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London events in January

Our guide to the best events, festivals, workshops, exhibitions and things to do throughout January 2021 in London

By Time Out London Things To Do

January 2021 in London is going to be a belter. Though the festive season is coming to a close and the days are still as dark and chilly as ever, there's tons of fun stuff happening in London throughout the New Year to enjoy. Whether you want to keep warm by a pub fire, dine out at the best new restaurants, take in the best theatre openings this month, start a new hobby or embrace a healthier lifestyle (bye, mince pies). January is also the month of the New Year's Day Parade through central London, the London Short Film Festival, the London Art Fair, Winter Lights at Canary Wharf and Burns Night. So what are you waiting for?

Hey, and while you’ve got your diary out, remember that it's never too early to start planning for February either.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our January 2021 highlights

Pretty Woman: The Musical, Broadway
© Matthew Murphy

‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’

Theatre Musicals Piccadilly Theatre, Soho

Every hit romcom is destined to become a musical, the inevitable has now happened. Bryan Adams (yes, that Bryan Adams) and Jim Vallance’s take on Julia Roberts’s breakthrough hit received mixed reviews when it premiered on Broadway last years. Now, you can make up your mind. 

‘A Christmas Carol’

Theatre Drama Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace

‘A Christmas Carol’ remains the most popular and malleable of seasonal tales. Now, that connoisseur of the ghost story Mark Gatiss has penned his own new version, in which he’ll star as Jacob Marley. 

Jean Dubuffet 'Paysage aux argus (Landscape with Argus)' (1955) © Fondation Dubuffet, Paris / DACS, London, 2019. Image courtesy of Fondation Dubuffet, Paris

Jean Dubuffet

Art Painting Barbican Centre, Barbican

Sure, it’s nice to order off the menu, but sometimes you just want to go for Dubuffet. And there'll be plenty to feast your eyes on in this ambitious retrospective of the radical French artist’s painting. 

Burns Night in London

Things to do

Raise a wee dram to Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns! From foot-stomping ceilidhs to haggis-fuelled feasts, London's got Burns Night celebrations covered. Take a look at our pick of the best Burns bashes. 


They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Theatre Drama Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge

The Bridge will be transformed into a 1930’s dancehall for Marianne Elliott and Steven Hoggett’s production of Horace McCoy’s 1935 classic novel that follows a Great Depression-era dance competition, as a series of couples gradually grind themselves down as they compete for $1,000 in a draining feat of endurance dancing.

Auguste Rodin 'Study for The Thinker' (1881) Musée Rodin, S.01168


Art Tate Modern, Bankside

This major exhibition at Tate Modern is emphasizing just how radical Rodin was. In a sort-of ‘behind the scenes’ approach, the show draws attention to the artist’s use of clay and plaster in producing his best-known marble and bronze creations. For fans of Rodin (and really, who isn’t one?) this is a great opportunity to see a lot of material from France’s Musee Rodin without getting on the Eurostar. 

'The Drifters Girl' comes to Garrick Theatre in October 2020
Photograph: Mark Allan

‘The Drifters Girl’

Theatre Musicals Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road

Starring soul-singing legend Beverley Knight, this new musical about all-male singing group The Drifters centres on the woman behind the band, Faye Treadwell. She was the first African-American female manager and helped propel the group to stardom over three decades. It'll be packed with Drifters hits like 'Stand By Me', 'Down By the Boardwalk' and 'Save the Last Dance For Me’. 

Tracey Emin 'It - didnt stop - I didnt stop' (2019) © HV-studio Courtesy the Artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch

Art Royal Academy of Arts, Mayfair

Tracey Emin – perhaps unsurprisingly – is a long-term fan of the Norweigan Expressionist. Emin’s recent artworks have been pretty much brilliant across the board, and this exhibition will show how Munch has long been an inspiration to her. 

Imelda Staunton
Photograph: Courtesy of Storyhouse PR

‘Hello Dolly’

Theatre Musicals Adelphi Theatre, Strand

Director Dominic Cooke and Imelda Staunton are reuniting after their stellar revival of Sondheim's ‘Follies’ for a crack at another classic musical, ‘Hello, Dolly’, which hasn't had a London revival in over a decade. 

JMW Turner 'Rain, Steam and Speed - the Great Western Railway' exhibited 1844 The National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

‘Turner’s Modern World’

Art Tate Britain, Millbank

J.M.W. Turner is now one of the most famous and well-established painters to have ever come out of Britain. Which can make it hard to appreciate just what a radical Turner was during his lifetime. Turner was fascinated by the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution, as captured in the 100% glorious ‘Rail, Steam and Speed’. And - guess what? - you can see it irl in this show!

Maria Bartuszová 'Untitled' (1985) Tate © Estate of Maria Bartuszova

Maria Bartuszová

Art Tate Modern, Bankside

Maria Baruszová was a Slovakian artist who lived and worked in Košice. This major retrospective concentrates on her output from 1960s onwards, when she first started making plaster sculptures by pouring the liquid into rubber balloons. Summary: gorgeous, one-of-a-kind art by an artist deserving greater recognition. 

Find great things to do all year round


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