7 Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 2-8 January 2023

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7 Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 2-8 January 2023

Things to do this week for £5 or less.

A colorised photo of nine explorers outside a tent in base camp in 1924
1924 Mount Everest Expedition © RGS-IBG

1. Get the lowdown on climate and refugees

Islington's Union Chapel offers a free evening of music and discussion about climate change refugees. Many people worldwide are already being displaced by the effects of climate change, but seeking refuge due to the climate is not yet protected under international law. Climate researchers Dr Jin-ho Chung and Dr Bernardo Bolaños Guerra discuss the situation in Ethiopia in particular.

Free, 4 January.

2. Explore the idea of Utopia

St John's Waterloo — that's the church on the roundabout by the IMAX — unveils a new exhibition in which students from Accumulate, the Art School for the Homeless, explore their personal ideas of an ideal world. The artists are people living in hostels and temporary accommodation, who have taken part in a series of workshops in order to create the artworks.

Free, 5-11 January

3. Bid farewell to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Sadly, since her death, the Queen's Platinum Jubilee feels like a very long time ago. But the Imperial War Museum has kept its special Jubilee exhibition open as planned to mark the Queen's life and service — and this week is your final chance to see it.

It's a display of photos from the museum's own archive, showing Her Majesty's personal experiences of war, from joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 (the first woman in The Royal Family to enlist as a full-time member of the armed services) to supporting serving members of the military and veterans during her years as monarch.

Free, until 8 January

4. Join in London's Twelfth Night celebrations

If you head down to Bankside on Sunday, you may stumble across all manner of oddities. That'd be London's Twelfth Night celebrations, a rather eclectic event mixing ancient customs with modern festivities. Head to the riverside near Shakespeare's Globe to witness wassailing, The Holly Man (or Green Man) being paraded along to the George Inn in Southwark, dramatic performances, and a chance to be crowned King or Queen for the day by finding a bean or a pea in a cake. Like we said, an odd (but fascinating) one.

Free, 8 January

5. Ride the tube without any trousers on

A woman standing outside the entrance to Canary Wharf station, without any trousers on
Photo: Samantha Rea/Londonist

Another of our favourite bizarre annual events in London is the No Trousers Tube Ride, which is exactly what it sounds like; a group of people getting together to ride on the tube without any trousers on (note: underpants are VERY much required, in the spirit of keeping things legal).

It's an international event, which began with New York's No Pants Subway Ride (remember, 'pants' means something different in the USA), and several events will take place simultaneously around the world this weekend. Want to take part here in London? Head to the meeting point near Leicester Square (trews still on at this point...) to meet the organisers and receive your de-trousering instructions. Why? For fun, that's why.

Free, 8 January.

6. View Everest, a century ago

An old photograph of snow and ice on Everest

A reminder that the Everest Through The Lens exhibition is still going on at the Royal Geographical Society — but only for a couple more weeks. It marks a century of European expeditions to Everest, and centres around films made by Captain John Noel on expeditions in the 1920s, which demonstrate the uncomfortable and complex social, racial and geopolitical dynamics that shaped the expeditions.

Items on display include a programme from the cinematic release of Climbing Mount Everest, and a postcard sent from Everest Base Camp to promote The Epic of Everest.

Free, until 20 January.

7. Bathe in the glow of Winter Light at Southbank Centre

A man and boy admiring a glowing multicoloured artwork
Dichroic Sphere, Jakob Kvist, photo by Christoffer Askman

If you're missing the bright colours of London's Christmas light displays, head to Southbank Centre for its Winter Light trail. The open-air exhibition features 11 LED artworks dotted around the area near the river, including meditative spinning rotating arms, a canopy of neon trees, and a dichroic sphere (pictured). It's popular with kids, photographers, and anyone who needs a splash of colour to brighten up these dark nights.

The installations were originally due to be removed this weekend, but some have now been extended until the end of the month.

Free, until 31 January.

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 09 January 2023