11 Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 17-23 October 2022

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11 Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 17-23 October 2022

Things to do this week for £5 or less.

Bag yourself a freebie at Burger & Lobster this Tuesday.

1. Bag free food at Burger & Lobster

Restaurant Burger & Lobster has teamed up with Michelin-starred chef and seafood expert Tom Brown (of Cornerstone in Hackney) to create two limited-edition dishes, only available 17 October-14 November.

To celebrate the new dishes, the first 50 people through the doors of the Leicester Square branch of Burger & Lobster from 1pm on Tuesday 18 October can get a free beef & oyster burger or a roast chicken lobster roll. They're usually priced at £23 and £28 respectively, so it's a decent freebie — if you can get there in time!

Burger & Lobster Leicester Square, from 1pm, 18 October.

2. Gen up on history down the Pub

Londonist's own Editor-at-Large, Matt Brown, hosts London Historians' History in the Pub event, at The Sir Christopher Hatton on Leather Lane. This time, focus is on London manufacturing heritage, the four expert speakers being: Cathy Ross, former Director of Collections at Museum of London, on glass manufacturing; Caroline Stanford, Historian at Landmark Trust, on Eleanor Coade and Coade stone; Gary Magold, curator of Peek Freans factory museum, on industrial biscuit making; and Mark Amies, author of London's Industrial Past on aircraft production.

Make sure you're paying attention, because there's a speed quiz afterwards.

History in the Pub, £3-£5, 19 October.

3. Unravel the mystery of hieroglyphs

The British Museum has just opened a large new exhibition about Egyptian hieroglyphs, and there's a chance to hear from the curators behind it, via a free online talk. Ilona Regulski and Kelly Accetta Crowe discuss how the discovery of the Rosetta Stone more than two centuries ago allowed us to learn much more about human history than was previously known, by helping to decipher the ancient Egyptian code of hieroglyphs.

Curators' introduction to Hieroglyphs, free (but donations appreciated), 20 October.

4. Watch doctors do stand up comedy

An actor dressed as Florence Nightingale with a lamp
Image: Mediculture

Live "amputation", doctors doing stand-up comedy, and an online talk about the history of St Thomas' Hospital are all on the programme at Mediculture Festival, a celebration of the medical and scientific history of the London Bridge area.

Mediculture Festival 2022, most events free, 20-26 October.

5. See new exhibition, In Plain Sight

One of our picks of the best exhibitions in London this month, the Wellcome Collection opens In Plain Sight this week. The free display explores how we see, and how we are seen by others, taking into consideration the different experiences of sighted, partially-sighted and blind people. Artworks and objects on show include eyewear dating back to the 1600s.

In Plain Sight at Wellcome Collection, free, 20 October 2022-12 February 2023.

6. Explore with Elmer the Elephant

Woman and young girl sitting in front of an Elmer artwork on a museum wall, with other Elmer artworks on display in the next room
Image: Seven Stories

Got a little one who loves Elmer the Elephant? Or perhaps you're of the Not Now, Bernard, Mr Benn, or King Rollo generation yourself? Either way, Horniman Museum's new exhibition is a celebration of the life and work of children's author David McKee, who died in April. Begin by walking through Elmer's jungle, encountering familiar scenes and characters, before stepping into the fancy dress shop featured in Mr Benn.

Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee at Horniman Museum, £5 adult/£2.50 child, 21 October 2022-16 April 2023.

7. Follow the light at a Diwali lantern parade

The National Maritime Museum celebrates Diwali with a day of free activities, including sari demonstrations, crafting, and live music and dance performances. But the highlight is the lantern parade, which takes place as the sun sets, wending its way from the museum down to the Old Royal Naval College, where illuminations beam across onto the Queen's House.

Diwali 2022 at National Maritime Museum, free, 22 October.

8. Witness a huge outdoor dance performance

Photo ©Ellie Kurttz

A cast of hundreds takes part in Close to Home, a huge free outdoor dance performance that's part of Lewisham London Borough of Culture. Head to Sedgehill Academy in Bellingham to watch real-life stories of migration and belonging brought to life through movement and music. The Wuntanara Drumming Circle also give live performances, and there are food and drink stalls.

Close to Home: The Mass Dance Event, free, 22-23 October.

9. Witness the October Plenty

You don't see so many traditional harvest celebrations these days, but the October Plenty is one (though it's only been going for a couple of decades). It begins on Bankside near Shakespeare's Globe, and forms a procession towards Borough Market. The Corn Queene leads the way, laden down with fruit and veg and accompanied by plenty of other people, music, flags... the works. Morris dancing and storytelling take place in Borough Market, and then there's the traditional stripping of the Corn Queene. Oo-er.

October Plenty, free, 23 October.

10. Check out foodbank photos

A stack of tinned food items - including beans and corned beef
Essential Items By Angela, Hackney Foodbank 2022

Angela and Daniel, two regular visitors of Hackney Foodbank, took photos of their everyday lives, documenting the things that bring them joy. Tinned food, book swaps and basketball feature in Museum of the Home's exhibition, Through The Lens: Photographs by Hackney Foodbank Visitors.

Through The Lens: Photographs by Hackney Foodbank Visitors at Museum of the Home, free, until 30 October

11. Go on a beautiful autumn walk

The temperature may be dropping, but that's no reason to hibernate just yet. Certain parts of London look their best at this time of year, as the leaves transform into fiery red and orange hues. Take a look at our guide to the best places to see autumn leaves in the capital and start planning a free, self-guided walk.


Looking for more free things to do in London? Here are 102 of em!
We've also compiled this epic map of free stuff in London.

Last Updated 18 October 2022

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