Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 5-11 February 2024

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Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 5-11 February 2024

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

Imperial Lates has a romance theme © Brendan Foster Photography

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.

Explore the possibilities of your dreaming mind

In her show Ticket to Turiya at Stables Gallery at Orleans House Gallery, artist Caroline Mac Cathmhaoil invites you 'to journey through the in-between spaces of dream and sleep'. We won't lie, this is one of those arty press releases we didn't fully understand, BUT the concept sounds interesting enough — and it's a good excuse to call in at this unique gallery space on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham. The gallery is free to visit, open Tuesday-Sunday.

Free, until 7 April.

Visit this newly renovated zoology museum

After several months closure for renovations, the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL reopens on Tuesday. Though we're sure it'll retain its old charm, we're told new displays will focus on species under threat, informing about biodiversity loss and the human impact on the natural world. Oh, and that infamous jar of moles is still there too. While you wait for the doors to reopen, satiate your appetite by reading about our visit behind the scenes of the museum, back in 2015.

Free, from 6 February (Tuesday-Friday 1pm-5pm, and Saturday 11am-5pm).

A statue of a man and boy in olde clothing
Dig into the history of Dulwich. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

Take a trip down memory lane in Dulwich

Sign up for an online talk about the history of Dulwich. Lifelong local resident Brian Green gives the talk comparing the local area's past to its present, using side by side photos. He also shares some of his own memories, and interviews with other local residents, as well as interesting things he's found in archive research.

£5, 6 February.

Find out what the future of the health service looks like

What sort of health service will England need by 2030? That's the topic of a free-to-watch debate which is part of London South Bank University's public lecture series. LSBU Chancellor Sir Simon Hughes is joined by Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, and formerly Chief Exec of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, to discuss how new technologies and digitally enabled care could change how we access our health service in the next few years - and what's being done to futureproof it.

Free, 7 February.

Lament the loss of the great British seaside

Once popular holiday destinations, British seaside resorts have seen a downturn in prosperity in recent years as people opt for package holidays abroad instead. At LSE, hear a panel of experts discussing how these coastal towns — many of which now suffer deprivation, low pay, poor health and low educational achievement  — can be revived for the future.

Free, 7 February.

Take a look at the Imagine Children's Festival programme (details below). Image: Southbank Centre/Belinda Lawley

Get the lowdown on human evolution

Professor Robin May offers a quick overview of 300,000 years of human history, in a free Gresham College lecture about human evolution. Find out how our own species has changed in the 300,000 years of its existence so far. You can watch in person at Barnard's Inn Hall, or online.

Free, 7 February.

Hear about the history of dog photography

Heidi Hudson, Curator of Photographic Collections at the Royal Kennel Club, gives a free lunchtime talk at the V&A Museum about the history of dog photography. Find out why dogs have been so popular as photographic subjects since photography was first invented, and how they've been used as symbolic representation.

Free, 8 February.

Feel the love at Imperial Lates

There's a 'romance and reproduction' theme at this month's Imperial Lates, celebrating both Valentine's Day and LGBT+ History Month. Imperial College stays open after hours for a programme of talks, workshops and quizzes on topics including the science of sexual desire, and polyamorous sparrows. There's also a bar, and a live DJ. Age 18+.

Free, 8 February.

Catch a free Royal Opera House performance

Every couple of weeks, Live at Lunch takes place at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, where the public can enjoy a free live performance by both Royal Opera House and guest artists. The performers aren't announced until the day, so just turn up and enjoy the surprise. Seats are limited, on a first come first served basis.

Free, 9 February.

Join in with the Chinese New Year celebrations

Dragon dancing is part of the fun at Greenwich Peninsula

Saturday 10 February is Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, heralding the start of the Year of the Dragon. We've found several ways to celebrate in the capital, but they're not all budget-friendly. If you want to mark Chinese New Year on the cheap, head to Chinatown for the free Chinese New Year Parade on Sunday.

Alternatively, Museum of London Docklands has free, family-friendly Lunar New Year celebrations going on all weekend, with lion dancing, dragon puppets and other activities (some require booking). Over in Greenwich Peninsula, some of the events are free too, including dragon dance performances and traditional Chinese wood block and calligraphy classes.

Free, 10-11 February.

Take part in a free tea tasting

Tying in with the ongoing 茶, चाय, Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea) exhibition, Horniman Museum offers a free tea tasting session on Sunday. Mei Leaf, tea curators and educators, are in the Horniman Conservatory for a casual tea tasting of ancient tree teas brewed in the Gong Fu style — just drop in, no ticket required.

While you're there, why not pay a final visit to the Horniman walrus, which is only on display for a couple more weeks?

Free, 11 February.

Learn about the fight for racial equailty

Preeti Dhillon, historian and author of The Shoulders We Stand On, gives a talk about some of the issues in the book, about the Black and Asian fight for racial equality in Britain. Hear about Black and Asian representation in government and their policies, and the crossover between Black and Asian grassroots activism in this free online talk, hosted by Black History Walks.

Free, 11 February.

An eastern tea ceremony
Have a tea-riffic time at the Horniman. Image: Sergey N via Unsplash

Catch the final week of this free video exhibition

You've only got until Sunday to see the Wellcome Collection's free exhibition, Genetic Automata. Artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy use video works to explore race and identity in an age of avatars, videogames and DNA ancestry. It questions where our ingrained ideas about race come from.

Free, until 11 February.

Do half term on the cheap

For most London schools, half term begins on Saturday, and we've got a guide to family-friendly things to do in the capital — which includes lots of free events. Particularly worth a look is the Imagine Children's Festival programme at Southbank Centre (7-17 February). Not all events are free, but many are, including the Mish Mash Family Trail

Don't forget, if the weather's looking decent, we've mapped all of the (free!) playgrounds we know of in central London, where the kiddies can let off steam.

Last Updated 30 January 2024

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