Art & Culture
Free things to do in the Royal Docks
There are so many ways you can have a great time in the Royal Docks without spending a penny. Check out our guide to some of the best things to do in the area completely free!
Royal Docks tours and trails
Immerse yourself in the unique landscape of the Royal Docks with our free self-guided tours and trails. It’s the perfect way to explore the area. Whether you’re planning a short stroll or a family adventure there is plenty to explore. Art, history, nature and architecture – the Royal Docks has it all.
Always on. See the webpage for details. Free
Harry’s Open Mic and Jam
Don’t miss Harry’s Open Mic and Jam at The Oiler Bar! The free event showcases talent from in and around East London. Come along and enjoy the entertainment or grab the mic and take to the stage! Requests to perform can be made on the night or via Instagram @harrysopenmicandjam
The first Saturday of each month, 5.30pm – 11pm. The Oiler Bar, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1AG. Free
Get crafty with the community at Sew Social, a free monthly sewing group for textile enthusiasts in Newham. Connect with other local crafters, use the sewing machines to work on your projects, and receive helpful advice from the friendly group members.
First Saturday of every month. The Factory, Factory Road, London, E16 2HB. Booking required. Free
Victoria Dock and Beckton parkrun
Kickstart your weekend for free at Victoria Dock parkrun and Beckton parkrun. The 5k community events take place every Saturday at 9am. All abilities are welcome. You can walk, jog, run, volunteer, or simply spectate. It’s a great way to get fit for free!
Every Saturday, 9am. Victoria Dock parkrun - (meeting point - outside City Hall) Kamal Chunchie Way, London, E16 1ZE. Free
Every Saturday, 9am. Beckton parkrun - Will Thorne Pavillion, Beckton District Park South, Stansfeld Road, Beckton E6 5NE. Free
Explore The Line, London’s first dedicated public art walk. The free trail runs between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2 on Greenwich Peninsula. It features an evolving programme of art installations including ‘Types of Happiness’ at Royal Victoria Dock. The installation by renowned artist, Yinka Ilori features 10ft chairs with bold and colourful patterns. The Royal Docks also plays host to works by Madge Gill, Laura Ford and Larry Achiampong.
Always on. Various locations, see interactive map for details. Free
Saturday Morning Kids Club
Head to Art in the Docks for free Saturday morning kids' art classes. Each session focuses on a different theme. Children are encouraged to use their imagination and join in the creative fun hosted by ceramic artist, Mariana Alemany.
Every Saturday until Saturday 9 March, 10am – 12pm. Art in the Docks, 25 Shackleton Way, London, E16 2XJ. No booking required. Free
Did you know you can visit City Hall? Located in Royal Victoria Docks, City Hall is the sustainable headquarters of the Mayor of London and London Assembly. A small part of City Hall is open to explore including the Chamber when there are public meetings. You can also enjoy a selection of food and drink at London’s Kitchen Café on the ground floor.
City Hall opening times - Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30am to 6pm, and on Fridays, 8:30am to 5:30pm. London’s Kitchen Café opening times - 8:30am to 4pm. City Free
Canvas & Coffee Connections
Join Disha for a fun-filled morning at Good Hotel London! This in-person event is exclusively for moms with little ones aged 0-3 years old. It's the perfect opportunity to connect with other moms while enjoying a cup of coffee and exploring your creative side.
For more on how to book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/disha-trivedi-59819484613
Fight for Peace Academy
Fight for Peace Academy offers free boxing and martial arts training for young people aged 7-25 years old. They also deliver personal development that aim to assist young people in becoming champions not just in the ring, but also in their day-to-day lives.
Dates and times vary. See timetable for details. Fight for Peace, Academy, Woodman Street, London, E16 2LS. Free
There are many beautiful parks to explore in the Royal Docks. Wander through the hedge maze at Thames Barrier Park, enjoy the river views from Lyle Park, or book a court for a game of tennis at Royal Victoria Gardens. There’s even a Floating Garden at Royal Victoria Dock. This pocket park provides a floating wetland habitat for around 4,000 aquatic plant species, creating a unique hotspot of urban biodiversity.
Various locations, see interactive map for details. Free
With ten libraries in Newham, it's easy to get your hands on a good book locally. Each library offers a range of services, a fantastic selection of books plus loads of free community activities. The fun includes movie nights, walking basketball, Bollywood Dance class, Lego club, Knit and Natter, Salsa, chair exercise classes and much more.
- Plaistow Library, North Street, Plaistow, London, E13 9HL
- Green Street Library, 337-341 Green Street, London, E13 9AR
- Manor Park Library, 685-691 Romford Road, London, E12 5AD
- North Woolwich Library, 5 Pier Parade, North Woolwich, London, E16 2LJ
- The Gate Library, 2-6 Woodgrange Road, London, E7 0QH
- Stratford Library, 3 The Grove, Stratford, London, E15 1EL
- Custom House Library, Prince Regent Lane, Custom House, London, E16 3JJ
- East Ham Customer Service Centre & Library, 328 Barking Road, London, E6 2RT
- Canning Town Library, 18 Rathbone Market, Barking Road, Canning Town, London, E16 4HA
- Beckton Library, 1 Kingsford Way, Beckton, London, E6 5JQ
Diesel Gym London
Get fit for free at Diesel Gym London, one of the oldest and most successful mixed martial arts gyms in the UK. Take part in a free weekly boxing class. There is also a free ladies-only circuit and boxing classes each week.
- Circuit class (ladies-only), 10am – 11am, Tuesdays and Sundays. Free Boxing class (ladies only) 7pm – 8.30pm, Saturdays. Free
- Community Boxing Class, 3pm – 4pm, Sundays. Free
Diesel Gym London, 1012 Dockside Road, London, E16 2QT
Custom House Book Shop
Custom House Book Shop is a community space run by local residents. They host regular coffee mornings, stay and play sessions, and arts and craft workshops, making it the perfect place to engage with your community.
Dates and times vary. Custom House Book Shop, 3 Freemasons Road, Custom House, E16 3AR. Free
Britannia Village Hall and Royal Wharf Community Dock
Britannia Village Hall and Royal Wharf Community Dock are two more valued community hubs with packed timetables of activities, many of which are free. From pasta-making workshops and chess clubs to English language classes for beginners and coffee mornings, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Dates and times vary. Britannia Village Hall, 65 Evelyn Rd, London E16 1TU. Royal Wharf Community Dock. 2 John Harrison Square London, E16 2ZA. Free
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