London may seem like an expensive place to be these days, but the truth is, there’s no dearth of activities to take part in if you’re on a tight budget. There’s plenty on offer for less than a fiver – a lot of stuff is even free. Here’s a list to get you started.
Hunt for Art in Fortnum & mason
Fortnum & Mason is an amazingly quirky shop. Though food and drink has long been their strong point, they’ve also expanded to feature beauty, fashion, and homeware galleries. Art is another strength, with a myriad of works scattered around the six floors, from renowned British artists like Frank Auerbach to Tracey Emin.
There’s a seated figure sculpture to guide you through the entrance by the shopfront canopy, and a few works on display in the window – don’t forget to view these before you go in!
Major art collector Frank Cohen has furnished floors inside with some of the best artworks from his collection. Some of these are obvious, but others are harder to find, requiring a more careful search. They can be found anywhere from the sculpture court on floor 1 to the wine bar or accessories areas on other floors. You can obtain a guidebook from near the entrance, and it’s free to view everything inside. After that, why not book a place at the Piccadilly London West End, one of the most convenient hotels near Piccadilly Circus.
Singing Light-up See-Saws
Prepare to see 15 huge illuminated see-saws show up in Leicester Square Gardens this October. It’s an installation called Impulse, which was previously in Montreal last Christmas. They’re studded with LED lights and equipped with speakers, so they produce exciting light and sound sequences when you’re on them. They also glow when not in use, so they should be enough to brighten up the area in the incoming shorter days.
These will be free for anyone to use.
Control a Ghost in a Maze of Razor Blades
Tim Lewis’s kinetic artworks have been dazzling the public for quite a few years now. The latest of these, ‘Philip K Dick’, is a delightful interpretation of his renowned touch-incentivised style.
It’s engaging, refreshing, and rather a bit dark. By turning a handle, a ghost is able to navigate a deadly maze made from razor blades. Once the ghost reaches the exit, the entire work re-arranges to form a new maze. You can spin it endlessly, observing the poor ghost with glee. Tim Lewis’s works have often required some sort of mechanism to be activated for the work to come to life, but this one is particularly pleasing to handle. There’s a constructionist, workshop feel to the venue, giving the installation a very down-to-earth feel which at times could be interpreted as creepy.
This creative delight is a perfect fit for the Flower Gallery, found at 21 Cork Street, W1S 3LZ. The exhibition is free and continues until 1 October.