Guides / Guide

Things to do in London this January

Check out the latest and greatest events happening in the capital.

No matter who you are or where you come from, you’ll find something captivating, unusual and oh-so-amazing going on in London. This is the city where everything happens.

The iconic arch of Wembley Stadium reaches toward the sky, and the West End radiates energy unlike anywhere else. Throw in age-old royal palaces, skyscraping architecture, the Tube, world-class museums, sport of all forms and nonstop live music…and you’ve just begun to scratch the surface.

Although the London weather can be unpredictable, you can be certain each month will bring a whole new ginormous selection of events – and you’re not going to want to miss these awesome January activities.


Spotlight on: Trying something new

Hurray, you’ve survived the festive season! As you get ready to head back to work with the new year stretching out ahead, you’ll want to put some fun stuff on your calendar. In fact, this is the perfect month to do something you’ve never done before… or something you don’t do often enough. So here are our top live entertainment suggestions – which may also help you combat the January blues.

Ever been to London’s New Year’s Day Parade? Start 2020 off right by joining over 650,000 revellers for what has been a staple of the capital’s new year celebrations for 33 years and counting.

 

If you didn’t overdo it on New Year’s Eve and want to go out and party that bit more, start the first day of the new decade by heading over to see B Pitch Control boss Ellen Allien in a five-hour set at E1. With longstanding resident Janina joining her, it’s sure to be another no-holds-barred performance.

Or get in rave mode with more epic clubbing events in January – including Hatcha & Friends at Camden Assembly on 10 January, The Shapeshifters at Metropolis on 18 January and The Gallery – Fedde Le Grand at Ministry of Sound on 24 January.

Want to give ice skating a go? There’s nothing more magical than gliding under the stars at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink. It’s only open until 12 January though, so strap your skates on and get over there soon. You’ll also find an ice rink at Camden Market’s North Yard until 9 January.

Sir Ian McKellen is performing his new solo show from 2 – 5 January at the Harold Pinter Theatre. It’s a rare chance for you to see the legendary actor and national treasure live on stage.

Speaking of the theatre, take this opportunity to check out some of the West End’s hottest, most talked-about productions by treating yourself to Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre, DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Noël Coward Theatre, The Book Of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace Theatre.

 

Challenge yourself along with family and friends at The Crystal Maze Live Experience located on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End. It’s just like on the TV show and allows you to test your skills as well as your mental and physical abilities across four adventure time zones.

Everyone should add more laughter to their life, so why not check out a stand-up gig this month? Jack Whitehall will have you doubled over when he returns in 2020 with his huge Stood Up tour for two shows at The SSE Arena, Wembley on 9 – 10 January.

What’s more, Jimmy Carr is bringing his latest tour, Terribly Funny, to Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre on 11 January and Hackney Empire on 18 January.

Escape to another era and have a grand experience at the Johann Strauss Gala. The gilded ballrooms of old Vienna will be brought to life on 11 January at Royal Festival Hall. Hear everything from the Radetzky March to the Blue Danube Waltz while elegant dancers with billowing gowns whirl about flamboyantly.

Be there for the biggest night in British TV! The National Television Awards is celebrating its 25th anniversary on 28 January at The O2. Enjoy a fabulous evening cheering on your favourite TV stars and shows – plus why not make the experience even grander by booking the Star Treatment Package?

January is also a great month to listen to new music. With the single Lonely If You Are just out, American country music singer Chase Rice is crossing the pond on his The Pint Of Anything tour, which stops at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 18 January.

To discover more new artists check out our New for 2020 series here – plus find loads more new experiences and fun stuff to fill your month in London and all around the UK with our Concerts & ToursClub Nights, Sport, Comedy and Days Out guides.


Other things to do

Festive events still highlight another fun-filled month in London.

Open until 5 January, one of the most popular winter destinations in the capital is Hyde Park Winter Wonderland with an open-air ice rink, giant wheel, family-friendly rides, comedy club and much more.

The Sh*t-Faced Showtime troupe, known for getting a cast member drunk and then sending them onstage to perform, are wrapping up their seasonal production, A P*ssedmas Carol, at Leicester Square on 5 January.

Roll up, roll up to see Goldilocks and the Three Bears which plays at the London Palladium until 12 January. This riotous panto has an all-star cast that includes Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary and Paul Zerdin.

Don’t miss the most enchanting family experience ever, with Disney On Ice wrapping up of its 100 Years Of Magic UK tour at The O2 with shows on 1 – 5 January.

Plus, it’s your final chance to watch a breath-taking performance of The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet at the London Coliseum – as it closes on 5 January.

In addition to the last vestiges of holiday spirit, you’ll find plenty of live entertainment to help you make most of the chilly days and long nights in January.

As the month kicks off, catch Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights Live at Eventim Apollo on 3 – 4 January. Celebrating almost 19 years since the Phoenix Club first opened its doors, the classic comedy will be shown on the big screen for the very first time with profits benefitting Cancer Research UK.

Comedian Adam Kay shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in his This Is Going To Hurt residency at the Garrick Theatre from 6 – 11 January.

American stand-up Theo Von, best known for the podcast This Past Weekend, is bringing his Dark Arts Tour to O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 10 – 11 January.

Watch some serious slam dunk action at the Copper Box Arena as the London Lions go up against the London City Royals on 12 January for the BBL Cup. The Lions will be back on the court again on 17 January when the Surrey Scorchers come to town.

If sport isn’t your thing, head to the West End for an unforgettable night at the theatre.

Recently opened at the newly renamed Sondheim Theatre is Les Misérables, the acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s iconic musical which is now booking through October 2020.

Based on the beloved Oscar-nominated film, Amélie The Musical is now being brought to life by a remarkably talented cast with a critically acclaimed score at The Other Palace through 1 February.

Featuring the re-imagined music of Bob Dylan, Conor McPherson’s heartbreaking story Girl from the North Country is back for a second run in the West End at Gielgud Theatre until 1 February.

And you’re running out of time to see the hilarious Peter Pan Goes Wrong from Mischief Theatre at the Alexandra Palace Theatre, which closes on 5 January, as well as Taming Of The Shrew and As You Like It at Barbican Theatre, both wrapping up on 18 January.

Get more insider news from Theatreland by reading our monthly roundup here.

Music lovers will discover an awesome selection of gigs in the capital in January too.

Kentuckian Tyler Childers is crossing the pond for an appearance on 20 January at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, in support of his new album Country Squire.

Los Angeles alt-rockers The Mowgli’s are coming to Camden Assembly on 23 January.

Also on tour, this month While She Sleeps are heading to O2 Academy Brixton on 24 January, while ScHoolboy Q will be playing tracks from his latest album, CrasH Talk there on 28 January.

 

Following the release of their fifth album Human Target last July, Thy Art Is Murder are performing at Electric Brixton on 30 January.

And calling all ABBA fans! Get yourself over to ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition at The O2. Running until 31 August, this immersive exhibition brings the world of the chart-topping Swedish pop group to life as you explore a series of atmospheric rooms, one for each of their eight albums.


Live music venues

Looking for a gig to see? On any given night, you’ll be spoilt for choice in London. From stadiums and world-class concert halls to historic theatres and hole-in-the-wall bars, we’ve rounded up some of January’s music offerings as a starting point.

Stadium and arena shows:

Mid-sized venues with big atmosphere:

New music to have on your radar:


Iconic attractions

Along with the London Underground, the capital is famous for many things – among them its royal palaces, beloved landmarks, fantastic selection of museums and gloriously green parks. Here are a few ideas of the fun you can have at these and other popular sites this month.

Take in the view from The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building and one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. The highest viewing gallery in London, you can access the indoor platform and open-air Skydeck to enjoy 360-degree views of London.

Shard

Not far from London is the beautiful Kensington Palace and Gardens. Since being renovated in 1689, it’s been an official residence of the British royal family and currently occupied by the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Tour an iconic piece of British history by visiting Westminster Abbey which has been the traditional coronation site for English monarchs since William the Conqueror, as well as the burial place of kings, queens, statesman, poets, and philosophers.

ZSL London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Opened in 1828, it now holds one of the largest animal collections in the UK with everything from penguins and lions to meerkats, gorillas and Galapagos tortoises.

A popular sight on the city’s skyline, the Coca-Cola London Eye on the south bank of the River Thames will give you an incredible bird’s-eye view of Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and much more!

Coco-Cola London Eye

Be whisked back to the London’s perilous past at the London Dungeon. In addition to two thrilling rides, you’ll get up close and personal with notorious figures like Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd at this iconic attraction.

Go behind the scenes at one of the most famous stadiums in the world. Wembley Stadium tours give you the chance to relive great sporting and entertainment moments from Britain’s past.

Don’t miss Bond in Motion at the London Film Museum which is home to an extensive collection of original vehicles and props featured in the revered 007 film series.

Looking for some thrills? The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the world’s tallest, longest and fastest tunnel slide with breathtaking views across London.


You can do all this and more in the capital this January. For full details, head to our London Guide.

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