Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 8-14 January 2024

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Last Updated 12 January 2024

Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 8-14 January 2024

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

Exterior of the Golden Hinde, drydocked on Bankside
Pay What You Want to visit the Golden Hinde

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.

Peruse an art exhibition below Waterloo station

43 artists — including Pigcasso, the painting pig internet sensation, and professional doodle artist Frankie Curtis — have each created an artwork measuring 1m x 1m, for the On the Side exhibition. You'll find it at The Sidings, the newish shopping mall area beneath Waterloo station. (It's open daily this month, 12pm-8pm.)

Free, until 31 January.

Choose your price to visit the Golden Hinde

Ever visited the Golden Hinde? If not, this month is the time to do so — it's offering Pay What You Want entry for the rest of January. The dry docked ship is a replica of the galleon ship which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated around the world — the first English vessel to do so — and these days you can climb on board and find out what life was like on that voyage.

8-31 January.

See some of the first Antarctic photography

The Royal Geographical Society, located next to the Royal Albert Hall, has a new, free exhibition of photos of the Antarctic. Specifically, it showcases the photography of Frank Hurley and Herbert Ponting. Both took part in expeditions to the Antarctic in the 1910s, including Ernest Shackleton's Endurance and Captain Scott's Terra Nova expeditions, making their images among the first — and most famous — ever taken in the region

Free, 8 January-1 February.

Explore 24/7 culture at Open all Hours

Image: Carole Lee, Gluttony in the 21st Century, I - 2021

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning in Herne Hill hosts free group art exhibition, Open All Hours. It explores the idea of a 24/7 culture, and the pressurised relationship we have with time, productivity, and the pace of our modern, increasingly digital, society.

Free, 9-21 January.

Livestream a Natural History Museum talk about dinosaurs

As part of the Natural History Museum's ongoing Dig Deeper series of science talks, palaeontologist and author Steve Brusatte offers an insight into dinosaurs. We've only known about them since the first species were discovered here in England 200 years ago, but their history dates back 250 million years. Brusatte discusses where they came from, how they came to rule the planet, and which ones survived when most were wiped out by that asteroid.

It'll set you back £25 to watch in person at the museum, but you can do it on the cheap by watching at home — livestream tickets are just a fiver.

Livestream £5, 10 January.

Take yourself along to a lunchtime fashion lecture

Connie Karol Burks, co-curator of the current (sold out) Chanel exhibition at the V&A, gives a free lunchtime lecture about Gabrielle Chanel's subtly subversive approach to fashioning gender, class, and luxury in her designs. Find out how Chanel's own experiences, and the social conventions of the time, influenced her work.

Free, 11 January.

Get the lowdown on Restoring Greenwich Park

An artist's impression of the giant steps leading up to the observatory hill.
Steps are (literally) being taken to transform Greenwich Park. Image: Royal Parks

Royal Parks offers a free online talk by Daniella from the Greenwich Park Revealed project, focusing on the work currently going on in Greenwich Park. Find out what's happening there and why — and what changes you can expect to see in the coming years... including some giant steps.

Free, 11 January.

Find out about life for the post-war generation

The National Army Museum in Chelsea hosts a talk by Professor Michael Roper, about what it was like for the post-war generation to grow up surrounded by the memory and legacies of the first world war.

It's the result of an oral history project, where 35 British descendants of women and men who had lived through the war told their stories — including relatives dying young, and others left disabled and unable to work, causing financial hardship for families.

You can watch in person at the museum, or online — both are free.

Free, 12 January.

Do the Madness dance at a new exhibition on two-tone

A collage showing two-tone musicians, Coventry and a palm tree
Dare you not to dance at this free new Barbican exhibition.

Baggy trousers at the ready! The Barbican's next free exhibition arrives on Friday, and it dances to the tune of two-tone. From the Caribbean to Coventry: Plotting the Rise of 2Tone explores how Caribbean immigration influenced UK youth culture in an incredibly positive way — and features band memorabilia, items of clothing, literature, art and photos — plus contributions from fans of two-tone artists.

Free, 12 January-25 May 2024.

Take part in a free tea tasting

As part of its current r 茶, चाय, Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea) exhibition (also free), the Horniman Museum offers a free tea tasting session. Head to the Horniman Conservatory for a relaxed sipping sesh with HA DONG, an independent small batch, craft tea brewer founded in London 2021.

No need to book, just drop in — and while you're there, take the opportunity to see the Horniman walrus before it's taken off display for a few years.

Free, 13 January.

Witness the annual Blessing of the River Thames

Even been to this unusual ritual? Image: Bishop of London

The Blessing of the River Thames, a rather special event happening just once a year at this location, takes place in the centre of London Bridge this Sunday. The short service brings together the clergy and congregations from Southwark Cathedral and St Magnus the Martyr — churches sitting either side of the river bank. The bells of St Magnus peal, while prayers are offered to bridge and river users, as well as those who have died in the Thames, and a wooden cross is tossed into the waters. Anyone can turn up to watch, and each church holds its own service before, too.

Free, 14 January.

View an exhibition of Tube Pictures

Last week, Barbican Library opened a free exhibition of collages, paintings, reproductions and digital composites depicting life on the tube. Artist Martin Church creates the works based on sketches he makes live on Metropolitan line trains — perhaps you feature if you use the line regularly?

Free, until 29 January (closed on Sundays).