The 27 best things to in London in January 2023

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is closed, Christmas at Kew Gardens has finished for another year and the Christmas lights along Oxford Street have been switched off.

But just because life is returning to normal doesn’t mean that the fun stops in London. Although traditionally thought of as the quietest time of the year, there is plenty going on including lots of fun events towards the end of the month to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The start of the year tends to be fairly quiet in terms of visitor numbers so if you’re visiting London – or if you live here – then it’s a good time to see some of the city’s most popular attractions and famous London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels without the crowds. January is also when the London Art Fair takes place.

Read on for the best way to beat the January blues with our guide to the best places and best things to do during the month of January in London.

things to do in London in January
Westminster Abbey – this month you can make your own crown during a family activity

Don’t forget that museums including the British Museum and the Tate Modern are always a good way to escape the cold and rainy weather.

In central London, Covent Garden is always fun to visit with children and Borough Market is a great – and tasty – way to spend an afternoon. As is afternoon tea!

If you’re looking for things to do in London that don’t cost much money then take a look at our guide to the best free things to do in London with kids.

And if the sun does make an appearance and it’s a clear day then it’s the best time to jump on the London Eye for some of the best views of London.

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The best things to do in London in January

From celebrations for Chinese New Year and the final days of Hogwarts in the Snow to new exhibitions and plenty of family activities, there’s plenty to keep families busy this month in London.

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Ribbons at the NOW Gallery 

Bringing some much needed colour to the grey January days is Matty Bovan’s exhibition ‘Ribbons’. The York-based designer was the recipient of the NOW Gallery’s 2022’s Fashion Commission and this immersive installation explores his textile-rich work. 

Discover giant towering structures, multi-sensory designs and thousands dn thousands of meters of ribbons. Definitely one to book with teens although it’s colourful and playful enough for all ages to enjoy. 

Where: NOW Gallery, Greenwich. Nearest tube: North Greenwich

When: Until 5 March


Sotheby’s Pop-Up Cafe with Charlie Mackesy

British artist, illustrator and the author of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy has teamed up with fine arts company Sotheby’s for a special selling exhibition and pop-up cafe

The exhibition launched just before Christmas so, not surprisingly, many of the works have already sold but it’s still worth dropping by the pop-up cafe located on New Bond Street. Running until 13 January, Sotheby’s Story Cafe has been transformed with a huge hand-drawn mural by Mackesy that brings his stories to life. 

Where: Sotheby’s London, 34–35 New Bond Street. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

When: Until January 13, 2023


Hogwarts in the Snow

There’s still one more week to visit Hogwarts in all its winter wonderland glory. Hogwarts has been decorated for the festive season with Christmas trees in the Great Hall, wreaths and a dusting of snow. The last day for Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros studio is January 15.

Where: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR. See website for transport details.

When: Until 15 January


Skate at Somerset House

It’s not quite time to hang up your skates, Somerset House (arguably one of the best ice skating rinks in London at Christmas) is open until 15 January.

Where: Somerset House. Nearest tubes: Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Embankment

When: Until 15 January


Dalí : Cybernetics. The Immersive Experience

Sometimes it feels like there’s an immersive experience for every big name artist but they are a fun way to get everyone engaged in seeing art – especially the more museum-wary ones among us! 

The Dali Immersive Experience takes place at the Boiler House in Brick Lane and is an exciting journey through the Catalonian artist’s mind. Expect 360-degree projections, VR experiences and state-of-the-art technology as you’re introduced to some of the artist’s best known works. 

Where: The Boiler House. 152 Brick Lane, E1 6RU. Nearest tube: Aldgate East

When: Until February 25


things to do in London in January
Family activities at Tower Bridge

Twelfth Night

The annual Twelfth Night celebrations are taking place in London again this year and are free for all to join in. Taking place on 8 January in the Bankside area of London, the celebrations mix ancient customs and modern festivities making for a truly unique event.

Among the various events taking place you can see the Holly Man (also known as the Green Man) being piped over the River Thames, the Bankside Mummers play and the chance to be crowned King or Queen for the day if you find a bean or pea in a cake. Processions, performances and more all take place near Shakespeare’s Globe on the riverside.

Where: Riverside near Shakespeare’s Globe. Nearest tube: London Bridge, Blackfriars, Mansion House, Southward and St Paul’s

When: 8 January, 2pm


Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil

The latest show by Quebec-based circus colossus Cirque du Soleil is a steampunk-inspired show full of incredible costumes and stupendous stunts and acrobatics.

Like all Cirque shows, Kurios is filled with the kind of acts and tricks that have you scratching your head wondering how on earth it’s physically possible to, for example, pedal a bicycle while spinning upside down. The perfect post-christmas family treat.

Where: The Royal Albert Hall. Nearest tube: South Kensington

When: 13 January – 5 March


The London International Mime Festival

Opening on January 16 and running until February 5 is the London International Mime Festival with a packed calendar of workshops and shows featuring everything from dance to puppetry. For younger audiences the String Theatre is a must. Take a look at the website for the full schedule.

Where: Various venues, check the website for details.

When: 16 January – 5 February


Ice rink at Canary Wharf

The ice rink at Canary Wharf is welcoming skaters until Saturday February 25 so you have plenty of time to get your skates on. The park is located in Canada Square Park.

Where: Canary Wharf Ice Rink. Nearest tube: Canary Wharf Station

When: Until 25 February


Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

Once you’ve returned your skates why not take a look at the Canary Wharf Winter Lights, the free festival bringing glowing installations, lively illuminations and some much needed colour to the January days.

The festival – which takes place around the streets, docks, squares and malls of Canary Wharf – starts on 18 January and runs until 28 January. A free map of the installations will be available to download from Monday 9 January.

Where: Canary Wharf. Nearest tube: Canary Wharf station

When: 18 – 28 January, 5pm – 10pm daily


Things to do in London in January
Canary Wharf is home to the Winter Lights festival as well as a skating rink that stays open until February 25

Alexander the Great: The Making of a Myth at the British Library 

Discover the story behind Alexander the Great, the Macedonian King who conquered the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, and explore the man versus the myth

From astrological clay tablets and ancient manuscripts to Hollywood movies and modern video games, this exciting exhibition at the British Library uncovers the fantastical stories that turned legacy into legend. 

Where: The British Library. Nearest tube: Kings Cross and Euston

When: Until 19 February 


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is now on at the Natural History museum showcasing some of the world’s best wildlife photographers as they capture “the natural world in all its fragility and diversity”. The 100 photographs on display are always amazing.

Where: The Natural History Museum. Nearest tube: South Kensington

When: Until 2 July, 2023


Chinese New Year in London

Sunday 22 January marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese calendar and London typically celebrates with a large Chinese New Year parade through the city streets. Normally, the lively and colourful parade starts in Charing Cross Road and continues on through Shaftesbury Avenue before finishing in Trafalgar Square with a lion eye-dotting ceremony and performances.

Details have yet to be announced for this year’s parade so make sure to check back as we will update this post when we have more details.

Where: London’s Chinatown

When: Dates and details TBC


The Vault Festival

With more than 500 shows you’ll be hard pressed to enjoy even a fraction of what’s on offer at The Vault Festival but the good news is that you have until 19 March to try. The UK’s leading independent showcase of live performance and artistic talent has something for everyone including theatre, comedy, immersive experiences and family shows.

Where: Various venues, check website for details

When: 24 January – 19 March


Family Events at the Southbank Centre

There are a handful of events taking place for kids this month at the Southbank Centre including the final performances of the Hey Duggee live theatre show, the Southbank Centre Youth Voices choir, Rug Rhymes for under-5s and FUNharmonics Family Concert. Check the website for dates and details. 

Where: Southbank Centre. Nearest tube: Waterloo

When: Various dates, check website for details


Things to do in London in January
Lion Dance performances to mark the start of Chinese New Year

Green Lunar New Year at the Museum of the Home

The Museum of the Home will be ringing in the Lunar New Year (the Chinese Year of the Rabbit and the Vietnamese Year of the Cat) with a day of fun and creativity focusing on issues around sustainability and climate change. Activities include seed bomb workshops, an all-vegan brunch and vegetable printing workshops.

Booking is recommended. 

Where: Museum of the Home. Nearest tube: Hoxton Station or Old Street

When: Saturday 28 January, 11am – 4pm 


Frozen Thames at Tower Bridge 

Join in the family fun with a wintry-themed craft session at Tower Bridge and learn what parts of the Thames froze over during the winters of 1895 and 1963.

Where: Tower Bridge. Nearest tube: Tower Hill Station

When: Saturday 21 January 


Lunar New Year at the Museum of London Docklands 

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at the Museum of London Docklands with a weekend of free activities for the whole family. Enjoy free arts and crafts, workshops and performances with drop-in activities taking place all day between 11am – 4pm. 

A number of workshops will be ticketed online in advance and released closer to the dates so make sure to check the website.

Where: The Museum of London Docklands. Nearest tube: 

When: 21 and 22 January, 11am – 4pm 


Chinese New Year at the National Gallery 

Celebrate the approach of spring and the Year of the Rabbit at the National Gallery with traditional Chinese stories and arts and crafts activities. Free. 

Where: The National Gallery. Nearest tube: 

When: Sunday 22 January 


Hmong and Let’s Make a Hat workshop at the Migration Museum 

Join in a crafty session at the Migration Museum on Saturday 14 January and make a Hmong hat with Vietnamese artists Chery Nguyen. This free workshop is suitable for all ages and abilities. There are two sessions, at 1pm and 3pm. 

Where: The Migration Museum, London SE13 7HB. Nearest tube Lewisham DLR station 

When: Saturday 14 January at 1pm and 3pm 


things to do in London in January
Don’t miss the Museum of the Moon in the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College

David Hockney: Bigger & Closer at the Lightroom 

Join one of Britain’s best loved artists David Hockney as he invites visitors to travel through sixty years of his art using large-scale projection. Six themed chapters reveal Hockney’s artistic process from LA to Yorkshire and up to the present day in Normandy. 

Where: Lightroom, 12 Lewis Cubitt Street, N1C 4DY. Nearest tube Kings Cross St Pancras

When: From 25 January 


Make-it: Costume Illustration at the V&A 

Learn more about costume design and experiment with illustration techniques in this family-friendly workshop inspired by the Re:imagining Musicals exhibition at the V&A Museum. 

Each workshop is 120 minutes long and there are two sessions, at 10.30am and 2pm. The workshop is recommended for ages 10 – 13. Tickets cost £12.00

Where: The V&A Museum. Nearest tube: South Kensington

When: Saturday 28 January and Saturday 4 February 


Burglar Bill at The Arts Depot 

See the picture book Burglar Bill brought to life on stage at the Arts depot on Sunday 22 January. Perfect for ages 3+ 

Where: The Arts Depot,  5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley, N12 0GA. Nearest tube: Woodside Park

When:  Sunday 22 January at 11am and 2pm


A thousand years of stories at Westminster Abbey 

Follow in the footsteps of Kings and Queens and hear their stories in the church where they were crowned. Make your own coronation crown, discover little-known coronation stories and listen to stories in this fun family day at Westminster Abbey. 

Where: Westminster Abbey. Nearest Tube: 

When: Saturday 21 January, 10am – 2pm 


Museum of the Moon at the Old Royal Naval College

Marvel at the incredible Museum of the Moon in Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College. The large-scale installation is beautifully illuminated and features NASA imagery suspended against the unique Baroque backdrop of the Painted Hall

Where: Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9NN. Nearest station: Cutty Sark DLR

When: Until 5 February 


Lunar New Year at the National Maritime Museum 

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with live music, performances and colourful lion dances at the National Maritime Museum. Celebrations have been created with the Newham Chinese Association, Greenwich Vietnam Women’s Group and the Association of Chinese Women, Woolwich.

The first Lion Dance of the day will take place at the opening of the museum at 10am. Other performances will take place on the Great Map at 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm. 

Where: The National Maritime Museum. Nearest station: Maze Hill Station

When: Saturday 21 January, all day. Free 


Anansi the Spider at the Unicorn Theatre

Enjoy this wonderfully inventive retelling of Anansi the Spider, the original trickster and the master spinner of yarns at the Unicorn Theatre. Perfect for ages 3 – 7.

Where: The Unicorn Theatre. Nearest tube: London. Bridge

When: Opens 20 January until 25 February


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Things to do in London in February

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