At time of writing, the Covid-19 situation is fast changing, with the possibility of new restrictions being introduced in the coming days, so do check that events are still going ahead before you set off.
Things to do at home, and online events
NETFLIX: From kids' favourites like Paddington, to the racier Bridgerton, we've compiled a list of films and TV shows currently available on Netflix, which were filmed in London. See parts of the capital, from Greenwich to Soho, on screen, without leaving home.
BEHIND THE SCENES: The end of 2021 saw a slew of documentaries about London hitting our screens, taking us behind the scenes at institutions such as Harrods, Liberty, Natural History Museum and the Tower of London, and all are available to stream online. Some of them do have a festive slant, but there's no harm in dragging Christmas out a little bit longer...
GLOBE PLAYER: Embrace your inner culture vulture and watch recordings of shows performed at Shakespeare's Globe. Globe Player had a bit of an update recently, with new shows from summer 2021 added. Choose whether to pay per show, or subscribe and access the lot.
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE: Likewise, the Royal Opera House is making additions to its online offerings over the next couple of weeks, with shows by both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet, beginning with The Sleeping Beauty.
QUIZZES: Start the new year with some brainteasers courtesy of our collection of London quizzes. We've got London general knowledge questions, picture rounds and anagram teasers, ideal whether you're back to commuting, or looking for something to do over a cup of coffee at home.
REBEL DYKES: This week is your last chance to stream 2021 documentary Rebel Dykes, about a community of women in the 1980s who met at Greenham Common peace camp and became artists, performers, musicians and activists in London. Stream it from Barbican Cinema and watch it at home. Until Friday 7 January
EMMA'S SONGBOOKS: Museum of London teams up with Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a performance of songs dedicated to Horatio Nelson’s naval victories, recently rediscovered in Emma Hamilton’s songbooks. The performance is preceded with a presentation by museum Librarian Lluis Tembleque, who recently discovered the songbooks, and is available to stream at home any time until 11 January. Friday 31 December-Tuesday 11 January
THAMES SHIPWRECKS: Footprints of London has an impressive schedule of fascinating virtual talks and tours this week (and beyond), including a closer look at some of the thousands of shipwrecks in the Thames. Rob Smith tells the stories of 12 such shipwrecks in an online talk, accompanied by pictures and maps, with tips for where you may get a glimpse of them yourself when you're out and about. Monday 3 January, 8pm-9pm
COUNTRY LIFE: As Country Life magazine turns 125, current Architectural Editor John Goodall gives an online talk about how the publication has shaped perceptions of the country house, and also talks about a current project to digitise the magazine's entire photographic archive. Tuesday 4 January, 7pm (though you can watch the recording at a time that suits you)
LONDON GHOSTSIGNS: Ever wanted to know more about London's ghostsigns, the faded advertising signs which can be seen on the side of buildings across the capital? Footprints of London tour guide Jane Parker gives an online talk about the history of some of the signs in Brixton, Islington, Wandsworth and Willesden, with maps and photos to accompany the talk. Wednesday 5 January, 6.30pm-7.30pm
LIBERATING EUROPE: Available to watch both in person and online, the National Army Museum hosts a talk about how the British Army helped in liberation Nazi-controlled Europe in 1944-5. Professor John Buckley covers the period from the D-Day landings to the fall of Berlin, and the obstacles the Allies faced. Friday 7 January, 12pm
WOLF HALL: Whether you read the books, or were more a fan of the TV adaptation, find out about the real London locations linked to Wolf Hall on this virtual tour. Guide Mark Rowland traces remnants of Tudor history which weren't wiped out by the Great Fire of London. Friday 7 January, 4pm-5pm
BAYEUX TAPESTRY: While the Bayeux Tapestry doesn't often come up in everyday conversation, that's the topic of a chat between Michael Lewis of the British Museum and David Musgrove of BBC History Magazine. In this online event, they discuss some of the mysteries of the 11th century tapestry, with the virtual audience also able to share their views and ask questions. Friday 7 January, 5.30pm-6.30pm
1921 CENSUS: As the details of the 1921 census are released into the public realm, experts from Findmypast host an online talk about the stories and secrets the records reveal, and the historical context in which the census was taken. Saturday 8 January, 10am
SCIENTIFIC MONSTERS: The Viktor Wynd Museum hosts Professor Stephen Asma for an online talk about some of the dominant types of monsters in ancient Western literature, natural history, and philosophy, and how they have been medicalised. Sunday 9 January, 8pm
Get out and about
Happy to be out and about at the moment? Try these events — though please do adhere to current restrictions where they apply.
ICE SKATING: Christmas is over (boo!) but some of London's seasonal ice rinks live on, including at Somerset House and Natural History Museum. All rinks are ticketed so the number of skaters there at any one time should be limited, but if you're looking to avoid crowds, one of the less central locations is probably a better option, as is a weekday visit.
YOUTH ORCHESTRA: The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, which is comprised of teenage musicians, performs a lively concert at Barbican to kick off 2022. Monday 3 January, 7pm
HAPPY MONDAYS COMEDY: Laugh your way into 2022 with the first Happy Mondays Comedy of the year, at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. Kelly Convey, Zahra Barri , Vix Leyton , Andy Zapp and Currer Ball are on the bill, with regular MC Sion James. Monday 3 January, 10.30pm
PEAKY BLINDERS: Fan of TV show Peaky Blinders? Join Footprints of London tour guide Rob Smith for a guided walk around some of the locations linked to the real-life Sabini gang, and their haunts in London's 'Little Italy'. Hear stories of real London gangs as you walk around the Farringdon and Clerkenwell area. Tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. Thursday 6 January, 6pm-8pm
SKATE LATES: Somerset House ice rink hosts various Skate Lates, with different DJs taking to the decks each night, providing the soundtrack to your late night, open air skate. On Thursday it's London-based music promo company Bird on the Wire, and on Friday it's electronic dance artist DJ Counselling. Thursday 6 January, and Friday 7 January, from 8pm
GREAT FIRE: The Museum of London returns with its semi-regular, family-friendly Great Fire of London walk. Join a tour guide for a stroll around some of the City of London locations linked to the fire, and find out where and how it started, and where it was stopped. Aimed at age 5+. Saturday 8 January, 10.30am
NEIL DIAMOND: Hello Again is a musical show dedicated to the life and career of singer Neil Diamond, taking place at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. Video, images and narration all feature, as well as some of his best-loved hits such as Sweet Caroline and Love on the Rocks. Saturday 8 January, 8pm
FAMILY FUN WEEKEND: The Cutty Sark is getting quite the jumpstart on Burns Night, starting the celebrations more than a fortnight early with a Scottish-themed family fun weekend. Enjoy sea shanty performances, storytelling sessions and puppet-making, as your explore the ship. Weekend 8-9 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. Sunday 9 January, 2pm
TS ELIOT PRIZE READINGS: As the shortlist for the TS Eliot Prize is announced, Southbank Centre hosts readings by this year's shortlisted poets, including Raymond Antrobus and Kayo Chingonyi. Sunday 9 January, 7pm. Also available to stream online for a week after the event.
Explore London (and beyond)
Want to get out of the house, but can't face big crowds? Try these, either on your own, or with your household, family, or small group of friends:
WEEKEND WALKS: We've done some serious walks in our time, and we've shared the best of them with you — here are some of our Weekend Walks (don't tell anyone, but you *could* do them any day of the week). Favourites include a meander through London's own 'wine valley', and an amble in pursuit of the 'lost' River Fleet.
CYCLING: Prefer a faster pace of life? Take to two wheels and follow this sweeping cycle route through west London, or this beautiful route through south London. Want to stay more central? Cycle from St James's Park to Holland Park's Kyoto Garden.
BOTANICAL GARDEN: Reopening from 4 January, Enfield's Myddelton House Gardens is a free, open-air day out for all the family. It's home to part of the old London Bridge, the former Enfield Market cross, paving stones from Clerkenwell, an optical illusion and a mysterious royal monument.
WINNIE THE POOH: Fancy venturing further afield? The Ashdown Forest in East Sussex is the spiritual home of fictional bear Winnie the Pooh and friends. Take a look at our guide to where to see the locations linked to the novels, including Pooh Sticks Bridge, the AA Milne Memorial, and of course, the museum, shop and tea room at Pooh Corner.
Urban oddity of the week
The ghostsigns talk on 5 January (see above) should be fascinating — London's peppered with the faded signs, and you'll spot them at all points of the compass once your eyes are tuned in. While most of these are adverts for long-lost consumer products, some had a more serious purpose. The sign shown above dates from the second world war, and points to the nearest air-raid shelter. This was photographed on the corner of Deptford High Street and Giffin Street, though many other examples can be found across town.