Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 11-17 September 2023

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Last Updated 04 September 2023

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 11-17 September 2023

Budget-friendly things to do in London this week for £5 or less.

A woman wearing headphones dancing at a silent disco.
Science Museum stays open late on Wednesday.

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.

Make the most of London Open House

One of our favourite annual events in London is Open House Festival, which lets you go behind the scenes at buildings and landmarks usually off-limits to the general public. There's also an abundance of guided walks and tours on specific topics and themes, taking place in both central and outer London. The majority of the events are free — though some do require advance bookings due to space or time limitations. Take a look at our guide to Open House London 2023, then browse the programme to plan your Open House experience.

Many events free, until 17 September.

Have a chit chat with fellow Londoners

As life moves at a million miles an hour in this city, it's easy to neglect meaningful conversations with fellow Londoners. The Friends of Regent's Park & Primrose Hill launch their first 'Chit Chat' session on Tuesday. Adults of all ages are invited to Benugo, Primrose Hill (3pm-5pm) to hang out with others over a cup of coffee, and talk about whatever you want to. A great opportunity to make new friends, or just while away an hour or two.

Free, 12 September.

The Milky Way
Gresham College is back, and it's going galactic. Image: iStock/alex-mit

Find out what's beyond the Milky Way

The fantastic Gresham College is back in action after its summer break, offering free lectures from experts on all manner of topics. Tonight, hear from Professor Chris Lintott  — a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford — about how new telescopes in the 20th century helped us to observe further into space, and put into perspective that we are just one galaxy of several hundred billion in the observable Universe.

You can watch the lecture in person, or online via livestream.

Free, 13 September.

Stay late at the Science Museum

Sticking with the space theme, this month's Science Museum Lates focuses on stargazing. You can find out about the technology behind the newest and most powerful telescopes, hear from Andy Saunders, one of the world’s leading experts in NASA digital restoration, about how he created the highest quality Apollo photographs ever produced, or discover whether asteroids pose a threat to life on Earth.

That's just a selection of the space-themed talks and events taking place. There's also a silent disco, and a chance to explore the museum's usual displays and exhibits after hours.

Free, 13 September.

Young adults sitting at a table putting together Lego bouquets
Flower arranging but make it Lego

Build a bouquet out of Lego

You might've done flower arranging before now, but how about with Lego bricks? From 16-24 September, a Lego 'Piece Garden' is in Shoreditch's Ace Corner, where you can bond with fellow lovers of the ever-versatile brick, and craft bouquets and bonsai trees.

Free, from 16 September.

See a brand new Diwali installation

Ahead of Diwali in November, Greenwich Peninsula unveils an artwork by graphic artist Murugiah as part of London Design Festival. Rangoli Mirrored Cosmos is inspired by the traditional Rangoli artform, and takes the form of a 3D mirrored sculpture exploring the artist's juxtapositions of his Western birth and upbringing with his South Asian heritage. Find it in Peninsula Square, where it'll be in situ for a year.

Free, from 16 September.

September 2023: artist Murugiah against a backdrop of a colourful cartoon graphic.
Murugiah unveils a new artwork in Greenwich Peninsula.

LGBTQ+ family network

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich holds a bi-monthly LGBTQ+ Family Network session, offering a space for LGBTQ+ families to meet and get creative. Head to the museum for a morning of artist-led activities inspired by Greenwich, the maritime world, and LGBTQ+ histories — and get to know other LGBTQ+ families at the same time.

Free, 16 September.

Watch hundreds of boats in the Great River Race

The London Marathon, but on the Thames: that's how we'd describe the Great River Race. The annual event — running since 1988 — now has more than 300 vessels taking part from skiffs to regal-looking barges to Viking-style long boats — all going head-to-head on a 21.6 mile course from Millwall to Richmond. The closing date to enter has passed, but you can cheer the teams on for free. It takes each boat at least two hours to make the journey, and they set off in a staggered start, so you can fill quite a few hours watching this spectacle.

Free, 16 September.

Rowers rowing past Houses of Parliament on the Thames.
The London Marathon, but on the Thames. Photo: Great River Race

Visit Hampton Court Palace garden for free

Regular Londonist readers may already know that every so often, the lovely people at Hampton Court Palace open up the palace gardens for free (normally you have to pay the palace admission fee). This weekend is one such time, meaning you can ogle the Great Fountain Garden, Privy Garden, Kitchen Garden and other outdoor spaces without having to fork out. Note that the usual entrance fee still applies for the palace building, the maze, and the Magic Garden children's playground on these days.

Free, 16-17 September.

Go to the Richmond Park Open Day

The magnificent thing about London's Royal Parks is that they're free to visit for anyone, any day of the week. But Richmond Park goes further this Sunday, offering a free open day with various events and activities to help you make the most of the sprawling green space.

Get yourselves to the Holly Lodge Centre (north-west end of the park) for guided walks, woodland crafts and horse riding demonstrations. There's also a chance to meet local representatives from the emergency services, RSPB and The British Deer Society and learn about their work in the park, and to browse exhibits from ecologists and wildlife experts.

Free, 17 September.