Start the new year off the right way with these fun things to do with family and friends in London, this January. 

1 Centre for British Photography, Mayfair

Built around one of the world's most comprehensive collections of British photography, the expansive centre will be filled with gems to discover. It opens with two exhibitions, plus a couple of spotlights, and plans to have a programme of engagement events for photographers at all levels and lovers of the artform. Opens January 26.  

Entry: Free

Address: 49 Jermyn St, St. James's, SW1Y 6LX


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2 Battersea Light Festival, Battersea Power Station

The power station's annual light festival returns, featuring a series of installations to glow up your night, including the Eternal Sundown by Mad Vegas which uses 140 LED tubes to create a pretty ace sunset against The Coaling Jetty. The family-friendly event is free, and with food trucks on site and the power station now fully opened, there's plenty of food and drink options to try out too.  

Date: Until March 5

Cost: Free

Address: 188 Kirtling Street Nine Elms, SW11 8BN


3 Cocktails & Clay Shooting at Clays Canary Wharf

Clays officially opens its second site this month, so you can get your fix of virtual target shooting and margaritas in Canary Wharf too. Punters get to choose from five different interactive games, played within their own private shooting 'peg'. Quaff and scoff cocktails and craft beer sharing plates and picky bits.  

Dates: Launches Tuesday, January 17

Address: 1 Cabot Square, E14 4QJ


4 Go See Paradise Now! At Bush Theatre, Sheperd's Bush

This funny play's short run raps up in the back end of January, so catch it while you can. When Gabriel meets Alex and is drawn into multi-level essential oil company Paradise she finds a network of women seeking fortunes. Written by Margaret Perry, Paradise Now! is about ambition, exploitation and the search for connection in a fractured world. 

Dates: On until January 21

Tickets: From £12

Address: 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, W12 8LJ


5 Enter Royal Observatory Greenwich's Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition 

For sky-gazing photographers of any age and level, the Royal Observatory's Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competiton launches this week, and you've got until March to enter. Looking for the most striking images of the cosmos, entrants can submit up to 10 pictures across nine main categories in your bid to win £10,000. Winners, runners-up and highly commended entries and 100 of the most stunning images will go on display at the National Maritime Museum in September.  

Dates: Competition opens January 9 & closes March 3 

Address: Romney Road, Greenwich SE10 9NF


6 Give Dry Jan A Go

Even if it is just for a week, day or even just a meal - we could all probably benefit from a bit of a dry out. Lucky us, dry jan doesn't have to be water for days. Mayfair’s Anatolian restaurant Rüya whips up sublime booze-free cocktails, with fresh and zesty flavours like pistachio, pomegranate, lemon spice syrup and ginger, alongside flavour laden mezze, pides and dreamy Turkish cooking. Also in Mayfair, the 1920s-inspired Le Magritte at The Beaumont Hotel has a selection of prohibition-esque non-alcoholic tipples alongside its extensive list of whiskies and cocktails, or try the no-groni or the designated Americano at Luca in Clerkenwell over some Italian picky bits at the bar, or as part of a sumptuous dinner. 

7 Grab an eat-out deal

Post-Christmas, enthusiasim for drumming up nosh is low. Luckily, everybody knows this, and some of London's finest resturants have January deals to take advantage of. Argentinian steak resturant Gaucho will take £10 off any bill (min spend £30, Jan 2-31) while Ganymede has BYOB Mondays with no corkage. The sublime Maria G's is offering a free bottle of wine (per 2 diners, £25 pp min food spend) and the chance to win a trip to Italy. 

8 London International Mime Festival

Catch brilliant and boundry-pushing visual theatre when LIMF returns to London. Fifteen international productions are held across eight of London's theatres - Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Little Angel Theatre, Peacock Theatre, Shoreditch Town Hall, The Place and Wilton’s Music Hall - showcasing world-class contemporary cirus, puppetry, physical theatre and non-text-based drama. 

Date: January 16 - February 5

Tickets: From free


9 Cirque du Soleil’s Kurious: Cabinet of Curiosities at Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington 

A steampunk extravaganza, Kurious: Cabinet of Curiosities tells the story of a Victorian era inventor who creates a gadget that sees him step into another, magical world. Full of other-worldly characters and Cirque du Soleil’s signature impressive acrobatics, circus performace, and jaw-dropping stunts.  

Date: January 13, 2023 – March 2, 2023 

Tickets: From £62.50

Address: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP


10 David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away), King’s Cross 

The celebrated British artist will showcase some of his iconic paintings, as well as some rarely seen pieces and new works in a show that embraces Hockney's love of media and the possibilities it brings to his work. Works are presented in six themed chapters and take the audience through LA, Yorkshire and Normandy, with a score composed by Nico Muhly. 

Dates: January 25 - April 23

Tickets: From £25/£15

Address: Lightroom, Lewis Cubitt Square, N1C 4DY   


11 New Year Parade, West End

Rug up and head central to catch the London New Year Day Parade as it marches by. The fanfare starts at Piccadilly and snakes through the West End along Regent Street St James’s, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. As always you’ve got a plethora of community groups, artists, musicians and school groups bringing colour and cheer to the first of January. 

Date: January 1 

Time: 12pm – 3.30pm  

Location: Starts at Piccadilly


12 London Short Film Festival, London-wide

Over 10 days this film festival screens between 250 to 500 British and international films, as well as host special events, workshops, panels and discussion for filmmakers and workers. Now in its 18th year, expect to see films made by immerging talent be screened alongside archival gems.  

Dates: January 20-29 

Tickets: TBC 

Address: Various independent cinemas across London 


13 Chinese New Year 

From January 23, it’s Year of the Rabbit, so celebrate it. China Town will be awash with revelry and there will be plenty of restaurants plating up feasts for all budgets and tastebuds. You could also head to one of London’s top Chinese restaurants to celebrate as well. Michelin star Hakkasan is sublime, and MeiMei Mei Fair is also a dream of a spot. Head to Park Chinois in Mayfair for a glamourous brunch or head to lovely neighbourhood Taiwanese restaurant Daddy Bao for a five-course tasting menu created for the celebration.  

Date: January 23

14 Burns Night 

Celebrating the poet who coined Auld Lang Syne, Burns Night is always good craic. Read a poem, address the haggis, find a ceilidh or just enjoy time spent with family and friends. Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell celebrates Robbie Burns with a piper, whiskey cocktails, traditional Scottish dishes and ceilidh dancing. Alternatiavely, head to Burn’s Ceilidh Night and Supper at St Thomas’ Church in Balham for a right ol’ knees up. 

Date: January 25 

15 New Year’s Day Proms, Barbican 

Barbican’s New Year’s Day Proms, is a good call whether you’re feeling a little dusty from the night before or fresh as a daisy. An accessible classical concert, listen to well-known pieces of the likes of Land of Hope and Glory, the finale from Swan Lake, and Nessun Dorma.  

Date: January 1 

Time: 2.30pm 

Tickets: From £18.50 & includes a drink 

Address: Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS


16 New Year’s Day brunch at Decimo at The Standard, King's Cross

Another one for the start of the year, Decimo’s New Year’s Day brunch comes with some of Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’s best loved Mexican and Spanish-influenced brunch dishes such as baja tacos, huevos a la flamenca and gambas rojas tortilla, as well as tunes by DJ Harv and a cracking view of London.  

Date: January 1 

Service 12pm-4pm 

Address: The Standard Hotel, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG


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17 Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the V&A, South Kensington 

It’s your last chance to see this delightful exhibition, produced in collaboration with the National Trust. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature explores the beloved author’s interest in the natural world. It’s a playful and interactive exhibition that invites visitors to rediscover Potter’s achievements, from storyteller to natural scientist and conservationist. The exhibition features more than 240 personal objects including letters, manuscripts, sketches, coded diaries, and family photographs. 

Date: Closes Sunday 8 

Cost: From £14 

Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL 


18 RuPaul’s DragCon, Royal Victoria Dock 

With more than 150 drag queens, including RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 4 winner Danny Beard, RuPaul’s DragCon has more queens than you could mother-tucking imagine. Look out for a DJ set from RuPaul Charles, a make-up contest hosted by Emmy-award-winning make-up artists Raven, as well as a programme of family activities set up in the Kids Zone.

Date: January 6-8 

Tickets: From £60 

Address: ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL 


19 Try a plant-based diet

Just for the month, or a week, or even just a meal. Veganuary is here, and whether you like your greens or not, London has plenty of choice when it comes to creative and delicious meat-free dishes. Mildreds is great, and has several venues scattered across London, Holy Carrot in Knightsbridge is delicious as well, and both restaurants are completely plant-based. Places like Fatt Pundit naturally have plenty of plant-based choice, and Big Mamma's Ave Mario, Gloria and Circolo Popolare will have a special vegan pizza for the month. 

20 Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre West End

The award-winning musical that regales an extrodinary, and true story wraps up January 7, so this is your final call to catch it. Come from Away tells the tale of about 7,000 stranded plane passangers who landed in a small, unwelcoming town in Canada when their plane was diverted after the September 11 attacks. 

Dates: Ends January 7

Tickets: From £20

Address: Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0JP


21 Little Red Riding Hood at The Puppet Theatre Barge, Little Venice

This rendition of the classic children's story was commisioned by children's author Deborah Jones and is suitable for children aged 4 and older. The tale is brought to life by charming marionettes and new injections of humour and plot twists. Running time one hour. 

Dates: On until January 29

Tickets: £5

Address: Puppet Theatre Barge, W9 2PF