18 Things To Do In London In January 2019

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 52 months ago

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18 Things To Do In London In January 2019
London New Year's Day Parade

NEW YEAR'S DAY PARADE: A large percentage of Londoners, we suspect, have never been out of bed early enough on New Year's Day to even realise that there's a parade. If you're in a position to deal with crowds, brass bands and... er, donkeys, here's a guide to watching the New Year Parade. 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. 6 January

BLESSING OF THE THAMES: On the same day as the Twelfth Night celebrations, a traditional ritual sees the River Thames — and those who live and work on it — blessed by the clergy and congregation of St Magnus the Martyr. 6 January

LONDON INTERNATIONAL MIME FESTIVAL: Various venues host visual theatre performances from London International Mime Festival, including, circus, mask and puppetry performances. The majority of the shows are new to London, and if you like what you see, look out for workshops covering the various art forms. 9 January-3 February

Canary Wharf Winter Lights is back

WELCOME TO THE FOREST: London's first Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest kickstarts its year in the spotlight with Welcome To The Forest. The 'biggest party that Waltham Forest has ever seen' includes light installations, a winter carnival and soundscapes created by local groups. 11-13 January

LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL: More than 5o screenings, discussions and industry events feature on the programme for the London Short Film Festival, including several film premieres. Haunted houses, psycho puppets and Paul McCartney conspiracy theories are all included in the on-screen action, which takes place across several London venus. 11-20 January

Dry January needn't be dull at the Mindful Drinking Festival

MINDUL DRINKING FESTIVAL: Doing  Dry January? Get yourself to the Mindful Drinking Festival where you can imbibe beers, spirits and cocktails — all alcohol-free, of course. As well as tasting and buying the drinks, you can meet the producers, attend talks and workshops, and more. 12-13 January

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: Roll up, roll up — the ever-impressive Cirque du Soleil brings its latest show, Totem, to the Royal Albert Hall. It tells the story of the evolution of mankind through mind-blowing contortions, acrobatics, balancing acts and daredevil stunts. 12 January-26 February

LONDON BLUES WEEK: Put on your red shoes and dance the blues at London Blues Week, six nights of live blues music at legendary venue the 100 Club on Oxford Street. Plenty of the acts are flying in from the USA to perform, including Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and singer-songwriter Sugaray Rayford. 14-19 January

Cirque du Soleil brings Totem to London

CANARY WHARF WINTER LIGHTS: Just when you thought London's light festivals were over for another year, Canary Wharf Winter Lights begins. Light installations appear all over Canary Wharf — beneath the skyscrapers, on the water and in the shopping centres. You should be able to download a map of this year's installations closer to the time (although we've not always found them accurate in the past) — and best of all, it's free. 15-26 January

LONDON ART FAIR: London's art calendar gets off to a fierce start with London Art Fair. Galleries from all over the world arrive in London to sell their works to art fanatics and collectors in the capital (with a focus on the contemporary), plus there are talks, tours and a photography exhibition. 16-20 January

NBA LONDON: Watch the Washington Wizards take on the New York Knicks in the NBA London Game (that's basketball, FYI), at The O2. It's a regular season game, rather than a special game, so you can finally watch a real American basketball match like they do in the movies (just us?). 17 January

The Adventure Travel Show comes to Olympia. Note, this is not Olympia

ADVENTURE TRAVEL SHOW: Get your 2019 getaway plans sorted with the Adventure Travel Show. If it's a relaxing beach break you want, it's probably not for you, but for trekking and cycling holidays, safaris and more, it's a chance to meet tour operators, attend talks and workshops and find out what your travel options are. 19-20 January

LONDON A CAPELLA FESTIVAL: Laura Mvula headlines the London A Cappella Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019. Soloists and supergroups from all over the world perform, and budding singers can learn from the experts in classes and workshops. The festival includes concerts and workshops for kids, to introduce them to the world of a cappella. 23-26 January

VAULT FESTIVAL: Watch theatre, comedy, circus and other performance arts in the tunnels underneath one of London's busiest train stations. VAULT Festival boasts new shows, and those coming to London off the back of other successes, including Edinburgh Festival. 23 January-17 March

MICHELANGELO: One of our picks for 2019's must-see exhibitions, The Royal Academy brings together the works of two artists, born centuries apart. Michelangelo's drawings inspired 21st century video artist Bill Viola when he saw them on display in Windsor in 2006 — now, see work by both artists on display together. 26 January-31 March

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. 26-28 January

KING CHARLES I CEREMONY: The anniversary of the death of King Charles I — who died by execution in 1649 — is marked in a special ceremony by the Society of King Charles The Martyr. It takes place at Banqueting House — the site of the execution — with wreath-laying, prayers, and a religious sermon.  30 January

Last Updated 18 December 2019