
13th-21st September | Colourscape Music Festival
This celebration of music presents a wide range of concerts, workshops and spectacles across its run, though most days it’s only open 12-1: look out for special concerts and opera days, when it’s open 1-5 p.m. Look out for the best event, on the 18th– a four-storey-tall sphere floating on the lake, with music and dancers! A spectacle not to be missed. Find out more through the festival’s Facebook page.
Where: Clapham Common
18th September-19th October | Merge Festival
One of the newer London festivals, the Merge Festival returns for the third time to show off the culture and art of Bankside. Full of cool and strange things, the exhibition will show off pop-up art exhibits, music and live performances, as well as a house made of wax bricks which will completely melt at the end of the festival!
20th September | Newham London Waterfront Festival
This year’s Newham London Waterfront Festival has a whole lot going for it- cultural food, activities for children, workout classes, music from a number of live bands– including the Newham Steel Band- as well as the ability to take a free pleasure boat trip or try to row your own boat– also for free- which will all end in a 12-minute firework display, so you can be sure the night will end with a bang.
Where: Royal Victoria Dock
20th September | Bermondsey Street Festival
This modern take on the village fete brings dozens of strange and interesting events to the festival atmosphere: over the day, witness or take part in dances around the maypole, fancy dress prizes, opera singing, a dog show and a gladiator knock-out contest. On top of this, live music, great food and dozens of stalls make this one of the best free activities in London. Find out more on Facebook.
Where: Bermondsey Street
26th September | Malaysia Night
Another great culture day to come and celebrate, Malaysia Night comes with a huge range of exotic satay, so there’ll be great tastes for everyone- as well as a chance to see how it’s made in live cooking demonstrations, and the ability to buy the ingredients and foods yourself to try at home later on. On top of that, there will be dancers, musicians and professional fruit carvers!
Where: Trafalgar Square
28th September | Festival of Heat
For those looking for something even hotter, the Festival of Heat provides stalls selling every kind of pepper and spice imaginable to fire up your taste buds. For those who prefer to look rather than taste, there will also be bars, workshops where you can learn how to cook up some spicy treats, and live music throughout the day. While this is free, donations are advised to go towards the farm.
Where: Spitalfields City Farm[/bil]
Festivals in October
11th October | Africa on the Square
Set in Trafalgar Square– one of the best places to visit in London- comes brand new event for 2014. Africa on the Square celebrates all of African culture, with live music, dance, African food, family workshops on Henna tattoos or mosaic making, and fashion catwalks– all totally for free. Keep an eye on the website for further updates.
Where: Trafalgar Square
Every Saturday, from now-11th October | Urban Food Fest
Every Saturday evening, Shoreditch High Street comes alive with 15 food trucks and stalls (which change every week) for the urban food festival, providing urban cuisine from around the world, drinks of every kind, music and entertainment. Promising a great atmosphere (and a ‘V Corner’ for you non-meat eaters), this is one for all the night-eaters out there.
Where: Shoreditch High Street
12th October | Diwali in London
One of the biggest Indian festivals in the world, The Festival of Lights comes to London once a year, and this time visitors get to marvel at the free music and dance, food stalls, activities for kids, as well as Indian Bazaar for exotic foods, and an Asian beauty zone for those looking to be pampered. These events tend to get packed, so best to arrive early for good viewing.
Where: Trafalgar Square
25th-26th October | Horniman Halloween Fair
Celebrate Halloween with a ghost trail, arts and crafts market or craft activities– costumes are advised, and more entertainment is to be announced at a later date.
Where: Horniman Museum an Gardens, London Road
Festivals in November
1st October-30th November | Photomonth
A celebration of all things photography, this huge festival spanning several months is home to dozens of talks, workshops and galleries all around the East End. The talks are too numerous to describe here, but for those interested in photography, this is one not to be missed. Find out more on Facebook.
Where: Various locations around East London
24th November-4th January 2015 | Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Okay, so while not the traditional festival many party-goers might be hoping for, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland does promise some great exhibits and entertainment for those in a Christmassy mood already. With two circuses and fairground rides for kids, it also boasts rollercoasters, an ice-skating rink and even themed bars for grown-up revellers. Free to enter, though rides do vary in prices.
Where: Hyde Park
Festivals in December
6th-7th December | Horniman Christmas Fair
Bring in the Christmas month at Horniman Museum and Gardens, where there will be festive snacks, a Christmas trail, unique gifts on their stalls (for those still undecided on Christmas presents), and choir singing on the Sunday. All free, though some events may charge.
Where: Horniman Museum and Gardens, London Road
For more on each festival, check out their Twitter account:
More London Free Festival: @ScoopMoreLondon
London Analogue Festival: @LondonAnalogue
Colourscape Music Festival: @colourscapenow
Bermondsey Street Festival: @BermondsStFest
Malaysia Night: @MalaysianFoodUK
Festival of Heat: @FestivalofHeat
Urban Food Fest: @UrbanFoodFest
Diwali in London: @DiwaliLondon
Horniman Museum and Gardens: @HornimanMuseum
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: @WinterWonderLON
Still wanting more? Take a look at our Top 10 Free Events in London September 2014.