Things to Do in London in January: The Party Isn't Over Yet

The streets are a little quieter but there are still lots of things to do in London in January. Here's our guide.

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London in winter

Behold the London of fairytales; dusted in light silver snow, lights twinkling and practically empty streets apart from a few smiling people. And it is just that; a fairytale. London in the first month of the year is not magically quiet and cheery but it is still a great time to visit the capital. Our Plum Guide approved list is (almost) as beautiful as our homes. Explore the many things to do in London in January. Everything is better for the promise of the brand new year ahead: this will be Your Year. Kick things off with an olde English knees up, a smattering of shopping and a handful of festive activities where you say ‘it really doesn’t matter that we’re doing this after Christmas guys, it’s exactly the same!’

Shop

The frantic festive crowds are staying at home, the lights and decorations are still up and the sales have begun. It is almost better than spending Christmas dinner talking to Great Uncle Kenneth about solar power. The January sales are very well known, and it is the time to grab a bargain. Head to Bond Street, Fortnum & Masons and Harrods to buy yourself the present you should have received in the first place. Grab lunch at one of the best places to eat in London to fuel you as you stomp the streets.

Theatre

London’s West End is awash with overexcited tourists and out of work theatre actors an inspiring place. There's a hell of a lot of theatres in London, with 39 in the West End alone, so the choice is broad, to say the least. From offbeat street performances to immersive, small productions and the big, shiny, box office-smashing household names, there’ll be a production for you and it is one of the best things to do in London in January. Stay in the heart of London's theatre district at swish Plum Guide pad The Herald.

The Herald, Plum Guide home in London

Take a Walking Tour

Remember history lessons when you were a kid? No us neither, too long ago. But we do remember that learning stuff is way funner when you’re actually seeing and experiencing it. Taking a walking tour in London is one of the great things to do to get to know the area. The flavours of tours are as wild as the city itself, from a London’s Lavatories voyage to a Disease and Medicine tour, you’ll find something to suit your palate.

Ice Skating

Picture the scene; a soft snow tumbles from the sky, lights glisten in the background and your love glides gracefully towards you with open arms. You stare into their eyes as you fall flat on your backside on to the ice, your fingers narrowly missing getting sliced off. It doesn’t have to be this way (but it probably will be, as you are not in a romantic movie). The pop-up ice rinks are still doing a roaring trade in January in London and they’ll probably be a little quieter.

New Years Day Parade

The party isn’t over yet. The bright promise of the year is strongest on New Years Day, once the hangover subsides, and the annual parade in the Capital is a riot of colour. Thousands of performers and local and international floats take to the streets to bring in the year. Expect confetti, balloons, jarring music and all the pomp and ceremony of a big fat celebration. When you’re well and truly partied out, find a bed in one of Plum Guide’s best New Years pads in London.

Winter Lights Festival - Canary Wharf

The financial district of London town forgets all about making cold hard cash for a little (we joke: Canary Wharf will never forget about money) and decks the halls with boughs of holly loads of lights. Spectacular illuminated works from international artists, installations and interactive experiences can be found across the district making a very pleasant walk. You can almost forget raging capitalism and consumerism exists for a little while whilst you’re dazzled by the shiny lights.

London Art Fair

A unique opportunity to discover the great and good of the modern and contemporary art world. The London Art Fair sees exhibitions from national and international darlings of fingerpainting serious art across the city. Find the next big thing or rejoice in the established at exhibitions and presentations - collectors of all levels are welcomed, making it a friendlier option than some. We name no names. Your apartment can also be a work of art if you stay at one of our Home Critic’s London favourites.

Go to a Gallery

It doesn’t matter which one, just go to one gallery and you will be able to say you have your finger on the pulse. And that, my friend, is what is most important. Of all the things to do in London in January going to a gallery has got to top your list for one reason: it's quieter. The tour buses and hordes of schoolchildren aren’t taking up quite as much space, making it easier for you to catch a glimpse of that Monet piece you’ve had as your phone background for months. How lovely. This Plum Guide home in South Kensington is well-situated to go museum-hopping, if Natural History is more your thing.

The Augustus, Plum Guide home in London

Twelfth Night Celebrations

A riotous combination of bonkers English tradition and festive cheer sees London’s Bankside throw a good old knees up at the beginning of January (check the dates, they change). Finally, an occasion where you can wear your Green Man outfit. Join in with the dancers or simply watch the parade and party pass you from a safe distance. If anybody offers you a slice of cake, take it and pray you find a bean hidden inside. If you do, you will be crowned King or Queen for the day. Don't you love wacky English traditions?

Want to keep reading? Take a look at our guide to London in September, or perhaps our favourite things to do in London in May next.

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