9 Things To Look Forward To In London In 2019

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 64 months ago

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Last Updated 04 January 2019

9 Things To Look Forward To In London In 2019

From buildings and infrastructure to cultural events and celebrations, here's what London's looking forward to in 2019.

1. Crossrail - when will it launch?

OK, we'll get this out of the way first, though it may not be chronological. We were basically going to copy and paste the Crossrail paragraph from our 2018 article, change a few dates details, and job's a good'un.

But then this happened.

After being pushed back from December 2018 to autumn 2019, we were told that the powers-that-be could "no longer commit" to that autumn 2019 deadline — and if they're willing to admit that almost a year in advance, we'd say it's a dead cert that we won't be riding the #PurpleTrain until 2020.

So we'll leave it at this: things to 'look forward to' in 2019 include news of a delay to a delay to a delay. Trains, eh?

2. Waltham Forest: London Borough of Culture

For the first time, London has a Borough of Culture, and that borough is Waltham Forest. As it's the inaugural year, we're not sure exactly how the concept will pan out, but plenty of events will be going around the north-easterly regions of London. The opening weekend takes place in January with a winter carnival and light installation, while local lad Damon Albarn is on board for a weekend of gigs in March.

Keep an eye on the official website for details of further events when they're announced. At the very least, it's a good reason to make the trip to the end of the Victoria line.

3. The new White Hart Lane

The stadium back in March 2018

Another one we could have copied and pasted from 2018 — Spurs' long-awaited new stadium. Much to the disgruntlement of a Spurs-supporting member of Team Londonist who's fed up of the trek out to Wembley, the new White Hart Lane hasn't yet opened, despite the fact that it should have been up and running at the start of this season.

Selected fans have been given a tour of the stadium already, but no opening date has been announced yet. 13 January has been thrown about as an option... watch this space.

4. Illuminated River

© Illuminated River, Leo Villareal Studio, 2018

As of summer 2019, the first four bridges of the Illuminated River project will be lit up. Installation work begins in early 2019 on London Bridge, Cannon Street Bridge, Southwark Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.

In total, up to 15 central London bridges — from Albert Bridge in West London to Tower Bridge in the City — will be lit up by 2022 as part of the free and publicly accessible artwork, celebrating London's historic links with its river.

5. Fantastic Feats: The Building of London

Longtitudinal section through St Paul's Cathedral, according to the first design of Sir Christopher Wren - Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Archive (City of London)

The City of London is marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir Joseph Bazalgette — responsible for London's sewers — with a whole programme of events. Fantastic Feats: the building of London celebrates London’s long-standing history of architectural and engineering firsts, and looks at how these innovations have contributed to improving the lives of Londoners over past centuries, through street theatre and circus, art installations, live performance, exhibitions, walks and tours. Keep an eye on the website for more events to be announced.

6. Jubilee line celebrations

2019 is a double whammy of celebrations for the Jubilee line. April marks the 40th anniversary of the initial opening (two years late... can you see a theme here?) while the extension opened in stages in 1999 — 20 years ago.

No official celebrations have been announced yet, but we imagine TfL will do something to mark the occasion. Anything to take the spotlight of off Crossrail, eh?

In the meantime, swot up with these secrets of the Jubilee line, and find out how each of the silver line's stations got their names.

7. Greenwich IKEA

We'll take our pleasures where we can get them, and sometimes that takes the form of Swedish meatballs and dirt-cheap tealights. An IKEA is due to open at Millennium Way Retail Park in Greenwich in early 2019. When it was announced a couple of years back, we made a few predictions about what this would mean for the area. For now though, we'll say one thing; good luck getting your new Billy Bookcase home on the tube.

8. Stanley Kubrick at Design Museum

We've already shared the exhibitions we're most looking forward to in 2019, but we already reckon Design Museum's Stanley Kubrick exhibition could be an ultra-awesome highlight.

Props, costumes, set models and photos from the filmmaker's career — including Dr Strangelove, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey — go on display, offering an insight into Kubrick's often obsessive creative process.

9. Waitress the musical at Adelphi Theatre

We've got nothing of Hamilton or Harry Potter levels of excitement coming to the London stage next year, but there are still a few shows to watch out for.

Waitress is probably the most-anticipated American import. The Broadway musical — with songs by Sara Bareilles — opens at the Adelphi Theatre in February — is about a waitress and expert pie-maker who sees a baking contest in the next county as a way out for her small town and rocky marriage.

For something a little more home-grown, look out for Only Fools and Horses: The Musical, also opening in February, bringing the story of Peckham's most famous family (and their Reliant Robin) to the stage. It's written by Jim Sullivan — son of OFAH's original writer, John Sullivan — and comedian Paul Whitehouse. We'll reserve judgement, but hopefully it'll be a great big mais, oui from us.

Other big London anniversaries in 2019 — you may see events going on to commemorate these events, although nothing's been announced yet:

  • 30 January marks 50 years since The Beatles' famous rooftop concert on Savile Row.
  • It still looks pretty modern now, but 14 July marks 25 years since the Queen officially opened Vauxhall Cross — better-known as the headquarters of MI6 and the Secret Intelligence Services.
  • The sinking of the pleasure boat Marchioness in the Thames, killing 51, was 30 years ago on 20 August.
  • 8 September marks 75 years since the first V2 rockets struck London — the first hit Chiswick, and the second hit Ealing later the same evening.
  • 30 September is the 25th anniversary of the final closure of Aldwych tube station — formerly known as Strand station. It had been running a peak-only service for several years prior to its closure.
  • 5 October marks 20 years since the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, in which 31 people died