Welcome to January, where inspiration and motivation levels are at their highest.
You may not be drinking or going out as much, but you’ll definitely end January knowing that it was the best month of 2019 – so far. Here’s what to look forward in January 2019! (Or see things to do in London in February.)
1. Start working through your 2019 bucket list
There’s a whole city out there to explore, and *checks calendar* 361 days ahead of you. There are currently 119 things on our big 2019 bucket list, so one every three days will see you through.
2. Or let us plan the year for you!
I mean, we’re currently planning your January right now, so why not the other eleven months? Our handy weekly events calendar has something special for every week of the year – which means boredom is officially banished.
3. Celebrate London’s first Borough of Culture (January 11-13)
All hail Waltham Forest, officially the city’s hub of culture for the next year. Events will run through to December, but they’re kicking things off with ‘Welcome to the Forest‘, a weekend-long party featuring audio-visual displays, light installations, and a neon-drenched winter carnival. Read all about the Borough of Culture here.
4. Ride the Tube in your undies (January 13)
Possibly the cheekiest option this January sees Londoners getting their pins out and taking to the Tube. No Trousers On The Tube Day celebrates its tenth anniversary, which really is an excuse for a jolly old knees-up (or should that be knees-out?).
5. Light up the night at Canary Wharf (January 15-26)
For the fifth year, the utterly enchanting Winter Lights festival will be dazzling visitors to Canary Wharf. 21 inventive installations will bathe the area in shimmering, glowing, dizzying light, and happily, it’s entirely free to attend. Light ’em up!
6. Redecorate your flat with a little modern art (January 16-20)
If you’ve ever wandered around the Tate and wished you could take something home, then the London Art Fair will be right up your alley. Modern and contemporary art from over 130 galleries will be on display, and if you like the look of a piece, simply flash the cash and its yours (don’t expect it to be cheap though).
7. Boogie around London’s best roller disco (January 17)
Having moved into a swish new Bruce Grove home, Rollernation is reopening, inviting you to groove, boogie, and jive your way around their roller rink. Or inch carefully along the edge – still counts as dancing if you can style it out!
8. Catch a unique show at Vault Festival (January 23)
In the hidden vaults beneath Waterloo station, the weird and wonderful takes place. At the seventh annual Vault Festival, you’ll catch everything from ukelele-led improvised musical numbers to immersive theatre experiences held in a pitch-black shipping container.
9. Take a cup o’ kindness at a Burns Night celebration (January 25)
Don your worst Scottish accent and prepare yourself for whisky, because Burns Night is back. Last year saw everything from deep-fried Mars Bars to Scottish tacos, so it’s not all about that “great chieftain of the puddin’ race” (that’s haggis, FYI).
10. Take a final spin on London’s best outdoor ice rinks.
One last chance to take the ice whilst it’s still just a teensy bit Christmassy!
- Skylight, London’s rooftop ice rink, is here until January 27th, and they’ve got a wonderful wine, raclette, and skating experience that you simply can’t miss! Tickets are available here.
- The Natural History Museum’s rink is open until January 6th – get your tickets here.
- Somerset House’s rink is sticking around until January 13th – get your tickets here.
- Or, if you can’t squeeze in a trip before then, Canary Wharf’s rink is lingering until February 16th – get your tickets here.
11. Kick start your New Year, New Me plan with a little jog
After all, if you’re going to start, now is the prime time. Definitely start small though – these little London jogs are all under 3 miles, and can easily be squeezed into a lunch break.
12. Or opt for something a little more taxing
Once you’ve built up a little stamina, or got back into your usual routine after a Christmas break, we’ve picked out five rather beautiful longer routes that burn calories whilst giving you a proper eyeful of scenery.
13. Hop into a heated London lido
Lidos aren’t just for boiling summer days, you know. The capital has no fewer than four heated pools, including the recently-refurbished London Fields Lido, or hardy souls can see if cold swimming really is better for you…
14. Go vegan for a month
Veganuary rolls around once more, and it seemingly gathers speed each year. We say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, so why not check out all the vegan delights that London has to offer.
15. Look for love at a suave singles party
If you resolved to once again renew your search for The One, you’ve got every chance of meeting them at Fever’s Singles Party. Held at legendary Mayfair club Mahiki, it’s full of ladies and gentlemen that are as equally wonderful and witty as you are. Tickets are available here.
16. Experience the food of Peru at this bottomless brunch
Lima’s a long way off, but Casita Andina is much closer, and they’ve got bottomless prosecco to boot. Sorry Lima, looks like we’ll be getting our seabass ceviche and picante de huevos at this fab brunch instead – tickets on sale here.
17. Sip on a delicious chocolate cocktail
Not into the whole vegan, healthy, booze-free January? Stick the middle finger up at all of them at this sinfully indulgent cocktail bar, where chocolate makes it into every drink. Absolute heaven! Find your tickets here.
18. Break out of a puzzling escape room
Having successful escaped 2018, this should be a breeze for you. Bar owner and world traveller Lavinia Carter has gone missing, and the folks at Modern Fables have invited you to find her – before it’s too late. Your challenge begins here.
It may be cold, dark, and a little depressing, but a fiesta of a brunch is sure to put the pep back in your step. The food and wine of Spain is on the menu at Las Banderas, where you’ve also got the option of bottomless sangria or Bloody Marys. Nab your spot here.
20. Make your own bevs at a cocktail making class
Particular about your drinks? Berating the bartender won’t work here, because the bartender is you. A cocktail masterclass at Mews of Mayfair sees you mixing the drinks, under the helpful eye of a professional mixologist. It just tastes better when you make it yourself, as you’ll soon see.
21. Reach the summit at Chelsea’s indoor climbing centre
Ok, so we’ve already exhausted running, swimming, and veganism as healthy options. How about you climb your way to success at London’s favourite indoor climbing centre, via a whole network of puzzling routes? It was a great lark when we tried it, so give it a go now.
22. Hide from the winter chill in your own private igloo
Given the rather Arctic turn the weather has taken, it’s a pretty apt time to retreat to an igloo! Hire yourself out a private dome at The Secret Winter Garden, and wine and dine your way through the dark winter nights. A most stylish way to spend January – find your tickets here.
23. Make a little magic at this new cocktail bar
Over a century ago, Maskelyne & Cooke wowed Victorian audiences with their brand of stage magic. Today, a suave cocktail bar pays homage to their achievements, as you sup magic-themed cocktails whilst watching a cast of skilled magicians performing close-up magic. Tickets will go faster than you can say abracadabra, so grab them here!
24. Hunt a killer at this murder mystery dinner party
Dinner parties seem to witness more murders than that town from Midsomer Murders, don’t they? Another one has been wracked by murder most foul, and it’s up to you to solve the clues and identify the scoundrel who did it. The first clue is right here, so get hunting.
25. Be blown away by Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall
The internationally-acclaimed circus producers are pitching up at one of London’s most iconic venues for another spectacular show. Totem draws on modern myths, creation stories, and evolutionary fact to trace the development of humanity – all whilst spinning, balancing, flipping, and generally doing things that the human body shouldn’t really be able to do. Tickets are disappearing rapidly, so catch one whilst you can!
26-29. Enjoy the best of the West End
The West End welcomes a bunch of buzzy new arrivals this month, fresh-faced and ready to entertain. People have gone silly over tickets for the National Theatre’s When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (16th onwards), perhaps due to the presence of one Cate Blanchett. Meanwhile, Broadway darling Come From Away brings toe-tapping musical numbers to the Phoenix Theatre (30th onwards), and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke contributes the songs to heart-rending drama Leave To Remain (18th onwards). Finally, the London International Mime Festival brings dance, theatre, circus, and mime from January 9th, and it’s quite unlike anything you’ve seen before.
30-36. Mosey along to these art exhibitions (before they’re gone!)
No new openings this month as far as we can tell, but January offers your last chance to see some of 2018’s big hitters. Christian Marclay’s groundbreaking work The Clock leaves the Tate Modern on the 20th, the same day that the Ian Hislop-curated I Object vacates the British Museum. You’ve only got a matter of days to check out the Hayward Gallery’s mind-melting Space Shifters, leaving on the 9th – although how they’re cleaning up all that engine oil is a mystery to me… Finally, a quartet of shows conclude on January 27th, as the Saatchi Gallery’s Black Mirror – Art As Social Satire, the Barbican’s Modern Couples, the National Gallery’s Mantegna and Bellini, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Ribera – Art of Violence all finish their runs. See them all, plus the rest of 2019, here.
37-43. Sing along at a brilliant gig
Headlining our January offerings is a two-night stand from The 1975, no doubt filling up the O2 Arena on January 18th & 19th. Following them the week after are the I-didn’t-even-know-they-were-still-together Snow Patrol gang (26th), whilst the incomparable Patti Smith heads to the Roundhouse on the 25th. Ben Howard (17th) and Mastodon (25th) will play very different sets at Brixton Academy, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats head to the Hammersmith Apollo on the 26th, and Gary Numan reflects on his career in the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall (16th).
44-52. Dive into a new Hollywood release
It’s January, which means it’s always bloody dark outside. You may as well sit in the darkness at your local cinema, perhaps catching one of the films aiming for awards-season glory. In what’s clearly an attempt at nominative determinism, they include both bawdy royal romp The Favourite (1st) and political biopic The Front Runner (11th). There’s more perilous politics in Vice (25th) and Mary Queen of Scots (18th), and tears and strife in tough addiction drama Beautiful Boy (18th). Keira Knightley fights for recognition in Collette, and comedy duo Laurel & Hardy mount a comeback in Stan & Ollie (both 11th). Finally, there’s always the warm embrace of Netflix to ward off a winter chill – unless you’re watching the twisty and chilling new Black Mirror, of course.
53-59. Tick some more places off your “must-visit” list
We wrote about a lot of great places in December, and not all of them were Christmas-themed! Check ’em out here:
? Rules: a venerable spot that’s the oldest restaurant in London
? The Bloomsbury Club: gorgeous cocktail bar with fun menus
? CoCo Ichibanya: Japan’s fave katsu curry house, now open in London
? Casa Do Frango: peri peri chicken spot with a hidden cocktail bar
And there’s always more things to do inspiration…
Featured image: David Harmantas
Also published on Medium.