It is a truth universally acknowledged that January is the saddest month of the year (sorry, January babies), but don’t worry; there are plenty of mood-boosting activities in London ready to turn those frowns upside down and blitz your January blues. Forget the sorrows of Blue Monday (January 16), or the weary bank accounts that haven’t seen a new deposit for a solid five weeks: we’ve compiled a list of activities for a range budgets and interests that’ll have you smiling in no time.
This place is dedicated to making you feel happy, so it’s an absolute must visit this January. Dopamine Land, the happiness-inducing, multisensory museum, originally opened mid last year for a limited run, but it’s been so popular, its dates have been extended again, and again, and again. At the South Kensington venue, you’ll find a series of rooms that combine traditional media and innovative technology to create colourful installations, moving projections, and nostalgic games. ‘Floor is lava’ room, a shadow puppets game, or a dip in a ball pit anyone?
The creative production teams behind Dopamine Land specifically designed the experience with decompression spaces and stimulant rooms, so your body can prepare adequately for spikes of dopamine you’ll experience. Throughout the museum, an array of stimuli that activate each of your five senses are used, so visitors can discover exactly what triggers their individual happy hormones and cure those January blues.
2. Partake in a wildly colourful workout, followed by bottomless brunch, in Shoreditch
If going to the gym sounds like the last thing you want to do this month, fear not, there are way more fun activities in London that are both mood-boosting and fitness boosting, but without you realising it… much. East London fitness and dance studio, Retroglow Studios, have partnered with One Hundred Shoreditch to bring a series of fun fitness classes to the hotel each Sunday in January, with an included bottomless brunch to follow.
In the One Hundred Room, you can enjoy either 90s Smash LIIT and Stretch classes (January 8 and 22) or 80s Power Ballad Pilates (January 15 and 29) with panoramic views across the city. The 55-minute classes will leave you feeling strong and rejuvenated, and humming the tunes of their soundtracks long after. Post work out, head to The Rooftop with its Palm Springs aesthetic, for an indulgent brunch with bottomless bubbles.
If you like your brunches without a side of exercise, there are many options for that too. Whether you opt for a themed brunch that celebrates your favourite stars, like ABBA or Cardi B, or just fancy a standard brunch where the booze keeps coming, it’s up to you. Check out our Secret London list of the best bottomless brunches in London for inspo.
4. Reach new heights at a lively bouldering spot in Brixton
Substation Brixton take the experience of bouldering to a whole new level. Alongside their climb walls, they hold monthly ‘vibe and climb’ sessions on the second Friday of each month – basically bringing club vibes to your climb – and on January 16, Blue Monday itself, they’ll be hosting fitness and mental health workshops throughout the day to bust those blues.
Those who visit the climbing venue can climb or chill, and sample fresh, healthy dishes, all while listening to music from a live DJ.
5. Relive your childhood with a nostalgic activity
⏰ Let movie magic capture your imagination with a trip to the dedicated Back To The Future exhibition. Explore Europe’s largest collection of memorabilia from the films (including an uncanny DeLorean replica), watch fascinating behind-the-scenes footage and relive iconic moments through interactive displays.
🎊 Run wild at an adult soft play, like Wonderland in Bounds Green. As old skool garage, house and R&B hits play out, you can traverse the climbing apparatus, free fall down the slides, and generally have a great time running around with your friends like you did when you were little. Except there’s alcohol on site this time…
👾 Check out a dedicated gaming bar, such as Platform, located in Shoreditch. Each of their gaming booths have a large screen, Playstation and Nintendo Switch, and an extensive video game library of retro computer games, like Fifa and Mario Kart. A pizza and bubbly bottomless brunch is also available here.
6. Stretch your legs and let your mind wander
Simple, but effective! Don’t underestimate the power of a stroll to cure any January blues. Whether you’ve got a destination in mind or you’re just out for an aimless meander, London and its surrounding areas are full of different sights to see, whether history, riverside views, landmarks or green spaces is your thing.
🚶🏽♂️Best London walks
Music is an integral tool used in film and TV to govern emotions; and some therapies go a step further, and use sound as a meditation tool, like the candlelit sound bath sessions taking place at the aforementioned Dopamine Land on January 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. Here, an experienced practitioner will guide you through a 75-minute session, as the sound waves wash over you.
If that’s not your bag, we’ve created a whole list of things for music lovers to do in London this January – check it out.