Things To Look Forward To In London In 2024

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 6 months ago

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Last Updated 01 January 2024

Things To Look Forward To In London In 2024
Exterior of the National Gallery, seen from Trafalgar Square
The National Gallery celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2024. Photo: Matt Brown

As we bid farewell to 2023 — a year of coronation celebrations and Superloop introductions — we're looking forward to what's planned in London for 2024.

The Netball Nations Cup comes to Wembley: January 2024

Paris might have the 2024 Olympics, but London has two days of action in the Vitality Netball Nations Cup to kick off the year. Four matches take place across two days (20-21 January) at Wembley Arena, before the action moves to Leeds the following weekend. Cheer on England's Vitality Roses as they take on Australia, New Zealand and Uganda.

An extra day to explore London: February 2024

2024 is a leap year, which means we have the joy of an extra day, falling on 29 February. The last time this happened was 2020, and the extra day turned out to be one of the last 'normal' days any of us would have for a very long time — though we're just grateful that the extra day fell before lockdown started. We digress. Point is, there's an extra day in 2024, so keep an eye out for our event listings closer to the time for tips on how to spend it.

MJ the Musical: March 2024

Multiple Tony Award-winning musical MJ opens at Prince Edward Theatre on 6 March celebrating the life and work of Michael Jackson, one of the greatest (and these days, most controversial) entertainers of all time. It focuses on the period of his Dangerous World Tour in 1992, and how it made him into something of a legend.

Tower Bridge now surrounded by lots more buildings - including the Shard
There's an extra day to enjoy London this year. Image: Jason Hawkes

Inaugural exhibition at the Women's Museum, Barking: March 2024

In 2023, we brought you the news that Barking & Dagenham Council plans to open a Women's Museum, and a few public events have already been held. But we now know that the museum itself is expected to open on International Women's Day, 8 March 2024. The inaugural exhibition, An Idea of a Life, shares the everyday histories of the women-led community who lived in nearby Barking Abbey from c.666AD to the early 16th century, connecting their voices with those of contemporary women, femmes and folk who call the local area home. Watch this space for more information.

Guide Dogs sculpture trail in Canary Wharf: March 2024

Free art and sculpture trails are becoming quite the thing here in London — and given that they get people out about in the fresh air exploring parts of London they might not otherwise see (and often raise money for charity) we're all for 'em.

Head to Canary Wharf in the spring (25 March-17 May) for the Paws on the Wharf Sculpture Trail, which has a number of larger-than-life guide dog sculptures installed in the area, each individually decorated by a different artist. We're still awaiting full details but we're promised an accessible trail which will raise awareness of, and money for, Guide Dogs. It's by Wild in Art, the same organisation behind 2023's Croydon Stands Tall giraffes and Walking with The Snowman around Fleet Street.

VAULT Festival opens its new home: Spring 2024

It was a rough start to 2023 for VAULT Festival, as the performing arts festival was kicked out of its usual venue beneath Waterloo station, leaving its future looking uncertain. However, the year ended on a high with the announcement that the organisation is building itself a brand new long-term home in central London, due to open in spring 2024, with the first VAULT Festival in the new residence to take place in autumn 2024. At time of writing, we're on tenterhooks awaiting the details, including exact date and location.

South London gets futuristic 'tram-Buses': Spring 2024

Tram bus in red
Image: TfL

Like many buses, the ieTram is running a little behind. These tram-shaped electric buses were supposed to be shuttling between Crystal Palace and Orpington by now, but TfL has now given us a revised date of spring 2024, for when they start running trials on the 358 route. Sadiq Khan has hailed them as 'game-changing'.

Energy Revolution Gallery at Science Museum: Spring 2024

South Kensington's Science Museum is opening a new space dedicated to the climate crisis. Specifically, Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery focuses on how the world can pivot quickly and efficiently to greener energy sources in order to avoid a climate catastrophe. It's split into four sections, looking at what people in the past thought the future might look like, our current future predictions for the climate crisis, the future of energy and power, and how people's lives can be improved by changing the energy sources we use.

Opening in spring, date TBC. It takes over the space which previously housed the Atmosphere Gallery.

London's mayoral elections: May 2024

Sadiq Khan speaking on stage behind a podium
Sadiq Khan is going for a record third term as London Mayor. Image: Scottish Government via creative commons

It doesn't seem like four years since the last mayoral election — and that's because it wasn't. The 2020 election got pushed back a year to 2021 for obvious reasons, but Sadiq Khan's current tenure still expires in 2024. That's not stopping him having a crack at a third term — he's Labour's candidate, and if he were to win, he'd be the first person to hold the office for three terms (for context, the office has only existed since 2000, and this is only the seventh London Mayoral Election).

He's up against Susan Hall (Conservative); Zoë Garbett (Green Party); Rob Blackie (Liberal Democrats); and Natalie Campbell (Independent). The election takes place on 2 May, when Londoners will also vote for London Assembly members.

Have a read of our guide to London's 2024 Mayoral Elections to get up to speed.

The National Gallery's 200th anniversary: May 2024

10 May 2024 marks 200 years since The National Gallery opened its doors to the public, so there's going to be a bit of a shindig to celebrate. We're awaiting full details, but expect special events sprinkled throughout the year including NG200: National Treasures, which sees 12 exhibitions launch on the same day at 12 cultural institutions across the UK.

Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour comes to Wembley: June and August 2024

Taylor Swift performing on stage in a red and black sparkly bodysuit
Photo: Paolo V via creative commons

It's been a long time coming, but... Taylor Swift fans can finally Shake It Off at the singer's Eras Tour at Wembley on 21-23 June — and then again on 15-20 August. At time of writing, Swift's tour has only visited the USA and South America, but is already the highest-grossing of all time. It was a Cruel Summer when tickets for the UK dates went on sale in July 2023, with many fans left with a Blank Space after going through the Great War in a bid to secure seats. If you weren't The Lucky One, we reckon there'll be plenty of other Taylor-related events going on in London around that time, including some of these.

One more thing: other stops on the tour have been marking the occasion by renaming the city or parts of the city, and lighting up landmarks in Taylor Swift's honour. Whoever is Mayor of London by then (see above) has some big Louboutins to fill in that regard and we are open to suggestions. Swiftadilly Circus? Tayfair? Or simply choosing a dog sculpture and dyeing it key lime green?

Shrek the Musical: July 2024

23 (!) years after the first Shrek film was released, Shrek The Musical stomps its way into the Eventim Apollo for a brief run over the school summer holidays. Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Dragon reunite in Far Far Away with songs and dance numbers thrown in.

That'll do Donkey. That'll do.

London Mural Festival: August 2024

Mural of Rembrandt at 100 Mare Street
Image: Global Street Art

The last London Mural Festival, in 2020, didn't pick a good year, all things considered. Even so, the event managed to beautify dozens of walls around the capital, many of which remain in place. Now the festival, organised by Global Street Art, returns, with a promise to be bigger and better than ever. If this huge mural of Rembrandt in Hackney is anything to go by, then the city's going to look very different come August, when the festival takes place.

The British Science Festival comes to UEL: September 2024

More than 20 years since it was last held in London, the British Science Festival — one of Europe's longest-running science festivals, which takes place at a different UK venue every year — returns to the capital. UEL has been announced as the host for the event on 11-15 September, which gives scientists, inventors and innovators a platform to share their work with the general public.

Londonist's 20th birthday: October 2024

Our 10th birthday celebrations, back in October 2014. Photo: Londonist

And now to tootle our own trumpet for a while, as Londonist reaches its 20th anniversary in October 2024. That's the birthday of the 'Londonist' name anyway — we were around for a little while before that under our original moniker, The Big Smoker. Truth be told, we're still blushing from Dave Hill's description of Londonist as 'one of the capital’s best independent news and culture websites' and 'clear, eclectic and handsome to behold' on our 10th birthday in 2014.

Since then we've been on more rooftops, down more sewers, and in even more niche museums to bring you the very best London has to offer. We've also published an (award-winning) book, launched a subscriber newsletter, and weathered a pandemic. We feel a party coming on...

Sadler's Wells East opens

Sadler's Wells East in the olympic park's east bank
Image: Matt Brown

The Olympic Park's East Bank is the biggest new cultural zone in London for years. Already open are outposts of UCL and UAL (with plenty of public spaces), but we still have two new branches of the V&A, a major BBC music studio and new theatre Sadler's Wells East to look forward to. Most of these are due in 2025, but Sadler's Wells East is expected in this coming year. The venue won't be drawn on a date though — not even to the nearest quarter. 'Please keep the information on opening to "2024"' was the press team's coy response.

Exhibitions in London in 2024

A CGI of a white fluffy cat wrapped in a rainbow
Cute at Somerset House opens in the early part of 2024. Image: Graphic Thought Facility

Van Gogh, Tim Burton, Barbie: Just some of the big names being put to exhibitions happening in London in 2024. Our art critic Tabish Khan has already picked out his must-see exhibitions opening in the next 12 months, but we'll also add Cute at Somerset House, and Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection at V&A South Kensington into the mix, for anyone getting an early start on booking their exhibition tickets.

Wondering about the Museum of Shakespeare, which was due to open in Shoreditch in spring 2024? It's been delayed until 2025.

Soho Theatre's new Walthamstow outpost is set to open in early 2025 now (previously due to be spring 2024), though there's likely to be a soft launch and test period for local residents and communities towards the end of 2024.

Cirque du Soleil is opening a new UK base at the former Saville Theatre (later the Odeon) on Shaftesbury Avenue — though there's no timeframe for that one yet, and we haven't been able to get any further information, so it may not happen in 2024.

Similarly, there are rumours that Secret Cinema is making a permanent home of the former bingo hall on Arlington Road in Camden, though again, very little information has been made available yet.