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Just because the festive season is over doesn’t mean the fun has to stop in London. With January comes a plethora of different activities to get stuck into, from nabbing a bargain in the New Year sales to exploring contemporary art at The London Art Fair. Here’s our list of the top things to do in London in January.

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Women cheerleading at the London New Years Day Parade. Attending this event is one of the top things to do in London in January

Image Courtesy of NYDP

Continue the celebrations at London’s New Year’s Day Parade

The New Year’s Eve celebrations might be over, but the festivities continue. Every year, while many Londoners are likely nursing a horrific hangover, there’s a dazzling London New Year’s Day Parade that’s taken place every year since 1987 in the heart of the city (except for during Covid times). This year, the celebrations kick off at noon and include a variety of floats and performances, including marching bands, live music, choirs, Samba dancing, car shows, and much more. The parade starts outside of the Ritz at Piccadilly and meanders down Regents Street, St James’s, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. Find a spot along the route or splash the cash on a grandstand ticket.

London New Year’s Day Parade | Central London | WA | 1st January 2024

A traditional Scottish meal served for Burns Nights

Feast your way through Burns Night

Every year in Scotland and across the UK, Burns Night is celebrated to mark the anniversary of one of Scotland’s most famous poets, Robert Burns. It’s usually commemorated by enjoying a traditional Scottish supper and listening to music. There are plenty of restaurants in London that host Burns Night events, including The Fentiman Arms (WA), a pub located between Oval, Vauxhall and Kennington. They’re serving a classic menu of Scottish food, usually consisting of things like haggis – sheep’s or calf’s offal – and neeps and tatties – swede and potatoes, served in their stunning Refectory room with a welcome drink. There’s also the modern restaurant Rotunda (WA), who are hosting an evening of whisky tasting and traditional dishes.

Attending the London Short Film Festival like the audience in the image is on e of the top things to do in London in January

Image Courtesy of London Short Film Festival

Get stuck into the The London Short Film Festival

Next on our list of things to do in London in January is for those who consider themselves a bit of a film buff. The London Short Film Festival, founded in 2003 and running for 20 years since, is a festival that includes ten days of short films, Q&As, multidisciplinary curation and live events. Expect to see between 250-500 British and international films that have all been carefully picked from more than 5000 submissions. It’s a great opportunity for those in independent filmmaking to get their work seen.

London Short Film Festival | Various Locations | WA | 19th – 28th January 2024

A visitor on a shopping spree at Oxford Street

Image Courtesy of Oxford Street

Go shopping in the New Year sales

Every year, shops all over London and the UK erupt into New Year sales, turning the city into a shopper’s paradise. From the iconic streets of Oxford Street to the trendy boutiques of Covent Garden, you’ll discover unbeatable deals on everything from fashion and electronics to homeware and more. It’s the perfect chance to snag a bargain. Although Oxford Street is the obvious shopping destination in London, it can get super crowded and overwhelming. Head to Marylebone High Street for the best independent shops, ranging from quirky boutiques to tucked-away hidden gems. There’s also Carnaby Street, a pedestrianised shopping street lined with independent boutiques and more than 100 international and British heritage labels. Other places to shop if you want to avoid crowds and explore boutique brands include Broadway Market in London Fields, Church Street in Stoke Newington, Camden Passage in Islington and Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. If you’d rather shop second-hand and hunt for discounted vintage treasures and unique gifts, a venture to Brick Lane and Shoreditch is a must.

For more second hand shops, check our favourites here.

Visitors attending the London Art Festival, which is one of the things to do in London in January

Image Courtesy of London Art Fair

Discover modern art at The London Art Fair

Explore the best of modern and contemporary art galleries from around the world at the London Art Fair, taking place in Islington’s Business Design Centre in January. Expect a timetable of captivating talks and events alongside a line-up of more than 100 leading galleries from around the world, as well as thousands of British artworks by renowned and emerging artists, curated by some of the leading galleries in the UK. From immersive installations to tours and talks, this event is a must for any avid art lover (and read this article next for more art-themed things to do around London).

London Art Fair | Islington | WA | 17th – 21st January 2024

Vendors serving the customers at Borough Market

Image Courtesy of Eating Europe

Wander around a covered food market

Strolling through the bustling aisles of a covered London food market in January is a tasty adventure that offers respite from the winter chill. Take in the aromas of street food from around the world and peruse the stalls of artisanal cheeses, aromatic spices, freshly baked pastries, and more, all under shelter. Mercato Mayfair (WA) is an indoor food hall located in a stunning Grade-I listed Church with striking stained glass windows and stone columns. There’s also Borough Market that’s outside but covered. It’s one of London’s oldest food markets and is best explored on the Eating Europe Borough Market Tour. You’ll be taken around the market with a local foodie guide who will take you to taste all the classic British drinks and dishes, like fish and chips and a pint at a beloved English boozer. You’ll meet local vendors and get to know the artisans behind many of the stalls.

Participants running a 3k in Hyde Park for the Serpentine New Years Day Fun Run

Image Courtesy of Serpentine Running Club

Start as you mean to go on at The Serpentine New Year’s Day Fun Run

If your New Year’s resolution is to get fit, why not kick-start the year by participating in The Serpentine 3K Fun Run on New Year’s Day? Held in the picturesque surroundings of Hyde Park, this fun run invites participants of all ages and fitness levels to join in the celebration of health, community, and the fresh start of a new year. The scenic route takes you around the iconic Serpentine Lake, offering a refreshing experience amidst the crisp winter air. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or simply looking for a lighthearted way to begin the year, The Serpentine New Year’s Day Fun Run is the perfect way to launch into the new year.

The Serpentine New Year’s Day Fun Run | Kensington Gardens | WA | 1st January 2024

Primrose Hill on a sunny day in winter; visiting parks for brisk walks is one of the things to do in London in January

Enjoy a wintry walk around one of London’s lush parks

Last on our list of things to do in London in January includes getting a good dose of fresh air. London’s parks are as lush as it gets and there are more than eight million trees scattered around the city, making it one of the world’s largest urban forests. A brisk winter walk is a must in January, from the swan-dotted lake in Victoria Park (WA) to the Buddhist peace pagoda in Battersea Park (WA), each park offers something different. Stroll to the very top of Primrose Hill (WA) for epic city views, or walk along an abandoned railway line from Finsbury Park.

Feeling overwhelmed trying to make your London itinerary? It’s SO hard to do, since the city is SO big and there’s too many things to choose from (plus how do you fit them all together?) Luckily, we’ve made your itinerary for you so you can make the most of your limited time. Grab one of our London itineraries ASAP.

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Jessica Dellow

Jessica Dellow is an East Londoner who loves to travel the world and eat her way around the city. When she's not eating, cooking or hanging out in the local pub, you’ll probably find her walking one of her BorrowMyDoggy dogs in Victoria Park with a coffee in hand.

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