So it’s January, the month where we’re supposed to detox, go on diets, join the gym and barely go out because we overspent at Christmas. With all that, it’s no wonder so many of us suffer from the January blues after such a social and family overdose at Christmas. However, there are plenty of things on in the capital – some even free – on this January and February to keep you entertained during those winter months.
Kooza, the new production by Cirque du Soleil, is on at the Royal Albert Hall
- 5 January – 3 February : Kooza by Cirque du Soleil
The newest touring production from the Cirque, billed as ‘an adrenaline rush of acrobatics in a zany kingdom’. Runs for one month at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets range from £22.50 to £99.00. For more information, visit Cirque du Soleil’s official website.
- 11 – 13 January : London Ice Sculpting Festival @ Canary Wharf
Three day festival featuring temporary creations by some of the world’s top ice sculpting teams, with masterclasses and the opportunity to sculpt yourself, a snow pit and winter market. Free. Nearest tube: Canary Wharf. Takes place across Wood Wharf, Montgomery Sq, Jubilee Place and Canada Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AX. For more information, visit the London Ice Sculpting Festival website.
- 12 – 20 January : London Boat Show
Boats of all shapes and sizes on show at ExCel in Docklands. Tickets: £10, also include entrance to the London Bike, Outdoors, Active Travel and Luxury Brand Shows in the same venue. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Boat Show website.
Hollywood exhibition at the V&A runs until 27 January (Poster © V&A Museum)
- Now until 27 January : Hollywood Costume @ V&A
Special exhibition of over 100 costumes from some of Hollywood’s classic movies, including Wizard Of Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, Some Like It Hot, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Star Wars. Although entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum is free, this particular exhibition costs and is highly recommended that timed tickets are bought online. Adult tickets online £15.80. Nearest tube: South Kensington. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. For more information and booking, visit the V&A’s website.
- Now until 3 February : Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits exhibition
It’s been a bumper two years for the Royal Family with 2011′s wedding of Prince William and Catherine and the Diamond Jubilee last year. Acclaimed photographer Mario Testino is displaying his collection of Royal portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in four-month free exhibition. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.
- Sunday 10 February : KNOW MORE All-Day Festival
Brighten up a gloomy February with the team from TwentySomethingLondon at their KNOW MORE festival at Drink, Shop & Do in Caledonian Road. The festivites include live acts, DJ’s, street food, free tequila and rum tastings, workshops, and a silent art auction. Advance tickets: £10. 12pm – 11pm. Drink, Shop & Do, 9 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX. Nearest tube: King’s Cross. For more information and tickets, visit TwentySomethingLondon’s website.
- 10 February : Chinese New Year
Festivities to mark the Year of the Snake take place across Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square. Free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Chinatown website.
- Now until 10 Febuary : Take A View: Landscape Photographer Of The Year
Over 100 entries from the annual competition are on display in the Lyttelton Exhibition Space at the National Theatre. Entrance is free with the space open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-11pm, Sundays 12-6pm. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- 9 February – 3 March : Orchids @ Kew Gardens
A orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks. The sea of colour from one of the world’s most stunning flowers will certainly brighten up a dull winter’s day. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: £14.50 adults or £12.50 concessions. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit Kew Gardens website.
- 11 – 24 February : Imagine Children’s Festival
Two weeks children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, dance, theatre and literature. Highlights include readings by popular children’s author Michael Rosen on Saturday 16th. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 12 February : Parliamentary Pancake Race
Want to watch members of parliament potentially making a fool of themselves for charity? Well MPs will go up against members of the press in a pancake race at Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster to raise money for brain injury charity Rehab UK. It’s free to watch and will give you the chance to cheer or boo. Race starts at 10.15am. Nearest tube: Pimlico or Westminster.
- Now until 24 February : Broadgate Ice
The viewing platform at The Shard will open in February
Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London where you can actually turn up and skate without a need to book. Weekday sessions 12.15-9pm, weekends 9.30am-9pm. Adults £9, Children £7, Skate Hire £2. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.
- 1 February onwards : The View from The Shard
The viewing platform on The Shard, which was completed last summer, finally opens to the public on 1 February, giving 360 degree views of the capital. Adult tickets £24.96, children £18.95. Open 9am-8pm daily. Located beside London Bridge station. For more information and booking, visit The View from The Shard website.
- Now until 3 March : Random International: Rain Room @ Barbican
Experience what it’s like to control the rain… indoors! Visitors can either watch or if they’re brave enough walk through the rain and trust they won’t get wet! Due to the unique experience of this exhibition, be prepared to queue. Free admission. Open daily from 11am – 8pm, or 10pm on Thursday. Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican. For more information visit the Barbican website or read my blog post on my recent visit Rain Room @ The Curve, Barbican.
- Now until 3 March : Valentino: Master Of Couture
An exhibition celebrating the iconic designer Valentino and his creations. Over 130 designs from across the years, including ones worn by Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Jackie O will be on display at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House. Tickets available online £12.50 or £9 for concessions. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit Somerset House’s website.