Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 18-24 November 2019

All week

Wembley Park holds its first Winterfest

BEING HUMAN: The Being Human festival is themed around Discoveries and Secrets, and offers a tour through some of the city’s stranger cultural venues. Our picks include visits to a tiny underground theatre, a pathology museum and a Roman temple. Various locations, free, book ahead, until 23 November

THE CLASH: Paul Simonon’s smashed up bass guitar and one of Joe Strummer’s lyric notebooks are part of Museum of London’s The Clash exhibition, which is open now to mark the 40th anniversary of the London Calling album. Photos of the band, and Topper Headon’s drum sticks are among the other items on show. Museum of London, free entry, just turn up, until spring 2020

LONDON FROM THE ROOFTOPS: We’re huge fans of Instagram account @londonfromtherooftops, so we’re thrilled that photographer James Burns is displaying his work in a free exhibition. The stunning shots on show date from the last decade, showcasing the changes to London’s skyline over this time. The Steelyard (Cannon Street), free entry, just turn up, 19-21 November

Museum of London’s The Clash exhibition is now open

WINTERFEST: Wembley Park holds its inaugural Winterfest, a free, family-friendly light festival with several installations. Walk through the Sonic Runway, a light tunnel from Nevada’s Burning Man festival, or gaze up at the largest LED tree ever seen in London. Wembley Park, free, just turn up, 20 November-3 January

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Many of London’s Christmas lights are now switched on and welcoming visitors, with others due to be illuminated in free events over the coming weeks — including Oxford Street this Thursday. Our guide has the full details.

Monday 18 November

Free ice skating at the Tower of London for emergency workers

FREE ICE SKATING: Members of the Emergency Services can skate for free at the Tower of London for three days this week. If you work for the NHS, Police, Fire Brigade or Military, take your ID badge along for a free session. Tower of London, free, book in person at the box office, 18-20 November

WINTER CINEMA: Southbank Centre’s Winter Pop-Up Cinema is well and truly up and running, with family-friendly and adults-only screenings, including a few festive classics. Today’s picks include a free screening of The Jungle Book, shown in the riverside Circus Bar. Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, until 29 December

ANGEL COMEDY: Need a laugh to get you through the rest of the week? Angel Comedy Nights are free events with a selection of comics up on stage entertaining you — the line-up’s different each week, and you’ll have to turn up to find out who’s doing the honours this time. The Bill Murray (Islington), free, just turn up, 8pm-9.30pm

Tuesday 19 November

The London From The Rooftops exhibition opens today

COLLECTION HANDLING: Learn about some of the treasures in Fulham Palace’s collections, and get hands-on with a few of them at this special open morning. The collections and research officer is on hand to tell you more about the objects, covering everything from Roman archaeological finds, to postcards. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 11am-12pm

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Lauderdale House’s resident pianist Stephen Hose performs a free lunchtime concert, open to anyone who wants to do something different on their lunch break. It takes place in the rather lovely Long Gallery, with views over the gardens of Waterlow Park. Lauderdale House (Highgate), free, just turn up, 1.15pm

CARBON OFFSETTING: Is offsetting carbon emissions once they’ve been created acceptable? Is it better than doing nothing at all? In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be creating any carbon emissions, but this isn’t an ideal world, so a panel of experts comes together to discuss how we can do better at offsetting them. The Building Centre (Fitzrovia), free, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

Wednesday 20 November

Delve into black holes with Gresham College

BLACK HOLES: Black holes are intriguing things, but what’s the truth and what’s a myth? Gresham Professor os Astronomy Katherine Blundell OBE gives a free talk about what we do — and don’t — know about black holes, and how they shape our universe. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 1pm-2pm

VIRGINIA WOOLF: Killing The Angel is a performance combining the story of author Virginia Woolf’s life, as told in her own words, with songs and music written by women of her own era. It looks at how her troubled childhood is often omitted from her life story, and how women’s work is often omitted from history. Shaw Library (Holborn), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

COMEDY BLOOMERS: LGBTQ+ night Comedy Bloomers holds its end-of-year finale, headlined by Britain’s Got Talent runner up Robert White. Other award-winning comedians, musical comedy performers and rising stars are also on the bill. Seven Dials Club (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

Thursday 21 November

The Oxford Street Christmas lights go on today

WINTER WONDERLAND: Huge free Christmas festival Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park today. Funfair rides, theatre shows, an ice rink, an ice kingdom, Santa Land, a grotto, food and drink stalls, Christmas markets, a big wheel and much more are part of the fun this year. It’s free entry, but can get a bit spendy once you’re inside — you’ve been warned. Hyde Park, free entry, just turn up (but book ahead for some attractions) 21 November-5 January (shorter opening hours today, normal hours from tomorrow)

OXFORD STREET LIGHTS: Tonight’s the biggie — the Oxford Street Christmas lights are switched on for the season. They’re new lights this year — gone are the glittering orbs, replaced with high-tech LED boards. Plenty of events are going on around the street, including gigs in some of the stores. Oxford Street, free, just turn up, 5.30pm-10pm

HOLBORN VIADUCT: Infrastructure expert Lester Hillman gives a talk about Holborn Viaduct to mark the structure’s 150th anniversary. Hear its political, engineering, transport, commercial, literary and human history from the past century and a half discussed. Holborn Library, £2, just turn up, 7.30pm-9pm

Friday 22 November

Today’s the first full day of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. © IMG

MILITARY COMMAND: Professor Anthony King compares recent military command to that in previous battles. He looks at how Army commanders made decisions in the recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, compared to examples from the 20th century. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: Ditch your usual lunch plans, and take your sandwiches to Bishopsgate Institute and enjoy a free concert while you eat. South London musician Kwake Bass is today’s performer, playing a drums and electronic programme of music. Bishopsgate Institute (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, 1pm

Saturday 23 November

Liberty Festival takes over Walthamstow

LIBERTY FESTIVAL: The work of deaf and disabled artists is celebrated at Liberty 2019, a two-day festival of free performances. It’s a collaboration between the Mayor of London, and Waltham Forest as Borough of Culture, with a programme as diverse as holograms, deaf raves, cycle rides, podcast sessions, and much more. Walthamstow, free, booking required for some events, 23-24 November

MEET SANTA: You don’t get much for free in this life around Christmas time, but you can meet Santa for free today. He makes an appearance in the City’s Winter Forest — take photos with him against the snowy pine forest backdrop, and let him know what you’d like for Christmas. Broadgate (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, 12pm-3pm

QUEET DATING ADS: Bearded drag lady Timberlina brings to life some of the adverts from 20th century ‘lonely hearts’ publication The Link. The adverts, found in the National Archives and at Bishopsgate Institute, used coded language for men to meet men, with phrases including ‘bachelor’, ‘bohemian’ and ‘unconventional’.Royal Vauxhall Tavern, free, book ahead, 4pm-5.30pm

Sunday 24 November

Get stuck into Stir-Up Sunday

PALACE AT WAR: Fulham Palace opens the doors of its first world war hospital for a family-friendly day of activities. Dress up as a nurse and take part in a bandage-rolling challenge, or flick through a scrapbook made by a nurse who worked there. There’s also a wartime singalong around the piano. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 11am-3pm

STIR UP SUNDAY:  Traditionally the day when festive preparations begin in the kitchen, Stir Up Sunday is celebrated in Gunnersbury. Watch actors playing Victorian servants in a promenade performance through the historic kitchens involving sugar, spice, and plum pudding — they might even let you have a stir. Gunnersbury Museum, £4, book ahead, 11am-3.30pm

BIG LONDON FLEA: One (wo)man’s trash is another’s treasure, so get thee to the Big London Flea and have a rummage around. 50 traders take over the ground floor of a former cinema selling furniture, homewares, vintage clothes, industrial electrical goods and more. Earth Hackney, £1 entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

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2019-11-16 12:00:10 – Source: londonist.com