If you’re looking for something inspiring and creative to do in London, you don’t have to look far as the city is packed with dozens of great museums and galleries all across the city. With regular exhibitions held for free, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to enjoy the city’s rich cultural scene, covering everything from contemporary and classic art to developments in science and technology.
Keen to learn more?
Read on for a round-up of some of the best free exhibitions in London right now, and take advantage of the special offers on Shoreditch hotels to enjoy a comfortable and stylish place to stay, during your visit to the city.
Helen Cammock: Che Si Può Fare (What Can be Done) at the Whitechapel Art Gallery
Located in the East End of London on Whitechapel High Street, this is a great little exhibition to visit if you’re looking for something close to the M by Montcalm in Shoreditch London.
The exhibition centres on the prize-winning artist, Helen Cammock, who was awarded the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Having travelled widely around Italy, Hammock spent time researching historians, musicians and singers, to discover more about the world of music, taking singing lessons before diving into the world of jazz.
You’ll discover the results of her labours in this unique exhibition, which explores the relationship between jazz and blues music, with the historical Baroque melodies of the seventeenth century. Combined with her innovative visual poems, made up through drawings, prints, photographs and words, she takes stories from contemporary migrants and refugees across Italy, and merges them with music from a variety of eras for a moving and exceptional show.
You’ll find the gallery a short walk away from Shoreditch, or alternatively, it can be accessed easily by Tube as it is close to Aldgate East station.
Driverless – Who is in Control: The Science Museum
The Science Museum is always worth a visit on any trip to London, and this special exhibition delves into one of the hottest subjects around right now – the growing role of artificial intelligence technology in our lives, and the impact it can have on us.
The thought-provoking, interactive exhibit features cutting-edge displays to get you questioning how we use automated technology in our lives, from ordering a quick take out, to the prospect of driverless cars on the roads. You’ll be able to take a closer look at self-driving cars, flying drones and other objects to give you a unique insight into AI technology.
The Science Museum is located in South Kensington and is best accessed by Tube for an easy and convenient trip.
Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic: The Wellcome Collection
If you’ve ever seen a magic trick being performed and found yourself scratching your head, wondering how they did it, then this is the perfect exhibition for you. This free exhibition takes a close look at just how our brains can be so easily tricked by a simple gesture, as well as how the most talented magicians through the generations have been able to enthral and captivate their audiences.
As well as getting to learn more about how magic is often all in the mind, you will also get to see a variety of displays that will get you thinking about how your mind works in everyday contexts, and how easily we can be manipulated to think something. And you can even see some of the most iconic props in magical history, from Harry Houdini’s infamous “Bell Box”, Tommy Cooper’s fez, and Paul Daniels’ sawing box.
The exhibition also features a fascinating look at the history of magic through the ages, with dazzling, colourful posters from vintage performers, to bizarre and fascinating glimpses of Victorian séances. Throughout the week, the exhibition also includes a free, live performance from a magician, where you can enjoy the thrill of being tricked, while you try to see if you can work out how it was done.
Playing With Buildings: The Museum of Childhood
If you’re planning to stay in a hotel in Shoreditch London with family or children, and are after something fun to do for the day, this charming exhibition is the perfect thing to get young minds asking interesting questions.
Located in Bethnal Green, a short train ride away from Shoreditch, the Museum of Childhood is one of a kind, dedicated to celebrating and exploring the fascinating artefacts and stories that have shaped childhoods across different generations.
While it’s worth a visit just to see their fantastic collection of dolls, children’s clothing across different cultures and the variety of toys on display, this special exhibition is a great way to explore how young minds can interact with the environment around them, in inventive and playful ways.
The exhibition features a collaboration between the UEL and the museum, along with work from architects, photographers and students, to create a variety of images that show how the simple spaces around us can be transformed into something incredible, through the power of imagination.
The Museum of Childhood is easy to get to, a short walk away from Bethnal Green Underground station.
Cornflakes to Cola: The Design Museum
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the supermarket, Sainsbury’s, this unique exhibition takes a fun and playful look at those iconic but everyday items we’re so used to seeing on the shelves.
Showcasing designs from the little celebrated Sainsbury’s Design Studio, you’ll be able to see how designs for timeless favourites have changed over the decades, from salt and vinegar crisps to baked beans and cornflakes.
The exhibition is also a fascinating insight into changing cultures and trends over the years, from the end of rationing in 1954, to the more creative and inventive takes on kitchen staples in later years.
And, if the exhibition leaves you feeling peckish, you’ll find plenty of fantastic restaurants in Shoreditch to indulge in some tasty snacks and treats after your visit.
What exhibition are you most excited to check out? With so many options (and more opening every month!) you’ll almost certainly have to return to the city more than once to get your fill.