Guide to what’s on in London in January 2020
Find out what events, art exhibitions and festivals are on in London this month.
Welcome to 2020! It’s a brand new decade! All the busy schedules and heavy spending of December, no doubt many Londoners are feeling broke and tired. Fortunately, there are plenty of free events on around London to lift you out of the January blues. Expect light shows, art exhibitions, travel shows, and immersive experiences.
Guide to Burns’ Night celebrations in London.
- 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade
Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to gather to watch 10,000 performers from around the world. Starts from Piccadilly’s Berkeley Street at 12pm, ending at Parliament Square at 3.30pm. Free. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Westminster or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Parade website.
- Now until 3 January : Winterfest
A new immersive light festival comes to Wembley Park. Featuring huge light and sound installations, an LED Christmas tree, live bands, community choirs, DJs, and the hit West End production of Fame coming to the new Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Free admission. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for further details.
- 5 January : Twelfth Night Celebration
Theatre company the Lions Part host their annual celebration of the new year, ‘mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity’ in the Bankside area of London. From 2pm. Free. Outside Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, SE1 9DT. Nearest stations: Blackfriars, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.
- Now until 5 January : Winter Wonderland
The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a festive fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Free to enter. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
- Now until 5 January : Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson brings his interactive installations to the Tate. Times vary. Tickets: £18 (free for members). Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.
- Now until 5 January : Christmas at Kew
A one-mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be Santa at the North Pole Village, a Tunnel of Light, the singing Holly Bushes, a light dance show, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5pm-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults from £18, Children from £11, Under 4 free. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Now until 5 January : Christmas In Leicester Square
The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market, while a Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, La Clique, the Showstoppers’ Christmas Show, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass and more. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.
- Now until 5 January : Walking with The Snowman
Follow an art trail around the London Bridge district. Twelve Snowmen have been customised by 12 different artists, each inspired by a verse from the 12 Days of Christmas. Free. At London Bridge City, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. To download a map of the sculptures, visit the Walking with The Snowman website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.
- 8 January – 2 February : London International Mime Festival
Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £10-£45. Venues include the Shoreditch Town Hall, Soho Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Barbican, Wilton’s Music Hall, The Puppet Barge, Southbank Centre and more. For more information, visit the Mime London website.
- 8 January – 16 February : Light Festival @ Battersea Power Station
Battersea’s first ever light festival features four installations from international artists. Free. Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, Battersea, SW11 8AH. Nearest stations: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website.
- 10 – 19 January : London Short Film Festival
Ten day festival celebrating the best in short film-making at venues across the capital, including the BFI South Bank, Curzon Soho, the ICA, Regent Street Cinema, Rich Mix, the Pickle Factory and the Rio Cinema. For more information, visit the London Short Film Festival website.
- Now until 11 January : Chromotherapy Christmas
An interactive light and sound show, inspired by the ancient healing concept of Chromotherapy. 4pm-10pm. Free. Eccleston Yard, (off Eccleston Place), Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Mayfair & Belgravia website.
- 12 January – 1 March : Luzia by Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil bring their show Luzia to Europe for the first time. The show is inspired by Mexico, with a mix of the traditional and modern acrobatics. Times vary. Tickets range from £28.50 – £108. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: South Kensington, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the Cirque Du Soleil website.
- Now until 12 January : Windrush – Portrait of a Generation
Photography exhibition by Jim Grover exploring the lives and history of the Windrush generation – Caribbean migrants who moved to Britain in the 1940s-1960s. Free. Arnhem Foyer, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG. Nearest station: East Croydon. For more information, visit the Fairfield Halls website.
- 15 January : Caleño Joyful January Fiesta
If you’re doing ‘dry January’, enjoy an alcohol-free night out in the spirit of Colombia. Featuring music, dancing and unlimited alcohol-free cocktails all night. 6pm-11.30pm. Tickets: £5 (inc goodie bag). Lost in Brixton, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8PS. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information and tickets, visit Eventbrite.
- Now until 15 January : Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders
Darling & Edge return to The Vaults with an immersive, adult pantomime, dining experience. Doors open 6.30pm, Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For tickets, visit The Vaults website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Darling & Edge’s 2017 production Beauty And The Feast.
- 16 – 21 January : Winter Lights
Over 30 light installations and interactive art have been dotted around Canary Wharf for just two weeks. 5pm-10pm. Free. Canary Wharf and Canada Square, Docklands, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the 2019 festival.
- 17 – 26 January : Shen Yun
Chinese performing arts company’s spectacular show returns to London. Experience a lost culture through classical Chinese dance. Tickets: £62-£138. Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For tickets, visit the Shen Yun website.
- Now until 18 January : Poetic Abstration
A new solo exhibition from Shanghai-based artist Li Lei. A series of academic forums and talks in collaboration with the Royal Drawing School and Unicorn Publishing will also be taking place. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat 11am-2pm. 3812 Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6PX. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the 3812 Gallery website.
- 18 – 19 January : RuPaul’s DragCon UK
Meet your favourite queens from the UK and US versions of the hit reality contest. Featuring performances, a DJ set from RuPaul, children’s activities, panel discussions and more. Tickets: £40-£250. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit RuPaul’s DragCon UK website.
- 18 – 19 January : Adventure Travel Show
Find inspiration for your next travel adventure, with 70 talks across 4 theatres, 120 travel experts and specialists, travel photography and writing workshops, and more. Open Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9.30am-5pm. Tickets: £11. Olympia Conference Centre, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For tickets, visit the Adventure Travel Show website.
- Now until 19 January : The Immersive Wolf Of Wall Street
Enjoy a taste of ’90s high-flying Wall Street hedonism with an immersive theatre production, adapted from the hit film. Expect a restaurant, bars, supercars and more. Over 18s only. Dress code: ’90s American office attire. Times vary. Tickets: £58-£100. 5-15 Sun Street, City of London, EC2M 2PT. Nearest station: Moorgate or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Immersive Wolf website.
- 20 January : Fentimans Light Lunch @ B&H Garden Room
Shrug off ‘Blue Monday’ with a special lunch by Fentimans. Featuring serotonin boosting lighting and complimentary drinks from Fentimans new light range. 12pm-3pm. Bourne & Hollingsworth Garden Room (10th floor), Assembly Hotel, 31 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0LS. Nearest station: Leicester Square. For more information, visit the B&H Garden Room website.
- 20 January : Explorer Series – Ed Jackson @ Mr Fogg’s Residence
Professional rugby player and recovering quadriplegic, Ed Jackson shares his extraordinary stories, such as climbing Mount Snowdon a year after a spinal cord injury. 6.01pm-8.01pm. Free. Mr Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, W1J 6JD. Nearest station: Bond Street or Green Park. For more information, visit the Mr Fogg’s website.
- 20 January : WineBarn’s Annual Portfolio Tasting
The WineBarn kicks start 2020 with their annual wine tasting, featuring over 120 different wines. 6pm-8pm. Tickets: £35. Army & Navy Club, 36-39 Pall Mall, St James, SW1Y 5JN. Nearest stations: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Wine Barn website.
- 22 – 26 January : London Art Fair
Contemporary and modern British art fair in Islington, featuring talks, tour, performances and showcases. Opening hours vary. Tickets: £12.75-£18.75 (not inc booking fees). Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For tickets and more information, visit the London Art Fair website.
- 22 January – 1 March : Lightopia Festival
Festival of lights featuring installations, 3D projections, interactive pieces, live music, acrobatics, food and drink, craft stalls and more. 5pm-10pm. Tickets: Adults £20/£22, Children £13/£15. Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. For more information, visit the Lightopia Festival website.
- 25 – 26 January : World Championship of Ping Pong
Watch the world’s best ping pong players in action. 12pm-9.30pm. Tickets start from £21.05. The West Hall, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information and tickets, visit the Ally Pally website.
- 25 January – 19 April : Unbound
New exhibition celebrating seven female textile pioneers, featuring archives of Edith Durham, Louisa Pesel, Olive Matthews, Enid Marx, Muriel Rose, Jennifer Harris and Nima Poovaya-Smith. Open Mon, Thurs- Sat 10am-4:30pm, Wed 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-4:30pm. Free entry. Two Temple Place, 2 Temple Place, Temple, WC2R 3BD. Nearest station: Temple. For more information, visit the Two Temple Place website.
- 26 January : Chinese New Year
This year’s Chinese New Year takes place earlier than usual, with celebrations marking the Year of the Rat. Featuring martial arts, food, drink, lion dance and parade. Free. In Chinatown, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. Nearest station: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or Charing Cross. For more information, check out the Visit London website.
- 28 January – 22 March : Vault Festival 2020
Eight week fringe arts festival in the tunnels beneath Waterloo. Entertainment includes live music, theatre, film, dance, comedy, immersive experiences and late-night parties. Ticket prices vary. The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo and Lambeth North. For booking, visit the Vault Festival website.
- 28 January – 5 April : Secret Theatre Project presents The Invitation
The Secret Theatre Project returns to London with a new immersive theatre production. Attend a secret masquerade performance in an opulent East End venue in an evening filled with mystery and intrigue. Tickets: £39.00-£109.99. Masquerade Palace (Bethnal Green Town Hall), 8 Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, E2 9NF. Nearest station: Bethnal Green or Cambridge Heath. For tickets, visit the Secret Theatre Project website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.
- 29 January : Medicine Lates @ Science Museum
Late-night opening of the Science Museum to mark the opening of the Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries exhibition. Featuring talks, a live choir, workshops, live music and silent disco. Over 18s only. 6.45pm-10pm. Free. Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book a free ticket, visit the Science Museum website.
- 30 January – 2 February : Destinations – the Holiday & Travel Show
Travel show, featuring tourist boards, travel agencies, cultural entertainment, world food and drink, travel celebrities, talks, presentations, workshops, panel sessions and more. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £11 in advance. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.
- 31 January – 1 February : London Remixed Festival
A two-day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix and more. Over 18s only. Open Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£16.49. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website.
- Now until 1 March : Secret Cinema presents Stranger Things
Step into the Upside Down as Secret Cinema bring this ’80s sci-fi horror to live for an immersive, cinematic experience. Times vary. Tickets: £52-£120. At a secret east London location to be revealed to ticket holders. For more information and tickets, visit the Secret Cinema website.
- Now until 7 March : Winter Night Garden @ Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema’s new permanent home has been transformed into a magical festive garden for its winter cinematic experience. Walk through a magical wardrobe and travel through a mysterious kingdom to reach the big screen, which will be showing festive favourites and new releases. Tickets from £18.99. Backyard Cinema’s Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For more information and booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website.
- Now until 3 May : Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, an exhibition features over 150 priceless treasures from the boy King. Opening hours vary. Tickets: Adult: £28.50/ £24.50. Children: £19.50/£16.50. Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For tickets, visit the Saatchi Gallery website.
- Now until June : Sculpture In The City 2019/2020
Free public art exhibition, bringing contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture in the City website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the 2019/2020 exhibition.
- Now until 30 August : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
A new immersive experience from DotDotLondon. Inspired by the classic story, travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Times vary. Tickets: £39.50-£84.50. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information and booking, visit DotDotLondon. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the show.
For the well-organised, why not prepare for Valentine’s Day, with a guide to events here.
To find out where London’s pantomimes, and ballets are on, click here.