All week

Illustration Afloat opens on Friday

CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS: Winter festivals are popping up all over London and many of them are free entry (although you may have to part with a pretty penny if you wish to do any of the activities once you’re inside). Check before you go, as sometimes the admission fee varies on peak/off-peak hours.

FREE CHRISTMAS: There are plenty of festive things you can do in London without spending a single penny — take a look at our guide to free things to do in London at Christmas.

LAST CHANCE: It’s the final week of this exhibition about the experiences of three pilots in the first world war. Putting together the personal letters of Peter Falkenstein from Germany, Jean Chaput from France and Bernard Rice from England offers an insight into the lives of those who served. RAF Museum (Hendon), free, just turn up, until 9 December

BREXIT EXHIBITION: Time is running out to see LSE’s exhibition What Does Brexit Mean To You? Archives, photos, and other items relating to the UK’s history with the EU are on display. LSE Library Gallery (Holborn), free entry, just turn up, until 14 December

ADVENT WINDOWS: ‘Field of Dreams’ is the theme for this year’s live advent calendar in Greenwich town centre. Displays pop up in the windows of shops, houses, schools and pubs in the area, one every day 1-24 December. Greenwich, free, just turn up, 1-24 December (and then on display until 1 January)

Monday 3 December

Comedian Philip Simon used to play Daddy Pig.

BAD LANGUAGE: Swear jars at the ready for this discussion about bad language. Why are some words not acceptable to say in polite company, and should we have restraints on what can and can’t be said? LSE (Aldywch), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

COMEDY NIGHT: If you recognise the voice of comedian Philip Simon — star of tonight’s Angel Comedy — that’s because he used to play Daddy Pig in kids’ TV show Peppa Pig. These days, he covers more grown-up subject matter including fatherhood and dating The Bill Murray (Islington), £5 to book a seat/pay what you want if you just turn up, 6.45pm-7.45pm

PUB SKEPTICS: Why are some people violent towards others, and what happens to these people in prisons and secure hospitals? Nigel Blackwood, a clinical academic in forensic psychiatry working at King’s College London and in HMP Wandsworth, talks about criminal behaviour, and whether the many TV shows and books on the subject are even close to the truth. The Monarch (Camden), £3, just turn up, 7.30pm

Tuesday 4 December

Citizens of London hears from storyteller Vanessa Woolf

WINDRUSH CHILDREN: Real-life stories dating back more than 70 years feature in new anthology Mother Country: Real Stories Of The Windrush Children, which shares the experiences of the Windrush Generation, their children and grandchildren. Tonight, journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, writer Riaz Phillips and publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove discuss the book. Pages of Hackney, £4, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

CITIZENS OF LONDON: London’s resident storyteller Vanessa Woolf is the subject of tonight’s Citizens of London. She talks to event host Tamer about her work, which has taken her to locations including Harrods, Waterloo Vaults, Kensington Palace, derelict buildings and cemeteries. CloudM (Tower Hill), free, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

Wednesday 5 December

CHRISTMAS AT FULHAM PALACE: Take a festive tour of Fulham Palace, including the decorations in historic rooms such as the Great Hall, and learn about how Christmas used to be celebrated at the palace. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 2pm-2.45pm

COLD WAR: As part of European Cinema Night, free tickets are available to this screening of Cold War, a romantic black and white film set in Europe in the aftermath of the second world war, about two musicians who want to escape from the Soviet countries to the freedom of the west. Rio Cinema (Dalston) , free, book ahead, 6.30pm

FILM QUIZ:  Test your film knowledge at the regular Barbican Film Quiz. Tonight’s theme is on-screen couples, with a bonus ‘modern couples’ themed round, tying in with Barbican’s current exhibition on that theme. Teams of maximum six. Barbican Cinema, £3, book ahead, 6.45pm

ANGEL COMEDY: Lloyd Griffiths mucks about on stage for roughly an hour. Not our synopsis but the actual title of this comedy show, starring Lloyd Griffiths of Soccer AM. The Bill Murray (Islington), £5 to reserve a seat/free to just turn up, 6.45pm-7.45pm

Thursday 6 December

MUSEUM LATE: A rare chance to get inside the 500 year old Royal College of Physicians, which was founded by Henry VIII’s Royal Charter. It’s open late to show off some of  its artefacts and artwork. Royal College of Physicians (Regent’s Park), free, just turn up, 5pm-8pm

TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: It’s probably the world’s most famous Christmas tree — it even has its own Twitter account — and tonight’s your chance to see it switched on for the season. Carol singing and poetry readings take place in Trafalgar Square to mark the occasion. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up (get there early as it gets busy), from 6pm

IMPERIAL LATES: Forget Xmas, it’s all about Xmaths at this festive evening celebrating all things numerical. Make maths-inspired tree decorations, tackle mind-bending puzzles and hear from world-leading mathematicians about why they do what they do. Imperial College (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 6pm-9pm

COLLECTIONS BY CANDLELIGHT: The theme of tonight’s Royal Society Late is A Victorian Christmas, celebrating some of the scientific breakthroughs made in the Victorian era. Mince pie molecular gastronomy is on the programme, along with talks about astronomy in the 19th century, and science in Victorian fairy tales. The Royal Society (The Mall), free, just turn up, 6.30pm

THE CHOCOLATE CASE: Is eating chocolate linked to child slavery? Documentary The Chocolate Case suggests so — watch it, followed by a panel discussion about responsible business and modern day slavery in the chocolate industry. LSE New Academic Building (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-9pm

Friday 7 December

ILLUSTRATION AFLOAT: Drawings, paintings, prints, zines and books from talented artists have been curated into this exhibition, which takes place on board a barge on Regent’s Canal. Granary Square (King’s Cross) free entry, just turn up, 7-12 December

LANTERN PARADE: Christmas officially launches in Aldgate tonight, with a lantern parade and winter fete. Follow the parade from Sir John Cass Foundation’s Primary School (4.45pm) to the fete in Aldgate Square for festive choirs, food, drink and the lighting of what claims to be the City of London’s biggest Christmas tree. Aldgate, free, book ahead, 4pm-9pm

Saturday 8 December

OPEN STUDIOS: The mysterious Eel Pie Island has a rare public opening, when everyone’s invited into the artists’ studios in the middle of the Thames.  See the artists at work and purchase products directly from them, cutting out the hefty middle-man commission (bringing cash is advised). Eel Pie Island (Twickenham), free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm, 8-9 December

FARM CHRISTMAS: A Santa’s grotto, Christmas raffle, face painting and children’s games are all present at the Surrey Docks Farm Christmas fair — plus, the farm is open as usual, so visit your favourite animals while you’re there. Surrey Docks Farm, free entry (charge for some activities), just turn up, 11am-4pm

ELF: It’s time to go hard on Christmas films, starting with Elf. This family-friendly screening of the 2003 Christmas comedy is preceded a craft workshop where kids can make their own Christmas decorations. Harris Academy South Norwood, £5, book ahead, 2pm. See which other festive films are being screened in London this year.

Sunday 9 December

A ceramics market comes to Rich Mix

CERAMICS MARKET: 70 ceramicists take over four floors of Rich Mix, selling cups, crockery, baubles, vases and much more, that they’ve created with their own hands. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

DOGGY STYLE: Why should dogs miss out on the capital’s Christmas markets? Doggy Style Market is open to canines and their humans, bringing together traders selling pet food, clothing, skincare and more — you can even get a caricature drawn of Fido or Rover. Leake Street (Waterloo), £4/£5 (proceeds go to All Dogs Matter charity), book ahead, 12pm-6pm

OH BOY: A fiver sounds like an absolute bargain to see up and coming Scottish comedian Gareth Waugh performing his show about laws of the playground and teenage bucket lists. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm

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