Free And Cheap London Events: 9-15 February 2015

By Londonist Last edited 47 months ago
Free And Cheap London Events: 9-15 February 2015

Interesting and unusual things to do for a fiver or less this week, sponsored by CommuterClub.

All Week

Play flamingo croquet at Southbank Centre

LAST CHANCE: It's your last chance to see The Wallace Collection's exhibition about its history and founders. The exhibition uses material from the Hertford House Historic Collection and Wallace Collection archives. Free, just turn up, until 15 February

FLAMINGO CROQUET: Take on the challenge of the Queen of Hearts and play croquet like Alice with pink flamingoes (not real, we assume) at Southbank Centre. For ages 4-12. Free, just turn up, 9-22 February

HALF TERM: Half term takes place 14-22 February. Click here for our complete guide to keeping kids and teenagers entertained in London, whatever your budget.

Monday 9 February

READING GROUP: Ditch the normal reading group where everyone pretends to have read the book, even though no-one has. Head instead to Rich Mix, where every week a short story and poem is read out loud, to be discussed as a group. Free, just turn up, 6pm

THEATRE BOOK: Actor Michael Pennington is at National Theatre to introduce his new book, Let Me Play the Lion Too, a guide to being an actor. Followed by a book signing. £4/£3, prebook, 6pm

INAPPROPRIATE CARDS: Drink Shop Do is giving you a chance to make a highly inappropriate Valentine's card. Avoid the sloppy sonnets and focus on what you really love... even if that is pizza. Free with a drink, just turn up, from 7pm

BIRD TALK: Author and RSPB manager Conor Jameson is at Whitgift Sports Club in South Croydon to talk about his favourite bird, the goshawk. £3.50, prebook, 2pm/8pm

BINGO: Every Monday at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The Big Bingo Show takes place. Expect entertainment themed bingo rounds interspersed with cabaret acts and the like. Free entry/£1 a round, just turn up, from 7pm

LAYDEEZ DO COMICS: The women-led graphic novel forum is back at Foyles on Charing Cross Road. The social evening allows emerging artists and established practitioners to test new works and ideas. Men and women welcome, whether you have experience of comics or not. £1 donation, prebook, 6pm-8.30pm

Tuesday 10 February

KNITTING: The Fleming Collection runs free knitting drop in sessions, where you can help with making knitted booties which will be donated to Knit For Peace. Materials and refreshments provided. Free, just turn up, 1pm-3pm

RELIGIOUS TENSIONS: Today's lunch hour lecture at UCL focuses on tensions between social harmony and religious diversity. Free, just turn up, 1.15pm

MEMENTO MORTIS: How is death remembered and commemorated? Head to London Metropolitan Archives to explore monuments, gravestones, tombs and other memorials to the dear departed. Free, prebook, 2pm-3pm

SELF DEFENCE: There are free self-defence classes for women, led by female instructors, every Tuesday at the University of East London. No previous martial arts experience required. Meet at the Sportdock at the University. Free, just turn up, 6-7pm

FILM CLUB: The Traveller's Film Club is back at Waterstones on Piccadilly showing three films about famous travel writers, including Freya Stark who sailed down the Euphrates from Jerablus in Syria in 1977, aged 84. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

SPEAKEASY: Drink Shop Do hosts a Speakeasy evening with authors Nikesh Shukla and Lucy Ribchester. Take part in the Story Challenge where they are given a theme by the audience and have to come up with a tale on the spot. Free, just turn up, from 7pm

UNZIP THE LIP: A brand new night of comedy, theatre, poetry and music takes place at The Book Club in Shoreditch. Confirmed so far is comedy from Comedy Bitch, storytelling from The Grandees, music from the SuperSpokes and poetry by Hannah Salter. £5, just turn up, 7.30pm

LIARS LEAGUE: The Phoenix on Cavendish Square hosts the monthly Liars League. Actors and authors stand up to tell stories they have written along the theme of Beautiful & Damned. £5, just turn up, 7.30pm

NEXT GENERATION POETRY: Head to Dulwich Library for an event organised jointly between Dulwich Books and Carcanet Poetry. Four of The Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets perform their work. Free, prebook, 7.30pm

Wednesday 11 February

Soumik Datta Arts Club at Rich Mix

HOLBORN WALK: Join a free walk in Holborn, incorporating a tour of Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, home of the South Place Ethical Society; see the Main Hall, Library and the Green Room. Free, prebook, 1pm

HUMAN EVOLUTION: Is human evolution over? This is the topic of tonight's Gresham College lecture at Museum of London. Genetics professor Steve Jones puts forward the argument that at least in the developed world, and at least for the time being, this process is over. Free, just turn up, 6pm

ANCIENT GREEKS: British Academy hosts a panel discussion uncovering what the Greeks were reading beyond the classics which we know of today, from romance novels to cook books. Free, prebook, 6pm

BOOK LAUNCH: Sarah Helm is at Wiener Library to discuss her book If this is a Woman: Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women. Until recently, little was known about the story of Ravensbrück but Helm's research has allowed her to venture into the heart of the camp. Free, prebook, 6.30pm

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS: LSE hosts a debate with several expert speakers about whether children’s rights are enhanced or undermined by access to the internet. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm

NEW AUTHOR: Lucy Ribchester is in conversation with Eithne Farry about her debut novel The Hourglass Factory at Waterstones in Hampstead. The book, featuring Suffragettes and acrobats, takes place in an atmospheric Edwardian London. £5/£3, prebook, 7pm

MUSIC MIX: Soumik Datta Arts Club at Rich Mix brings together eclectic musicians for a night mixing tribal, classical, punk, electronica, house, soul and retro rock music. Free, just turn up, from 8pm

The list continues after a message from our sponsor.

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Thursday 12 February

16-21 year olds can have a go at creating wigs at National Theatre

FOOD EXHIBITION: Science Museum's new exhibition, Cravings, opens today, looking at how food affects your body, brain and eating habits. Free, just turn up

MAKE A WIG: 16-21 year olds can find out about wig-making and hair design in this National Theatre workshop and get the chance to design a wig, inspired by period styles. £5, prebook, 5pm-8pm

LONDON GOTHIC: Head to London Metropolitan Archives for an introduction to the curiosities in the collections.​ Expect witchcraft, resurrectionists, ghosts and séances. Free, just turn up, 6pm-6.30pm

LGBT FILM SCREENING: Wiener Library screens Bent, an adaptation of Martin Sherman's award-winning stage play exploring the sufferings of gay men in the Nazi camps. Part of LGBT History Month. Free, prebook, 6pm

SHORT FILMS: Shorts on Tap is at 93 Feet East on Brick Lane for screenings of short films from abroad, plus discussions and debates with the directors. £3, prebook, 7pm

COMEDY: Head to Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green for an evening of comedy with Daniel Ruiz Tizon — a fundraising event for Resonance FM, a radio station that relies entirely on donations. £5, prebook, 7pm

50 SHADES OF CLAY: Drink Shop Do offers customers a chance to get saucy with clay by making models on a 50 Shades Of Grey theme. We're blushing already. Free, just turn up, from 7pm

LOST NEIGHBOURHOODS: South East London Folklore Society meets at the Old King's Head in Borough for an evening about London's lost and vanished neighbourhoods, including the most feared neighbourhood in the western world and London’s first Olympic Park. £3/£1.50, prebook, 8pm

Friday 13 February

FRIDAY 13TH: Head to Holborn for a special walk for Friday 13th, visiting sites connected to spells, superstition and prophecies. Free, 1pm

BLEEDING HEART: Scott Wood of London Fortean Society (and occasionally Londonist) leads a two hour walk around Farringdon. Hear heart-wrenchingly gory legends of Bleeding Heart Yard, the divorced statue, wife sales, husband-bothering from beyond the grave, scratching fanny, phantom black dogs, tacky love tokens, the rat love queen, the shrine of the prostitute's graveyard and more. £5, prebook via, 7pm

COMEDY: That Thing at the Hope and Anchor in Islington features a mix of stand up, sketch and improv. Tonight’s line-up is Ed Aczel, Kate Weston, Richard Todd, Jay Cowle and Laurence Owen. £4.89, prebook, 8pm

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

ZOMBIES: Meet horror author Darren Shan at Waterstones in Croydon. He'll be signing copies of his latest book in the Zom-B series. Free, just turn up, 4.30pm

LONDON DREAMTIME: Join storyteller Vanessa Woolf and Nigel of Bermondsey for a candlelit night of horrific urban legends and site-specific ghost stories in a scary secret ruin in Peckham. 18+. £3, prebook, 6pm

London Dreamtime takes on Friday 13th

Saturday 14 February

WIND IN THE WILLOWS: Open Book Theatre Company tours its show of Wind in the Willows around several London libraries throughout half term. Join the inimitable Toad, as well as his friends Ratty, Mole and Badger, as they take you on a journey through the beautiful English countryside. All tickets are free but donations to the Crowdfunding page are welcome, prebook, 14-22 February

PLANTASTIC: Horniman Museum's new exhibition, Plantastic, opens today. The family-friendly exhibition brings the miniature world of plants to life on a massive scale, exploring topics such as why dung is so important. £6.50 adult/£3.50 child, prebook, until 1 November. There's also a free farmers' market at the museum every week.

RESERVOIR WALK: Join the RSPB for a guided walk around Waterworks Nature Reserve in Leyton. Waterproofs, warm clothing and binoculars recommended. £2/£3, prebook, 9.30am

BOOK SWAP: If your children are in need of a new tome or two to keep them quiet over the week, take them along to artsdepot in North Finchley for a book swap. Bring a book you want to get rid of, and take a new one away — simple. And there are bookmark making workshops throughout the day. Ages 2-12. Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm. The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green also has a children’s book swap today. Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

MEET THE AUTHORS: Young adult author Cathy Cassidy is signing copies of Sweet Honey, the latest book in her Chocolate Box Girls series at Waterstones Clapham. Free, just turn up, 11am. Over at the Croydon branch, horror author Darren Shan is signing copies of Zom-B Bride. 4.30pm

VALENTINE’S ANIMALS: Head to Battersea Park Zoo and show the animals some love. Help the keepers prepare food in the shape of hearts, or make a ‘Lovebird’ puppet. Free/£1, just turn up, from 11am

FAMILY DAY: Whitechapel Gallery encourages children and their families to get inspired by abstract art and create costumes, hats and jewellery to become a walking work of art themselves. Free, prebook, 12pm-4pm

SWAP-A-SHOP: Bring children’s books and clothes along to Southbank Centre to swap with others — perfect for getting the kids a few new books to keep them entertained during half term. Free, just turn up, 12pm-6pm

ANTI VALENTINE: Not in the lovey dovey sprit of the day? Head over to Drink Shop Do for an Anti-Valentine's Party. There will be no roses or hearts, just good, old fashioned dancing. Free before 10pm, £3 after

Sunday 15 February

Tea Club at Southbank Centre

WISH FESTIVAL: The Wish Festival celebrates the release of Beatie Wolfe's charity single Kids Wish For The World. The family event takes place at Whole Foods Market in Kensington and consists of arts, games and tech activities, plus a performance of the single. Money raised goes to NSPCC’s ChildLine and War Child. £5/£2, prebook, 10am-12pm

TEA CLUB: Head to Southbank Centre for a strolling piece of dance theatre, celebrating Britain’s passion for tea and all things vintage. Aimed at all ages, the show follows two eccentric tea ladies and their musical trolley. Free, just turn up, 11am/2.30pm

AFRICAN CULTURE: Mwalimu Express is a monthly family event at Rich Mix. Each month features a live musician and a film from an African country, plus poetry, dance sessions, face painting and more. Free, just turn up, 2pm-5pm

VINYL SUNDAYS: The Forge in Camden hosts a new monthly event for vinyl connoisseurs to share their collection of records, 45s, LPs and 78s. Free, just turn up, 2pm

OPEN MIC: Allsortz offers singers, rappers, dancers, comedians and spoken word artists a chance to try our new material in front of an audience. At Rich Mix. Free to watch (just tweet@Allsortz1), just turn up, 7pm-11pm

Check out our map of free things to do in London for more frugal fun.

Last Updated 08 February 2015