Interesting and unusual things to do for a fiver or less this week. For more ideas have a look at our Free & Cheap page.
BLACK HISTORY: October is Black History Month, featuring a packed programme of events and activities celebrating the contribution of African and Caribbean people to the richness of British life, as well as championing and promoting knowledge of the history and cultures of black and ethnic minorities. Many of the events are under £5, check website for full schedule or follow our suggestions.
ART EXHIBITIONS: Feeling arty this month? There is plenty to choose from in London. Take a look at our October art listing: this month includes Damien Hirst, Sebastiao Salgado and Sigmar Polke. Most of the exhibitions listed are free.
FILM FESTIVAL: The Imperial War Museum launches a Short Films Festival today. The participating filmmakers have created films inspired by the museum's collection, exploring the Second World War, contrasting with a focus on more modern conflicts in Vietnam, Syria and Afghanistan, and Ukraine. All film screenings are free, browse website for full programme. Until 10 November
MARVELLOUS MAMMALS: Come face-to-face with all manner of furry animals at the Grant Museum of Zoology's Marvellous Mammals week. Handle specimens such as elephant tusks and tiger skulls. 27 October- 1 November
Monday 27 October
HALF TERM: If you need some inspiration for how to keep your children occupied this half term, take a look at our October Half Term listing. We promise you'll find something fun — and many of the events are free too.
LIBRARY TOUR: Bishopsgate Institute offers a free tour of its historical library. The tour will be led by Stefan Dickers, Bishopsgate Institute’s library and archives manager. Free, prebook, 6.30pm
TECHNOLOGY LECTURE: Professor Polina Bayvel gives a free lecture about modern technology and optical fibres, today at The Royal Society. The event is free, on a first-come first-served basis. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm
COMEDY: The Loft Tickler Free Comedy Night takes place at The Loft in Clapham. Tonight’s acts are Jessica Fostekew, Ean Luckhurst, Paul McMullan, Nick Hodder and Chris Betts. Free, just turn up, 8pm
CINEMA: Head to The Phoenix Artist Club and join The Duke Mitchell Film Club Halloween Special for a free-entry night of horror cinema. It's an evening of brand new and vintage short horror films from around the world. Plus all horror trailers, music, giveaways, madness and more. Free, just turn up, 8pm
Tuesday 28 October
FREE LECTURE: Join expert Michael Crumplin and discover the fascinating and dramatic history of surgery. Uncover the stories behind landmark developments in military surgery, from Agincourt to Afghanistan. The event is free and takes place at The Royal College of Physicians, to book please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Free, prebook, 6pm
BOOK TALK: Author Katharine McMahon presents her latest book The Woman in the Picture at Hatchards Piccadilly. The book is a portrait of life in 1920s London as seen through the eyes of a young woman lawyer who finds herself in the thick of it. The event is free but you need to prebook your place by emailing email@example.com. Free, prebook, 7pm
FREE TALK: The Mosaic Rooms in Earl's Court hosts a free talk about Imre Kiralfy’s of Earl’s Court, an ancient inhabitant of the gallery building. Professor Brendan Gregory tells unknown facts about this art impresario of the past century. Free, prebook by email, 7pm
COMEDY: The Hemingford Tickler Free Comedy Night takes place tonight at The Hemingford Arms in Caledonian Road. Acts confirmed are Joel Dommett, Tom Holmes, Anthony Miller, Jenny Collier, Luke Graves, Stella Graham and Eleanor Morton. Free, just turn up, 8pm
Wednesday 29 October
NEW EXHIBITION: Oxo Tower Gallery hosts a very short exhibition called How To Get To 100. The display explores our century's longer life expectation and focuses on contemporary technology. Free, until 2 November
FILM SCREENING: To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, Brent Civic Centre in Wembley Park hosts the screening of Whose Remembrance?. The film explores the experiences of the peoples of Britain’s former empire in the two world wars. Free, just turn up, 1pm
FREE TALK: Queen Mary University of London hosts a free talk about Fusion Power, lead by Professor Steven Cowley. He will discuss energy generated from nuclear fusion and its future. Free, prebook, 6.30pm
MUSEUM LATE: The Science Museum hosts its periodical late opening, this time the theme is food and drink. There will be talks, games and even an alcohol measurement session. Free, just turn up, from 6.45pm
EXHIBITION LAUNCH: The Wiener Library in Russell Square launches an exhibition to commemorate the genocidal pogroms against the Sikh people in India back in November 1984. On display, photographs by Gauri Gill: today is the private view, all welcome. Free, prebook, 7pm
Thursday 30 October
EXHIBITION: Society of Wildlife Artists kicks off today at Mall Galleries. Four artists spent two weeks in Senegal with scientists, looking at the wintering grounds while other members visited summer breeding grounds in the UK. Their journey is told in this exhibition. £3/£2.50, just turn up, until 9 November
DAY OF THE DEAD: Head to Bargehouse at the Oxo Tower for the 3,000-year-old Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos. The Embassy of Mexico has partnered with José Cuervo tequila and Arte Mexico for an exhibition, and a series of children's workshops. Free, register to take part in children's workshops, 30 October-2 November
FREE WALK: Join CoolTanArts on free guided walking journey through Peckham's hidden rural and literary history. Discover SE15's green and open spaces while you make new friends. Meeting point is Peckham Library. Free, just turn up, 12.30pm
FILM FESTIVAL: Genesis Cinema in Stepney Green celebrates its 15th year with an evening of multi-arts spooks and scares. There will be themed film screenings, live music, comedy, cabaret and live art. Films screened include Ghostbusters, Frankenstein and The Babadook. Check website for updates, most of the events are free or under £5.
Friday 31 October
ART FESTIVAL: Deptford Stories festival celebrates the lives and legends of Deptford, taking place in the empty warehouses and workshops of the former site of Arklow Road Trading Estate. Expect art, music, theatre and history. Free, until 16 November
HALLOWEEN: Today is Halloween and if you haven't planned anything yet, take a look at our suggestions and find out what to do in London during the scariest day of the year. Many of the events are free.
STREET PARTY: Head to Chrisp Street for Bite Street Food event, which repeats every last Friday of the month. The event takes place at the East India Square: expect street food traders, live music, table tennis and giant games. Free, just turn up, 11am-3pm
Saturday 1 November
NEW MARKET: A new weekly produce and street food market launches in Peckham, offering locally sourced produce, street food traders, and for this week, Bonfire Night goodies. Visitors to the market can tweet pictures of their brunch using the hashtag #tweetasyoueat. For every person that tweets it to @peckham_market and @onefeedstwo, a meal will be provided to a child in poverty — the aim is to reach 2,000 by Christmas. Free, just turn up, 10am-2pm
MOTOR SHOW: The Regent Street Motor Show displays over 300 cars spanning 125 years of motoring from the earliest 19th century veterans to the 21st century cars of the future. Free to view, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm
FAMILY DAY: Head to Rich Mix in Shoreditch for the family day of Film Africa Festival. Expect free film screenings, workshops an African Market Corner, as well as an introduction to djembe drumming. Free, just turn up, 11am-3pm
ROMEO AND JULIET: The National Theatre hosts a family workshop enabling youngsters to explore the story of Romeo and Juliet. Find out about the Montagues and Capulets’ ancient grudge, stage a street fight and discover some Shakespearean insults to use on your enemies. £5/£3, prebook, 12.30pm
Sunday 2 November
AIRPORT OPEN DAY: Heading out of the centre of London, Croydon Airport has its monthly open day today. Have a browse around the exhibitions located in the world’s oldest air traffic control tower, and learn about the history of the airport form World War One to its closure in 1959. Free guided tours available. Free (donations gratefully received), just turn up, 11am-4pm (last admission 3.30pm)
CHAPEL TOUR: Take a guided tour around Union Chapel, near Highbury & Islington Station, led by Andy Gardner, Chairman of Islington Archaeology and History Society. Discover a secret passage and a hidden garden, both usually off limits to the public. £5, prebook, 12.15pm
SMILE ACOUSTIC: Rich Mix in Shoreditch is the venue for Smile, a free night where three artists perform their music, as well as collaborative pieces. Free, just turn up, 6pm