Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 25 November-1 December 2019

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 25 November-1 December 2019

All week

Make the most of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas, so if you’re starting to think (read: panic) about your Christmas shopping, make the most of the festive markets and fairs in the capital, many of which take place this week. Several are free entry, and some only run for a day or two while others are open for the whole season. Our top picks this week including Bloomberg Arcade’s Winter Market, and Flat Iron Square’s Pebblefestive. Full details here.

WINTER WONDERLAND: Hyde Park’s huge, free-entry Christmas festival Winter Wonderland is now open, offering funfair rides, Christmas markets, food and drink stalls, theatre shows and more. Of course, it can get expensive once you’re inside, so check out our guide to Winter Wonderland, including what you can do for free. Hyde Park, free entry, just turn up, until 5 January

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Many of London’s biggest and most popular Christmas light displays have now been switched on for the season. Why not spend an evening wandering around them to get you in the festive spirit? Pick from heavenly angels on Regent Street, sea creatures in Carnaby, and Oxford Street’s new-for-2019 dazzlers.

WINTERFEST: If you thought London’s winter light festivals were all pricey, think again. Wembley Park’s Winterfest is free to wander through, with a huge light tunnel, a towering Christmas tree, and plenty of other installations. Wembley Park, free, just turn up, until 3 January

Wembley Park's Winterfest is free

Monday 25 November

SPACE AFTERNOON: The Royal Geographical Society celebrates the support it receives from the Heritage Lottery Fund with a free afternoon focusing on space. Marking 50 years since the moon landing, the event is a chance to delve into the Society’s collections, including images documenting NASA’s Apollo missions of the 1970s. There’s also a talk from astronomy journalist Colin Stuart. Royal Geographical Society (Kensington Gore), free, book ahead, 3pm-5pm

GEORGE ELIOT: The life of author Mary Ann Evans — later known as George Eliot — is explored in a free Gresham College lecture. Learn about her difficult relationship with her family, her seeking of independence, and her intellectual and cultural life in London. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

BREAKOUT CLUB: The Midi Music Company holds quarterly showcase evenings, giving its artists a chance to perform and get their names out there. Rap artist D-Kel introduces his new band, Los Bandidos, and hip hop songwriter Shunaji is also among tonight’s performers. The Midi Music Company (Deptford), free, book ahead, 8pm-midnight

Tuesday 26 November

What can be done to tame social media trolls?

CHRISTMAS CHOIR: The V&A’s Christmas season launches with a free performance by a live choir. Enjoy the first of a series of special recitals taking place in the museum’s Grand Entrance. V&A Museum (South Kensington), free, just turn up, 10am-5pm

TAMING THE TROLLS:  IT expert Professor Richard Harvey gives a free talk about the increase in social media trolls, and what can be done to stop them. He discusses possible scientific and engineering approaches which could mean that the positives of using social media outweigh the negatives in future. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

LAYERS OF LONDON: Adam Corsini of the excellent Layers of London website talks about the project, which brings together digitised versions of important historical maps for the first time. Learn about the technology behind it, and how you can get involved in its development. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £4, book ahead, 7pm-8.15pm

Wednesday 27 November

Science Museum stays open late. © Science Museum Group

MUSEUM LATE: It’s adults only at Science Museum’s lates, where the theme this month is the art of innovation. Learn about organic photography, find out what it feels like to walk into a black hole, or simply dance the night away at the silent disco. Science Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 6.45pm-10pm

DASH CAFE: 30 years after it happened, Dash Cafe shines a spotlight on the 1989 revolution which caused the collapse of the Soviet Union. Slovak dancer Soña Ferenčiková, actress Tereza Nvotová and writer and columnist Zuzana Kepplová are among the creatives taking to the stage to share their views. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 7pm

TRANS VOICE CABARET: The Trans Voices Cabaret show features a cast of all transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming performers, singing songs of their choice. The event aims to create more visibility for trans and non-binary performers, and proceeds from the evening go to the Mermaids Charity. The Other Palace (Victoria), £2.50, book ahead, 8pm

Thursday 28 November

Squidsoup installation Wave comes to Belgravia

SQUIDSOUP: The lights go on in Eccleston Yards tonight, but they’re not your average Christmas lights. Artist team Squidsoup — whose work we loved at Canary Wharf Winter Lights — bring new installation Wave to Belgravia. The dangling orbs of light are illuminated on the principles of chromotherapy, meaning that they should promote feelings of wellbeing. Of course, they’ll look pretty darn good on Instagram too. Eccleston Yards (Belgravia), free, just turn up, 28 November-11 January

MARYLEBONE CHRISTMAS: Marylebone’s Chiltern Street hosts a free entry, one-night only Christmas Festival, with live performances, workshops, and events going on in shops, restaurants and bars. Have a go at creating your own wreath or bespoke Christmas decorations, take part in a mantra art workshop, or master the art of calligraphy. Chiltern Street, free, just turn up, 5pm-8pm

ACOUSTIC LATES: Love ice rinks but not much of a skater? Enjoy the best of both worlds at Natural History Museum’s Acoustic Lates. Relax over an evening of live music at the cafe-bar alongside the rink, while skaters go about their business on the ice. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free entry, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

Friday 29 November

The lights go on in Chrisp Street Market tonight

ICE RINK: Covent Garden gets a New York-inspired makeover when the Tiffany & Co ice rink opens. Skate around a giant bottle of the brand’s fragrance, with the floral scent diffused over shoppers and skaters throughout the day. Covent Garden, free, book ahead, 29 November-26 December

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: It’s Poplar’s turn for the Christmas light treatment as Chrisp Street Market welcomes the festive season.There are family-friendly events all afternoon, before Father Christmas switches the lights on at 6pm. Chrisp Street Market (Poplar), free, just turn up, 2pm-7pm

CHRISTMAS MARKET: The lovely Forty Hall stays open late for a Christmas night market. Wander through the beautiful rooms browsing stalls selling handmade gifts, with a glass of mulled wine in hand. Forty Hall (Enfield), free entry, just turn up, 5pm-9pm

MUSEUM LATES: It’s the last Friday of the month, which means Natural History Museum stays open late, and this time there’s a Seven Worlds, One Planet theme, inspired by the Attenborough documentary of the same name. Chat to the production team about how the programme was made, learn about the musical score that soundtracks it, and hear talks about drone filming. The usual displays and exhibitions are open late too. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free, just turn up, 6pm-10pm

Saturday 30 November

Browse all manner of vinyl in Coal Drops Yard

INDEPENDENT WOMEN: Royal Parks offer a free, theatrical walking tour around Brompton Cemetery, on the theme of independent women. Learn about the lives and legacies of some of the women buried there, including Emmeline Pankhurst. Suitable for families and adults. Brompton Cemetery, free, just turn up, 10.30am-12pm

RECORD MARKET: Girl, put your records on… down at the Independent Record Label Market where (surprisingly) independent labels sell their records. It’s a great chance to get your hands on some less mainstream vinyl from up and coming artists — and sometimes the musicians themselves put in an appearance. Coal Drops Yard (King’s Cross), free, just turn up, 11am-6pm

GIN DISTILLERY: Take a tour of the Hayman’s gin distillery on a free open day. We suspect it’s a ploy to lure you into the gin-based gift shop in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s a rare chance to see what goes on in the distilling process, sample the gins, and learn more about the Hayman family too. Hayman’s Distillery (Balham), free, just turn up, 1pm-5pm

Sunday 1 December

Carols in the Courtyard at Fulham Palace

FESTIVE FOLK TALES: Treat the whole family to a retelling of the story of Dick Whittington at Museum of London Docklands’ folk tales session. The Lord of Misrule is your storyteller, and interactive elements include a chance to have a go at being a jester. Museum of London Docklands, free, book ahead, 12pm/2pm/3pm

COURTYARD CAROLS:  Get your vocal chords warmed up for this year’s carol concerts at Carols in the Courtyard at Fulham Palace. Gather in the Tudor part of the building for renditions of some festive favourites, with hot drinks and mulled wine available to buy. Fulham Palace, free (donations welcome), just turn up, 3.30pm

Last Updated 22 November 2019