Free And Cheap London Events: 8-14 December 2014

By Silvia Baretta Last edited 90 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 8-14 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.

First World War in the Air is on at the RAF Museum. It's part of our top ten art exhibitions to see this month

All Week

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: December's here, which means Christmas markets and mulled wine to warm cold hands. To find the closest one to you, check our Christmas markets and fairs listing.

ART EXHIBITIONS: Feeling arty this month? Look at our top ten art choices for December. The great thing is, most of them are free.

FREE GIGS: Until Christmas Eve you can enjoy a series of free choir gigs inside St Pancras International. The Christmas music programme includes 30 performances by charities from across the UK, including the Salvation Army and the Amy Winehouse Foundation — check full programme. Free, until 24 December

COLLEGE SHOP: London College of Fashion presents its annual College Shop, a pop-up retail shop where students sell their creations to the public. This year the shop is located at 33 Marshall Street, in the heart of Carnaby. 11-16 December, free entry

Monday 8 December

FAMILY FUN: Rich Mix in Shoreditch hosts Wiggly Jigglers, a creative movement session for children aged 0-2. It's run by movement practitioner Jasmine Pasch, who will be joined by Jyoti from Bookbuggy, an online book service for the very young. £4, just turn up, 1pm-3pm

FREE TALK: LSE hosts a free lecture entitled The Tyranny of Experts, at the Old Theatre. Browse more free lectures here. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm 

COMEDY: Joe Lycett headlines Happy Mondays at the Amersham Arms in New Cross, plus sets from Chris Martin, Caroline Mabey, Rory O’Hanlon and Holly Walsh MCing. £4, prebook, 8pm

MORE COMEDY: Nathan Caton and Romesh Ranganathan are trying out an hour of new material each at the Pleasance in Islington. They sold out in Edinburgh, so seeing them both for a fiver isn’t bad at all. £5, prebook, 8pm

Tuesday 9 December

ART EXHIBITION: See the works of painter John Duffin, on show at the Orso Major art gallery in Waterloo. The exhibition includes paintings of London with a recognisable graphic-novel-look inspiration. Free, until 29 December

LUNCH BREAK: The Royal Astronomical Society hosts a free lunchtime lecture called Exploring the Universe Using Exploding Stars, led by Dr Stacey Habergham. It's on a first-come first-served basis, doors open 30 minutes before the talk starts. Free, just turn up, 1pm

FREE TALK: Join a debate about Greece's role in the European financial crisis, at the LSE's Hong Kong Theatre. Browse more free lectures here. Free, prebook by emailing , 6.30pm

CINEMA MUSEUM: Kennington-based Cinema Museum hosts The One Reeler Film Club. During the evening there'll be screenings of pioneering short films alongside some of the best shorts from the current crop of filmmaking talent. £5, prebook, 7pm

FILM CLUB: The Book Club in Shoreditch hosts Crap Film Club, dedicated to B movie sci-fi. Tonight's film is the stone cold crap classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space. £3.50, prebook, 7pm

CHEAP MUSIC: Enjoy a night of indie rock n roll and retro rock with live music featuring Loveless, The 286, Jeanneret and Nude. The gig takes place at The Good Ship in Kilburn. £4, prebook, 7.30pm

COMEDY: Poetry meets comedy at Never Mind the Fullstops, taking place at the Hackney Picturehouse. During the evening, two teams compete with couplets and score with sonnets to see who will make victory from their verse. £5/£4, prebook, 7.30pm

LET'S SWING: Wear your dancing shoes and head to the Doodle Bar in Battersea, where the 11-piece London Dance Orchestra performs live tonight. They will be accompanied on stage by The Mudflappers. £4, prebook, 7.30pm

TRIVIA QUIZ: The Alibi in Dalston hosts a Seinfield Trivia Quiz, inspired by the classic American TV series. Teams can be formed of up to six people, book your space by emailing £1pp, just turn up, 8pm

Tonight The Four Thieves pub in Clapham Junction hosts a night of comedy. Details below

Wednesday 10 December

CUTTY SARK: It's been 60 years since the Cutty Sark sailed into the Greenwich dock. Today, the National Maritime Museum invites everyone to take part in a special Tea and Memories event: there will be afternoon tea, parlour games and conversations about the ship. Free, prebook, 2pm-4pm

FREE LECTURE: SCI in Belgrave Square hosts a free public lecture by Dr Denis Koltsov. It focuses on the most recent developments in nanomaterials application in the food and drink industry as well as associated regulations, definitions, standards and the resulting public perception. Free, prebook, 6pm

POETRY: Join an evening of live poetry at its most vital, with artists working at the leading edge of the form. Next Generation Poets 2014 takes place at Foyles Charing Cross Road and features Kate Tempest, Mark Waldron, Patience Agbabi and Warsan Shire. £5, prebook, 6.30pm

ART TALK: American artist Shana Moulton presents a new performance tonight at the South London Gallery, featuring a mix of videos and multidimensional installations which weave together anxiety and dreams associated with bio-medical advance and alternative medicine. £5, prebook, 7pm

BURN AFTER READING: Hosted by a community of emerging young poets, this showcases the foremost voices of poetry and spoken word. This month features Salena Godden and Adam Kammerling alongside the Burn After Reading Poets, at Seven Dials Club, Covent Garden. £5, just turn up, 7.45pm

CHEAP TALK: Dr Emily Mayhew, Medical Historian from Imperial College, leads a talk about The Long Carry, explaining how stretcher bearers of the Great War transformed military medicine. It takes place at the Richmond Scientific Society. £2, just turn up, 8pm

COMEDY: The Four Thieves pub in Clapham Junction hosts a comedy night every Wednesday, presented by Laugh Train Home Comedy. Tonight, the featured acts are Andrew Ryan, Russell Hicks and Robyn Perkins. £5, prebook, 8.15pm

Thursday 11 December

DESIGN MARKET: Tonight you can enjoy some festive shopping at Clapton Christmas Design Market, at 119 Lower Clapton Road and featuring local crafters and producers. Free, from 6pm

FREE TALK: Go to The Iraqi Cultural Centre in Shepherd's Bush for a free talk by Dr Nelida Fuccaro. She will talk explore the lives and cultures of Iraq’s oil workers before the 1958 Revolution. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm

REMEMBER MANDELA: International aid agency CAFOD hosts a free film event to commemorate a year since Nelson Mandela’s death. Catch Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom followed by a Q&A with the film’s award-winning director, Justin Chadwick. It's at The May Fair Hotel. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

COMEDY: Comedy in the Attic is an alternative comedy night at Hackney Attic. Tonight's headliner is Tom Toal, supported by Grainne Maguire and Chris Betts. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

LONDON FOLKLORE: South East London Folklore Society takes a look at the origins of Christmas traditions and customs, holding a special Christmas talk at the Old King's Head pub. Expect storytelling, mince pies and festive drinks during the evening. £3/£1.50, prebook by emailing, 8pm

FREE GIG: Head to The Magic Garden in Battersea for a free gig featuring the alternative tunes of Captain Hotknives. Free, just turn up, 9pm

Friday 12 December

WALK IN THE PARK: As the shortest day of the year approaches, join the Isis Education Centre team for a stroll around Kensington Gardens, to look at seasonal folklore and traditions connected to the winter’s darkest days. Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert introduced many of the traditions we recognise today and you’ll find out how on this walk. £5, prebook, noon

OPEN DAY: Morley College in Westminster hosts an open day, offering free learning sessions to the public. Choose between pop dance, French for business and Thai for beginners. Free, prebook, 9.30am-7pm

BRITISH MUSEUM: Head to the British Museum for an evening of festivities inspired by German folk and folklore. There will be a live performance by Berlin-based musician Dagobert, who will present a set of German-language love songs which incorporate elements of traditional German folk or ‘Schlager’ music as well as 1980s synth and electropop. Free, just turn up, 6pm

LIVE JAZZ: Foyles in Charing Cross Road has a live gig performed by Ray’s Jazz. Expect a set of jazz classic repertoire with some fresh arrangements of music by John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

MUSIC NIGHT: Head to The Good Ship in Kilburn for a cheap music night: listen to soul, r'n'b and pop. Expect a mix of DJs and bands playing monstrous grooves and all the soul, funk and blues you can handle until 4am. £4, prebook, from 7.30pm

DISCO NIGHT: There's a special The Smiths vs The Cure disco night at Hackney Attic. Dress like your miserable hero and enjoy (?) live performances as well as DJ music. £5, prebook, from 8pm

Crafty Fox Market is at The Bussey Building in Peckham this weekend. Details below

Saturday 13 December

CITY ROAD LOCK: This weekend you have the rare opportunity to venture to the bottom of City Road Lock in Angel and walk along the original Victorian, 200-year-old brickwork and get up close with one of the finest examples of working heritage in the world. The open weekend is part of a national programme of events showcasing restoration work by the Canal & River Trust. 13-14 December, 10am-3pm both days

FASHION WEEKEND: The Oval Space in Kennington hosts a Christmas Fashion Weekend: there will be more than 30 designers, music and drinks. Tickets are £3 for a single day, £5 for the weekend pass or free between 7pm-9pm on Saturday — check website for full information. 13-14 December

PECKHAM: Crafty Fox Market is at The Bussey Building in Peckham this weekend, with over 50 stalls plus workshops, DJs and drinks. 13-14 December, 12pm-6pm daily

OPEN DAY: Barking and Dagenham Police Station opens its doors to the public today. The event is aimed especially at families, providing visitors with a rare and behind-the-scenes glimpse of their local police and seeing some of the specialist units, equipment and resources that the MPS has at its disposal. Free, just turn up, 10am-3pm

BUSKER CHOIR: The British Humanist Choir is busking for charity at London Bridge tube station today: expect non-religious Christmas songs by everyone from Tim Minchin to the Pogues. Donations are welcome, and will help the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Free, 10am-noon

CHRISTMAS FAIR: 80 real Christmas trees sponsored by local residents will decorate Christ Church in Erith, to mark the beginning of a one-day Christmas Fair. Free, 13 December 10am-7pm & 14 December noon-5pm

TASTING TOUR: Led by artist Lucy Harrison, this walk will visit some of Ilford’s most intriguing food outlets for a range of tastes sampling Turkish, Polish, and Asian cuisines. Meeting point is The Exchange — vegetarian options as well. Free, prebook by emailing, 11am-1pm

PEXMAS: This day long event at Holly Grove Park in Peckham offers a festive atmosphere for shopping, with carollers and food. Pexmas aims to support local traders and groups. Free, just turn up, 11am-7pm

FREE GIG: Gamelan Christmas Chimes holds a live performance at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Enjoy Javanese gamelan, shadow-puppetry and dance performances. Free, just turn up, 1pm-6pm

HERITAGE WALK: Explore Brixton Market and its surrounding area with a guided walk organised by the Brixton Society. You can prebook your place by emailing and pay on the day. £3, prebook, 2.30pm

BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE: Join a philosophy discussion chaired by author Anja Steinbauer, co-founder of the London School of Philosophy, taking place at Bishopsgate Institute. The discussion will focus on philosophy during the First World War. Free, just turn up, 2.30pm

ART TALK: Curator Amira Gad leads a tour of the exhibition of Julio Le Parc's works at Serpentine Galleries. Free, just turn up, 3pm

Sunday 14 December

FAMILY FUN: Looking for something to do  with your children today? The V&A Museum has plenty of free drop-in workshops. Activities include museum tours, drawing and design activities. Check the website for timing and event details.

VINTAGE MARKET: Mid Century Market is on at Cecil Sharp House today, with plenty of clothes stalls inspired by the style of the 1950s. There will also be records and homeware on sale, as well as a vintage hair salon and barber — all in rockabilly style. £3pp, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm

LONDON FOLKLORE: Watch Bexleyheath's local Morris troupe perform a traditional Mummers play at The Red House in Bexleyheath. Free, 1.30pm

CHELSEA: Head to Chelsea Old Town Hall for the Chelsea Christmas Gift Fair, where you can browse fashion items for both men and women, homewares, children’s toys and clothes, plus food products. Today is the last day of the fair. £3 entry, noon-5pm

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.

Last Updated 06 December 2014