Free And Cheap Things To Do This Week In London: 9-15 October 2023

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

The Lego Superpower Academy opens its doors on Thursday.

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.

Focus on connections at the Mental Wealth Festival

On World Mental Health Day, City Lit launches its Mental Wealth Festival, with a focus on the impact of connections on mental health through workshops and talks. All events are either free or low-cost.

Free/cheap, 9-14 October.

Pack your teenagers off to Games Night

Every Tuesday evening, Chelsea Library hosts a free Games Night for 13-18 year olds, where teenagers can meet up to play all sorts of games. Traditional board games, Nintendo Switch, and tabletop roleplay games such as Warhammer are all available.

Free, 10 October (and every Tuesday).

Master the maths of board games

Speaking of board games (above), Gresham College offers an insight into the maths of board games in Tuesday’s free lecture.

Professor of Geometry Sarah Hart delves into the question of what is the hardest game of all time, explaining it through the concept of mathematical complexity. Watch in person at Barnard’s Inn Hall, or online.

Free, 10 October.

Is chess the toughest game? Find out at Gresham College. Image: GR Stocks via Unsplash

Watch legendary Brazilian documentary Ôrí

Raquel Gerber’s 1989 film Ôrí explores various Black organisations in São Paulo (from samba school gatherings, to soul music nights, to university conferences), while shedding light on the history of Black people and their transatlantic connections. It’s being screened at the Cineclub of the Embassy of Brazil (not far from Trafalgar Square), and audience members will be greeted with drinks and nibbles. It’s free but you should RSVP.

Free, 10 October

Hear it live at Horniman

Celebrate the launch of Horniman Museum’s new exhibition about tea with a special edition of regular music event Hear it Live!, featuring performances and talks based on some of the instruments in the museum’s unusual collection. Classically-trained Carnatic singer Supriya Nagarajan and award-winning harpist Lucy Norlan perform this week.

Free, 12 October.

Catch free comedy in Camberwell

Every Thursday, free comedy night Live Laugh Love LIVE descends on the Grove House Tavern in Camberwell, serving up a smorgasbord of comedians (from fresh talent giving it a go, to established acts honing new bits). The pub serves food too.

Free, 12 October.

Take your family along to the Lego Superpower Academy

The Lego Superpower Academy is a family-friendly immersive Lego escape room — and it’s completely free to take part. The aim is to inspire families to play together, and it consists of a range of escape rooms which you’ll need to use your superpowers to complete. Each room hosts a different challenge to test your creativity, problem solving, communication, resilience and more. Find it at White Rabbit Studios in Shoreditch.

Free, 12-18 October. Advance booking required.

Listen to harp music played in the Old Royal Naval College Chapel. Image: iStock/Gannet77

Spend your lunch break at a free harp concert

The wonderful Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance & Music in Greenwich offers a vast programme of free concerts and performances throughout the year — including several this week — giving its students plenty of opportunities to share their talents with an audience. On Friday this week, the Harp Department commandeers the beautiful setting of the Old Royal Naval College Chapel for a free performance by current students.

Free, 13 October.

Get the lowdown on Divas

Coinciding with the current DIVA exhibition, and the launch of new book Diva: Feminism and Fierceness from Pop to Hip-Hop, the V&A Museum hosts a free discussion about the diva as a central figure of contemporary pop culture. The editors and contributors to the book (Dr. Kirsty Fairclough, Dr. Benjamin Halligan, Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley and Dr. Shara Rambarran) talk to Harriet Reed, V&A Curator of Contemporary Performance, about how the role of a diva resonates with contemporary feminist ideas, kicks back against diminished social expectations, and unapologetically celebrates non-white cultural heritages.

Free, 13 October

Hear from Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu was the UK’s first sickle-cell and thalassaemia nurse specialist, and is now Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. As part of Black History Month events, there’s a chance to hear from her at Chelsea Library. Find out about her life and work as a nurse, health visitor and tutor, working with black and minority ethnic communities in London.

Free, 14 October.

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