10 free things to do in London this weekend

1. London Sack Race

If you’re looking for some phallic fun this weekend, a bunch of Londoners will be sack racing around a 26.4 mile course…in the shape of a cock and two balls (titter, titter). The route takes in a whole host of blissfully smutty locations, from Cockspur Street to Shaftesbury Avenue to Belsize Park. On a more serious note, these cocksure fellas will be raising money and awareness for the Everyman male cancer campaign.

phallic shaped route of the Everyman campaign London sack race

Starting and finishing (appropriately) at Cock Tavern, Great Portland Street, W1W 8QE
London Sack Race

2. The Boat Race 2012

Expect blazers, Blues and double-barrelled surnames, as toffs line the River Thames to wave on sixteen lycra-clad Adonises, while they’re being shouted at by two stunted pixies.

For big screens, big crowds and beer tents, head to Furnivall Gardens or Bishop’s Gardens. To catch the end of the race and steer clear of the masses, get down to the Chiswick Bridge finish line.

Oxford rowing team celebrating winning the Oxford Cambridge boat race 2008

Rowing isn’t your thing? Head to Spitalfields for The Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race.


3. Crouch End BarBoot

Calling all lovers of affordable art…and free wine. On the first Friday of every month, Of Special Interest throws its doors open to budding local artists, crafty folk and arty-farty visitors.

Of Special Interest, Crouch End, N8 8TD

4. The Big Egg Hunt

200 giant Easter eggs are hidden all over the capital. Print off a map, hunt them down and keep your eyes especially peeled for the illusive Where’s Wally egg. For our take on this jaunt, read on here.

large egg statue painted as humpty dumpty perched on top of a one storey building

Central London

5. No Lone Zone

History and nature come together in this politically charged critique of vulnerable environments in a global world. Expect sculpture, videos, photography, installations and a smattering of pretentiousness in this free Tate Modern exhibition.

Tate modern London building against a blue sky

Tate Modern, SE1 9TG

6. Queen Elizabeth Hall roof-top gardens

The South Bank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall has re-opened for 2012. If the weather-forecasters have got it all wrong, head to the top of the building for this hidden garden and views over central London.

Queen Elizabeth Hall rooftop gardens on South Bank

Artisan foodie types will be peddling their wares along nearby South Bank. The Real Food Market will be open over the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend. However, remember the mantra- there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, SE1 8XX

7. Open the Gate Circus

This Easter Sunday, Open the Gate will play host to an alternative fair, celebrating Africa and the diaspora in London. Charities, fashion, art, jewellery, music, face-painting and food stands will this exhibition space. If you’ve ever fancied turning your hand to Ghanaian drumming, now’s your chance.

Open The Gate logo

Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA

8. Passion in the Square

If Easter is less about the eggs and more about Jesus for you, head to Trafalgar Square for re-created scenes from Jesus’ final hours to resurrection. A tad gory in places. As you’d expect from a mock crucifixion.

Mock crucifixion in Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, WC2N

9. Remote Control

The digital switchover is happening, as if that darn googly-eyed flippin’ aerial cartoon hasn’t told us enough already over the past three years. In honour of the impending reign of the Freeview box, the ICA is hosting a poignant exhibition on the disorientating role TV has played on society, politics and culture.

Logo for remote control exhibition at the ICA London

ICA, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH

10. The Body Adorned: Dressing London

London is one of the few places in the world where you can legitimately shave half your hair off, tattoo your chest, raid your Granny’s wardrobe, cut a hole in your ear, wear a scarf on your head and still win the stamp of fashion approval. It’s a refreshing reality of London living that leaves my très chic Parisian colleague completely stumped.

Exploring the effects of migration and multiculturalism on London urban fashion, this free exhibition at the Horniman Museum is not to be missed.

close up of tattooed chest and hands clutching long beaded necklace

Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ

{Images: Mark Freeman, Simone Graziano Panetto, oxpgomes6, Tomasz Dunn}


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