Here it comes again, the end of a long year, and with it, that shudder-worthy chorus of ‘new year, new me’ that pollutes our Instagram feeds and spills out of our mouths after one too many festive mimosas. Why not stay your normal old self, but just try a few new things that you’ve never tried before? You can fill 2024 with adrenaline-spiking adventures, creative exploits, a much-deserved bit of self-care, carving out time for a bit of romance or just simply trying your hand at something new. To kick you off, we’ve rounded up a list of some exciting and enriching things to do in the new year…
1. Climb to new heights at Substation Brixton
Many people have already jumped on the bouldering bandwagon and we can see why. Not only does it get your arms ripped and help you give a mean handshake with a rock-solid grip, but it opens the doors to so much more. You’ll meet new people, and overcome obstacles to reach new goals and over time, with newfound confidence and ability, you may even fancy taking your climbing talents into the great outdoors and conquering the many different rock faces found both in the UK and overseas.
To start things off try Substation Brixton, a climbing haven in London with plenty of routes for first-time climbers, a 12m overhang wall and, if you join at the weekend, you’ll get a free introduction to climbing.
Looking to put the smile back on your face in 2023? Dopamine Land may be just the ticket. It delivers a dose of joy through a combination of innovative technology, colourful installations and playful features; tapping into the childhood nostalgia part of your brain and flooding you with warm waves of happiness. You’ll be able to unwind in a digital forest, step inside a room that feels like a popcorn machine and even have the chance to rain fluffy pillow hell down on your annoying sibling. This is the perfect place to leave your stresses at the door and kick the new year off the right way.
3. Escape into the natural waters with a spot of wild swimming
This has always been one on my to-do list every new year but I still haven’t crossed it off, maybe you’ll have more luck and actually take the plunge into one of the scenic wild swimming spots you can find near London. Most might wait til the summer rays to take a dip in the sun-soaked rippling waters but if you’re looking to dive right in at the bone-chattering deep end (aka colder months), just make sure you have all the facts and necessary gear first – all you Wim Hof fans may be looking to test your mettle and reap the mental health benefits of a freezing winter swim but maybe just stick on the safe side and try it out in one of the outdoor lidos found dotted around London first.
4. Empower the body and mind with Pilates
Bondi Rise is bringing a slice of Australia’s vibrant, rise-with-the-golden-sun, active lifestyle to London with their new boutique Pilates studio near Hampton Court Station. Inspired by the founder’s sunrise walk along Bondi Beach, the studio is bathed in a soft kaleidoscope of natural colours – think blush pinks and natural green – and is a blissful setting to try your hand at a new activity. Aiming to leave you refreshed and connected, the classes vary from the celeb-fave Reformer Pilates (of which they are pioneers) to Mat Pilates, Barre and Yoga. With friendly teachers and approachable workouts, it’s a great spot to dip your toe in the world of pilates and work on your flexibility, fitness, posture and balance – by the end of the year you’ll be finding muscles you didn’t even know you had.
If Spotify Wrapped has proved anything, it’s that we usually don’t tire of our favourite artist’s new songs after the first, second, fourth or even tenth listen (probably twentieth in my case) but when the lyrics start to plague your dreams and the incessant humming is making your roommates wince, it might be time to switch things up a little. Luckily, mixing it up just a little is exactly what Candlelight Concerts excel at – it’s all those songs you know and love but played by live musicians, illuminated by the glow of a sea of candles, in one of London’s architectural gems. You can escape the glare of your wincing roommates and head out for the evening to listen to the familiar melodies of Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Pink Floyd, Paramore and many more.
6. Scrub up on your fancy footwork
Blame the spectacle of Strictly, the dance routines that pop up on TikTok or that random dream of being whisked around a ballroom, but a dance class is always a recipe for a fun evening out. It’s no surprise you can find many classes around the city, whether they’re teaching the passionate art of salsa dancing or how to feel the rhythm with some head-spinning hip-hop moves there is something for everyone. You’ll be able to let loose, learn some new moves for the dancefloor and, if you fancy, even show off your talents in a competition or two.
7. Appreciate the natural beauty of the great outdoors
A familiar sight on many new years resolutions lists is to get out and enjoy the outdoors and its natural beauty a bit more. Granted, this country and its carousel of ever-changing weather tends to make that a little difficult but there’s always something to do in London, rain or shine (or hail, sleet, or snow or tree-snapping winds, or… you get the picture). Tipping it down? Pay a visit to Kew Gardens to see the rare plantlife growing in Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, then when the clouds clear you can head outside to wander through the tranquil Japanese gardens or take to the treetop walkway to spot the wildlife living among the tangled branches.
If you want to really get your steps in there are many walks both in and near the city. Stretch your legs, take a deep breath of fresh air and explore the bucolic wilds of London’s lesser-known woodlands, wander around the emerald expanse of a sprawling park or leave behind the skyscrapers and crowds for a stroll through the countryside.
If you’re looking to tap into your creative side but don’t want to relive your childhood art classes sitting at desks and painting portraits or scenic settings, then check out Neon Life Drawing. This is an opportunity to unleash your creativity and swap traditional materials for bold UV paints that will make your creations glow like bioluminescent beings from another planet. Taking place at multiple locations around the city, including the Old Queen’s Head and Three Colts Tavern, live nude models decorated in paint and accessories will be your muse and you’ll be able to bring them to life in all their glowing glory on paper.
9. Become a whiz in the kitchen with cooking classes
There is no shortage of cooking and baking classes to be found in the labyrinth of London. If you’ve always dreamt of hosting; putting out a spectacular spread for friends and family and leaving them speechless with your delicious concoctions and gastronomical prowess but you just can’t get your head around the actual cooking part then maybe start with a class or two. You’ll be signing up for the new series of Bake Off before you know it.
The Avenue Cookery School 🍷 – Add a drop of alcohol to the mix with bottomless booze cooking classes, from bottomless wine and baos to bottomless cocktails and brunch, you’ll learn the ropes while sipping bevvies – it’s a surefire way to help the food-making medicine go down.
Create a seasonal cocktail at TT Liquor 🍸- In-house mixologists will teach you how to make five seasonal cocktails, the best part is you’ll be able to drink them after (let’s hope you’re a natural).
All-you-can-eat doughnut-making class 🍩 Guilty of having a sweet tooth? Don’t miss out on this doughnut-making class at The Avenue Cookery School. That’s right they don’t just do brilliantly boozy cooking classes, they’re serving up a tempting course on how to create the most timeless dessert. The 2-hour class shows you how to make your own miniature doughnuts with different delectable fillings, and you get to devour unlimited doughnuts – paired with tea or coffee – along the way. It’s a no-brainer really.
Mead Brewing Workshop 🍯 How many people can say they’ve brewed their own mead? If it’s unique skills you’re after then this workshop is just the thing. Conversation starter and a new bottle to add to your shelf, this experience teaches you how to brew mead, sheds light on the history of the beverage along with a tutored tasting from the expert brewers at Gosnells and then provides a brief on what to expect during the fermentation process at home.
10. Get out of the city and explore the rest of the UK
Living in London can often feel like living in a bubble – why go anywhere else when you have all the restaurants, bars and experiences you can think of on your doorstep? But if you’d rather pop that bubble and explore the country a little more, you could head up to Manchester and discover its many delights – kids (and kids at heart) especially will be in their element at the NERF Action Xperience while those after a more scenic (and boozy) endeavour can round up their mates and rent out this Peak District pub where you can pull your own pints after a countryside walk.
Go even further afield to Scotland – a trip to soak up the wondrous wilderness of the Highlands should be on everyone’s bucket list – while in Glasgow you can get stuck into a spooky exploration game to uncover its supernatural side. Whether it’s a day trip, weekend jaunt or full-on road trip, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover.
11. Round up your friends for a monthly game night
Feel like you’re not challenging your brain enough? After a good reason to meet up with friends a tad more regularly? In the whirlwind of life being social is easier said than done, but Mayfair’s The Beaumont Hotel has just provided the perfect excuse to get a monthly mate date booked in. On the first Tuesday of every month (with January as the exception on the 9th – good move as we might need an extra day or two to recover from NYE celebrations) the hotel will host Games Nights in their suave, time-warping Gatsby’s Room. There you can enjoy a spot of old-world(ish) entertainment – the board game.
Challenge your friends to a game of Backgammon, Scrabble, Chess and Rummikub, putting your minds and for the Monica-level competitive among you – relationships – to the test, 1920s style. The champagne and cocktails available are sure to help you wash down any painful losses or celebrate triumphant wins.
12. Don’t forget to practice some self-care
Self-care can mean different things for different people but ultimately it means paying attention to your own needs and well-being. Unsurprisingly there is a range of mind-bettering activities and things you can do in London that will help your worries melt away, soothe those stresses and unleash a bit of that pesky pent-up anger that might be simmering from a heated exchange on the tube or getting stuck behind a slow walker (there’s always one..).
Candlelit Sound Bath 🕯- At this powerful experience you’ll sink into comforting pillows and blankets as waves of sound wash over you, encouraging you to relax and resetting your mind and body. Sessions are guided by an experienced practitioner under the soft glow of candlelight.
Wind down with a massage💆♀️ – Treat yourself to the handiwork of some of the best massage therapists in the city and feel the tension wash away.
Boost your mood 😄 – Sometimes staying positive is easier said than done, but there are a few simple but handy things you can do to help keep your mental health in decent nick. This may be having a bath, doing a good deed for a friend or simply going for a walk in nature.