Five free (or cheap) things to do in Greenwich this weekend

Need some tips for the weekend? Read on for a list of five free (or at least very cheap) things to do in Greenwich, compiled by Sofia Wickerhauser!

Greenwich Park

Climb the hill in Greenwich Park to see what is perhaps one of the best views of London. With 183 acres of land and 400-year-old trees, the park is a local favourite, not only for the view but also for picnics, long walks, and bird watching. The rose garden, located on the eastern side of the park, is a must-see in June/July. The Royal Observatory observatory, on top of the hill, houses the Meridian Line, which the Observatory’s website says ” (…) represents the Prime Meridian of the world, Longitude Zero (0° 0′ 0″). Every place on the Earth is measured in terms of its angle east or west from this line.”

Tickets to visit the observatory are £13.50, but you can see the meridian line laser outside, especially at night or in foggy weather.


The planetarium currently has a show on exploring the origins of Dark Matter Source: Giphy

If cool photos and fun astronomy facts are your thing, then the free Astronomy Centre galleries are definitely for you! Also located at the top of Greenwich Park, the planetarium houses inspiring photo collections and opportunities to test your astronomy knowledge. Bring a friend and go crazy with space exploration games, where you must team up and launch successful missions into space before the time runs out. Aside from the free galleries, tours around the galaxy will cost you £8, but are guided by commentary of real astronomers. Disclaimer: minor emotional breakdowns might occur as you stand in awe of the universe.

The Fan Museum

Pic: Wikimedia Commons/CrabTree13

Only £3 for students (£5 otherwise), this cute museum near Greenwich Park chronicles the history of fans and fan making. The display of fans is quite exquisite – grab an audio guide and go upstairs to view the temporary exhibitions. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the museum’s quaint orangery serves one of the more reasonably priced afternoon-teas in London: just £9 per person.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Not many people know that beneath the Thames lies a 1,200 foot tunnel connecting the north and south banks. It’s slightly creepy, but surprisingly fun to walk (around 13 minutes), especially if you encounter a busking guitarist half-way through, echoing music all over the tunnel. From the north bank, you have access two nice parks, and a cool view of the National Maritime Museum buildings from the opposite side ofthe river. Back on the south bank, the tunnel connects directly to where the beautiful clipper ship, the Cutty Sark, is open for tours (tours cost £13.50).

Goddards at Greenwich

Pic: Ewan Munro/Flickr

After your day out in Greenwich, head to Goddard’s, a traditional pie and mash shop and restaurant. It’s not only a nice place to regain your energy after a long day of walking, but the prices are friendly too: a classic minced beef pie with mash is only £4.30 (two pies, £6.30). They serve all kinds of pies: chicken, veggie, steak and kidney, cheese and onion, you name it. If you’re unsure whether to choose liquor or gravy, ask what goes better with each type of pie. For desert, fruit pies are £2.90.

Sober London: things to do in the capital if you don’t drink

Not a drinker? Not a problem! Despite the ‘party hard’ stereotype associated with university, James Williams has never been pressured to drink at Goldsmiths, and you don’t have to drink to have a good time – especially in London! Here are some of the city’s best sober attractions and ideas for non-drinkers if “going out” isn’t your thing.

Uniqlo Tate Lates

The Tate’s eclectic basement venue Pic: James Williams

On the last Friday of the month, the Tate Modern is the place to be. The gallery stays open until 10pm to put on a free programme of exclusive workshops, films, and music while keeping all day time exhibitions open too. These tend to be less crowded at the Lates, giving you the opportunity to beat the queues, and discover the exhibits at a quieter time. Venture into the Blavatnik Building’s buzzing basement to catch a Live Sets by up-and-coming DJs, with the artists often silhouetted against quirky video installations. There’s something for everyone!

Live Music at the SU

The Goldsmiths Students Union hosts some great events like Quiz Nights, Karaoke, and various society socials where drinking is no obligation! But if you love discovering new music you’ve come to the right place. Simon Says is a monthly showcase put on by Goldsmiths music students, and always has an exciting line-up bursting with talent. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the work of the University’s music department right on your doorstep! The New Cross Inn just down the road from Goldsmiths also hosts live gigs for the alternative crowd, though doesn’t offer an extensive range of alcohol-free drinks. If you’re feeling more adventurous, Ronnie Scott’s in Soho is London’s hottest jazz club, open every night and serving a relatively cheap non-alcoholic drinks menu.

Southbank Strolls

Pic: James Williams

If clubbing’s not your thing, why not take a sightseeing stroll along the famous Southbank. Catch the tube to Waterloo, and breath in some fresh(er) air walking around Big Ben, Westminster, and the London Eye, which looks beautiful at night. If you’re really pushing the boat out, you could even go on a cruise along the Thames, and experience the dazzling lights of the city from the water! If you’d prefer to stay on land, the nearby Southbank Centre hosts a variety of theatre, comedy, and poetry acts for you to take in.

Flat Mocktail Party

Pic: Dose Juice/Unsplash

Feel like flexing your culinary skills? You could host a mocktail tasting night for your new uni family. There are hundreds of delicious recipes for you to try out on sites like BBC Good Food, or you could invent your own and compete to see who can make the best – or worst!

Mini-sports Bars
(as in, bars where small sports are player, not really small bars…)

Pic: terencechisholm/Flickr

If snooker tournaments in the SU have got you in the competitive spirit, head up to Shoreditch and you’ll find quirky sports bar favourites like Bounce (offering table tennis), and Bar Kick (offering table football). Both cater to non-drinkers, and offer a great, alternative night out! While Bar Kick is more of a homely feel, Bounce is renowned for its vibrant atmosphere in the evenings!

Curzon Goldsmiths

Pic: Goldsmiths

Everyone loves a movie night! Have a chill one and take your new friends out to see the latest flicks at the cosy Curzon, without ever having to leave campus. Open all year, but especially enjoyable as an escape from cold winter nights or and during exam season!


A day in the life of a Goldsmiths mature student

Karl Thomas, a mature student and Goldsmiths veteran, writes about how he felt coming back into education after a few years off, and his experience at Goldsmiths.

The author standing by Goldsmiths Green Pic: Karl Thomas

I started my journey into higher education as mature student in 2013. I enrolled on a full-time foundation course in History, which lead to a BA, and to me continuing my studies on the Queer History MA at Goldsmiths. I had always taken a keen interest in history and politics, but after having left school at 16 the prospect of returning to study, while exciting, was also slightly daunting. I was also concerned that I might have difficulties fitting in as an older student. However, with support I soon became part of a community on campus, and realised that the student population at Goldsmiths is very diverse, and over the years have met many people in the same position as me. Research conducted by the NUS showed that as many as 80 per cent of current mature students enrolled when they were over the age of 24.Read More »

Things to do in South East London: Parents Edition

If you’re new to London it may seem daunting: it’s big, it’s smokey, the tube map crosses over all over the place. People often leave the city to try and make a better life for their kids, but actually London can be very family friendly. The South East of London is still filled with large, green spaces, and over the last few years has becomes more and more family focused as people have left the expensive “north-of-the-river” to settle in bigger houses at cheaper prices. Conveniently, Goldsmith sits in the north of Lewisham borough, on two overground stations and one train station. It has easy access to the whole of London, but if you’re looking to entertain the little terrors in your life, you needn’t go far.

The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill – Pic: Julian Osley

A few stops away on the overground you’ll find the Horniman Museum. Entry is free, and there’s something to do all year round. As well as actually having things to look at, as most museums do, there are things for sticky hands to touch. In their Natural World exhibition you’ll find the notoriously overstuffed walrus – apparently the taxidermists stuffing it had never seen a walrus before and simply stuffed it to capacity, leaving it even more rotund than it was supposed to be. You’ll also find stuffed everything else, from a tiger, to different breeds of dog. You can touch the stuffed foxes, and watch actual live mice run around a little enclosure. There’s a small aquarium in the basement, and a butterfly house on the grounds (which admittedly aren’t free), as well as a petting zoo that adults can enjoy too. The gardens are large, and give ample space for running around and letting go of stored up energy. Open all year, the Horniman is somewhere I repeatedly go back to.Read More »

Mature students: if you don’t use it, you lose it!

Coming back into higher education after a 15-year hiatus has the potential to be jarring. As Farida Momtaz writes, returning to university at 33 can present very different challenges to studying at 18.

My first university experience was in 2002, as a care-free 18-year-old, living away from home for the first time, and looking forward to exploring an unfamiliar and exciting world. I did everything wrong academically, but I followed the rules of university of life perfectly: I partied too much, didn’t study enough, and still passed with flying colours. This time around, I commenced my Master’s degree as a 33-year-old single mother of two children, and a professor at the university of life. I studied all the time, did not party at all, and still struggled to grasp and effectively apply my newfound knowledge.

Read More »