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London events in January

Your guide to the best happenings, events and things to do throughout January in London

Don't be miserable about January, there's tons of fun stuff happening throughout the New Year to enjoy. Whether you want to dine out at the best new restaurants, catch the most exciting gigs or take in the best theatre openings this month, we've got you covered for January.

And remember that it's never too early to start planning for February either.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our January 2017 highlights

Burns Night in London

Every year, Burns Night falls on January 25 (a Wednesday for 2017), giving London the perfect excuse to celebrate Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, via a lot of food, whisky and partying at some of London's best bars. From ceilidhs to whisky tasting to Burns Night meals that dabble with vegan food and street food, there's something for everyone. Here's where and how to celebrate Burns Night in London. 

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By: Stephanie Hartman

Chinese New Year in London

The Year of the Rooster is coming up and, as usual, London's celebrations for Chinese New Year 2017 will be loud, colourful and full of dragons. Here's where and how to celebrate Chinese New Year in London, from the central London parade to the best Chinatown restaurants to events further afield.

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By: Time Out London Things To Do

Dinerama

Recommended

Street Feast's Shoreditch street food mecca is back for 2016. The two-storey site features 15 different food vendors space for up to 1,000 hungry visitors, with benches and floor space to settle in on as you watch the punters chatting (and, let's face it, queueing) below. Serving up the snacks you will find all-star traders such as B.O.B.'s Lobster, Kimchinary, BBQ Lab, Fundi Pizza, Yum Bun and Smokestak. The site has gained a roof for the chillier months, as well as four new bars (bringing the total to ten) which will serve everything from cans of craft beer to hot cocktails. Read about the stats, facts, figures and fun stuff behind Dinerama.

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Shoreditch Yard , Shoreditch Thursday January 19 2017 - Sunday April 2 2017

Fabric

Recommended

Do as the dedicated club junkies do and get yourself to the tastemaking Clerkenwell dance palace for a melting-pot of deep house, melodic techno, dubby disco, minimal grooves and a touch of bass. Residents Craig Richards and Terry Francis are joined by a stellar selection of cutting edge DJs and producers each week, throwing solid dancefloor tunes and some nice curveballs out to the crowd.

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Venue , Farringdon Friday January 20 2017 - Sunday February 26 2017

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

The bright lights of Canary Wharf's towers already provide quite the spectacle after dark, but the area glows even more than usual throughout January thanks to the addition of a variety of installations from international artists. Winter Lights returns in 2017 with 30 dazzling artworks, installations and interactive experiences, with many on show in the UK for the first time.

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Canary Wharf Estate , Canary Wharf Until Friday January 27 2017

Hawker House

Following last winter's success, Street Feast's indoor night market Hawker House is back at this warehouse in Canada Water. Return for two levels of street food every Friday and Saturday, including Chin Chin Labs ice cream and Yum Bun's baozi, plus eight bars and Hawker House's intriguing whisky roulette. 

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Hawker House , Rotherhithe Thursday January 19 2017 - Monday April 3 2017

The Comedy Store Players

The most famous comedy improv outfit in town perform off-the-cuff games and tomfoolery at the world famous Comedy Store twice a week. Regular Players include Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Neil Mullarkey, Andy Smart, Richard Vranch and Lee Simpson, but the line-ups change for each show. See 'dates and times' for the latest bills. Check out our guide to the Comedy Store.

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Comedy Store , Piccadilly Circus Until Sunday January 22 2017

NoFit State Circus: Bianco

In the program notes to this returning, revamped collaboration between NoFit State circus and Italian director Firenza Guidi, there’s lot of deep and meaningful talk about ‘a journey through time’ and ‘the story of the fragility of our lost selves’.  That’s all guff really, because ‘Bianco’ is an out-and-out, oohs-and-aahs circus show that pushes all the right spectacular buttons, with no cheesy themes or narrative needed. The show itself is refreshingly stripped-back, with little of the pomp and bombast – clowns, ringleaders, cheap slapstick comedy – that you might normally expect from a family-friendly circus show. ‘Bianco’ shuns narrative and, apart from a small intro advising ‘Here be Dragons’ and ‘no photography please’, there is no spoken content.  Instead, the performances speak for themselves in a succession of increasingly impressive, classic circus tricks, from juggling and tightrope-walking to breathtaking acrobatics and trapeze stunts. Soundtracked by an excellent live band, ‘Bianco’ opens in a fit of orchestrated chaos: stray juggling pins here, a wobbly tightrope walker there. But that rawness is endearing; it makes watching people do really difficult, knackering tricks all the more impressive. The second half delivers a more crafted drama, culminating in a superb duo rope performance using only body weight and gravity, the finale crowned by a snowstorm, a nod to Bianco’s festive context. The energy of the endearingly shambolic opening, however, is what Bia

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Until Sunday January 22 2017

Bump Roller Disco

Do you love nothing more than rolling with your homies? Then head down to Bump's wooden-floored roller disco that's popping up at the Southbank Centre for another year. Skates are included in the ticket price (though pros are welcome to bring their own), and there'll be a line-up of special club nights taking place in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays for which tickets can be booked in advance. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Until Sunday January 22 2017

Time Run

Recommended

Time Run is a bit more involved than your average escape game. You’re not just locked into a room with mates so that you can engage in frantic puzzle solving against the clock. It’s also an immersive experience.An immersive experience that’s a bit like a Victorian ‘Back To The Future’.   From the moment you step in, you’ll be greeted by an actor who explains that you’re about to go time travelling to find mystical artefacts that are  intrinsic to the world’s stability. You’re shuttled through a series of astonishingly impressive sets designed to recreate different historical periods. And, as you puzzle solve, projections deliver you messages from your supposed mentor, Luna Fox: a sort of hybrid of Phileas Fogg and Doc Emmett  Brown.   There are two games: the Lance of Longinus and recent opening The Celestial Chain. The first of which is utterly fantastic: the varied puzzles are thoroughly fun, and the sheer size and attention to detail in the sets is staggering. Less good is The Celestial Chain, however, which – unlike basically every other escape game in existence – doesn’t let you solve puzzles to unlock the next part of your challenge.  Instead, it sends you into a series of rooms, imposing a 15-minute time limit for each one. If you don’t solve your puzzle in that limit, too bad: you’re booted into the next one. And, frankly, it’s frequently frustrating - just as you’re getting to grips with something, you’re forced to abandon it. Nonetheless, in terms of escape game

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9-15 Helmsley Place , South Hackney Until Tuesday February 28 2017

Beardyman

Recommended

The beatboxer extraordinaire and festival favourite brings his seemingly physically impossible vocal talents to this outdoor gig. He not long ago invented a new bit of software, the Beardytron 5000, to loop, sample and manipulate his hip hop, D&B and electro mouth-beats with even more precision and flexibility, and he’ll be showing it off tonight. 

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Electric Ballroom , Camden Town Friday January 20 2017

Smokestak

Having built a cult following for its smokehouse meats, street food supremo Smokestak has done the decent thing, opening up a restaurant proper. So forget the start-of-year diet for just a moment, as there's delicious, slow-smoked meaty goodness to be savoured, in the forms of brisket, pork and beef rib. Just don't boast too loudly about your meal to your vegan pals afterwards.

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Shoreditch

London International Mime Festival: what to see

It's London! It's January! It's mime time! But the 40-year-old London International Mime Festival – the longest running of its kind – has a lot more up its sleeves than clowning and whiteface. Go for everything from spectacular circus and mask theatre to manga-inspired dance and taxidermy animal puppetry. This year's festival runs from January 9–February 4 2017 with shows in venues across London. Here's our guide to the astounding shows on offer at the London International Mime Festival 2017. 

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By: Alice Saville

Condo 2017

The giant citywide exhibition makes a welcome return for a second year – and it's doubled in size. In a nutshell: 21 incredible contemporary galleries from as far afield as New York, Berlin and São Paulo will take up month-long residence at 15 of London's best young galleries. It's essentially Match.com for the international gallery scene.  The preview weekend is on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 January. Opening times will vary from space to space throughout Condo's run, so best to look at the website for details.

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Various , London Until Saturday February 11 2017

Magical Lantern Festival

The theme for the 2017 Magical Lantern Festival is the Silk Road, allowing visitors to follow a mini-trail featuring over 50 dazzling illuminations. These include the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, plus colourful scenes from India, Asia, the Middle East and the tale of Aladdin featuring a giant lantern genie. There'll also be a virtual reality area, an ice rink, a pop-up ice bar made entirely of ice and plenty of street food stalls.

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Chiswick House and Gardens , Chiswick Thursday January 19 2017 - Sunday February 26 2017

Wild Life Drawing

This series of life-drawing classes is a right hoot. Instead of humans acting as models, participants are tasked with sketching a different live animal each time. Past creatures have included donkeys, owls, snakes, bats and reptiles, with founder Jennie Webber working alongside animal sanctuaries and organisations to organise the events, donating money from ticket sales to help fund conservation and protection projects. 

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The Dolls House Islington , Barnsbury Tuesday January 24 2017 - Tuesday January 31 2017

Death Drawing

Recommended

'RIP boring life drawing classes', these macabre artists say, who attempt to 'resurrect' the art of pencil to paper with a 'lethal injection' of theatricality and curiosity. Booking advised.

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The Book Club , Shoreditch Saturday January 21 2017

La La Land

January can be a miserable month, but watching Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone waltzing, flying towards the stars and unleashing lots of Hollywood musical magic is guaranteed to make things a lot less miserable. Damien Chazelle's inventive and stylish film is simply a joy to watch, and should make the hearts of even the most hardened romance-cynics melt just a little, even in frosty January.

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Cook Daily

The menu here is comprised of a series of ‘bowls’, each of which is colourful enough to resemble a rainbow. They can be customised with tofu and rammed full of colourful vegetables. Owner and head chef King Cook has Laotian heritage, which is reflected in his cooking. There are lots of Southeast Asian flavours here, with his mum’s green curry and the yoga fire bowl (chilies married to coconuts) standout favourites. For under a tenner you get a healthy, genuinely satisfying, rainbow in a bowl. This isn’t rabbit food, it’s unicorn fare.

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Shoreditch

The Four Sisters Townhouse

All the creative cocktails at this City bar are fun originals on a weekly-changing menu. On our visit, a Vive La France! with cognac, orange curaçao, lime and ‘pineapple fizz’ was an effervescent and impressive choice, bright yellow and just as bold on the tongue. Or try a Highland Sweet Tea with whisky.

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Mansion House
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Find great things to do all year round

101 things to do in London

London is a treasure trove of brilliant days out and activities worth boasting about. Find great new ways to fill your free time with this list of our favourite things to do in the capital.

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By: Laura Lee Davies

Comments

3 comments
chloe
chloe

Don't forget The Legends of Darts Masters at Indig02 a must see!

diane quinn
diane quinn

I like the detail of the dates that you include both for christmas, but again heading into January. Also - the fact that you outline when items are free and when they are family friendly. This is my go-to when heading to big cities in advance so I know what to do when I arrive.

Candace Devine-Koczera
Candace Devine-Koczera

Couldn't find a listing for classical music productions in January. Date choice option did not work. Gave up rather quickly because I was bothered.