25 Free Things To Do in the UK in June 2016

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Two young women with a Scottish flag show their support for Andy Murray by painting their faces 'Go Andy'

Something for nearly everyone in our monthly bumper guide

1. Visit London’s secret gardens

18-19 June, around Central London

The Spanish garden, part of Kensington Roof GardensAround 200 gardens take part in London’s Open Garden Squares Weekend each year, from the traditional private squares to contemporary roof gardens, patios, barges, museums and allotments. Many are free, see online for the full list of venues. Pictured: Kensington Roof Gardens.


2. Edinburgh Cycling Festival

9-19 June

The 11-day celebration of cycling features many free events, including guided rides for cyclists of all abilities – right up to the night of 18-19 June, when you can join the group riding the 100 miles from Carlisle to Edinburgh over night. There’s also advice sessions, a race-off to see who can fold their Brompton quickest, plus, in the paid-for calendar of events, a screening of a film about the late Tour de France champion Marco Pantani.


3. Watch Dragon Boat racing

5 June, 10-5pm. Salford Quays Watersports Centre, Manchester

Chinese Dragon Boat racing comes to Salford – with lots of attendant side-shows and Chinese food stalls.


4. Celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in London

11 June, London

Soldiers marching at the Trooping the Colour ceremony, to celebrate HM Queen's Elizabeth's official birthday The Queen's Birthday Parade, or Trooping the Colour is carried out by HM The Queen’s personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade. Her Majesty the Queen herself attends to take the salute. The (free) tickets to Horse Guards are already gone, but you can watch the procession pass from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards and then back again afterwards – before the RAF fly past at 1pm



5. Celebrate the Queen’s birthday in Portsmouth

11 June, Port Solent, 12-5pm.

Port Solent will be celebrating the Queens Birthday with a free festival featuring live music, family entertainers and fun for all the family.


6. Celebrate the life of Charles Dickens

12 June. St Mary's Church, Fratton Road, Portsmouth

Black and white portrait of Charles DickensJoin members of the local branch of the Dickens Fellowship in celebrating the 146th anniversary of Dickens' death (in 1870) with a service and tea at the church where he was baptised. Choral Evensong is followed by tea and readings from Dickens's work.


7. Perfect your hula-hoop skills with the pros

12 June, 12-4pm. Southbank Centre, London SE1

Lots of brightly coloured hula-hoops, viewed from the sideThe Guinness World Record holding hula-hoop troupe The Majorettes hold a 'hoola-schoola' workshop: there’s equipment for 50 people – but feel free to being your own hoops. And, say the organisers, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. It’s just one of the many free circus activities you can do on Circus Day, which is part of Guy Garvey's Meltdown festival.


8. Watch England in the Euros at the theatre

Mockingbird Theatre & Bar, Birmingham, B9. 11, 16 and 20 June

England footballers Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane celebrate a goalIt’s free entry (but you might want to buy a drink or two) to see England’s group games in the Euros on the big screen at this Birmingham theatre: that’s Russia (11 June), Wales (16 June) and Slovakia (20 June).



9. Watch Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the Euros on the big screen

Titanic Belfast. From 12 June.

A 10,000-capacity fanzone has been created at Titanic Belfast, boasting the biggest screen in the country, with live entertainment pre- and post-match, family-friendly fun, and lots of food and drink options. Northern Ireland’s first game is against Poland on 12 June


10. See Mars

Night sky. To 8 June

Mars has been visible, due south, in the night sky from 22 May. Have a look before 8 June, though – this period is the closest Mars has come to Earth in 11 years. It will still be around 40 million miles away but you should be able to see it clearly without binoculars or a telescope.


11. Dance to the African beat

18-19 June, 12.30-9.30pm. Sefton Park, Liverpool

Africa Oyé 2016, the UK's largest free celebration of African music and culture takes place annually in Liverpool, and admission is free – just rock up and join in.


12. Celebrate the Armed Forces

25 June. Across the country

Hundreds of events take place nationwide, from Aberdeen and York to the Isle of Wight, to celebrate Armed Forces Day, with music, stalls, beer festivals, bouncy castles and much more, as well as parades and displays. There’s sure to be an event near you, wherever you live in the UK (and theres’s even a street party in Germany, too!). Check online to find your nearest event.


13. Folk festival by the sea in Dorset

25-26 June, Poole

Dancing at the Poole Harbour folk festivalA free folk music festival sees five outdoor music stages, two ceilidhs and over 20 teams of Morris dancers in the streets overlooking Poole Harbour.


14. Hear free stories

Saturdays and Sundays in June, 10.30am

Imperial War Museum
Puppets and pictures will bring to life heroic and heart-warming tales of wartime animal bravery, in these family storytelling sessions.


15. And breathe…

June 19

Alexandra Palace, London N22

Group of men and women doing yoga, lying on their frontsCelebrate U.N. International Yoga Day 2016 with hours of free yoga and meditation in the beautiful grounds of Alexandra Palace (from 8am). The day will be led by some of the country’s leading yoga teachers.


16. Man vs Horse

14 June, Llanwrtyd Wells

Men, women and people on horses race against each other in the annual race at Llanwrtyd WellsHead to Llanwrtyd Wells to watch a field of around 600 runners and 50 horses in ‘Man vs Horse’ – a multi-terrain race over 24 miles of Welsh countryside. Watching the start in the town centre, then travelling to Abergwesyn, is the best option for good viewing spots and the chance to see the relay changeover.


17. Build a Lego robot

30 June. 9 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London

Form a team, build a robot, give it a name and a special skill, and  wait to see if your robot wins the (friendly) competition. Free when you buy a drink at Drink Shop Do.


18. Greenwich & Docklands International Festival

24 June -2 July

A nine-day wonder of outdoor arts, theatre, street arts, dance and music events, taking place across many outdoor spaces in East and South East London, with a focus on the town centres of Greenwich, Woolwich and Tower Hamlets. Outdoor shows, including dance, circus, music and comedy, welcome all audiences, young and old.


19. Get to Liverpool

3-5 June

The International Mersey River Festival is a celebration of Liverpool's glorious waterfront in a free three-day extravaganza of family fun, with music on three stages along the waterfront.


20. London’s largest free festival

From 3 June. London Bridge City.

The iconic riverside location is transformed into a summer haven and a hub of live entertainment, food and drink all summer long, from Tower Bridge to London Bridge. Live music five nights a week, after-work DJ sessions, fitness and dance classes, street performances, live theatre, a big screen showing blockbuster films and the summer’s sporting events, including Wimbledon and the Olympics. Plus the return of the tropical pop-up food and drink experience, London Riviera.


21. See the stars of the West End for free

Trafalgar Square, London. 18 June (11am-6pm) and 19 June (12-6pm).

The cast of some of the West End’s biggest shows perform in the daylight in a weekend-long celebration of musical theatre.


22. Watch Wimbledon on the big screen (and work out with Lorraine Kelly)

Venues across London. 27 June-10 July

Andy Murray celebrates winning a point at Wimbledon with a clenched fistThere are deckchairs and a range of food and drink options on offer to help you enjoy yourself as you cheer on Andy Murray and Johanna Konte’s attempts to land the men’s and women’s singles title. Plus, from 20-24 July, it’s Wimbledon Workout Week, with a series of free outdoor workouts led by various gyms around London – and, yes, Lorraine Kelly, too.


23. See 'photospheres' of Wales

The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea offers stacks of fun and imaginative activities designed to appeal to and include all members of the family. Free admission. The current exhibition by artist Matt Wright captures various historical sites from around Wales, presented in a series of stunning 3D ‘photospheres’.


24. See superhero films

Torre Abbey Meadows, Torquay. 16 June-10 July

A roster of fun for all ages, with a festival atmosphere building around a big screen, showing not just the tennis and the football, but also a week of films, plus coverage of Glastonbury – with fancy dress, stalls, food, drink and family fun, led by a giant obstacle course, all thrown in.


25. 50 things to do before you're 11 and three-quarters

Countryside across UK

The National Trust protects and runs more than 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments, forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – many of which are free to visit. Its project '50 things to do before you're 11-and-three-quarters' is just that: a project for kids to sign up to, offering ideas for free outdoors activities. You might start by flying a kite at White Horse Hill, for instance...


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