Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 2-8 December 2019

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 2-8 December 2019

All week

Covent Garden's ice rink is now open — and it's free

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Most of London's Christmas lights are now switched on, so why not spend a free or cheap evening wandering around seeing them all? We've put together a guide to the best lights in central London, including when, where and how to see them, either on foot, by bus, or by bike. We've even included a map. Read the full guide.

ICE SKATING: London's ice skating rinks aren't always cheap, but did you know that you can skate in Covent Garden for free? The Tiffany & Co. New York-inspired ice rink is now open, in a Central Park setting, and is scented by the brand's latest fragrance. Covent Garden, free, book ahead, until 26 December

Monday 2 December

Maria Shetata headlines We Are Funny Project

DESIGN DAY: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour hosts a free Christmas Design Day, consisting of a programme of festive workshops. Have a go at hand block printing at Morris & Co, Christmas wreath making at Fox  Linton/Jim Thompson, creating floral centrepieces with Phillip Corps at Simpsons and designing your own Christmas decorations at de Le Cuona. It's free, but in aid of William Yeoward’s Screw Cancer Charity, so donations are encouraged. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, free, book ahead, 9.30am-5.30pm

GARDENS OF EMPIRE: Victorian natural history specialist Jim Endersby talks about the history of Kew Gardens in colonial times. Specifically, he focuses on the plants that were shipped from Sydney's botanic garden back to Kew, and how scientists tackled the question of why some plants could only grow in certain climates. Barnard's Inn Hall (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

LIVE COMEDY: Egyptian-American comedian Maria Shehata headlines free stand-up show We Are Funny. Other performers on tonight's programme include Shuang Teng, Gary Brandt and Robyn Dunlop. The Jago (Dalston), free, book ahead, 7.45pm

Tuesday 3 December

Hear from author Victoria Hislop

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Enjoy a free lunchtime concert of classical music, open to anyone who wants to do something different on their lunch break. It takes place in the rather lovely Long Gallery, with views over the gardens of Waterlow Park. Lauderdale House (Highgate), free, just turn up, 1.15pm

A PALACE CHRISTMAS: Find out how Christmas has been celebrated at Fulham Palace through the centuries. Take a free festive guided tour, see the historic rooms decorated for Christmas, and hear about Tudor feasts in the Great Hall and Victorian carol singing. Fulham Palace, free, book ahead, 2.30pm-3.30pm

VICTORIA HISLOP: Author Victoria Hislop — best-known for writing The Island — talks all things Greek. She chats to John Kittmer about her passion for Greece and the role it has played in her writing. The British Academy, free, book ahead, 7pm

Wednesday 4 December

Enjoy live music at the Natural History Museum ice rink

LIBRARY TOUR: Have a peek at some of the more unusual items kept at Wellcome Collection's Library, on a free 30-minute tour. Find out how the library works, and hear about some of its more surprising treasures. Wellcome Collection (Euston), free, just turn up, 11.30am

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Just when you thought London's Christmas lights were all aglow, Paddington throws another set into the works. Head to the Pocket park in Merchant Square for free mulled wine and mince pies, and to see the Paddington Basin lights switched on. Merchant Square (Paddington), free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm

ACOUSTIC LATES: Enjoy the atmosphere of Natural History Museum's ice rink at a free evening of acoustic music. While others do the hard work on the ice rink itself, sit back and enjoy a programme of acoustic acts at the rinkside cafe bar. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

Thursday 5 December

Tonight's the night the Trafalgar Square tree gets lit

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING: Marylebone Lane hosts a Christmas shopping evening with free events, activities, workshops, live music and more going on in shops and businesses around the area. Marylebone Lane, free, just turn up, 5pm-8pm

TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: From a forest just outside Oslo, to the urban centre of London, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has made quite a journey. Tonight, its lights are finally switched on for the season, at a free lighting ceremony, complete with festive choirs. Get there early for a decent view. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 6pm

PRINTS FOR REFUGEES: Attend the opening night of a new photography exhibition in aid of refugees. Several photographers have donated their works including Andy Lo Pó, Cat Hyland, Holly Falconer and Toby Coulson, and some of them will be present at the launch event tonight. Hoxton Cabin, free, book ahead, 6pm-9pm  

Friday 6 December

Find out about innovation during the first world war

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Find out about the British Army's approach to learning and innovation during the first world war, in a free talk by Defence Studies lecturer Dr Aimée Fox. She talks about how the British Army was always striving to keep one step ahead of its enemy in developing and using the latest innovations. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

FRIDAY NIGHT SKETCH: Design Museum hosts a free evening of drawing. It takes place throughout the museum, with a sketching task set by a professional illustrator. Use the museum's exhibits as inspiration to complete the task, before everyone shares their work at the end of the evening. Design Museum (Kensington), free, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

ARGENTINE THEATRE: Enjoy an evening of readings from six Argentinian plays from the newly released Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Argentine Plays. Readings are followed by a Q&A discussion with the translators and the director of the National Theatre Institute of Argentina on the challenges of representation of plays outside their country of origin. Roundhouse (Camden), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Saturday 7 December

Chelsea hosts a Christmas shopping event

CHELSEA CHRISTMAS: Christmas comes to Chelsea today, in the form of a Christmas shopping event taking place around Duke of York Square, Sloane Square and King's Road. As well as discounts and event in many stores, there's a food market, carol singing, complimentary horse and carriage rides, and Father Christmas might even make an appearance. Chelsea, free, just turn up, 11am-4.30pm

DIY ART MARKET: Got some Christmas shopping to do? Head to the DIY Art Market to browse and buy work by emerging artists and independent publishers. Expect ceramics, zines, independent publications, originals, patches, comics, custom t shirts & tote bags, art prints, risograph and screen prints, jewellery, and artist books. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £1 entry, just turn up, from 11am

EXPLORE ZOOLOGY: Take the kids along to the Grant Museum of Zoology to get hands-on with some of the curious specimens in its collection. Specimens that are usually behind glass are out on tables waiting to be inspected, with museum experts around to talk you through them. Grant Museum of Zoology (UCL), free, just turn up, 1pm-4pm

Sunday 8 December

Enjoy Christmas storytelling at Brompton Cemetery

CHRISTMAS STORYTELLING: Brompton Cemetery hosts Christmas storytelling sessions in its North Lodge today, and there's also a chance to make Christmas cards, with all materials provided. Brompton Cemetery, free, just turn up, 11am-3pm

WINTER MARKET: Browse stalls by local artists and craftspeople, and enjoy workshops and live music at the ArtsDepot Winter Market. There's a sensory play class for little ones, and creative workshops for adults too. ArtsDepot (North Finchley), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS: Kids getting excited about Christmas? Take them along to Museum of London Docklands to learn about the history of the Christmas cracker (spoiler: it was invented in London), and make their own to take home. Museum of London Docklands, free, just turn up, 11.30am/2pm

Last Updated 29 November 2019