January 2020 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) or welcome in the ‘Year of the Rat’ at London's Chinese New Year celebration, which take place in January, we've got you covered for London in January. 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 2020 highlights
London's New Year's Day Parade celebrates its 34th year in 2020 with more than 8,500 performers representing 20 countries taking part, including Pearly Kings and Queens, cheerleaders, marching bands, dancers and representatives from West End shows.
The business district is glowing even brighter than usual thanks to the addition of sparkling installations and interactive experiences from international artists.
The Natural History Museum rink is the old faithful of these icy offerings: spacious, pretty, and infinitely Christmassy. Even if you hate to skate, you can grab a hot chocolate, check out the museum from the café’s viewing platform and get a dose of the ‘I can’t believe I live in London feeling’.
Winter has returned to east London, more specifically Tobacco Dock in Wapping, where there’s a rooftop ice rink (the only natural one in Europe). The rooftop is lined with igloos and huts, which are mighty cosy. Skate, or spectate while knocking back mugs of mulled wine and feasting on roasted chestnuts.
Put your party plans on ice and slip into Somerset House’s grand nineteenth-century courtyard, home to a 900-square-metre outdoor rink. Skate Lates are the real draw when live DJ sets take to the rinkside decks for huge open-air parties.
Fancy whizzing around one of London’s most famous landmarks? Hit the ice at the Tower of London, where you can get up close to the grand historical monument and check out some sweet views of the River Thames.
Marvel at the beauty of Museum of Architecture Gingerbread City, a model metropolis made of spiced dough that’s popping up at Somerset House for the first time. This year‘s theme is ‘transport’. All aboard!
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.
See a woke panto (that’s also sweet and funny). This quality panto is a cut above the average ‘he’s behind you’ lol fest, it’s a heart-warmingly sweet piece of theatre.
A history of one of the world’s religions. Learn about the Buddha’s journeys and teachings, about life and rebirth, compassion and suffering.
Intimate paintings by an art historical giant. Gauguin was basically a bastard, but his work is so good it makes your skin crawl, but boy could he paint.
The Broadway smash about a sensitive teen whose white lie spirals out of control. Go for a teen musical that puts ‘Heathers’ in the shade.
Christmas at Kew sees the whole place get seriously lit. Feast your eyes on more than a million sparkling pea-lights, thousands of laser5 beams in the iconic Temperate House and a brand-new waterfall of lights falling from tree canopies flooded with festive colour.
The stunning ancient treasure of the boy king. Tut at the price sure, but this is your last chance to see these objects before they go home forever.
A new exhibition by Patrick Staff. His art is about transformation and gender, but it’s not a celebration. Revealing the brutality of day-to-day queer existence in a crushing society. It’s art that’ll turn your stomach and change your mind, but it’s damn powerful stuff.
Nam June Paik predicts how technology influences our lives. This Tate show brings together works made across five-decades by the artist credited with inventing video art.
An epic two-part stage adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels. Go see Catherine McCormack’s ferociously brilliant turn as Lisa.
A supercharged journey through the history (and future) of automobiles. Go see all types of special cars. From the Latino low-riders of LA to Hitler’s pet project, an olive VW Beetle. It’s going to be a great ride.
A brand new West End musical is coming to town and it’s bringing the biggest bangers with it. This sublimely OTT West End musical sees Shakespeare’s Juliet return from the dead and head off on a girls’ trip to Paris.
Go big and go bold at this Mary Quant V&A exhibition. See what fast fashion was like back in the day.
A doll comes to life in this kid-delighting story. The Royal Ballet’s production promises frothy tutus and toybox silliness galore.
England goes to pot in Shakespeare’s darkest history plays. This is an epic, hilarious violent journey of Sophie Russell’s Richard.
An exhibition marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Jaar kept looking when everyone else kept looking away. It’s horrifying, painful and an unbelievably powerful show.
See this show of huge, massive, enormous paintings by a German giant. The big war-ravaged canvases are classic Kiefer – the detritus of the twentieth century laid bare. This is his attempt to find meaning in this increasingly meaningless world. It works seriously well.
Dance theatre master Matthew Bourne serves up a dark, cinematic slice of ballet magic that's perfect for wintry nights.
See the stage version of Joe Simpson’s harrowing mountaineering memoir. You’ll be on the edge of your seat for those terrifying climbing sequences.
The brilliant Steve McQueen’s ‘Year 3’ is a collection of school photos of almost every Year 3 class in the city. It’s a celebration of this city’s diversity, and its vast variety of races, cultures and backgrounds. This art shows us London now, and it shows us London in the future – wide open, diverse and brilliant.
A new stage adaptation of CS Lewis’s seminal fantasy novel. This Narnia is a wilderness of pure imagination, unshackled, static and pagan.
With its violence, jealousy, aggression and prideful idiocy, the myth of Troy has remained perpetually relevant and this beautiful exhibition shows us why. It's a huge, ambitious show, but take a deep breath and set an afternoon aside, because it's more than worth your time.
The original supernanny is back in the West End. It’s everything you could want in a mega-budget musical: memorable songs, dazzling visuals and a nostalgic London.
A small exhibition of big energy, big vision and big paintings. British artist David Bomberg deserves more love than he currently gets and this miniature exhibition makes a massive case for the importance of free access to great art.
Tate Modern hosts the UK's first-ever retrospective of this often forgotten female artist. Prolific and varied, yet historically by her sometime lover Pablo Picasso, this exhibition gives her the kudos she deserves.
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