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January TTD events
Image: Time Out

London events in January

Cheap stuff, secret stuff and heavy-hitting cultural stuff to fill your calendar with for January 2022 in London

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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Hello, 2022! It is truly great to see you.

January is the ideal time to discover London on a budget and without the crowds. Many of city's very best theatre and musicals, restaurants and bars -  ranked definitively by Time Out's crew of expert local editors - offer discounted tickets and cheap meal deals. Check out Time Out’s recent Best of the City Awards for a handy starter list. Spend cold, clear days walking off the festive pounds in the city's glorious parks and spectacular walking routes. Cosy up with drinks on a beautiful heated winter terrace, or in one of the 100 best pubs in the city. And catch up on magical lights, winter wonderlands and Christmas shows before they disappear. 

Find out more here about how Time Out's independent editors review and rate events and venues.

And bookmark our regular weekend guide for even more things to do in the city.

Keep it festive

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

This January’s New Year’s Day Parade took place online, but the organisers are determined that the 2022 event will fill the streets of London, as it’s supposed to. Exact timings and locations are still TBC, but the parade will begin at noon in Piccadilly. A host of acts have already been booked, including the City of London Brass Band, Pandemonium Drummers and cheerleading squad Ultimate Cheer. Updates on the logistics and performers will be posted on the LNYDP’s website and social media.

More excellent suggestions for stuff to do on New Year's Day.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

Your last chance to do the Harry Potter tour at Warner Bros studio, while still dressed up as a magical, wintery version of Hogwarts. For the first time ever the Forbidden Forest will also be accessible, with the willows and woodlands all dusted in snow. The other classic locations of the Harry Potter world are also very much feeling festive too. The Great Hall’s wreaths are pinned up, and Christmas trees are topped with witches on miniature broomsticks.

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

The annual favourite is back for its fifteenth year in 2021. You'll have a few days at the start of the month to get yourself back to Hyde Park for one more dose of festive fun. It's free during off-peak hours and either £5 or £7.50 during peak times. Head down for cheerily lit fairground rides, a child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa’s grotto) and quaint Christmas markets.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

Everyone’s favourite riverside culture hotspot, the Southbank Centre, will once again be aglow with festive illuminations. Winter Light is a free, open-air exhibition featuring no fewer than ten lightworks (which is what we’re calling these now) from properly famous and talented artists from around the world. All of them make mind-bending use of light, colour and even boundary-pushing film to deal with issues and topics surrounding nature, technology, urban life and spirituality.

Discover which Christmas light shows are still on display.

Make like a Scot and celebrate Burns Night
  • Things to do

Burns Night always falls on January 25 (which is a Tuesday in 2022) and gives London an excuse to celebrate Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, with lots of food, whisky and partying. No events have been announced yet for 2022 but we will most definitely update you as soon as we hear more. 

Secrets of the city

Find the little-known medieval ruins in The City
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • City of London

Practically in the shadow of the Walkie Talkie and next to a Premier Inn, you’ll find a peaceful, ancient place that just doesn’t seem to fit in… Since it was bombed-out during the war, the picturesque ruins of medieval church St Dunstan-in-the-East have been overrun by nature, creating an idyllic spot in the City’s most business area. Leaves and vines now cling to the Grade I-listed stone arches. Spend a morning reading a book here – we recommend something set in London in WWII, like ‘The Night Watch’ or ‘The End of the Affair’ – before popping across Tower Bridge for a takeaway mulled wine from The Vault 1894.

More of London’s very un-London locations.

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  • Things to do
  • Eltham

Severndroog Castle. Its name sounds like something out of Redwall and it kind of looks that way too: a triangular gothic folly, surrounded by woodland, at the top of Shooter’s Hill above Woolwich. It was built in the eighteenth century by a grieving widow as a tribute to her later husband’s greatest escapade: destroying a band of pirates in their Indian fortress of Suvarnadurg (rendered in English as ‘Severndroog’). Nowadays, it’s a great excuse to do a hill walk.

Cheap and free

Spice up a bleak month with a cheap curry lunch
  • Restaurants
  • Malaysian
  • Euston

As the name suggests, teeny Euston backstreet basement Roti King serves up astounding Malaysian rotis, either stuffed or with equally first-rate curries for dipping. They’re crisp, chewy and feather-light but also dense – perfect with an ambrosial glass of teh tarik (chilled sweet tea). Also, look out for great-value ‘local’ dishes such as nasi lemak, nasi goreng and beef rendang. RK is really is small, so dining solo or in pairs is probably sensible. Go early evening to beat the queues. 

Carb load on £3.95 margheritas at Pizza Union
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Spitalfields

It’s super-quick, it’s satisfying and the Roman-style base has all the shattering crunch of a Ryvita Thin. Pizza Union’s margherita won’t be the best slice you’ve ever had, but it’s only £3.95 for a very respectable fire-baked 12". That’s 12 inches, for the cost of an overpriced coffee. Plus you get handed one of those buzzy things to tell you when yours is ready. Literally minutes of fun.



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  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Ladbroke Grove
  • price 1 of 4

There’s usually a queue at this Med-inspired Turkish grill, but no-nonsense service means you’ll bag a table pretty quickly. While you wait, get the juices flowing by watching Fez’s meat maestros as they rotate the hefty barbecue skewers and shave slices off the own-made doners. They also score highly with cut-above accompaniments, including crunchy red cabbage, spice-rubbed flatbreads and tangy Turkish yoghurt. It’s BYO and they don’t charge corkage – hooray!

Warm up with a delicious dosa for a mere handful of pounds
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Tooting

Done out like a Tamil truck stop with lurid lighting, furniture the colour of Sunny Delight and movies on the flatscreen TV,  Sri Lankan-South Indian caff Dosa n Chutny is famed for its minuscule prices and superlative dosas. Veggie options are the standouts: the Mysore masala dosa, served with spiced onion, potatoes and three house chutneys is a winner, as are the onion utthapam and veg biryani.

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  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops

Shopping second-hand is a fantastic way to start living more sustainably. Not only are the clothes reasonably priced, they’re also (by dint of not being new) far more eco-friendly. The only catch is that it takes dedication and a keen eye to rummage through all of those rails. But don’t lose heart, we’ve saved you some time by rounding up the best thrift stores in London. 

Not convinced by thrift? Here’s our 100 favourite normal shops.

 

RECOMMENDED: The best markets in London

Exercise and wellbeing

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

Are you tired? We certainly are. The past couple of years haven’t quite been the most relaxing in all of history. In fact, what we could really do with right now is to lock ourselves in a steam room without our phones, Zoom, our laptops or our worries and spend a few hours getting roasted like a turkey. Here’s where you can get a bit of healthy inner-peace (and glowing skin) in the capital.

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Café bars
  • Seven Dials
  • price 1 of 4

The bar Square Root describes its beverages as ‘made with as much effort as quality alcoholic drinks’ – and as well as colas and fruit-packed sodas, it has mastered an alcohol-free Negroni Spritz, a boozeless shandy and a sober G&T. That’s just the bottled range. At the bar within Kerb’s Seven Dials Market, cocktails completely void of alcohol incorporate hacks to produce the flavours you might expect from something stronger. 

Read our full list of London’s best bars here.

Get on your bike and have an adventure
  • Things to do

It's surprisingly easy to get out of the capital on two wheels, and find yourself in pretty forests or close to the coast. London is surrounded by rural areas – from the chalk cliffs of Sussex to the rolling hills of Buckinghamshire and the woodland of Essex to the coastline of Kent – and many of them make brilliant places for a bike ride. Here are our favourite routes. 

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Find great things to do all year round

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