Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 16-22 December 2019

By Londonist Staff Last edited 30 months ago

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 16-22 December 2019

All week

Hunt The Snowman. 12 frosty fellows hidden around London Bridge area

WINTER CHOIRS: Visitors to Southbank Centre are treated to free, twice daily performances by Winter Choirs. A selection of community choirs have been chosen to serenade the crowds with carols, and sing along versions of classic Christmas tunes. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, until 19 December

WINTER FOREST: Broadgate's Winter Forest thaws out on Friday, so that's your deadline to wander among the snowy trees and get some festive snaps. Broadgate (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, until 20 December

LIGHT UP NINE ELMS: Light installation Light Up Nine Elms continues until Saturday. See illustrations of the nine elms trees of the area by artist Pippa Taylor projected onto buildings nearby. The illuminations, commissioned by Wandsworth Council, come to life after dark. Follow a special route around the area, or follow your nose and see what you can spot. Nine Elms, free, just turn up, until 21 December

LONDON IS LOVE: In all the Christmas kerfuffle, you may not have heard about the current exhibition London Is Love. The photographic project by artist Liz Johnson Artur shows off London's diverse communities, with themes of family, friendship, love and vulnerability. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, until 5 January

Last few days of the Winter Choirs performances at Southbank Centre

THE SNOWMAN: For kids (and adults) who are fans of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, there's a free festive sculpture trail by the river. 12 large models of the frosty fellow have been unveiled, each one designed to represent a different day from the 12 Days of Christmas song. London Bridge City, free, just turn up, until 5 January 2020

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Not managed to see London's Christmas lights yet? Take an evening out of the festive madness and wander the West End. We've put together a guide to this year's illuminations, including a map to help you plan your route. If you can stretch to the cost of a bus fare, that's a slightly easier way to see them.

FREE CHRISTMAS: For further inspiration on festive entertainment in London that won't cost you anything, take a look at our guide to free things to do at Christmas.

Monday 16 December

Look who's back

HOME ALONE 2: Southbank Centre's Winter Cinema hosts a family-friendly screening of Home Alone 2. The 1992 film is a sequel to the festive classic, and this time Kevin McCallister and his family are in New York... as are the Wet Bandits. Warning: contains a cameo by Donald Trump. Southbank Centre, £5, book ahead, 3pm

CHRISTMAS CARD MAKING: Can't face your local Clintons at this time of year? Spend the evening making your own Christmas cards, aided along by a drink or two. Materials are provided, and it's up to you whether your creations turn out sentimental or saucy. Drink, Shop & Do (King's Cross), £5, book ahead, 7pm

WE ARE FUNNY: Comedy night We Are Funny Project holds its final event of the year. Paul Merryck headlines, with more than 10 other up-and-coming comedians on the bill. The Jago (Dalston), free, book ahead, 7.45pm-10.15pm

Tuesday 17 December

Miracle on Leake Street is a free festive celebration in Waterloo. No dandruff jokes, please.

PIANO RECITAL: Ditch your usual lunch plans and head to Lauderdale House, where resident pianist Stephen Hose performs a free concert. It takes place in the Long Gallery, so you can enjoy views over Waterlow Park as you listen. Lauderdale House (Highgate), free, just turn up, 1.15pm-2pm

MIRACLE ON LEAKE STREET: A free festive celebration takes place at Leake Street, the tunnel running underneath Waterloo station. Lower Marsh traders set up stalls to help you with your Christmas shopping, while entertainment takes the form of festive cabaret and a free screening of Elf. There's a chance to learn how to make a wreath... and we hear it might even snow. Leake Street (Waterloo), free, just turn up, 5pm-9pm

THE ADVICE COLUMN: Columnist and comedian Lynn Ruth Miller hosts a storytelling evening, exploring how to deal with adversity and what we can learn from our experiences. The audience is invited to get involved by sharing their own thoughts and stories. Age 14+. Gallery Cafe (Bethnal Green), free, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

Wednesday 18 December

Greenwich Market stays open late

MARKET LATE: Get your Christmas shopping done accompanied by live music and a glass of mulled wine. Greenwich Market stays open late, with all the usual traders selling their wares, plus performances by jazz band Tunnel Chops, and plenty of food and drink stalls to keep you satiated. Greenwich Market, free entry, just turn up, 10am-8pm

FREE CONCERT: The students of Trinity Laban College offer free lunchtime concerts in the Great Hall of Queen's House. Today Clara Gatti and Maria McNamee perform on the harp. Turn up from 11am to see the pre-concert rehearsals. Queen's House (Greenwich), free, just turn up, 1pm

CLITERATURE: The newly-opened Vagina Museum hosts punnily-named book club Cliterature, focusing on feminist works. This month's book is Maya Angelou's debut memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, which covers her childhood with her grandmother in the American south in the 1930s.  The Vagina Museum (Camden Market), £3, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm

Thursday 19 December

Enjoy acoustic music alongside the Natural History Museum's ice rink

BOOKSHOP LATE: How does a lock-in at a bookshop sound? London Review Bookshop holds a free late-night shopping evening. Your ticket gets you 10% off anything purchased on the night, and the cafe also stays open late for festive refreshments. London Review Bookshop (Bloomsbury), free, book ahead, 6pm

MEET SANTA: Santa makes his final free appearance at the Winter Forest (presumably he's got to head back to the North Pole to load up the sleigh soon). Children and their carers are welcome to go along and see him, and share their Christmas wishes among the snowy pine trees. Broadgate (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm

ACOUSTIC LATE: The bar alongside Natural History Museum's ice rink hosts a free evening of live acoustic music. Enjoy a festive drink or two as musicians VC Pines, Lazy Day and Chloe Foy serenade you, while skaters take to the ice nearby. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

Friday 20 December

Get your dose of Christmas LOLs at Southbank Centre

1940s CHRISTMAS: Use recycled materials to make your own 1940s-style Christmas decorations. The family-friendly event offers first-hand experience of how decorations were made in wartime, when craft materials were in short supply and people were encouraged to recycle instead. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, just turn up, 20-21 December

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS: Museum of Childhood's Christmas holiday activities begin today. Make your own Christmas decorations, attend a Victorian Christmas party, hear festive stories, or just ogle the Christmas tree as you browse the nostalgic museum exhibits. Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green), free, just turn up, 20 December-5 January

CHRISTMAS LOLS: Queer comedy collective The LOL Word host a Christmas special. LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary performers offer a programme of stand-up and sketch comedy and carols. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 9.45pm

Saturday 21 December

Take a free tour of the Cally Clock Tower

CLOCK TOWER TOUR: The Caledonian Road Clock Tower is open for free tours. Venture up to the balustrade and look out at the views, get a closer look at the clock in action, and find out about the cattle market that used to take place on the site. Cally Clock Tower, free, book ahead, 10.30am-5pm

FROST FAIR FESTIVAL: Take the kids along to Museum of London Docklands to learn about the frost fairs that used to take place on the Thames when it froze over. Take part in games and workshops, enjoy live performances and have a go at arts and crafts, all designed to recreate the special events. Museum of London Docklands, free, just turn up, 12pm

LEGENDS AND LEGACIES: London’s older LGBT+ community is celebrated at a festive variety show. The Legends & Legacies Yuletide Special is organised by LGBT+ support charity Opening Doors London and performance artist XNTHONY, and features a wealth of festive cabaret. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 4.30pm

Sunday 22 December

Words Unwrapped at Southbank Centre

CAROL SERVICE: All Souls Langham Place holds the last of its Christmas carols services. A live choir and orchestra performs some of the nation's favourite Christmas carols, along with festive readings and a short talk on the Nativity story. All Souls Langham Place, free, just turn up, 4.30pm/6.30pm

MENORAH LIGHTING: Yes, it's Christmas, but also, Chanukah. Celebrate the Jewish festival at Islington's Menorah Lighting event, open to everyone. See the world's first kinetic laser menorah lit, hear sci-fi Chanukah stories, and enjoy live music. Islington Green, free, just turn up, 5pm-7pm

WORDS UNWRAPPED: Enjoy a festive celebration of storytelling at Words Unwrapped. Up-and-coming poets and fabulists regale the audience with warming winter tales. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 5.30pm

Last Updated 13 December 2019