9 Excellent Events Near London: January 2024

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Last Updated 01 January 2024

9 Excellent Events Near London: January 2024
Two people sitting on a bench underneath a starry sky
Have a go at stargazing in East Sussex. Photo: Mark de Jong via Unsplash

Exciting things to do close to the capital in January 2024, all easily accessible in a day trip. Browse our Beyond London section for ideas for other day trips and weekends away, and start your year on a high.

NEW YEAR'S WASSAIL: The Museum of Power near Maldon opens on New Year's Day, with various engines in action, the miniature railway up and running, and the model village open. Additionally, there's a special New Year Wassail event to bless the fruit trees in the museum's orchard, along with live music and dancing. 1 January (Essex)

HOODENING: Herne Bay's Seaside Museum hosts Hoodening with the Whitsable Hoodeners, an ancient East Kent midwinter tradition, featuring a short play, traditional songs and music performed live by The Whitstable Hoodeners — who have been doing so since 1979. FREE, 6 January (Kent)

ICE SKATING: Not done with ice skating this season? Hop on the train down to Brighton, where the Royal Pavilion ice rink stays open for the first week of the year. Take a twirl on the ice against a gorgeous backdrop, safe in the knowledge that it's environmentally friendly, as it's powered entirely by wind and solar energy. Until 7 January (East Sussex)

WINTER WOODLAND LIGHTS: Head to The Hawk Conservancy near Andover after dark for a live owl display and light trail through the woods, accompanied by music and sound effects. Winter Woodland Lights has a new self-led trail for 2024, with the on-site restaurant open for refreshments. 12-28 January (Hampshire)

HEATH ROBINSON: Cartoonist and illustrator Heath Robinson is the subject of a new exhibition at National Trust property Mottisfont, near Romsey. Heath Robinson at War displays some of the artist's war cartoons from both the first and second world wars, demonstrating his use of gentle satire to counteract German propaganda. 20 January-14 April (Hampshire)

LIGHT FESTIVAL: Hampshire's not the only place getting a glow-up this month (above). Gravesham Light Festival takes place across two evenings in Gravesend, with light installations from several artists dotted around the area, along with workshops, performances, live music and more. 26-27 January (Kent)

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL: St Albans Cathedral opens a free Holocaust Memorial Exhibition, focusing on the story of the Kinderstransport, the rescue effort to get Jewish children out of Nazi-controlled areas during the outbreak of the second world war. The exhibition uses resources from London's Wiener Library to share the experiences of the children who escaped, and the families they left behind. FREE, 26 January-2 February (Hertfordshire)

STARGAZING: Eyes to the skies at Sheffield Park and Gardens for a stargazing evening with Seven Sisters Astronomical Society. Wrap up warm for a talk through what can be seen in the skies above — ticket includes a jacket potato dinner. 27 Jaunary (East Sussex)

WINTER ALE FESTIVAL: Toast the end of Dry January at the 15th annual Colchester Winter Ale Festival. The beer and cider list for the CAMRA event isn't available yet, but we're promised real ale, real cider, food, soft drinks, English wine, foreign beers and more. Something for all drinkers, then. 31 January-3 February (Essex)