Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 18-24 December 2023

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 18-24 December 2023

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

A glittering golden angel Christmas lights display over Regent Street
Take a walk through London's Christmas lights. Photo: Londonist

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.

Take a walk around London's Christmas lights

London is aglow with Christmas lights — an overwhelming amount, actually, particularly if you're trying to see them all. We've compiled a self-guided walking route which takes you through the majority of central London's festive illuminations, including Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby, in one circular route. It also swings by other seasonal attractions including ice rinks, Christmas markets and the Trafalgar Square tree. (You don't have to do the full route in one go.)

Don't fancy the walk? We've got a guide to seeing London's Christmas lights by bus — it'll only cost you the price of your TfL fare, and gives you a closer (and warmer) look at the Oxford Street and Regent Street lights. Just cross your fingers you manage to get a seat on the top deck.

Free, until early January.

Watch Christmas films for free

Home Alone poster with Macauley Culkin doing his thing
That's right Kevin — you can watch Home Alone for free at Boxpark Wembley this week!

Boxpark Wembley offers two free screenings of Christmas films this week. Watch Elf on Monday, or Home Alone on Wednesday. Both films are shown on the big screen, with food and drink available to buy from the venue's traders.

Free, 18/20 December.

Poke Post

A free Pokémon pop-up opens on South Bank for one day only (following a tour around other parts of London and Europe), encouraging people to share Pokémon-themed post with loved ones for Christmas. The experience gives you the choice of either a Pikachu or Eevee Trading Card Game gift pack to post to someone special, and a second gift pack that is yours to keep. It's all while stocks last, so get down there as early as you can (open 10am-7.30pm).

Free, 19 December.

Stay late at the Bank of England Museum

The Bank of England Museum stays open for its final Museum Late of the year, and naturally, it's a Christmas special. Hear the Bank of England Choir performing a selection of carols as you explore the museum. There's also a craft event where you can create your own bauble filled with shredded banknotes, though supplies for that one are limited, so get in there early if you fancy it.

Free, 21 December.

Take part in a family-friendly sip and paint sesh

A hand holds a mug of mulled wine
Sip one of these for free at a branch of Market Place this Thursday and Friday.

Free festive 'sip and paint' sessions come to Market Place branches in Vauxhall, Harrow and Peckham on Thursday and Friday between 1pm and 5pm. School's out, and to celebrate, the little ones can get their faces festively painted (and grab a free goodies bag), while parents are invited to sip a gratis mug of mulled wine. No need to sign up — it's first come, first served.

Free, 21 and 22 December.

End of Term Party

Despite its name, the End of Term Party at Woolwich Works is one for adults. Parents, teachers — and in fact anyone who fancies blowing off a bit of steam — are welcome, as the final full working week of the year for many people ends. It's free entry, with a live DJ.

Free, 22 December.

Go watch the Smithfield Christmas meat auction

Thanks to Covid, the last Smithfield Christmas meat auction — in which the famous market sells off surplus stock for crazy bargain prices — was in 2019, so the atmosphere as it returns this year is bound to be particularly convivial. If you plan on purchasing a last-minute turkey (or suckling pig), you'll need a twenty quid note at the ready, but watching this festive London tradition won't cost you a dime. Find our more in our guide.

Free to watch, 23 December.

Seek out The Snowman... before he melts

A The Snowman sculpture in Playhouse Yard, painted with snowy scenes from The Snowman film.
Photo: Matt Brown

A reminder that there's a free sculpture trail themed on Raymond Briggs' book The Snowman taking place around the Fleet Street area. Every one of the dozen replicas of the famous frosty fellow has its own design, created by an artist and themed on the Twelve Days of Christmas. A great one if you've got kids to entertain in the Christmas holidays.

Free, until 5 January.

See Southbank Centre's Winter Light

Also ongoing is Winter Light, a free illuminations trail around the exterior of Southbank Centre, consisting of glowing artworks by 10 different artists. See them in various locations, including down by the river, and in the huge windows of Southbank Centre itself.

Free, until 7 January.

Last Updated 12 December 2023

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