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What to Do in London In January

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This post lists the many things to do in January in London, updated for 2023.

We include family-friendly, free and night activities and attractions. Be sure to check out our extensive list of things to do in London.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

Below, is our list of the top 10 things to do and see in January.

Some of our other most popular posts include: 

If you are considering visiting many top attractions, then you should consider a tourist discount card or a bus tour combo ticket. 


1. Go to a Concert

London is of course known for being the city where incredible bands get their start.

Many go on to be known around the world and others build a cult following.

Browse what's playing.

In January you can find concerts by world-famous bands to lesser-known, but very talented performers. Here are just a few:

Find all the London concerts here.


2. See a Sports Event

So you are in London, and you expect that you could see a football (soccer) match. 

You have a great opportunity to see some great games and tournaments.

If you want to see some 'footy', you have plenty of opportunities from the best football clubs in London.

Football 

Darts

Snooker (Billiards)

Other

You can find all the professional sporting events in the city here.

NOTE: Both a Chelsea Stadium Tour and an Arsenal Stadium Tour are included for free with the London Pass.


3. Take a Pay-What-You-Wish Walking Tour

We offer both guided tours and free self-guided tours that take you through the heart of Westminster, the Old City of London, and help you decide what to do in London and what to see.

London Walking Tours

Our selection also includes food tours, street art tours, and themed tours, such as our Rock N Roll London, Jack the Ripper, and Harry Potter Tours.

Check out our current schedule of guided tours or take one of our GPS-enabled audio tours, which you could take any time that you like.


4. Enjoy the Theatre

London is home to West End – the neighborhood of the world’s best plays and musicals – so there’s always something going on that you should see.

From to Frozen, here is a short list of some of the musicals and plays you can see in January:

For ways to get cheap theatre tickets, check out our handy discount ticket guide to London theatre.


5. Hogwarts in the Snow Warner Bros. Studio Tour London 

Christmas and winter descend on the Great Hall at the Warner Bros. Studio where the Harry Potter movies were filmed through January 15th, 2023.

Unlike their regular tours, the Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season, and snow will cover the Hogwarts castle model. 

Tickets are very limited so be sure to book ahead.

You don't need to go to the Warner Bros. Studio to see many great locales from the Harry Potter movies. 

Join us on one of our guided tour of Harry Potter film locations or our GPS-enabled audio tour


6. Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

A great cost-effective (and time-saving!) way to see more attractions, tours, and landmarks is by getting a London tourist pass.

These passes bundle together multiple attractions, museums, and tours into one single price and can help you save up to 55%.

Certain passes also give you skip-the-ticket-queue privileges at several locations.

Depending on which pass you get, admission to the following activities and attractions are included:

Make sure to read the full post covering London discount passes.


7. Go Ice Skating in Hyde Park 

There are several places to ice skate in London, and the Hyde Park ice rink is one of the best.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is right at the centre of London and is a true Christmas explosion – with crafts, food, hot chocolate, rides, and of course some ice skating.

The ice rink is the centrepiece of the Wonderland and sits under glittering Christmas lights.

It definitely provides one of the most vibrant skating locations in the city.

  • Nearest Underground Station: Hyde Park
  • Dates: November 18th, 2022 – January 2nd, 2023.
  • Hours: 10 am – 9pm
  • Standard Fee: £10.50 for Adults / £7.50 for Children / £30.00 for families

8. Celebrate Burns Night 

Every January 25th, Brits around the Kingdom, honor Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns, born on January 25 in 1759.

Many London restaurants will be having "Burns suppers", part of the annual tradition.

Be warned: it is not a Burns Supper if haggis is not being served (see Wikipedia's relatively mild explanation as to what haggis is). 

To get a rundown of the many events taking place in London that day and night, see this helpful list from Visit London.


9. Visit a Special Exibit at V&A South Kensinging

From now until November 27th, 2023, the V&A South Kensington Museum will put on Re:imaging Musicals.

The history of some of the most popular musicals will be explored, inclidng how they have been "adapted, revivied, and retold"

On display are such items as the Eliza Doolittle constume worn by Julie Andrews in 1958 in My Fair Lady and the set model from Show Boat.

Tickets are free and you can learn more here.


10. London New Year’s Day Parade 

Start the New Year by watching the unbelievable London New Year's Day Parade. 

With more than 10,000 participants and 500,000 spectators, the LNYDP is one of the greatest New Year's Day celebrations in the world. 

It is held on January 1, starting at 12 pm near Piccadilly Circus. 

The route passes through Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, and Whitehall.

It concludes at Parliament Street.  Check their official website for more details and a picture of the route.  

TIP: Expect many road closures so be sure to research the best route to get to the parade ahead of time and read our tips on using an Oyster card.  


UNDETERMINED: London Borough of Culture Kickoff

2019 saw the first-ever "London Borough of Culture" year of events. This year's Borough of Culture is Croydon.  

Throughout 2023, different community events and celebrations will take place in Croydon. 

The kickoff street party is usually held in early January, but their plans for 2023 have yet to be announced.

Croydon will come together with community wide projects and cultural events, involving thousands of participants.

They will be announcing even more events throughout the month and the rest of 2023 soon.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

Here are just a few of the many free things that you can do in London. 

Check out our free things to do in London post as well as our guide to visiting London on a budget for more money-saving tips.


Join the Twelfth Night Celebrations

If all goes according to tradition, on Thursday 5th January 2023, starting in the early afternoon, folks can partake in this free, somewhat surreal event ending the Christmas season.

You'll see Holly Man emerging from the River, cakes handed out, toasts made and the crowning of a King and Queen followed by a street procession, dancing, and storytelling!

This all takes place on Bankside, not far from the Globe Theatre.

Plan your evening here

NOTE: Details around this annual event have not yet been announced for 2023.


Visit a Free Museum

There are several fantastic free museums in London including the National Gallery, the Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, and many others. 

Each of these is great to visit during the month of January as they offer a warm oasis away from the cold.

For a comprehensive list, check out our guide to free museums in London.


Window Shopping at Harrod's

Though the products sold in Harrod's are far from free, simply strolling through this luxury department store won't cost you a thing.

Opened in 1834, Harrod's is a London institution worth visiting if only to witness its incredible grandeur.

If you're in London during the first few days of the month, then you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the impressive Christmas window displays and lights.


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN JANUARY

Though the month of January is quieter than many others in London, there is still plenty to do at night!

Below are a few of our favorite evening activities. 

For a full list, check out our post Things to Do at Night in London.


Jack the Ripper Tour 

Join us on one of our most popular tours as we follow in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper!

Though it might seem impractical to take a night tour in January, we find that the chilly temperature often adds to the ambiance with this particular tour.

Like all of our other tours, it is name your own price. Reservations are required, so be sure to book ahead of time to reserve your spot!

Click here for a full list and comparison of all the best night tours in London


Go to a Show in the West End

There's no shortage of fantastic theatre shows in London, especially in the West End! Every night of the week you can find a range of performances for every age and interest. 

Check out the complete list of what’s playing in London.

With discount tickets easily available and a selection of shows as varied as it is impressive, there’s always a way to enjoy the West End on your trip to London.

See our Discount Theatre Tickets guide on how to secure a good price!


Enjoy the View from the Sky Garden 

There are many great places to see the London city skyline, but one of our absolute favorites is from the Sky Garden!

Though it features a restaurant, bistro, and a bar, the atrium also includes a free public garden that stays open until late. 

It is completely free to visit, but you must make a reservation beforehand. Learn more about how to reserve your free spot at the Sky Garden

Alternatively, you could visit the observation deck of the Shard as well as some great free views of London, some of which you can enjoy at night.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN JANUARY

There are several different family-friendly activities available in London throughout the month of January.

Read our master post on visiting London with kids


Hamley’s Toy Store

One of the most famous toy stores's in the world, Hamley’s is a two-centuries-old shop with several locations in London, including one on Regent’s Street and one at St. Pancras International.  

Even if you're just doing a bit of window shopping, there's a lot of fun things to see and do in the 'world's finest toy shop!'


The Ghost Bus

Go for a ride on the Ghost Bus! This entertaining tour brings you around London to some of the greatest haunts in the city. But don't expect to be frightened!

This tour is mostly comedic and works well with families with children of all ages. Learn more here.

Also, check out our review and comparison post on London ghost tours, which includes our own pay-what-you-like ghost tour. 

TIP: This tour is included for free with the iVENTURE Card tourist discount pass. 


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea doesn't have to be just for the grown-ups!

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at the One Aldwych was the 2017 winner of the Best Afternoon Tea in London.

You will be served chocolate eggs, cotton candy, and many other tasty treats all created to reflect Roald Dahl's classic tale. See their website for more details.


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About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: October 31st, 2022
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