Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 19-25 February 2024

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 19-25 February 2024

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

Giant blue illuminated butterflies in front of Battersea Power Station
It's the final week of Battersea Power Station Light Festival

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 self-guided tour of Black Camberwell

A new self-guided tour from Southwark Council invites you to stroll around Camberwell and gen up on its Black history. Along the way you'll see a blue plaque for the Trinidadian soldier George Roberts who was a dab hand at throwing bombs; learn about the poet, feminist and producer Una Marson; and see the theatre where Star Wars star John Boyega first trod the boards.

Free, whenever.

Get a glimpse at the next artwork to go on the Fourth Plinth

We're getting a new artwork on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth later this year, when Improntas (Imprints) by Teresa Margolles is installed. But the people in charge of commissioning for the open-air display are working much further ahead, already thinking about which artworks will be installed in 2026 and 2028.

The National Gallery opens a free display on Monday, showcasing models of the shortlisted artworks for the next two commissions, so we can get a preview of what's to come — not that we'll know which has been chosen for a while yet. Once the exhibition's open, you can vote for your favourite here.

Free, 19 February-17 March.

A model brontosaurus
There's a free lecture on dinosaurs. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

Discover more about dinosaurs

As part of its Megalosaurus Month, the Geological Society offers a free public lecture about how our knowledge and understanding of dinosaurs has changed in the past 200 years. Palaeontologist Michael Benton talks about how recent finds have helped us to understand what dinosaurs looked like in the flesh, rather than just their skeletons.

Watch the lecture in person at the Geological Society on Piccadilly, or online.

Free, 20 February.

Attend a concert for free

London's full of free live music performances, if you know where to look (which we do, naturally). This week, your options include a lunchtime jam at Polyphonic Music Club (free, 19 January), a lunchtime piano concert at Lauderdale House (free, 20 February), a performance by local schools at Christ's Chapel, Dulwich (free, 21 February), a show by Royal Opera House performers or guest artists (free, 23 February), and a lively start to the weekend in the form of Friday Jazz at Oxford House (free, 23 February).

Close up of piano keys
Free concerts aplenty in London! Image: Ebuen Clemente Jr via Unsplash

Spend an evening delving into neuroscience

The Royal Society stays open late for an evening focusing on brains and neuroscience research. Various experts give brief talks about topics including brain injuries in sport, and hopes for treating dementia in the future. There are also games, workshops, tours and other free activities. Age 18+.

Free, 21 February.

Have a laugh at a cheap comedy night

The Book Club in Shoreditch is the place to head for Top and Bottom Comedy, hosted by Benjamin Lovell and Alexander Pankhurst. The regular comedy night brings together big name and up-and-coming comedy stars, trying out new material. Exact acts aren't announced in advance, but at just £3 entry, you can't go far wrong.

£3, 21 February.

A garden of bamboo, inside a building
Bamboo as Method arrives at Somerset House. Previous Edition Zheng Bo, Bamboo as Method, 2018. Photo by Erhan. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue.

See the latest installation in the Somerset House Courtyard

Hong-Kong based artist Zheng Bo transforms Somerset House’s courtyard into a bamboo garden for his art installation, Bamboo as Method. It's designed as a place for contemplation among nature, with visitors invited to select bamboo leaves from a variety of species to draw, after which the leaves are returned to the garden for decomposition, creating an ecological loop of creativity.

Free, 22 February-28 April.

Stay late at a museum to celebrate LGBTQ+ history

The National Maritime Museum stays open late on Thursday for Queer History Night. It's a chance to hear from members of the LGBTQ+ community-led group Queer History Club about their research in the museum's archives, and to explore theories and conversations about queer/ing maritime history.  

Free, 22 February.

Shake it at this free daytime dance event

A woman laughing and dancing, with other people also dancing nearby
Fancy simmering down? Image: Alice Boagey

Everyone's welcome at Southbank Centre's Simmer Down, a monthly daytime reggae dance meet up. You're encouraged to get up and dance along to a soundtrack of reggae music, with the aim of sparking joy and positivity.

Free, 23 February.

See this free exhibition about mudlarking

For this weekend only, Watermen's Hall in the City hosts a free exhibition about mudlarking in London. Each day, 15 different mudlarks display their personal collections of items they've found while searching the banks of the Thames, telling the stories of how they found them.

Free, 24-25 February.

See Ukrainian artworks created in bomb shelters

Our Home: Ukraine is a fleeting exhibition at the Forge Gallery at Craft Central on the Isle of dogs, displaying artworks created by Ukrainians while sheltering from Russian shells. Images are permeated with dread and agony, but also hope and the undying courage to create.

Free, 24 February-2 March.

Someone mudlarking
Watermen's Hall has a free exhibition on mudlarking. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

Catch this Malorie Blackman exhibition before it closes

This is the final week of Malorie Blackman - The Power Of Stories, a free exhibition about the Noughts & Crosses author's impact on the world of children's stories, offering readers a different way of seeing the world. See the original synopses of Noughts & Crosses, as well as artwork from Blackman's novels, and find out which authors inspired her, and which have followed in her footsteps. It's at the British Library.

Free, until 25 February.

Visit the final week of this free light festival

Lighter nights are coming (woo!), which means light festival season is coming to an end (boo!). Get a last glimpse, in the final week of this year's Battersea Power Station Light Festival.

Seven light art installations are dotted around the Battersea Power Station area, including a giant diamond and illuminated butterflies. It's free to visit, and there's a calendar of free entertainment too, including LED stilt walkers this week.

Free, until 25 February.

Last Updated 17 February 2024

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