9 Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 13-19 March 2023

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Last Updated 15 March 2023

9 Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 13-19 March 2023

Things to do in London this week for £5 or less.

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.

Knit & Stitch Club launches at Elephant Stores

1. Get your stitch on

Every second Tuesday of the month, Solo Craft Fair is hosting a free Knit & Stitch Club at Elephant Stores in Elephant & Castle — and this week is the first one. It's a social event rather than a class, so there's no formal teaching — just bring along your current project to get stuck into over a coffee, and meet new friends. That said, Alice Garnier is on hand to offer guidance to knitting beginners, and Katie Wells will be sharing embroidery advice and tips.

Book your free ticket.

Free, 14 March.

2. Take a tour of Oxford Street

The world-famous Oxford Street is the subject of a free Guildhall Library talk — which you can watch in person at the library, or online. Either way, City Guide & Lecturer Pete Smith offers an overview of the shopping thoroughfare, from the Elizabeth Line and Centre Point to Marble Arch and the Tyburn Tree.

Free, 15 March.

3. Make time for Midwestern music

An orchestra performing on stage
Iowa City Orchestra perform at Southwark Cathedral

At a loose end on Wednesday afternoon? The Iowa City Orchestra, Choir and Band are in town to play a one-off concert at Southwark Cathedral. Comprising more than 100 young people, the group plays a combination of British and American music in different genres, ranging from Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky and Holst to Sousa and Craig Hella Johnson, as well as Wilkousky's Battle Hymn of the Republic

Free, 15 March.

4. Bank on staying out late

The Bank of England Museum holds one of its occasional evening openings on Thursday, this time celebrating Women's History Month. It centres around a talk by Dr Lila O’Leary Chambers, historian of race, slavery, and commodification, focusing on individual women connected to the City of London who participated in the transatlantic slave trade.

The talk can be watched in person at the museum, or online (registration required for both). If you attend in person, you can explore the museum's exhibitions and displays before and after the talk.

Free, 16 March.

5. Move it, Bollywood style

Every month, Southbank Centre offers a free Mix & Move dance session, where you can try out a different dance style. This time, Bollywood is in the spotlight. Choreographer Natasha Khamjani, and dance teachers Krupa Chavda and Damien Anyasi take you through the moves.

Dancers (and non-dancers!) of all abilities and ages are welcome, no experience is required, and you don't need to bring a partner.

Free, 17 March.

6. Cheer on rowers in the Head of the River Race

The Head of the River Race goes from Mortlake to Putney. Image: Pointillist

The famous Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Races don't take place until next weekend, but there's something of a warm-up event this weekend in the form of the Head of the River Race.

It's a race which takes place annually on the River Thames from Mortlake to Putney, with up to 400 crews of eights taking part. That's the same stretch of river as next week's Boat Races but in the opposite direction — so you could consider it a practice run for scoping out a good viewing spot. Plus, with so many crews taking part, setting off at 10-second intervals, there's plenty to watch.

Free, 18 March.

7. Try your luck at National Lottery Open Week

An actor dressed as Florence Nightingale with a lamp
The Florence Nightingale Museum is among institutions offering free entry this week. Image: Mediculture

Heard of National Lottery Open Week? It gives the public a chance to get free or discounted entry to various venues, as a thank you to National Lottery players, whose entries fund good causes across the country. You just need to present a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard (digital or physical) to take advantage of the special offers.

In London, offers include free entry to selected National Trust properties, as well as the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner, and the Florence Nightingale Museum. Elsewhere, there's 2-for-1 or half price entry at other attractions, as well as free garden tours at Marble Hill and the Horniman Museum. Check individual offers for details, restrictions and dates.

18-26 March.

8. Be transported from Bengal to Bethnal Green

Spend your Sunday afternoon enjoying music which celebrates the culture of Bangladesh and its diaspora. Bengal to Bethnal Green is a regular live music event at Rich Mix in Shoreditch bringing together some of the best-known Bengali singers in the UK with performers from the Grand Union Orchestra’s house band. This time around, renowned performer Yousuf Ali Khan leads traditional songs by Lalon and Nazrul, alongside emotional Ragas.

Free, 19 March.

9. Marvel at Magnificent maps

The oldest surviving map of London is the headline exhibit at Magnificent Maps of London, a cartographer's paradise of an exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives. Also on display are the Ruins of London survey, commissioned following 1666's Great Fire, and 19th century maps charting the spread of then-fatal diseases like typhoid, cholera and smallpox. The exhibition's been open for almost a year, but you've only got a couple more weeks to see it.

Free, until 29 March.