Things To Do Today In London: Thursday 2 January 2020

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Take a backstage tour of Barbican. Credit: Suzanne Zhang

Things to do

ICE SKATING: Christmas may be a distant memory, but some of the festive ice rinks are still gliding on — and they're a lot less busy at this time of year.

BACKSTAGE TOURS: Find out what goes into putting on a theatre production at Barbican's backstage tours. Learn about the building's design, peek into the stage wings and green rooms, and see the technology used to bring productions to life. Barbican, £12.50, book ahead, 11am/5pm

ENGINEERING CHANGE: Find out about some of the mechanical, electrical and civil engineering ventures which have solved London's problems and changed its appearance through the years. This Footprints of London walk covers tunnels, bridges, alleyways and more. All Hallows by the Tower, £12/£9, book ahead, 2.30pm-4.30pm

COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS: If you're not ready to let go of the festive season yet, join this Footprints of London walk through Covent Garden. Find out the origins behind some of our Christmas traditions, including mince pies and kissing under mistletoe, and get a last glimpse of the festive lights. Covent Garden, £12/£9, book ahead, 3.30pm- 5.30pm

Clinging on to Christmas? There's a walk for that.

JORDAN BROOKES: Comedian Jordan Brookes continues the run of his show I've Got Nothing. The hour-long show is described as "one last attempt to find connection in the here and now, to snuffle out any remaining joy in this rapidly crumbling world, before it's too late." So, y'know, happy new year. Soho Theatre, from £11, book ahead, 9.30pm

EXHIBITIONS: Before London's events scene really kicks off again, why not use the time to catch up on some of the largest exhibitions in the capital right now — several of them close this weekend. Here are our picks, in no particular order:

Tutankhamun at Saatchi Gallery | Top Secret at Science Museum | Cars at V&A | Culture Under Attack at Imperial War Museum | Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Natural History Museum | Moving To Mars at Design Museum | The Moon at National Maritime Museum | Hidden London at London Transport Museum | Driverless at Science Museum | 24/7 at Somerset House | Gingerbread City at Somerset House | William Blake at Tate Britain | Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern | Troy at British Museum | Tim Walker at V&A | Designed in Cuba at House of Illustration | Kara Walker at V&A | Rembrandt at Dulwich Picture Gallery | Gauguin at The National Gallery | Steve McQueen at Tate Britain | Inspired by the East at British Museum | Nam June Paik at Tate Modern | Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at National Portrait Gallery | Buddhism at The British Library | Lucian Freud at The Royal Academy | Leonardo da Vinci at The National Gallery.

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Today is Science Fiction Day, this year marking 100 years since the birth of Isaac Asimov. London's tube has featured in many science fiction stories, from the alternative-universe premise of Sliding Doors to its cameo role in one of the Star Wars films. Perhaps the best-known crossover is the 'TARDIS', which stands outside Earl's Court station to the delight of Doctor Who fans. Sadly, this is neither a functioning time machine, nor an original police call box, but was installed in 1996. The inside is of corresponding dimensions to the outside... unless you visit on Google Street View, where a treat awaits.

Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.

Have a read

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