Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 4-10 December 2017

Kyra Hanson
By Kyra Hanson Last edited 14 months ago

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Free And Cheap Things To Do In London This Week: 4-10 December 2017

All week

A chance to see world-class acts for free at Art for Love, set in the beautifully decked out Devonshire Square.

WOMEN IN ARCHITECTURE: It's your last chance to see paintings, drawings and models by the likes of Dame Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Julia Barfield and Patty Hopkins alongside archival material and photographs providing a window on the life of these AA-trained women. Architectural Association, free, just turn up, until 9 December

SEVEN DIALS WORKSHOPS: Learn how to mix the perfect cocktail with Talli Joe on Tuesday and Hawksmoor on Friday or join a bauble calligraphy workshop on Thursday, (we're not sure what that is but it sounds Christmassy) at these free festive workshops. Seven Dials Pop Up, 35 Neal Street, free, book ahead, until 8 December

LAST CHANCE: If you only have seven minutes spare this week (in which case you should probably slow down),  spend it watching this brilliant video installation. It sets footage of the LA Riots and civil rights leaders to a Kanye West track to create this powerful visual representation of Black American history. Store Studios (Strand), free, just turn up, until 14 December

CHROMA: Get lost in this trippy, immersive light installation full of optical illusions, 'self-animating' ball pits and a musical score in sync with the lighting. Clever stuff. House of Vans (Waterloo), free, just turn up, Thursday-Sunday, until 17 December

ART FOR LOVE: Four weeks of tantalising free festive performances continue this week with a children's carol concert (7 December) and a wonderfully graceful ice skating show (8 December). Check out the full programme here. Devonshire Square, free, book ahead, 1-19 December

ART RIOT: How far would you go in the name of art? Act like a dog and lunge at others? Go to prison for it? Or nail your scrotum to the pavement? Evidence of all these acts can be seen in this exhibition on Russian protest art over the last 25 years. Saatchi Gallery, free, just turn up, until 31 December

Monday 4 December

For one December evening only, the Royal Society is opening its doors for visitors to explore its centuries-old hidden artifacts.

CHRISTMAS PARTY: Mall Galleries is throwing this festive bash during the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition, so you can fill up on party food and get your culture fix all at the same time. Mall Galleries, £28, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

ROYAL SOCIETY LATE: Get your geek on at this science late, where you can gawp at Isaac Newton's death mask, screenprint images from the archives to take home, including Micrographia, the first book to illustrate insects and plants as seen through microscopes. Peckish? Pick up a free liquid nitrogen mince pie. The Royal Society, free, just turn up, 6.30pm-10pm

Tuesday 5 December

Head to the Ritzy for a night of art, poetry and music, in aid of the Brixton Soup Kitchen. Photo: David Fisher (2010)

IMPERIAL FRINGE: Find out the ill effects of that Oxford Street dash from the School of Public Health's air quality busters, bottle clouds with an atmospheric physicist and hold onto your head when you enter one of Europe's longest wind tunnels at this event making science fun again. Imperial College London, free, book ahead, 5pm-8pm

AUTHORS EVENING: Wrap up warm and head to Waterstones to meet the authors behind some of the best releases of 2017, from Rivers of London author Ben Aaronovitch to English novelist Victoria Hislop. Get your books signed and gift-wrapped in time for present giving season. Waterstones (King's Road), free, just turn up, 6pm-8pm

ART OF BRIXTON: Discover a Brixton you know and love in this art exhibition in aid of Brixton Soup Kitchen & Support Centre. This lively night also features spoken word, acoustic music, comedy and a DJ. The Ritzy (Brixton), £5, book ahead, 7pm-11.30pm

Wednesday 6 December

Head to Dalston Roof Park this December for Christmas classics. © Jake Davis

ASTRONOMY TALK: Professor Silk tackles the big questions using electromagnetism, black holes and gravity to ask how special our universe really is. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 1pm-2pm

DR JOHNSON TOUR: Explore the courts and alleys off Fleet Street with an experienced City Guide and discover the life and work of 18th century writer, critic and lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson's. Dr Johnson's House, 17 Gough Square (off Fleet Street), £5, just turn up 3pm

WINTER ROOFTOP CINEMA: Catch Home Alone tonight as part of Dalston Roof Park's pop-up rooftop cinema. Don't panic, there will be heaters, blankets and hot water bottles to keep the chills away, plus two for one drinks deals –in case you need the extra beer blanket. Dalston Roof Park, £5, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Oooh and Aaah Borough Market's pretty Christmas lights and new installation, before picking up festive treats from the market, which is open seven days a week from today. Borough Market, free, just turn up, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Thursday 7 December

There's a Basquiat-inspired party tonight in Shoreditch. © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: The 25 metre tree that sits in Trafalgar Square has come all the way from Norway, as a thank you for Britain's support during the second world war. Wrap up warm and see it lit up tonight. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 6pm

FIRST THURSDAYS: Every first Thursday, lots of east London's smaller, independent galleries throw open their doors, lay out the beer and let in hoards of tote-bag carrying, hip-looking people. Join them by foot or book a First Thursday Bus Tour. Arrive early, the beer doesn't last long. East London, free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm

MOOMIN TALK: Are you mad for Moomins? These strange hippo-like creatures are the topic of this talk from bestselling authors Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Philip Ardagh. Waterstones Piccadilly, £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.15pm

TOWER HAMLETS TALK: Edith Ramsay lived and worked in Stepney during the 1940s and 1950s and became deeply involved with the transnational lives of Stepney’s African, Caribbean and South Asian populations. This talk focuses on her life and the letters she left behind. Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, free, just turn up, 6.30pm-7.30pm

REMEMBERING AREA NYC: To coincide with the Barbican's brilliant Basquiat exhibition, this Shoreditch venue is throwing a party reminiscent of Area NYC, a warehouse where too-cool-for-school artists and musicians such as Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, and Basquiat would hang out in the '80s. Ace Hotel, free, RSVP, 9pm-late

Friday 8 December

The Insect Circus breathes new life into the traditional techniques used in Victorian trick marionettes.

THE INSECT CIRCUS: You don't always need 3D glasses to escape reality. Enter this beautiful world of creepy crawlies, presented using traditional marionette puppets. Age 2+, Longfield Hall (Camberwell), £5, book ahead, 10am/11.30am

WILDLIFE WALK: Swap the road of traffic for the sound of birds in this group trip around the marshes. RSPB Rainham Marshes nature reserve, £5/£4/£2/£1.50, Just turn up, 10am-noon

ARMY DENTAL SERVICES: The British aren't exactly known for their sparkling, super straight teeth. In the army, lack of dental hygiene could be debilitating, so says this talk exploring the nation's gnashers. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

Saturday 9 December

Discover why the robin features on Christmas cards and see first hand where the geese were traditionally fattened for Christmas dinner on this Hyde Park Christmas tour.

PORTOBELLO WINTER FESTIVAL: The area famed for Notting Hill Carnival is bringing all the Caribbean vibes to London this winter. Groove to live calypso, stock up on natural skincare products and alternative goodies from the Winter Moorish Bazaar or hand-made gifts from the Made in London market. Acklam Village, free, just turn up, 9-10 December

ROUTEMASTER ANNIVERSARY: December 2017 is the 12th anniversary of the last mainstream crew operation in London and the date when Routemasters ceased operation on route 159. There's expected to be a gathering of the big red buses today. More details to be announced here.

HYDE PARK WALK: A brisk morning walk around Hyde Park should wake you up, while stories about the Christmas traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert should kickstart that festive motivation to put the decs up later. The LookOut (Hyde Park), £5, book ahead, 10.30am-noon

CHRISTMAS CRACKER PARTY: Well behaved children can expect a visit from Father Christmas, his elves and a sack full of goodies while the big kids can enjoy storytelling, craft activities and a Christmas wreaths workshop at this Christmas party all-dayer. Pop Brixton, free, just turn up, 10am-midnight

A GUT FEELING: Every 30 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with Crohns or Colitis. At present, there is no cure but there is this small installation from IBD survivor Jeane, who hopes this art piece will give people a better understanding of the disease. Art Cafe London (Underneath L’Ulivo Restaurant, Leicester Square), free, just turn up, 11am-3pm

CHRISP STREET GROTTO: Meet a real-life Rudolph at the reindeer farm, say hello to Father Christmas and have your photos taken in the giant snow globe photo booth at this Christmas market. East India Square (Poplar), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

UNBELIEVERS GHOST WALK: These tales about carpet lifting pub ghosts, the horrible secret of Bleeding Heart Yard and the ghost of Scratching Fanny on Cock Lane might not make you a believer but they will make you chuckle. Farringdon station, £5, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

Sunday 10 December

Get festive with your furry friend and join a world record attempt for the most dogs in Christmas jumpers.

PANTOMIME HORSE RACE: Now in its eighth year, this bonkers event sees teams of two don horse costumes and gallop around the streets of Greenwich. Expect laughs and horse puns aplenty. Greenwich, free, just turn up, 11.30am-1pm

WINTERFEST: There's something for all ages at this Tottenham winter festival, from storytelling sessions and fire performers for little ones to the bunch of talented local producers bringing the booze, chocolate, artwork and jewellery for the adults. Bruce Castle Museum, free, just turn up, noon-5pm

LONDON SPIRAL WALK: Explore the mysterious bit of London residing on the Central line loop with the help of London Spiral. Barkingside station, free, just turn up, 1pm

DOGS IN CHRISTMAS JUMPERS: Prepare to fall in love with hundreds of jumper-wearing pooches and bring your own four-legged friend to this pawesome world record attempt to gather the most dogs in Christmas knitwear, in aid of Save the Children. Pear Tree Cafe (Battersea Park), free, just turn up, 1pm-3pm

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS: For a workshop that harks back to the spirit of yuletides past, drop in to Vestry House to create Victorian Christmas decorations and pick up an early present from Father Christmas. No opening it until Christmas Day though! Vestry House Museum (Walthamstow), £3, just turn up, 1.30pm-4.30pm


Last Updated 04 December 2017