Let the year of the monkey begin!
By Jen (follow Jen on Twitter: @JenBarnes207)
I don’t really know how it happened, but all of a sudden it’s February and the start of the year of the monkey! Some people say it’s the most depressing month of the year- but this year is a leap year so that’s something to get excited about. As always, if nothing on my list tickles your fancy, some of my fellow BrokeinLondoners have some more ideas for you in the Free Entertainment in London section.
#1 Vault Festival | All Month
Head to the Vaults at Waterloo every Thursday and Friday for Vault Lates: free music performances at the Suffolk Punch Pop-Up Pub. On Wednesdays, Nest Collective are in residence with fabulous folk music and on Thursdays it’s DJ’s and late night parties to get the weekends started early.
When: Wednesday and Thursday Evenings in February
Where: The Vaults, Waterloo, London
#2 Tattoo London | All Month
Do you love ink? The Tattoo London exhibition at The Museum of London is showcasing the history of tattoos as well as showcasing some of London’s best contemporary tattoo studios. You can expect to find Lal Hardy at New Wave, Alex Binnie at Into You, Claudia de Sabe at Seven Doors and Mo Coppoletta at The Family Business. Entry is free but if you want to take some ink home with you there are exclusive prints for sale.
When: Daily 10am-6pm
Where: The Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
#3 Smile Acoustic | 7th February
Free cake, free entry and free music- that’s the recipe for a great night at Smile Acoustic! Head to Rich Mix for to see three different artists take to the stage- you won’t know what the music is like until you get there but it’s pretty much never bad. It’s the perfect remedy for cold, dreary February nights.
When: 7th February, 6pm
Where: Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
#4 Mind Space at Changing Minds | 6th & 7th February
If you find yourself in need of a quiet space to clear your mind- head over to the Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall for Mind Space, part of the Changing Minds festival. You can join in singing, yoga, reading or you can take a quiet moment to yourself- Mind Space is all about providing wellbeing activities for all visitors.
When: 6th & 7th February, 10am-11pm
Where: Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall
#5 The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race | 9th February
It’s back!! I still don’t quite understand the British pancake race but I’m so glad that it exists. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, head down to the Old Truman Brewery on Shrove Tuesday for some pancake flipping fun at the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race. It’s all in the name of charity and you can register as a team of 4 on the day if you bring a small donation.
When: 9th February, 1230pm
Where: Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
#6 Daylight Music at Union Chapel | Every Saturday
Every Saturday in February and March you can head to Union Chapel for Daylight Music, free afternoons of music and cake in one of London’s loveliest music venues. There’s a different vibe every Saturday- you can check out the events online here. Themes for the season include pianos, time travel and Cornwall. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to check out the acoustics in the space.
When: Every Saturday, 12pm
Where: Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN
#7 Chinese New Year Parade | 14th February
Chinese New Year is on the 8th February, but the official Chinese New Year Parade is on Sunday 14th February. Bring in the year of the monkey in style with acrobatics, pyrotechnics and the best costumes you’ve ever seen. There’s a stage on Shatesbury Ave hosting local up and coming talent- it all kicks off at noon. Stick around for the monkey themed finale with fireworks and light projections.
When: 14th February
Where: Chinatown, WC2H 7JS
#8 Science Museum Lates: Sexuality | 24th February
This month it’s all about SEXUALITY at the Science Museum for their monthly late-night opening for adults only. Why do we fancy the people do? Discover the science behind sexuality with live music, comedy and a silent disco on the side! You can even take part in some penis drawing and speed dating while you’re there!
When: 24th February, 645pm-10pm
Where: Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2DD
#9 Orpington Liberal Club Real Ale & Cider Festival| 19-20th February
It’s not technically free to get into the Orpington Liberal Club Real Ale & Cider Festival and it’s not technically in London, but entry includes two pints of ale or cider for £6 (which is more than 2 pints cost in most of London) so I thought I’d put it on the list. There will be 26 real ales, ciders and perries and on Saturday afternoon there’s live music. It’s definitely worth the trek, don’t you think?
When: 19th-20th February, 11am-11pm
Where: Orpington Liberal Club, 7 Station Road Orpington Kent BR6 0RZ
#10 Whiplash | 14th February
Rumour has it that the Sylvan Post in Forest Hill will be screening Whiplash for free on Valentine’s Day this year. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information posted- but worst case scenario is that you show up and have to spend the afternoon sitting around in one of Antic’s lovely pubs- it could really be worse, couldn’t it?
When: 14th February
Where: Sylvan Post, 24-28 Dartmouth Road, SE24 3XZ