What's on in London in 2012

The exhibitions, shows, films, festivals and events we're most looking forward to this year

2011 is so last year! It's time to look forward to all the cultural, culinary, musical and cinematic treats that London is going to serve up over the next 12 months. Yes, the Olympics - and the Cultural Olympiad - will dominate the summer, but there's so much more to London in 2012. Browse the lists below for Time Out's recommendations of events you shouldn't miss this year.

The best of London in 2012

  • Art

    Damien Hirst's first UK retrospective at Tate Modern, plus huge shows on Bauhaus, Rachel Whiteread, David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Picasso
    Read full art preview

  • Cabaret

    We look forward to new shows from Scottee, La JohnJoseph, Timberlina and Dusty Limits, plus CircusFest and the World Burlesque Games 2012
    Read full cabaret preview

  • Classical & opera

    A full Ring cycle at the Royal Opera House, seasons of Brahms and Prokofiev, plus the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela
    Read full classical preview

  • Club DJs

    See pictures of the best new DJs and producers to watch out for in 2012 as chosen by Benji B, Andrew Wetherall, The Boiler Room and more
    Read more

  • Club nights

    Huge shows from David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards and a new home for the fantastic Bloc festival
    Read full clubbing preview

  • Comedy

    American heavyweights Joan Rivers and Jackie Mason play huge shows and Reggie Watts, Simon Amstell and Alexei Sayle all return to the stage
    Read full comedy preview

  • Bamboo Blues


    A season of ten PIna Bausch works, the return of DV8, Shobana Jeyasingh and Akram Khan, and the annual London Flamenco Festival
    Read full dance preview

  • Festivals & events

    The year will be dominated by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations
    Read full events preview

  • Film

    'The Hobbit', 'Skyfall', new films from Michael Haneke, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson, and the rise and rise of pop-up cinema
    Read full film preview

  • Food & drink

    Desserts are going to be big - especially doughnuts - and hot restaurant openings include Nuno Mendes at Fitzroy House and Brasserie Zédel
    Read full food preview

  • Museums

    Warner Bros open up their studios to reveal The Making of Harry Potter and there are exhibitions on the Titanic, Ballgowns, Brains and Scott's last expedition
    Read museums preview

  • Music acts

    Discover the best new acts for 2012 with our critics' picks of the 10 best new bands and artists around, and listen to tracks from all the featured artists
    Read the list

  • Music gigs

    Gigs you should book for now include Feist, The Black Keys, Bruce Springsteen and Example, plus the Field Day, Lovebox and Wireless festivals
    Read full music preview

  • Theatre

    Cate Blanchett stars in 'Gross und Klein', 'Sweeney Todd' hits the West End and the World Shakespeare Festival takes over the capital this summer
    Read full Theatre preview

  • TV

    Big TV events include Sam Mendes' Shakespeare Cycle and The Olympics & Paralympics, plus there's a new adaptation of 'Birdsong'
    Read full TV preview