Free And Cheap London Events: 26 January-1 February 2015

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 80 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 26 January-1 February 2015

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

All Week

ART EXHIBITIONS: Feeling arty this month? Look at our top 10 art choices for January. Most of them are free.

Monday 26 January

DIGITAL DINOSAUR: The Natural History Museum hosts a talk about its new stegosaurus skeleton and how scientific techniques can teach us things about the creature which died 150 million years ago. Free, just turn up, 2.30pm

AUSTRALIA DAY: Celebrate Australia Day in the rooftop wigwam at Queen of Hoxton. Expect food from a rooftop barbecue and live DJs all night. Free, just turn up, 4pm-12pm

SCIENCE FICTION: Head to the new Blackwell’s bookshop in Holborn for an evening of science fiction with authors Ben Aaronovitch (who wrote City Read’s 2015 book, Rivers of London), Den Patrick and Sarah Pinborough. All three will be signing books and chatting about their work. Free, just turn up, 5.30pm

PAKISTAN PLAY: In today’s National Theatre Platform, Shahid Nadeem, writer and director of the original version of Dara, is joined by production consultant Anwar Akhtar to discuss the play and look at the broader cultural landscape of Pakistan, and the many links between Pakistan and Britain. £4/£3, prebook, 6pm

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL: Dame Stephanie Shirley delivers a special talk at The Wiener Library, discussing the story of her life and her experience as a child refugee from Nazism. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

CLIMATE CHANGE: Writers share work they have produced on the topic of climate change at the Free Word Centre on Farringdon Road, as the result of a year-long project. Free, prebook, 6.45pm

FILM CLUB: The Duke Mitchell Film Club is back at the Phoenix Artist Club with a screening of 1992 gangland film Street Wars, plus short films, trailers and a quiz. Free, RSVP on Facebook, from 7pm

RUNNING CLUB: Victoria Park Harriers and Tower Hamlets Athletics Club are hosting running sessions for complete beginners. The sessions are aimed at those who have never run or who have taken an extended break from running, providing a friendly, supportive and fun environment in which to get fit. Meet at the Clubhouse at Victoria Park. Free, just turn up, 7pm

Tuesday 27 January

Make Escape is at Hackney Attic

LUNCH LECTURE: Professor Peter Rees from UCL's The Bartlett School of Planning talks about his four decades experience as an architect-planner, and how it is people, not designs, which make a place. Free, just turn up, 1.15pm

AUTHOR SIGNING: Ali Smith, author of Hotel World, Artful and Man Booker Prize nominated How to be Both is at the new Blackwell's bookshop in Holborn signing copies of her latest book. Free, just turn up, 2.30pm

DOT TO DOT: Play with dot to dot drawings like you used to when you were a child... except this time the finished images are taken from 1970s album covers and vintage Playboy magazines. At Drink Shop Do in King's Cross. Free, just turn up, from 7pm

MAKE ESCAPE: The free monthly craft event is at Hackney Attic, with an alien theme. Have a go at making soft toy aliens and sci-fi character dolls. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

COMEDY: Vast numbers of comedians line up at Joke Newington in, well, Stoke Newington. It won’t cost you a penny to get in to see Eric Lampaert, Chris Coltrane, Rosie Martin, Roisin O’Rourke and loads more. Free, just turn up, 8pm

Wednesday 28 January

Science Museum Lates

PIANIST CONCERT: Catch Royal College of Music graduate and pianist Nicholas McCarthy at Conway Hall. Impressively, McCarthy is a one-handed pianist. Free, prebook, from 6.15pm

SHERLOCK: Join the curator of the Museum of London’s Sherlock Holmes exhibition for an evening delving into the mind of the world’s most famous fictional detective at Waterstone's Piccadilly. £5/£3, prebook, 6.30pm

LIVING LIBRARY: It's adults only at Grant Museum of Zoology's Living Library, an evening of conversations with UCL researchers who tell stories of their research and give information about some of the specimens in the collection. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm

SCIENCE LATE: Science Museum's monthly adults only late has an engineering theme. Watch Savage Skills cycle display team thunder round the track — then explain the science behind what they're doing. Plus talks, workshops and a silent disco. Free (charge for some events), just turn up, from 6.45pm

LEGO ROBOTS: Yes, it's that time of month again. Head to Drink Shop Do to let your inner child loose on building robots made of Lego. Take it seriously, it's a competition y'know. Free, just turn up, from 7pm

COMEDY: Many Radio 4 series have sprung from Tall Tales at the Good Ship, Kilburn. See what John Finnemore, Gareth Edwards, Susannah Pearse, Anna Savory and Mike Westcott have come up with this time. £5, email to reserve a place, 8pm

Thursday 29 January

VANISHING FOR THE VOTE: The theme of tonight's talk at the National Archives in Kew is the 1911 census. Despite decades of campaigning, no woman had won the right to vote, so Suffragettes urged women to boycott the census. Free, prebook, 6pm

PLAYWRITING PRIZE: Tonight's National Theatre Platform marks 10 years of the Bruntwood Prize, the UK's biggest playwriting competition. Panellists are director Michael Buffong, playwrights Duncan Macmillan (a previous winner of the Prize) and Simon Stephens, and journalists Miranda Sawyer and Matt Trueman. £4/£3, prebook, 6pm

TALK TO ME: This month's social event, aiming to get strangers talking, is centred around the topic of New Year's Resolutions. Go along to The Square Pig in Holborn prepared to have conversations with plenty of new people. Free (donations welcome), prebook, 7pm

Friday 30 January

It's a late night at the Natural History Museum.

MUSEUM LATE: It's the  last Friday of the month, which means Natural History Museum is open late. The adults-only event sees bars and food outlets pop up in the museum, for a chance to explore the exhibitions and galleries away from the usual crowds. Free (charge and booking required for some events), just turn up, 6pm-10pm

ASTRONOMY: Hampstead Observatory‘s weekly open nights give the public a chance to view the heavens. NOTE: the observatory only opens if the skies are clear — keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates. Free, just turn up, 8pm-10pm. Repeated Saturday 31 January

Saturday 31 January

IMAGINARY MENAGERIE: Head to the Grant Museum of Zoology for a family day of animal artwork, led by a museum artist, focusing on some of the more unusual animals in the museum’s collection including the quagga. Free, just turn up, 1pm-4pm

SWISHING: Have a clear out and get rid of some old clothes while replacing them with something new at this clothes swap event at the Brownfield Cabin in Poplar. Bring up to 10 good quailty items of clothing or shoes, and swap them for others. Free, prebook, 1pm-4pm

NATIONAL TRUST: Maria Devaney of the National Trust will talk about one of the Trust’s recent acquisitions, 575 Wandsworth Road. This modest terraced house has been turned into an inspiring work of art with hand-carved fretwork patterns and motifs by its previous owner, Kenyan-born poet and novelist, Khadambi Asalache. At Richmond Library. £2, just turn up, 2.30pm

Sunday 1 February

Frock Me! Vintage Fair

VINTAGE FAIRS: Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair celebrates 10 years in Bethnal Green with a selection of hand-picked stalls packed with affordable vintage fashion, accessories and homewares. £3 before 11am/£2 after. 10.30am-4.30pm. Frock Me! Vintage Fair is also back at Chelsea Old Town Hall with thousands of vintage items for sale and an old-fashioned tea room. £4, prebook, 11am-5.30pm

LIGHT DAY: Serpentine Gallery’s Sackler Centre hosts a drop in family day around the theme of light. Join filmmaker James Holcombe and explore the properties of light in this creative workshop inspired by Julio Le Parc’s exhibition. Have a go at scratching, punching and drawing onto 16mm film to make moving images in the experimental projection room. Free, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

POETRY READING: Head to Keats House in Hampstead for a poetry reading by two Waterloo Press poets, Simon Jenner and David Pollard. Free, just turn up, 3pm

SMILE ACOUSTIC: Three performers take to the stage at Rich Mix to perform sets in collaboration with local music groups, in a bid to make everyone smile. There’s free cake too. Free, just turn up, 6pm

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 25 January 2015