Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 15-21 January 2018

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 15-21 January 2018
Lumiere London illuminates the city from 18-21 January.

All week

KRISTIN BAYBARS TOY SHOP: We recently stumbled across this enchanting haven for forgotten toys. Kristin Baybars is on 7 Mansfield Rd, NW3 2JD. It's open 11.30am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday

MUDLARK'S GALLERY: Ever barrelled your way onto the front carriage of a DLR train, so you can pretend to drive it? The much-sought-after seat is always available at Museum of London Docklands, alongside toy boats and other nautical-themed activities — so long as you're 8 years old or younger. Museum of London, free, book ahead, 10am-5.30pm on school holidays, or 2pm-5.30pm during term time.

ATMOSPHERIC VIOLENCE: It's hard to find beauty in violence but this one room display at The British Museum shows how it has been done throughout history. Read our four-star review of On Violence and Beauty: Reflections on War. Room 3, The British Museum, free, just turn up, Until 21 January

THRAEDABLE POP-UP: If you're attempting to be sustainable in a society, which has a history of favouring throw-away fashion, you'll be grateful for this pop-up dedicated entirely to ethical and organic clothing. Don't forget to check out the exhibition of artwork created by refugees, which inspired some of the designs. 44 Ashdown Crescent, free, just turn up, until 31 January

YEAR IN FOCUS 2017: Check out some of the most hard-hitting images from around the world that flashed across our screens and newspapers last year. Getty Images Gallery, free, just turn up, until 3 February

Monday 15 January

Learn how to whip up two tipples from the winter cocktail collection.

BOOKS USED AND ABUSED: Are you a page corner folder? Do you doodle in the margins or leave cryptic notes in the books you devour? Then you'll identify with this new exhibition on why books are customised, adorned and disguised. Guildhall Library, free, just turn up, 15 January-9 March

WEST END MUSICAL CHOIR: Sing, laugh and hold that New Year's resolution to learn a new skill by joining a free choir class led by the West End Musical Choir. The taster sessions take place across eight locations so there's no excuse not to sign up. Various locations, free, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm, until 18 January

FREE LUNCH: There's nothing like a free lunch to blast away the blues on PR agencies like to claim is the most depressing day of the year. Sign up for a code via the website, which you can exchange for Rola Wala's new black bean noodle spice bowl today. Rola Wala (Spitalfields and Westgate Oxford sites), free, book ahead, 11am-2.30pm

COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS: Want to know how to mix a cocktail that tastes as good as it looks? Join this masterclass to learn how to make two cocktails inspired by fairy tales and ancient legends. St James Bar, free, just turn up, 5.30pm-7pm

CHRISTIE'S LATE: Get serious interior design envy at the lifestyle edition of this Christie's Late. Join the agile yogis, pick up sportswear from OUTNET.COM and make a mental note of how you wish your home could look if you could afford it. Christie's, free, just turn up, 6pm-8.30pm

Tuesday 16 January

Flora at Canary Wharf Winter Lights festival. © Philip Artus

CANARY WHARF WINTER LIGHTS: Light graffiti, interactive light bubbles and flora light drawings are transforming the cold, hard surfaces of Canary Wharf into a twinkling extravaganza of high tech, illuminated artworks. Estate Wide, free, just turn up, 5pm-10pm, until 27 January

THE EXCREMENT FACTOR: Poo is the topic of conversation tonight, animal poo in particular. Dr George McGavin from Oxford University's Zoology department is tasked with explaining what we can learn from animal droppings. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

Wednesday 17 January

© Subida al Cielo

JERWOOD/PHOTOWORKS AWARDS: Death, belonging and the fragility of the natural world are themes you can pick out of photos in this group show. The three featured photographers were whittled down from more than 350 artists and receive funding and support in their careers. Jerwood Space, free, just turn up, until 11 March

TALK: Delve into the medieval world of merchants and their influential residences in this free Gresham talk from Simon Thurley, Visiting Professor of the Built Environment. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

CULTURE UNDER FIRE: Does your heart sink everytime you hear about the destruction or looting of places of cultural/historical significance? This talk discusses the value of cultural property, the risks of protecting it and who is responsible for rebuilding once conflict ends. LSE (Old theatre), free, just turn up (first come first served), 6.3pm-8pm

#METOO SHORT FILM SCREENING: Event organiser Lukrecija Vaupsaite says “Bearing in mind the most recent events of sexual harassment, it is important to get together and show that women are not on their own – at the same time to encourage talented young female filmmakers to come forward to show their work,” so that's exactly what you'll find at this night of female-fronted shorts. Cafe 1001 (Shoreditch), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-9pm

POETRY REVIEW LAUNCH: Settle in for a night of intriguingly arranged words from contributors Ian Humphreys, Holly Pester, Mark Waldron and an exclusive filmed reading from Hisham Bustani at the launch of the winter issue of The Poetry Review. The Poetry Cafe, free, book ahead, 7pm

Thursday 18 January

Keyframes at last year's Lumiere Festival. © Thomas Veyssiére (2016)

FREE HEALTH MOT: Feeling a bit fragile after all the festive indulgence? Get a free blood test from Medichecks, who are testing Londoner's cholesterol and blood sugar and providing the results instantaneously. Liverpool Street Station, free, just turn up, 9am-8pm

LUMIERE LONDON: Lumiere London is back in January 2018, lighting up the cold, dark streets of London for four evenings of dazzling art and installations. The free festival is a collaboration between arts organisation Artichoke Trust and tourist board Visit London. It was big news two years ago, and it'll be even bigger this year. Here's what you need to know. Various locations, free, just turn up, 4.30pm-11pm, until 21 January

BARDEBLAH: It sounds like nonsense but Bardeblah is actually a game of wit and wisdom "bringing intelligent discussion on a variety of topics, from the serious to the trivial". The Balham Bowls Club, free, just turn up, 8pm-10.30pm

Friday 19 January

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE IN ART: Western art is full of death, disfigurement and grief but how can the sight of someone in extremes of suffering be ‘uplifting’? (without being psychopathic) asks Nigel Spivey, University of Cambridge and author of Enduring Creation: Art, Pain and Fortitude (2001). British Museum (BP Lecture Theatre), £5/£3, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

CREATEINSIGHTS: 16-24-year-olds curious about the career of an assistant curator are welcome to attend this talk, led by Charlotte Johnson, Assistant Curator in the Sculpture, Metalwork and Glass Department at the V&A. V&A (Art Studio, Sackler Centre), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

Saturday 20 January

LONDON BUDDHIST CENTRE OPEN DAY: Find your inner zen at a meditation session in the relaxing room known as 'Breathing Space' and nosey around the rest of the centre as it opens its doors to newcomers today. London Buddhist Centre, free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

SATURDAY TALKS: Get your culture fix at the Serpentine Gallery today when curator Rebecca Lewin leads a tour of Wade Guyton: Das New Yorker Atelier, Abridged. Serpentine Gallery, free, just turn up, 3pm

Sunday 21 January

Get close to some of London's most iconic sporting venues such as Lee Valley VeloPark, London Stadium and the ArcelMittal Orbit.

WILD WEEKEND: Enjoy a beautiful but windswept day out for the whole family at Walthamstow Wetlands, which will have drop-in engineering activities suitable for all ages today, from bridge building to completing a working water network. Walthamstow Wetlands, free, just turn up, 10am-3pm

WALK IN THE PARK: Do a loop of the former Olympic Park on this tour, which takes in West Ham's controversial new home, the sculpture-turned-slide ArcelorMittal Orbit and Zaha Hadid's London Aquatics Centre. Plus, get your nature fix in the new pleasure gardens. Queen Elizabeth Park, £3, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm

HANDS-ON ARCHAEOLOGY: A chance for anyone potty about pottery to take a potter around The Fulham Pottery archive and even handle some of the... objects. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 1pm-3pm

YOUR TYPE: Hear top comedy talent read from specially selected scripts, plus stick around for stand-up from a surprise guest. The Bill Murray, £5, book ahead, 2pm-5pm

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

Festive Interactive Harry Potter Tour


Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets

A Secret London Tour


How well do you really know London? Visit the streets that inspired Harry Potter locations and see London's most superstitious hotel. On Matt's tour you will explore hidden places and discover stories unknown to even the most knowledgeable of Londoners. Get tickets

Step on Board the Haunted Tube Express


The London Undergound is over 150 years old, and it's seen a thing or two in its time. Are you brave enough to face the ghosts of the Underground? Travel through the home of the Bank's Black Nun, learn about the elderly angel who saved a tube worker from death, and come to face to face with Farringdon's screaming spectre. Bring your oyster card and discover the hidden secrets of the Underground. You'll need to have an Oyster card or travelcard for this event. Get tickets

Forgotten Old London


Have you visited London's Roman ampitheatre? What about London's Medieval market places? Hear weird and wonderful tales of our beautiful city as you take a walking tour, seeing everything from centuries-old churches to the hanging place of William Wallace. Whether you've lived here all your life or are visiting for a few days, you're sure to learn something new about London. Get tickets

Last Updated 15 January 2018