Note: The details below are accurate at time of publication, but are highly likely to change as the Covid situation evolves. Events may be cancelled or rescheduled, or additional restrictions brought in, at short notice, so do check with the venue or organiser for up-to-date information.
NEW YEAR'S DAY PARADE: At time of writing, London's New Year's Day Parade is going ahead this year, but you won't be able to see it without a ticket — and tickets have now sold out. So don't be gathering along the usual parade route expecting to see floats and brass bands. 1 January
TWELFTH NIGHT: London's annual Twelfth Night celebrations mix ancient customs with modern festivities, making for a bizarre and eclectic event. Head to the riverside near Shakespeare's Globe to witness wassailing, The Holly Man (or Green Man) being paraded across the river, dramatic performances, and a chance to be crowned King or Queen for the day by finding a bean or a pea in a cake. Like we said, an odd (but fascinating) one. 9 January
MIME LONDON: Apparently the capital's longest established theatre season, London International Mime Festival is back for four weeks of performances. The programme includes 14 productions across circus, juggling, live theatre and short films. Our pick includes a chance to see the ever-popular Gandini Juggling, as well as Short & Sweet, which combines lip-syncing, drag, surrealist parody, and contemporary dance. 12 January-6 February
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: Luzia, Cirque du Soleil's latest show, which is set in Mexico, returns to the Royal Albert Hall. It takes water and light as its inspiration, with trapeze artists performing through pouring showers. Hoop diving, acrobatic stunts and a surreal menagerie are all part of the fun — and let's face it, with Cirque, you know it's going to be good. 12 January-27 February
LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL: January is ideal for snuggling down in the cinema watching films, which is where London Short Film Festival comes in. Taking place at several independent cinemas around the capital, the programme includes a wealth of new drama, documentary and animation short films, competition-winning films, and industry events such as Q&A sessions and speed-pitching sessions. Browse the full programme. 14-23 January
LONDON ART FAIR: [UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL APRIL] The capital's art scene swings into action for the year at the London Art Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Focus is on modern and contemporary pieces, with galleries from all over London and beyond exhibiting. There's an impressive programme of talks and demos too, covering topics such as how to future-proof museums, and the rise in popularity of art fairs. 19-23 January
CANARY WHARF WINTER LIGHTS: [UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT YEAR] Once again the streets, docks, malls and squares of Canary Wharf will be aglow for Winter Lights. So far, 27 glowing installations have been announced for the free illuminations festival, with a market and street food stalls popping up to keep visitors fed and watered. From experience, the area can get very crowded — see the Winter Lights website for details on when it's expected to be quietest. While you're in the area, why not take a twirl on the Canary Wharf ice rink? It's the only one of London's winter ice rinks which stays open right through until February. 19-29 January
HAMLET: Head to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe to see one of the Bard's most famous plays performed. Hamlet forms part of The Globe's Winter Season, telling the story of the grief-stricken prince's hunt for revenge, inside the atmospheric, candlelit playhouse. 21 January-9 April
OUR PLANET: Originally due to take place at the Eventim Apollo, but moved to The O2 due to Covid restrictions, David Attenborough documentary Our Planet is shown on a large scree, with the soundtrack performed live by a full orchestra — quite the experience for Attenborough fans. 23 January
BURNS NIGHT: Scottish poet Robert Burns is celebrated on the anniversary of his birth with Burns suppers and other special Burns Night events. We'll bring you details of London's best Burns Night 2022 events closer to the time. 25 January
VAULT FESTIVAL: [UPDATE - THIS HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED] 600+ shows make up this year's VAULT Festival programme, expanding from its original home to take place in various venues around Waterloo. Theatre, comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, and family shows all feature on the programme , from the trippy Bad Clowns: Invasion, to the topical My Dad Boris, and big names in comedy including Olga Koch and Catherine Bohart. 25 January-20 March
DAISY MAY COOPER: Comedy writer and actor Daisy May Cooper is at Southbank Centre to talk about her life and career, and launch her memoir, Don't Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her. The This Country star chats to a special guest about growing up in rural poverty in Gloucestershire, nearly being expelled from drama school, and creating her BAFTA-winning show. 27 January
BOROUGH OF CULTURE: It's Lewisham's turn to take up the London Borough of Culture mantle in 2022, and it begins on 28 January with opening celebration Day One, which sees live performances popping up right across the borough. Other events planned this year include In Living Memory, a look at Lewisham's recent past, and Climate Emergency, which promises commissions which will shock people into taking action. From 28 January
BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH: Help the RSPB keep an eye on the numbers of wild birds in London by taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch. If you're lucky enough to have a garden or outside space, spend an hour counting and recording the numbers and types of birds that visit it, then report back to the RPSB. The charity then uses the data to spot any patterns, anomalies, or any species that may be in danger. 28-30 January
FRANCIS BACON: Irish-born artist Francis Bacon is the subject of a new Royal Academy of Arts exhibition. Get a closer look at his visceral paintings in Francis Bacon: Man and Beast, which focuses on his fascination with animals and how it shaped and distorted his approach to the human body. 29 January-17 April
CHARLES I: Every year, the anniversary of the execution of Charles I is commemorated. The event begins at 11am in the Mall, when the King’s Army, the Royalist part of the English Civil War Society, gather on The Mall in full costume, with mounted troops and weapons, and march up to Horseguards Parade for a commemorative service. Well worth watching if you're in the area. 30 January
LAST CHANCE: A few things are closing this month too. It's your last chance to see:
- Winter Wonderland: If you haven't made it to the behemoth seasonal funfair yet, it runs until early January. It tends to be quieter after Christmas, though you'll still need to book entry tickets in advance. Until 3 January.
- Monkey Business: Horniman Museum's family-friendly exhibition about primates and our close relationship with them ends this month. Until 3 January.
- Fantastic Beasts: This Wizarding World exhibition at Natural History Museum has a few more days to run, comparing the most unusual creatures from J.K. Rowling's fictional world to those from the real world. Until 3 January.
- Marble Arch Mound: The much-mocked temporary tourist attraction closes its doors this month. On the plus side, tickets are free. Until 9 January.
- NHM Ice Rink: Most of London's seasonal ice rinks shut up shop this month, but it's your last ever chance to ice skate at the Natural History Museum, as this was the rink's final season. Until 16 January.
- Light festivals: Many of London's festive light festivals run into January, including Lightopia London and Christmas at Kenwood (both until 2 January), Palace of Stardust (until 3 January) Winterfest (until 4 January) Christmas at Kew and Illuminature (both until 9 January)