Free And Cheap London Events This Week: 17-23 December 2018

All week

God's Own Junkyard has popped up in Selfridges.

LONDON LIFE: Last chance to see this exhibition of oils, watercolours and drawings by artist Ben Johnson, all depicting aspects of London life. All are for sale, with prices of £50-£600. Barbican, free, just turn up, until 22 December

NEON SIGNS: Neon emporium God's Own Junkyard displays some of its famous neon artworks in Selfridges, including those used in films, TV shows and photo shoots. Selfridges Oxford Street (top floor), free, just turn up, until 24 December

STANFORDS POP UP: Last chance to get a sneak peek inside Stanfords travel bookshop's new store, weeks before it opens fully. There's a pop-up Christmas store on the ground floor, selling gifts, decorations and cards, all with a travel theme. The rest of the store won't open until the new year. 7 Mercer Walk (Covent Garden), free, just turn up, until 24 December

WOMEN IN JAZZ: Only a couple more weeks to see this free exhibition about women in jazz music, showcasing the contributions they've made to the genre in the last century, and looking at up and coming female jazz musicians who will shape its future. Barbican Library, free, just turn up, until 31 December

FEMALE MPS: This exhibition marks 100 years since some women got the right to vote, by displaying photo portraits of all 209 female MPs — all taken by female photographers — in Westminster. Portcullis House, free, book ahead, until 14 February

FREE CHRISTMAS: If Christmas shopping and parties have exhausted your funds, but you want to keep the festivities going, check out our list of free things to do in London at Christmas. We've also got a complete guide to spending Christmas in London, although not everything in there is quite so budget-friendly.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Feeling smug that all your Christmas shopping's done? Got time to actually enjoy being in London at Christmas? One of our favourite things to do is see the Christmas lights... by bus. Here's our guide to hopping on a TfL service and seeing the lights roll pass from the comfort of your moquette throne. Bagging the top front seat though — that's all down to you.

See London's Christmas lights by bus

Monday 17 December

CHRISTMAS RUN: Join fellow runners for a festive jog through the city and along the river, passing plenty of Christmas lights as you go. Christmas attire is encouraged, and it finishes at the pub so there's the option of a post-run pint (or two). Start at Bank, free, book ahead, 6.30pm

COMEDY: Ben Target, Dan Cook, Stevie Martin and Adam Riches join forces for this comedy night, performing material that few other comedians would even think about saying out loud. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5 to book a seat/just turn up for free, 6.45pm

Tuesday 18 December

What's the point of palaeontology?

CHRISTMAS CARRY ON: Indie rock band Versonic headline this gig, raising money for The Alzheimer's Society. Support acts are indie folk musician Jon Markwell and dance rock band The Common Heroes. The Half Moon (Putney), £4, book ahead (£6 on the door), 8pm

PALAEONTOLOGY: If your only experience of palaeontology is Ross Geller from Friends, you might be wondering what the point of it all is. That's what this exhibition and discussion is all about — find out what palaeontologists do, and how far the work goes in helping us to understand the world around us. King's College (Strand), free, book ahead, 6pm-8.15pm

MIRACLE ON LEAKE STREET: Head into the Leake Street graffiti tunnels underneath Waterloo station for one heck of a Christmas party, with a free Muppets Christmas Carol screening, Christmas karaoke, wreath-making workshops, stalls from local traders, mini-productions from VAULT Festival acts and more. Leake Street (Waterloo), free (donations welcome for Waterloo Legal Advice Service), just turn up, 6pm-9pm

Party in the Leake Street tunnel

Wednesday 19 December

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA: T.E. Lawrence — better-known as Lawrence of Arabia — played a central role in the outcome of the first world war in the Middle East. This lecture critiques and compares the real historical figure, and the cultural construct, Lawrence of Arabia. British Academy, free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

SING A LONG CAROLS: The Riverside Brass Quintet provides the soundtrack for an evening of singalong carols and other Christmas songs. Song sheets are provided, and happy hour is 5pm-8pm. Northcote Records (Battersea), free, booking a table recommended, from 7pm

Like Buffalo chicken? There's a treat for you on Friday

Thursday 20 December

COMEDY NIGHT: Norwegian comedian Daniel Simonsen tries out new material at this work-in-progress show. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5 to book a seat/just turn up for free, 6.45pm-7.45pm

HIP HOP KARAOKE: This regular hip hop karaoke night has a special festive twist this week, with Hip Hop Santa due to make an appearance, and a bumper crop of rap songs for you to choose from. Rapping meets wrapping as two rap wannabes attempt to wrap their Christmas presents while they rap live on stage. Queen of Hoxton (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 8pm-2am

Friday 21 December

Attend a talk about The City Centre's model of London

FREE CHICKEN BURGERS: That got your attention, huh? To celebrate the launch of its first permanent location, Other Side Fried is giving away 200 free Buffalo chicken burgers on a first come first served basis. Cranbourn Street kiosk (just outside Leicester Square station), free, just turn up (be prompt — you snooze, you lose when free food is involved), from 12pm

CITY MODEL: Two years ago, this incredible model of central London went on public display. Today's lunchtime talk is a chance to learn more about the 1:500 scale model, which details existing buildings and planned new developments. The City Centre, free, just turn up, 12.30pm-1pm

JOHNNY CASH: Johnny Cash tribute act CASH and their acoustic duo version of the singer's five-piece band perform a tribute gig to the singer, working their way through some of his greatest hits. The Leyton Star, free entry, booking a table recommended, 9pm-1am

Saturday 22 December

Who knows what you might find at Hackney Flea Market

HACKNEY FLEA MARKET: Rummage through items from over 30 handpicked vintage traders, including 20th century furniture, vintage clothes, records, homewares and collectables at Hackney Flea Market. Abney Hall (Stoke Newington), free, just turn up, 22-23 December

SOUL CITY: Dance the night away at an evening of soul, disco and house music from across the ages. Soul City is a regular event, but expect a festive twist tonight. Jazz Cafe (Camden), £6, book ahead, 10.30pm-3am

Sunday 23 December

Winter wassail at Shakespeare's Globe

WINTER WASSAIL: This festive celebration for the whole family has stories and songs by dancer Steven Player, and instrumental music by The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble and The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments. Traditionally, wassailing involved mulled wine or cider, so it'd be rude not to, really. Shakespeare's Globe, £5 standing (seated tickets more), book ahead, 3pm/6pm