21 Truly Terrific Things To Do In London Next Month

And just like that, so begins another year. From Dry January activities to Veganuary-inspired menus, there’s a whole lot going on this month. January 2022 may feel like it was mere weeks ago, but now let’s look forward to a fun-filled month, with our guide to the best things to do in London in January 2023.

1. Recover from your NYE festivities with a month off

the tea-total bottomless brunch at Daisy Green
Credit: Melisa Coppola

Sober October may be the more catchily-named of the alcohol-free initiative-driven months, but Dry January is inarguably the OG. And it also feels like it has the most reason to exist. After all, is there any event more likely to cause you to wake up regretting your drinking decisions than New Years? Well, if you want to go alcohol-free this month, here’s a few ways you can do it!

🍹 Soho cocktail bar, Thin White Duke, has a month-long alcohol-free cocktail special in the form of their Morir Sonando (Die Dreaming). A delicious blend of fresh orange juice, condensed milk, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla, it’s a perfect complement to the bar’s tapas menu from Dominican dynamos Boca Chica.

🍾 Daisy Green is launching a “tea-total” bottomless brunch this January, promising “all the rituals of bottomless (even with the pop of a cork) just without the booze” thanks to REAL and their naturally fermented sparkling teas.

🕹️ NQ64 is a retro arcade bar that brings social gaming fun and delicious game-inspired cocktails together in one place. Dry January doesn’t need to bring a halt to the fun, however, with the bar’s non-alcoholic cocktails including the refreshing and fruity No Uka Uka, and the candied strawberry topped Driver Spritz.

🍸 Grab a free drink courtesy of drinks brand, Everleaf, who are enticing drinkers and non-drinkers alike out to their favourite bars during a time that is notoriously difficult for bars, pubs, and restaurants. Guests can grab one of the non-alcoholic serves from Everleaf at one of the participating bars, and then take a photo of their receipt to get the money back! Among the confirmed bars to participate are Tayer + Elementary and Christina’s as well as plenty more.

2. Or start as you mean to go on and give these places a try

Credit: Pawsitive Café

New year, new you, new favourite restaurant? There are tons of new restaurants and venues that have opened recently, or will be opening in January, for you to check out. You may well find your new favourite!

🐶 Pawsitive Café – afternoon tea for dogs anyone? Oh and delicious Malaysian food? Sign us up!

🍝 Jacuzzi – a four-storey ‘pleasure palace’ restaurant from the Big Mamma group is sure to be London’s hottest reservation in 2023.

🍸 Bruno’s – It’s a cocktail bar ON 👏 A 👏 BARGE. We don’t really need to say anything more, do we?

🦐 Saltie Girl – this Boston hailing seafood bar is legendary, and with the launch of their new lunch menu there’s now twice as much chance to fill your face with their oceanic delights.

🥩 STK Stratford – The third restaurant for the STK Steakhouse London group, promising rooftop views of London, reimagined American cuisine, and world-famous cocktails.

🦪 CAVO – A new Mediterranean restaurant concept hitting Central London following founder Ivo Dimitrov’s successful launches in Greece and Spain.

🥂 Petrossian – following the opening of the French brand’s first London deli, a caviar café is set to hit the capital in mid-January.

Jurassic World: The Exhibition has proven to be such a massive hit with Londoners that back in November it was announced that the experience would be extended through to January. Great news! But, it does also mean your last opportunity to pet baby dinos and come eye-to-eye with ferocious creatures is drawing ever closer. Get on down before January 15, or else you’ll miss your chance!

group of people with hands outstretched as fake snow falls down

group of people with hands outstretched as fake snow falls down

It’s set to be Christmas for just a bit longer at the Phantom Peak Wintermas experience. The immersive cyberpunk experience had a festive makeover back in the early days of December, bringing with it a blanketing of snow and a picture-perfect Christmas celebration in a seemingly idyllic mining town. Emphasis on the “seemingly”. It won’t be around for much longer, though, set to be replaced by a new Phantom Peak experience! Head on down this January to see what lurks behind the festive façade.

People cheersing with some cocktails at a bottomless brunch in London
Photo: @shutterstock

Regardless of whether you’re going dry for January or not, the lure of socializing that bottomless brunches offer are irresistible. It’s the best way to spend a lazy Sunday: catching up with friends and getting up to speed with all the holiday gossip. Who doesn’t have a juicy story from their work Christmas party, after all? And there’s no better complement to the tea, than brunch and drinks. (It’s also my birthday in January, so that’s one more thing for all Secret London readers to celebrate!)

6. See an elephant cross the frozen River Thames

an image portraying the frost fairs of old, with people decamping to the frozen water of the river thames
Credit: Julie Fullerton-Batten

Bankside is celebrating the history of the Frost Fair with a multi-media art trail that takes visitors back in time. Legend tells of frost fairs that would descend upon the River Thames when it froze solid, and of an elephant that once strode across the frozen waters. Augmented reality (AR) installations, street art murals, animations, cinematic film, and AI collaborative digital art will bring this all to life, accompanied by events, workshops and food & drink experiences. Kicking off back in December, the experience will last through to the end of January.

guests looking up at the bioluminescent set at Avora cocktail experience, which makes for a great christmas party activity in London

guests looking up at the bioluminescent set at Avora cocktail experience, which makes for a great christmas party activity in London

The all-new Avora experience blends immersive theatre and storytelling with delicious cocktails and an eye-catching spectacle. You’ll find yourself foraging for ingredients, marvelling at the sights, and faced with a difficult decision with potentially huge ramifications. What will you choose? Head on down and find out.

8. Join a gym (hey, you wanted to!)

Two people exercising at a gym in London
Photo: Dusan Petkovic, Shutterstock

Lots of people will find themselves making New Years resolutions in January (not me, the last time I’m going to take stock and consider my life choices is when the sun sets at 3:30PM and I’m just trying to stay warm with copious amounts of carbs and stew). And one of the most common resolutions is to ‘work out more’. But, where to start? We recommend not blowing your budget, and instead starting slow with one of these cheap gym memberships that will ease you into the grind. Not a fan of the typical treadmills and free-weights style gyms? You could always take up some yoga? Or maybe you could try out a dance or pole class? The world is your (sweaty) oyster!

Musicians playing at a candlelight concert in London, England
Photo: @candlelight.concerts

Want to know the ultimate way to listen to some of the most theatrical musical works? In a cathedral, presented by a string quartet, with flickering candlelight illuminating the surroundings. It can’t get much more epic than that. At this candlelight concert, expect to hear works ranging from Also Sprach Zarathustra from 2001: A Space Odyssey (Richard Strauss), to Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (John Williams), the Game of Thrones theme (Ramin Djawad), and more!

10. Refresh your décor with a work from the London Art Fair (January 18 – 22 )

a shot of the london art fair, showing people milling around the two floors of works on display
Credit: London Art Fair

London’s art calendar kicks off with this annual celebration of art, now entering its 35th year of exhibition. Full of works by world-renowned artists, you could even grab your very own Keith Haring or Jean-Michel Basquiat! Be sure to secure your ticket to the London Art Fair, even if only to go along and drool at the incredible work. (Which, let’s be real, is all I can afford to do, myself!)

11. Make some art of your own

People painting some art at one of the best painting classes in London
Photo: @pixabay

The January Challenge, from UK-based non-profit 64 Million Artists, is a month-long initiative to encourage people to get creative throughout the month. Intended to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, participants receive daily creativity challenges that enable them to connect with the world around them in a positive, creative way.

a man looking at photographs at the Seeing Auschwitz exhibition

a man looking at photographs at the Seeing Auschwitz exhibition

The passage of time can damage and warp many things, especially memory and history. But it’s important that we make sure to always remember and honour the lives lost due to the horrific events committed during the Holocaust. That’s why the Seeing Auschwitz photography exhibition is so necessary. Sadly, the exhibition is coming to a close this January, so be sure to head down before you miss your chance.

a photographer inside a circular light installation around a bridge in Canary Wharf
Credit: Canary Wharf Winter Lights

With the sun setting so early this time of year, we need a bit of light and brightness to get us through the nights. Well, London has no shortage of light festivals and trails, but the big arrival on the light festival scene in January is the Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival. The award-winning display will be back from January 18-28, with a breath-taking display across the area.

14. Celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year (January 22)

chinese lanterns criss crossing the sky
Photo: Shutterstock

2023’s Chinese Lunar New Year falls on January 22, and brings us into the Year of the Rabbit, having left the Year of the Tiger. We’ve got our fingers crossed for the Chinese New Year parade to make a return to the streets of London this year. But in the meantime, there’s no better way to celebrate than by supporting Chinatown’s many fantastic businesses!

15. Give the planet a breather and go vegan

two hands holding the already messy sloppy faux burger from fat hippo
The Sloppy Faux from Fat Hippo

According to the UK’s Veganuary page, over 620,000 people from over 220 countries and territories tried out the vegan diet during 2022’s Veganuary campaign. This year, restaurants and venues around London are making it even easier for Londoners to give it a go with a whole host of special menus and campaigns. Here’s a few places to keep an eye on, or secure a booking for.

🥕 Holy Carrot has partnered with the American documentary film, Cowspiracy, for a ‘meaty’ four course meat-free set menu. Expect dishes like ‘steak tartare’ and a glazed doughnut with smoked BBQ mushrooms and harissa and bacon jam.

👩‍🍳 Vegan cooking sauce brand, NOJO, is teaming up with author and photographer @shisodelicious to host a cookery class at Mortimer House on Blue Monday (January 16).

🥐 Ole & Steen is giving their beloved Cinnamon Social a plant-based twist in the form of their Vegan Social, which launches on January 4. That’s not all, though, as they offer up plenty of other vegan delights. We definitely suggest giving the NO-DUJA Toastie a go as well!

🍽️ Give one of London’s best Sunday Roasts the vegan twist, at Camden’s The Farrier. Fight off the January blues with their hearty beetroot, tofu, and mushroom wellington served with all the (vegan) trimmings and the all important unlimited red wine gravy.

🍪 Grab a sweet treat in the form of Chin Chin’s signature hot griddled cookie dough topped with ridiculously smooth liquid nitro ice-cream.

🍔 Byron Burger is mixing it up with their Mex-It-Up burger that is inspired by Tex-Mex flavours – expect vegan chicken breast, chipotle ketchup, smashed avo, and pickled jalapenos.

🍜 London’s retro ramen bar, Ramen Yokocho, is bringing all the flavour to their veganuary detox menu from January 10 onwards across their two sites. Partnering with Clearspring, their limited edition wellness menu includes Vegan Miso Tantan Men Ramen, and an Organic Sea Vegetable Salad with wakame seaweed.

🍴Gaucho will be turning their Sustainable Supper Club vegan throughout the month, offering guests canapés and a three-course menu of plant-powered plates. Head to the link to book.

🍔 Get messy at London’s newest over-the-top burger joint Fat Hippo, where the limited-edition Sloppy Faux, and accompanying Sloppy Waffle Fries will have you reaching for an extra napkin or five.

🤤 Indulge in a seven-course vegan tasting menu at Bōkan 37, where diners can enjoy picture-perfect plates of plant-based produce.

Someone playing a gig in the legendary music venue KOKO in Camden, London
Photo: Koko

Is there anything more freeing and community-building than losing yourself in the crowd as everyone dances around, or sings along, to a live music performance? Well, London has no shortage of brilliant artists performing throughout January, here’s a few to check out:

🎸 Rats on Rafts (January 5): The Shacklewell Arms – expect a raucous live show from this lo-fi post-punk 4-piece

🎤 Gabrielle Aplin (January 7): Union Chapel – gorgeous vocals, an acoustic guitar, detached longing, and plenty of sing-along choruses

🕺 The 1975 (January 12 & 13): The O2 – love them or hate them, they’re undeniably infectious and put on a hell of a show

🎷 Run Logan Run (January 14): The Jazz Club – frenetic drumming and scorching, growling saxophone; this ain’t your granddad’s jazz band

🎙️ David Cronenberg’s Wife (January 21): The Lexington – darkly humorous storytelling meets droning, punkish South London rock music; not for the faint of heart

🎸 Dirty Honey (January 24): The Garage – dirty old-school West coast (of America) rock gets revved up

🎶PVRIS (January 26): O2 Academy Brixton – alt-indie legend smashing together the worlds of pop, rock, electronic, and hardcore 

🥁 Florence + the Machine (January 28): The O2 – rescheduled from November of 2022, the dog days aren’t over yet

🎧 Jessie Reyez (January 31): The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – having opened for Billie Eilish and collaborated with the likes of Eminem and 6lack, the R&B artists is taking centre stage

skaters on the canary wharf ice rink blurrily passing by

skaters on the canary wharf ice rink blurrily passing by

The festive season hasn’t quite died down by the time January rolls around, as many of London’s favourite wintry ice rinks will still be open for at least part of January. So head on down, grab some skates, and go for a glide across the ice. There are still plenty to choose from in the early days of the month!

⛸️ Westfield London Winter Village, open until January 8, 2023

⛸️ Glide At Battersea, open until January 8, 2023

⛸️ Skate at Somerset House, open until January 15, 2023

⛸️ Alexandra Palace, open all year round

⛸️ Canary Wharf, open until February 25, 2023

People cheering with two glasses of whisky
Photo: @shutterstock

Tradition dictates that we should find ourselves eating haggis and reciting Burns’s poems on Burns Night. In turn the night often turns to revelry with plenty of whisky-sipping and merriment. And plenty of London venues will be getting in on the action. While plenty are sure to announce their plans closer to the date, here are a few sure-fire ways to celebrate the night:

🦇 London’s DC-themed restaurant (but in, like, a sophisticated adult way, not in a ‘comic-books-wallpapering-the-dining-room’ way), Park Row, is mashing up the comic book universe and Scottish tradition. The Castle Wayne Burns Supper will serve up a supper fit for billionaire Bruce Wayne himself, with a menu from his ancestral home Castle Wayne located in the town of Inishtree, Scotland. They’ll also have pours available from a rare and exclusive bottling of Inishtree, of which only 25 bottles are left, from the closed Imperial distillery.

🥃 Speaking of whisky, Glenmorangie’s latest release is just the dram for those celebrating Burns Night. Notes of pine, juniper, and wood smoke make A Tale of the Forest the perfect complement to a cosy night of poem-reciting and haggis-devouring (or polite chewing).

19. Get cultured and check out an art exhibition

a visitor walking past a wall festooned with brightly coloured David Shrigley works
Photography by Simon Kallas Ⓒ Image Courtesy of Hang-Up Gallery

There are few better places to escape the cold than one of London’s many museums and galleries. Take the chance, as you shelter from the elements, to take in some art or learn something new!

EXHIBITIONS OPENING IN JANUARY

🧡 George Westren: On the straight and narrow (January 6-25): Saatchi Gallery – over 40 works were recovered from a skip, and saved from destruction, following a house clearance one year after the death of the artist during the COVID-19 pandemic

💙 Hamid Yaraghchi: Let the Wound Lie Open (Opens January 15): BEERS London – Iranian painter Hamid Yaraghchi investigates the grotesque, exploring the human body’s complexities, difficulties, ugliness, and beauty

💜 Spain and the Hispanic World (Opens January 21): Royal Academy – descend back through history as you explore Spanish and Hispanic art and culture from antiquity to the 20th century

❤️ David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) (Opens January 25): Lightroom – London’s newest artist-led exhibition space launches by surrounding visitors with an immersive journey through sixty years of Hockney’s art

EXHIBITIONS CLOSING IN JANUARY

💙 Dippy Returns (Closes January 2): Natural History Museum – catch London’s favourite diplodocus before it’s gone!

💚 Izumi Kato exhibition (Closes January 7): Stephen Friedman Gallery – painting, sculpture, and drawing depicting mysterious creatures with bold, clashing visuals

🧡 Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature (Closes January 8): V&A South Kensington – explore the life and inspiration of one of the world’s most loved children’s authors

💙 Strange Clay (Closes January 8): Southbank Centre – anyone who says art is boring or stuffy, take them to this truly weird display of ceramics

💜 Douglas Gordon: Neon Ark (Closes January 14): Gagosian London – an exhibition of new neon works, constantly augmented by works created at on-site demonstrations

❤️ Lucian Freud: New Perspectives (Closes January 22): National Gallery – seven decades of work from one of Britain’s finest figurative painters

💙 Bitter Nostalgia (Closes January 25) : Saatchi Gallery – memory, emotion, and the past are explored in a joint show from South Korean artist Hyangmok Baik and British-Nigerian artist Adébayo Bolaji

💚 David Shrigley: Mainly Multiples, Some Paintings & Other Stuff Too (Closes January 27): Hang Up Gallery – irony and humour infect the exhibition’s limited-edition prints, colour and monochrome originals, ceramics and lithographic prints

🧡 Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews (Closes January 28): Gagosian Grosvenor Hill – bringing together the work of four friends, all fine artists in their own right

20. Get out in the cold and explore some wintry walks

two people walking on cobblestones
Image: Shutterstock

Sure, it may be cold, but there’s something delightful about wrapping up in a big jacket and heading out for a walk anyway. You could simply head out your door and take in the sights of London, or get out of the city and wander through the countryside. Whatever you do, and wherever you roam, there’s surely no better way to cap it off than by finishing you walk at a lovely pub. Bonus points if they’ve got a heated beer garden too!

21. Head to the West End and catch some of London’s legendary theatre

David Tennant on stage, with a shadowy figure behind him, clouded in black and blue lighting
Credit: Johan Persson

There’s a reason why London seems to pump out amazing actor after amazing actor. The theatre scene is essentially unrivalled throughout the world. Take advantage of living in a city with such a flourishing entertainment industry by checking out a play this month.

NEW OPENINGS

🎭 Zusa (January 4-14): Soho Theatre – comic Mike Wozniak’s latest show describes how Mike’s Great-Aunt Zusa made it from Poland to Luton with a war nipping at her heels

🎭 Swan Lake – English National Ballet (Opens January 12): London Coliseum – a timeless classic in the world of ballet, bringing Tchaikovsky’s work to life

🎭 KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities (Opens January 13): Royal Albert Hall – have your world turned upside down in this brand-new offering from Cirque du Soleil

🎭 The Unfriend (Opens January 15): Criterion Theatre – the sell-out Steven Moffat comedy about new friends with dark secrets comes to the West End

🎭 Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons (Opens January 18): Harold Pinter Theatre – a love story in a dystopian world where your daily words are limited, starring Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner

🎭 Julie Cunningham & Company: how did we get here? (January 19-29): Sadler’s Wells Theatre – watch Spice Girl Mel C in an intimate evening of dance featuring just two other performers

CLOSING SOON

🎭 GOOD (Closes January 7): Harold Pinter Theatre – David Tennant returns to the stage for this production, showing how seemingly decent people could have their lives and motives drastically altered by Nazi ideology

🎭 Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical (Closes January 8): Lyric Theatre – a musical honouring the life of Jamaican reggae superstar, Bob Marley

🎭 Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights (Closes January 14): Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – the power of storytelling is celebrated in the flickering environs of a candlelit venue

🎭 Life Of Pi (Closes January 15): Wyndham’s Theatre – an epic voyage across the ocean, based on the novel that also inspired a film adaptation

🎭 One Woman Show – Liz Kingsman (Closes January 21): The Ambassador’s Theatre – a show within a show that spoofs the very genre it gets its name from

🎭 My Neighbour Totoro (Closes January 21): The Barbican Theatre – the beloved Studio Ghibli film comes to life on stage in a world first production

Keep exploring this wonderful city

That’s not all, though, as our staff at Secret London have been busy writing about all kinds of other places in London. Why not add some of these to your list of places to check out this month (or this year, even!)

🫖 Do You Know The Story Behind London’s Viral Caribbean Afternoon Tea?

🍷 This Epic Sicilian Food And Wine Festival Is Returning To London

🐖 Five Reasons The Pig And Butcher Is The Standard For What Gastropubs Should Be

🤤 A Heavenly Combination Of Thai Food And Live Music Await At This London Bridge Venue

🥐 This Delightful Neighbourhood Restaurant Comes From London Bakery Royalty

🎂 This Dalston Bakery Has A Build-Your-Own Profiterole Bar

🍹 Late Night Cocktails Await You At One Of London’s Best Mexican Restaurants

More things to do inspiration…

😁 206 fab and FREE things to do in London

📃 The BEST things to do in London

🙃 All our ideas for unusual places to visit in London


Also published on Medium.

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