Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 18-24 December 2017

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Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 18-24 December 2017

All week

Head to the Design Centre in Chelsea to get your festive fix.

TWINKLE OF CHRISTMAS: Make like Lucy and wander through an oversized wardrobe into a world where design and fantasy collide. Overhead 6,500 snowballs cascade from the Design Centre's ceiling, while characters from Narnia are dispersed among frost-covered fir trees. Design Centre, free, just turn up, until 22 December

POP UP WINTER SCREENS: This week you can wander into a Narnia-themed winter wonderland and snuggle up in front of festive flicks such as Home Alone, Nightmare Before Christmas and Love Actually. There'll be plenty of popcorn, handmade brownies, craft beer, pimped hot chocolate and spice-filled mulled wine to snack on during the screenings. Hackney Showroom, £3-£20, book ahead, until 24 December

FREE ART: Feeling like you need to do something cultural to balance out all the mulled wine you've been drinking lately? We've rounded up the biggest exhibitions on right now, and guess what? They're all free.

Monday 18 December

FEMME CHRISTMAS PARTY: Wear your jazziest Christmas jumper (to be in with a chance of winning a prize) and get down to this femme-powered party for funky DJs and Christmas karaoke, in aid of Housing for Women. Windmill Brixton, £4, just turn up, 7pm-midnight

BEER AND CAROLS: Just follow the fa la la la la sounds emanating from these shipping containers and you'll find your festive entertainment for the evening. Grab a beer and maybe even join in with the singing. Lost Rivers Elephant, free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm

Tuesday 19 December

NAUGHTY AND NICE: Expect snowy landscapes and some less traditional tongue-in-cheek takes on consumerism, gluttony and excess in this festive exhibition, featuring more than 50 artists. Espacio Gallery, free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm tonight, until 23 December

ART FOR LOVE FINALE: Saxophonist Aaron Liddard and his band The Argonauts, an international collective of musicians play their funky fusion of jazz, gospel and alt-rock for the grand finale of this free festive arts festival. Devonshire Square, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

WATERLOO CHRISTMAS CAROLS: Gather around a vintage open-top bus to have a jolly good sing-a-long with a brass ensemble backdrop. If the festive spirit is alive anywhere in London tonight, it's here. Lower Marsh, free, just turn up, 6pm-8pm

OH BOY, COMEDY: If it's slightly bizarre, full on leftfield comedy you're after, lend your ears and your laughs to this motley crew of clowns, characters, poets, sketch groups and other new and established acts. The Rose & Crown (Kentish Town), pay what you feel, just turn up, 8pm

Wednesday 20 December

The National Army Museum book club meets on the last Wednesday of the month, from 7pm to 8pm. Complimentary snacks and wine are served from 6.30pm.

BOOK CLUB: Join this friendly informative evening for bookworms to discuss current issues, historical events and popular fiction through recent releases. Tonight's read is Matthew Sweet's The West End Front: The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels. National Army Museum, free, book ahead, 6.30pm

SPOKEN WORD: This regular open mic night promises to leave beautiful phrases in your head and plenty of inspiration for your notebook. VFD (Stoke Newington), free, just turn up, 7.30pm-10.30pm

GEORGE MICHAEL: Last year was a bumper year for celebrity deaths, and Christmas Day was particularly cruel for George Michael fans. Come and let your hair down at this night dedicated entirely to his music. Spiritland, free, just turn up, 8pm-1am

Thursday 21 December

London Dreamtime lead secret storytelling adventures in hidden corners of London.

MIDWINTER STORYTELLING: Urban storytellers London Dreamtime are inviting you lot to swap your evening in the warmth for a late night meander around the city. You'll hear tales of the Thames followed by live music from George Hoyle and a hot drink on the Battersea Barge. It'll be way more exiting than Netflix and chill, promise. Nine Elms, free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm

OPEN DECKS: Got a stack of records you're desperate to show off? Arrive by 8pm to sign up for 20 minutes on the decks, plus all drinks are £3 between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. £3! Need we say more? The Hornbeam Centre and Cafe, free, just turn up, 7.30pm-11.30pm

CAROL: Head to Genesis Cinema for a free screening of the romantic festive flick Carol about two women who develop a bond with complicated consequences. Genesis, free, book ahead, 9pm

COMEDY: Hear John Kearns and Pat Cahill chat about the bloopers and highlights of their year over the Murray's finest draft ales, plus special guests Lou Sanders and Luke McQueen. The Bill Murray, £5, book ahead, 9pm-11pm

Friday 22 December

Get your festive groove on, in Peckham

SCAVENGER HUNT: Drop into the visitor centre to pick up your winter scavenger hunt sheet then head off into the wilderness to track down the items. RSPB Rainham Marshes nature reserve, £1.50, just turn up, 10am-4pm

WOMEN AT WAR: Sort your herstory from your history at this talk, where Chelsea Pensioner, John Carbis discusses the lives of three notable women who have resided at the Royal Hospital; Hannan Snell, Dr James 'Miranda' Stuart Barry and Christian Davies. National Army Museum, free, book ahead, 11.30am-12.30pm

FUNK AND SOUL XMAS: Groove the night away to Christmas hits from the likes of Ronettes, James Brown, Clarence Carter, Louis Armstrong and Darlene Love. Plus plenty of guilty pleasures, including Mariah. Montague Arms, Peckham. Free entry, just turn up, 8pm-late

Q LIVE PRESENTS GATSBY: Looking for Friday night party vibes that won't cost an arm and a leg on the door? Gatsby's mix of motown, disco and throwback hits from the 90s and 00s should have you on the dancefloor. If they're good enough for Beyonce, they're good enough for us. Quaglino's, free, book ahead, 9pm-11pm

Saturday 23 December

NORDIC WINTERTIME: The whole family are welcome to get involved in Nordic-themed music, storytelling and crafts, as part of the Southbank Centre's Nordic Matters festival and if you fancy practising your Swedish, stick around for the group singing session at noon. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 11.30am

Sunday 24 December

Spend Christmas Eve at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. Photo: Venesha Thompson (2015)

WINTER WONDERLAND: Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland is business as usual today. The free festival has a Christmas market where you can do your last bits of shopping, food and drink stalls, funfair rides, an ice skating rink and more. Free entry (charge for some events), 10am-10pm (liable to close early though)

FIVE GO JIVING: Grab a mate, a partner, your mum or a stranger and dance your way into the new year at this swing and jive dancing sesh. Royal Festival Hall, free, just turn up, noon

GATHERED AT THE MANGER: Bring all the family to this 45-minute service in Soho. There will be carols and a surprise visitor from Bethlehem... St Anne's Church, free, just turn up, 5pm

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

The Harry Potter Christmas Tour


Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets

Therapeutic Potential of Magic Mushrooms


Tripping as treatment? It exists, and scientists at some of the world's most prestigous universities are studying the benefits of single-use psychedelic sessions to treat severe mental health conditions. But do hallucinogenic drugs have a place in our hospitals? Initial results have been positive, but how do these sessions work? What do these scientists use? What do the participants themselves have to say? Clinic Psychologic Dr Rosalind Watts leads this fascinating talk into the potential successes and pitfalls of using psychedelics in medicine, using her own personal experience as a "trip-sitter" at Imperial College London.  Get tickets

The Original London Loo Tour


We’re fed up of bog standard London tours. Been there, done that. So how about learning some more about the history and surprisingly dynamic modern politics of London’s public toilets? This 1.5hr walking tour covers iconic London from a whole new perspective, as you learn about ‘spending a penny’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and explore the capital’s most patriotic toilet. The tour ends in the Cellar Door Cocktail bar, a former gentleman’s lavatory. Delightful. Get tickets

Last Updated 20 December 2017