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

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

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

Hundreds of glowing white roses lighting up a park in the dark.
The Ever After Garden is back. Photo: Sam Mellish

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.

Glimpse the Winter Light at Southbank Centre

There are loads of light trails and festivals in London at this time of year, but some are pretty spendy. Not so with Southbank Centre's Winter Light, which is completely free. The artworks — by 10 different artists including Jakob Kvist, Leo Villareal and Marinella Senatore — can be seen at any time, though obviously look their best after dark. Find them dotted around the outside of Southbank Centre.

Free, 13 November-7 January.

Be enlightened about Edmonton's Boxing Bishop

The Untold Edmonton series of free local history talks continues with an evening about — and in the company of — Archbishop Costakis Evangelou MBE. For more than 30 years, he's been founding football, boxing, and arts clubs for young people in the local area, and recently featured in a documentary called The Boxing Bishop, which is shown tonight. Takes place at Fore Street Library, with drinks and snacks are provided.

Free, 16 November.

Find out the truth about Dick Whittington

There's more to Dick Whittington than a pantomime character (though he does appear in a couple this year) as you'll find out in this free talk at Guildhall Library. This year marks 600 years since four-times Lord Mayor Richard Whittington died, and this talk is a chance to separate fact from fiction — for instance: was he really poor... and did he really have a cat?

Free, 16 November.

Some of the Hampton Court Palace Gardens, including a symmetrical layout with trees and fountains.
Visit the Hampton Court Palace Gardens for free. Photo: Matt Brown

Hear the Pakistani Bengali Story

Paper Boats: The Pakistani Bengali Story is a new, free exhibition at Rich Mix examining experiences of statelessness within Pakistani Bengali communities. Many have fragile legal status in Pakistan with issues around documentation and citizenship, something explored here through art, music, animation and film.

Free, 16 November-9 December.

Wander through the Ever After Garden

Once again, Mayfair's Grosvenor Square glows with the light of more than 25,000 illuminated roses as the Ever After Garden returns. Anyone can visit, and though there's no admission fee, the installation raises money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, so do consider donating if you can. Alternatively, dedicate a rose to a loved one (minimum suggested donation £10).

Free (donations welcome), 16 November-19 December.

Get moving at a free daytime dance session

Once a month, Southbank Centre hosts Simmer Down, a free celebration of reggae music with attendees encouraged to get up and dance along, aiming to spark joy and positivity. It's open to everyone, and is particularly popular with older adults and parents with young children.

Free, 17 November.

Crowds of people browsing last year's Discerning Eye exhibition.
The ING Discerning Eye Annual Exhibition takes place at Mall Galleries. Photo: Ed Rees

See this year's ING Discerning Eye exhibition

Head to Mall Galleries from Friday to see the free entry ING Discerning Eye Annual Exhibition. It's a show of small, domestic-scale artworks (max 50cm dimensions) by UK-based artists, chosen by an independent panel including artists, art collectors and critics. All of the artworks are for sale.

Free entry, 17-26 November.

Hear from artists, led by Tabish Khan

Londonist art critic Tabish Khan hosts an artist talk at current exhibition, In search of love and peace amongst the flowers, at gallery@oxo. The show is a group exhibition by 15 contemporary female artists, and today's discussion covers the topics of mythology, nature and the female gaze, offering a new perspective on the historical canon of art that for so long has been controlled by men.

Free, 18 November.

Visit these palace gardens for free

A few times a year, Hampton Court Palace holds Garden Open Days, where you can visit the gardens and grounds for free, without paying the usual admission fee. The final Garden Open Days of the year happen this weekend, meaning you can visit the Great Fountain Garden, Privy Garden, Kitchen Garden, Pond Garden and other outdoor areas without paying — though note that you'll still need a paid admission ticket if you want to visit the palace itself, or the Maze. The Hampton Court Palace 10k takes place on Sunday, so Saturday might be a better bet to avoid the crowds.

Free, 18-19 November.

Last Updated 16 November 2023