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Short on spondoolicks? Running out of readies? Fear not. London is dishing up a generous helping of free entertainment this summer, from circus acts to Shakespeare. And you won’t pay a penny for it, which means you can enjoy a few extra pints. Your shout!

City of London festival

Catch some fine moves from Kiwi dance troupe Footnote or witness a Maori Haka along the Thames. Participate with the aerial dance workshop or daub classical pianos with paint – without being arrested. This festival is bristling with acts, which also include open-air cinema, live jazz and silent theatre.
City of London Festival, June 26-Aug 12. Various locations.

Abbeyfest Blues At The Mill

What better way to spend a bank holiday weekend than catching some live blues music from a leafy Thameside bandstand? Organisers have pulled together a sweet line-up, including Roadhouse and Elephant Shelf, at the adjacent Colourhouse Theatre.
Blues At The Mill Aug 26-29. Merton Abbey Mills, Wimbledon, SW19 2RD Tube: South Wimbledon

More London Free Festival

The king of alfresco venues, The Scoop will host an impressive array of fringe, music and theatre performances, including a modern twist on medieval classic, The Canterbury Tales, and open-air cinema, including Alice In Wonderland.
The Scoop Fringe, Jun 1-24; music, Aug 4-Sep 4; theatre, Sep 14-30. 2A More London Riverside, SE1 2DB Tube: London Bridge.

iTunes Festival

This is the cream of the free festival
crop, with more than 60 noteable artists performing 31 consecutive nights of live music. Get your name into a ballot to win a pair of tickets to see acts including Adele, Mark Radcliffe, Moby, Duran Duran and Swedish House Mafia. US metal band, Linkin Park is headlining.
iTunes Festival July 1-31, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH Tube: Chalk Farm

Shoreditch Festival

Live music, film screenings and theatre is just some of entertainment on offer in the network of towpaths, basins and bridges along Regents Canal to Victoria Park. Floating stages, dances, art, food markets and boats will bring this corner to life.
Shoreditch Festival July 15-24. Regent’s Canal, Shoreditch, N1 Tube: Old Street

Carnaval Del Pueblo

This is Latin America’s answer to the Notting Hill Carnival. Revellers throng here to soak up the sun and swivel their hips to globally-acclaimed artists. You’ll even catch the final of the salsa dancing championship. A real carnival atmosphere prevails.
Carnaval Del Pueblo August 1. Burgess Park, Picton St, City of London, SE5 7QH Tube: Elephant and Castle.

BP Summer Screen

World-class opera and ballet performances are beamed live from the Royal Opera House into Trafalgar Square as part of a series of open air screenings across the capital. It’s worth going just to throw a picnic blanket down at an iconic London site by twilight.
BP Summer Screen July 4 and July 13. Trafalgar Square Tube: Charing Cross

Little London Fields Festival

This boutique festival boasts pure fun and frolics with an array of up-and-coming musicians playing electro, indie, dance and house tunes. Visit the Uniquey Boutiquey tent heaving with crafters, designers and artists.
Little London Fields August 20. London Fields Park, City of London, E8 3EU Tube: Hackney Central.

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

This annual festival of outdoor arts is spectacular. Offering a huge programme, events usually take place at the Old Royal Naval College, Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs, Stratford and Woolwich.
Greenwich and Docklands June 24-July 2.

A Taste of Spain

Regent Street goes traffic-free for a one-day mini fiesta with flamenco dancers, live music and regional delicacies to try. Ole!

A Taste of Spain June 5, Regent Street, W1B Tube: Piccadilly Circus.

Further Afield:

Basingstoke Music Festival
The best attended free music festival in the UK, this extravaganza of live bands and art really is worth the hour or so train journey from Waterloo. Certainly, the headline acts, drum n bass DJ Andy C and The Blockheads, are.
The line-up caters to every musical taste, including rock, dance, indie, metal, ska, jazz and soul. How can something this wonderful be free?
Basingstoke Live July 9-10, Memorial Park Crossborough Hill, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4AG.


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