Free And Cheap London Events: 1-7 December 2014

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 116 months ago

Last Updated 30 November 2014

Free And Cheap London Events: 1-7 December 2014

Interesting and unusual things to do for a fiver or less this week. For more ideas have a look at our Free & Cheap page.

The Wallace Collection is open late on Friday

All Week

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: December's here, which means Christmas markets are opening thick and fast. To find the closest one to you, check our Christmas markets and fairs listing.

FREE GIGS: From the beginning of the month until 24 December, St Pancras International hosts a series of free choir gigs inside the station. The Christmas music programme includes 30 performances by charities across the UK, including the Salvation Army and the Amy Winehouse Foundation — check full programme. Free, until 24 December

JEWISH COMEDY FEST: JW3 in Finchley hosts the first ever UK Jewish Comedy Festival. While many of the events cost up to £20, some of them are cheap, or even free. Try the Jewish Comedian of the Year heats on Tuesday (£5), Comedy Quiz on Wednesday (£5), or afternoon of masterclasses on Thursday (free!). See full programme. 29 November-7 December

TREE WEEK: Celebrating National Tree Week, The Conservation Foundation's Ulmus Londinium exhibition at City Hall reveals the elm tree’s special relationship with the capital’s built environment, crafts and biodiversity, and the elm's fascinating London story. Free, 1-5 December

BEER FEST: The annual Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider Festival takes place at Hackney's Round Chapel. East End breweries feature strongly in the line-up, plus a full range of foreign and bottled beers, artisan ciders and speciality food stalls. The event supports three charities: Alzheimer's Society, plus two local organisations, Laburnum Boat Club and The Sharp End. £3 for CAMRA members, £5 for non members, 2-6 December

Monday 1 December

CITY: The historic Draper’s Hall is the venue for The City Christmas Fair, held every year in aid of Wellbeing of Women. Browse stalls filled with luxury goods, foods and stocking fillers. Unwind with a glass of bubbly at the champagne bar and then place a bid in the popular Silent Auction. £5 entry, get tickets here, 11am-8pm

LONDON GEOLOGY: Learn about London's natural heritage and geology, particularly the spectacular features of the Lea Valley, with London Wildlife Trust expert Alister Hayes at Hackney Marshes Centre. Free, prebook, 7pm

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: Indie publisher the Emma Press launches their new book about female friendship, Best Friends Forever, at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall. Introduced by editor Amy Key and with readings from poets including Sophia Blackwell, Holly Hopkins and Martha Sprackland. Free, just turn up, 7pm

AUTHOR TALK: Celebrated film critic and gothic horror and fantasy author Kim Newman is at Barbican Library to chat about his work, with journalist and author Barry Forshaw. Free, just turn up, 7pm

LIVE MUSIC: The Amersham Arms in New Cross hosts The Midi Music Company's live music evening, The Breakout Club, with performances from Bare Hunter, Nina Rubesa, King Compass and Jessica Wilde. Free (donations welcome), prebook, 8pm

Tuesday 2 December

CANDLELIGHT MUSEUM: On the first Tuesday of every month, Sir John Soane's Museum near Holborn stays open late to let visitors explore the building by candlelight. The event is always extremely popular, with long queues, so we recommend getting there early to get your free ticket. Free, just turn up, from 5.30pm

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Professor Jacqueline McGlade, UNEP Chief Scientist, is at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources to give a talk called Strengthening the science policy interface: different approaches, visions, models and tools for achieving sustainable development. Free, prebook, 5.30pm

LADBROKE GROVE ROCK: North Kensington Library hosts a talk and slideshow about the rock music history of Ladbroke Grove. Hear myths about legends such as Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and The Clash. Free, prebook, 6pm

VISUAL CULTURES: For tonight's Visual Cultures lecture at the Royal College of Art in Battersea, multi-media artist Susan Hiller and art historian and curator Sarah Wilson discuss Hiller’s recent projects. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

FREE COMEDY: Experienced stand-up comedian Simon Caine performs at Dogstar Brixton. This is a work-in-progress preview for his latest upcoming show, Buddhism and Cats, which he's taking to Brighton Fringe in 2015. There will be two support acts. Pay what you want on the way out, just turn up, 7.30pm

Whirlygig Cinema's spotlight

Wednesday 3 December

WHIRLYGIG CINEMA: Every month, three emerging filmmakers are given 30 minutes each to screen and talk about their films at Spotlight. At the end of the night they take part in a Q&A. Tonight's event at Hackney Attic focuses on art and the more experimental side of filmmaking, featuring Nicholas Abrahams, Noriko Okaku and Erica Stanga. £5/£4/£3, prebook, 7pm

STANZA BONANZA: Southwark and Brondesbury go head to head in tonight’s Stanza Bonanza at The Poetry Cafe with members of both teams performing and doing poetry readings. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

HAPPY STAN: Dash Arts has its monthly evening at Rich Mix, and tonight David Elliott, curator of the Between Heaven and Earth exhibition, is in conversation with Dash Arts Artistic Director Josephine Burton about the vibrant contemporary art that is being made in the former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in Afghanistan and Mongolia. Free, prebook, 7.30pm

PAMPHLET POWER: The Emma Press Pamphlet Poets are giving a special reading at the Saison Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre. This Special Edition event features John Clegg, Andrew Wynn Owen, Ruth Wiggins, Rachel Piercey and Stephen Sexton. Free, prebooking essential, 8pm

Thursday 4 December

MADE IN DAGENHAM: Valence House in Dagenham is the venue for a screening of a 1950s film about the history of Ford, and a chance to look at archive history related to the company. Free, just turn up, 2pm

CHRISTMAS EVENT: Stratford Road Village Shops and High Street Kensington join forces for a late night Christmas event with free food and drinks, games and performances from Royal College of Music. Free, just turn up, from 6pm

ARTIST TALK: Nathan Eastwood is the winner of the inaugural East London Painting Prize and  his solo exhibition Work/Recreation/Freedom is currently on show at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow. Tonight, he is in conversation with curator and editor Matthew Price about social realism and his painting practice. £4, prebook, 7pm

LIVE MUSIC: The Barrowboy on Fulham Broadway is the location for the inaugural Triptych, with performances from pianist Henri Herbert, singer songwriter and guitarist duo Tommy Hare and Freddie Keen, and DJ Nicky Francis. £3/£5, prebook, 7pm

From Friday, see painted Cambodian signs

Friday 5 December

CAMBODIAN SIGNS: The Painted Signs in Cambodia exhibition in Hackney is put together by London ghost signs expert Sam Roberts. The exhibition features a mixture of original signage, photography and contextual materials to support the understanding of handwritten advertising signs and their role in Cambodian life. Free, just turn up, 5-7 December

HIV LECTURE: Janey Sewell, an HIV specialist nurse and PhD student at UCL, presents an overview of her research in HIV transmission risk and HIV testing in the context of the UK's epidemic. At RCN Library and Heritage Centre in Cavendish Square. Free, prebook, 12.30pm

ROMAN GATE: Tour the remains of the western gate of London’s Roman military fort, located beneath the streets of the City of London. Tour is led by Museum of London, and involves a flight of stairs. £2.50, prebook, 2pm/3pm

FABULOUS FEASTING: The Wallace Collection has a late night adults only evening along the theme of Fabulous Feasting, with activities such as lectures, book signings, tours, life drawing and live music. Free, prebook, 6pm-9.30pm

CAT BOOK: Tom Cox, owner of @MySadCat and other mogs, is at Bookseller Crow on the Hill in Crystal Palace talking all things feline. £3, just turn up, 7pm

FOLK MUSIC: The monthly Live Folk Music Evening on board Golden Hinde II is hosted by Woody Newman III and sees singers and bands playing a variety of folk music. £5, prebook, 7pm-11pm

SPITALFIELDS NIPPERS: The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life is at Bishopsgate Institute to introduce Horace Warner’s Spitalfields Nippers, showing photographs and giving the background to the set of images of East End people in the 1900s. Free, prebook, 7.30pm

Get Your Knit On at Southbank Centre

Saturday 6 December

WAR ARCHIVE: To celebrate the opening of RAF Museum’s First World War in the Air exhibition, there’s a special archive viewing event which will highlight Christmas during the conflict. The archive team will be on hand to answer questions about the First World War or on any of the letters, memoirs, log-books and manuals that are on display. Free, prebook, 6-7 December

OPEN STUDIOS: Eel Pie Island Artist Studios in Twickenham have a rare open day, giving the public a chance to access the private island, see artists at work and buy or commission work. Free, 10.30am-5.30pm, 6-7 December

CHRISTMAS BOOK FAIR: The first Kensington Christmas Book Fair takes place at Kensington Town Hall. More than 90 booksellers from around the UK will exhibit paper collectables from books to photographs, from posters to postcards, autographs and manuscripts. Free, 6-7 December from 10am daily

GET YOUR KNIT ON: Following the success of last year’s knitting project, Get Your Knit On returns to Southbank Centre welcoming all abilities to knit squares and sew them together to make blankets for older people this Christmas. The project is in partnership with Age UK Lambeth who will distribute the finished blankets to vulnerable older people as part of their Warm and Well Project. Free, just turn up, until 11 January

BIRD WALK: The Friends of Holland Park lead a Bird and Nature Walk, looking for fauna and flora of seasonal interest and incorporating updates on ecology related matters in the park. The walks are open to the general public who have interest in birds and nature. Free, just turn up, 9am

LAPSE LONDON: Join Triggertrap, along with expert London street photographer Nicholas Goodden and pro motion timelapse photographer Chad Gordon Higgins, in creating a crowdsourced timelapse movie, showing off all the sites and wonders London has to offer. Free, prebook, 12pm-6.30pm

FESTIVE JUMPER: On this Saturday and next Saturday 13 December, Chipotle Mexican Grill chain has a special treat for its customers who get into the festive spirit by wearing a cheesy themed jumper. If you wear a Christmas-y sweater, you'll get a free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos — valid in all London restaurants. From 4pm-6pm

Sunday 7 December

VISIT A MUSEUM: Have you ever heard of the Kirkaldy Testing Museum? If not, today you can visit it for free and find out more about the activity of David Kirkaldy, whose testing and experimenting works set international standards in testing materials from which everyone’s life benefits today. There will be regular guided tours during the day and, if possible, the museum will run tests on Kirkaldy’s machine as well. Free, just turn up, 10am-4pm

AIRPORT OPEN DAY: The Croydon Airport Visitor Centre opens its doors to the public today. During the day there will be free guided tours and the chance to visit the centre for free. This event repeats every first Sunday of every month. Free (donations welcome), just turn up, 11am-4pm

BEHIND THE SCENES: The Union Chapel offers behind-the-scenes tours once a month, so take advantage of it this Sunday. Tours lasting an hour start at 12.15pm: numbers are limited, so visitors are asked to book in advance on 020 7359 4019 or email [email protected]. £5, prebook, from 12.15pm

Check out our map of free things to do in London for more frugal fun. Or pop over to who also have plenty of great ideas.