Fun Things To Do In London This January - The Nudge Agenda 2020

Pop Up Events This Month

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POP UP EVENTS (January 2020)

Pop Up London - things to do in London this month

New Year’s Day Parade

Nothing cures a hangover like seeing 10,000 people pull off a spectacularly large parade packed with musicians, performers, floats, marching bands, Chinese dragons, cheerleaders, vintage car convoys, donkeys, horses, and dance troupes as they make their way through the city.

Details: Mercifully, from 12 noon | Starting at Piccadilly | Free

New Year’s Day Celidh

If you have a keen urge to actually do something active to ring in the New Year, and not to pay a penny for it, then make your way to the Southbank Centre. Vaunted ceilidh band Cut a Shine (Bestival, Port Eliot Festival, etc.) will be leading three & a half hours of willow-stripping fun, for free.

Details: From 1pm | The Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall, SE1 8XX | Free



If you don’t know what Winterfest is, that’s understandable, because this will be the first year it’s happened. It’s basically a huge outdoor light & sound show up in Wembley Park, and it’s set to hit town for six weeks. It’s completely free, and it involves a 100ft installation from a pair of former Pixar animators…READ MORE

Details: Until 3rd January | Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 | Free

No Fit State

No Fit State things to do in January

An eclectic, bohemian collective, No Fit State hit the Roundhouse this month with their both poetic and exhilarating brand of circus. From the quirky (playing chess on unicycles) to the downright impressive (try three performers simultaneously riding the ‘Wheel of Death’), it’s a beautifully presented cabaret of jaw-dropping skill.

Details: 3rd-18th January Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH From £15

The Great Christmas Feast

Great Christmas Feast

What the Dickens is the best immersive Christmas feast taking place in London this festive season?

Funny you should ask.

Because it’s unquestionably The Great Christmas Feast; a ravishing retelling of Dickens’ Christmas Carol set in a Victorian yuletide dining room, with a four course banquet woven into the story itself… READ MORE

Details: Until 4th January | 47-49 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3PL£34-109

La Clique

Describing itself as “an inspired melange of cabaret, new burlesque, circus and contemporary vaudeville”, La Clique’s a raucous, risqué and fun-filled night featuring, amongst others, a debonair juggler; a tattooed, sword-swallowing fire-eater; and a lady who swings around the famous spiegeltent while hanging by her hair… READ MORE

Details: Until 4th January The Spiegeltent, Leicester Square,WC2H 7LU  | From £26

The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City

Gingerbread City

Building an entire city out of gingerbread may sound like a half-baked idea…

…but when it’s constructed by the architects & engineers at the Museum of Architecture, it’s actually pretty impressive, with over 100 artists and architects constructing their own sugar-dusted, fairylit gingerbread edifices… READ MORE

Details: Until 5th January Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1LA £9

Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Southbank Centre

If you’re looking for an excuse to drink mulled cider and wine around crackling firepits; eat festive street food from raclette to bratwurst; and buy festive wares from twinkling fairylit chalets, then look no further than the Southbank Centre.

Details: Until 5th January | Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Free Entry

Winter Wonderland

It’s a classic for a reason. Every year it seems to come back even bigger, and this year there’s London’s largest outdoor ice rink (with live music from the central bandstand); rollercoasters and rides; circus acts; street food; mulled wine; firepits and tipis; karaoke huts; and… a 70m observation wheel. 

Details: Until 5th January, daily from 10am-10pm | Hyde Park, W2 2UH | £9.50-£15.50

Circus 1903

Circus 1903 is all about old-school spectacle. Settling into the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall, they’ll be showcasing the kinds of feats that health and safety did away with years ago: acts like knife-throwers; trapeze artists and acrobats without safety nets; and an all-new act called the ‘Brazilian wheel of death’. Thankfully, the one tradition they haven’t revived is the use of live animals – instead, they’ve collaborated with the War Horse designers to create jaw-dropping, life-sized puppets instead… READ MORE

Details: Until 5th January Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX £29.50-125

London International Mime Festival

If you haven’t heard of the London International Mime Festival… well, they’re probably doing something right. For their 44th year, they’re returning to the capital with an incredible line-up – there’s puppetry on a barge; breathtaking physical theatre; silent movies with live jazz accompaniments; a tribute to Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin in the crumbling Wilton’s Music Hall; hand dancing in a miniature set; and a show about two clowns featuring ‘disappointing nudity’.

Details: 8th January – 2nd February Across London

London Short Film Festival


Taking place over nine days, this is actually a pretty long short film festival. Which is understandable, considering they’re fitting in industry talks; music videos with live accompaniments; dozens of experimental, heart-breaking and uplifting shorts; and quirky collections, including a screening dedicated to the internet phenomenon of ASMR; and compilations of 70s PSAs on subjects from sex ed and gateway drugs to hand safety for industrial workers, and the joys of pork.

Details: 10th-19th January | Across London



Set in Eccleston Yards, Wave is an experiment in chromotherapy, which we’re told is “the science of using the powers of light and colour to balance energy in the body and mind.”

So basically, it looks cool as f*ck.

It’s been set up by the people at SquidSoup, and it’ll have 500 individual lights that you can wander through while evolving harmonies play.

Details: Until 11th January, 4pm-10pm | Eccleston Yards, SW1W 9AZ

Red Palace

Head to the labyrinthine tunnels beneath Waterloo station this month, and you’ll happen upon a night of theatrical revelry full of dark, beguiling characters ripped out of a gothic fairy story. On your interactive journey through the palace, you’ll eat dishes by a Masterchef finalist, sip unusual cocktails, and watch performances by ballerinas, contortionists, and a very talented ghost orchestra… READ MORE

Details: Until 12th January The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN £15-70

Hidden Jazz Club

Hidden Jazz Club

The team behind HJC are so dedicated to jazz, they even improvise their venues. They pop up in undisclosed locations around the capital with a rotating roster of talented musicians, ready to soothe your eardrums with ever-changing set lists in intimate and atmospherically-lit settings. READ MORE

Details: 16th & 26th January Secret Locations £18

Winter Lights

free things to do in London this month

Not to be outdone by the flurry of interactive light shows that have been dazzling the capital of late, Canary Wharf has brought back their annual outdoor exhibition of luminous artwork. This year, you’ll find a giant illuminated storm cloud made of foam; a kaleidoscopic video screen made from 7,344 recycled plastic milk bottles; an infinitely reflected tunnel of light; an illuminated ‘bra tree’; and a huge, high-tech canvas that allows you to paint with light.

Details: 16th – 25th January Throughout Canary Wharf Free

Twilight Lives

The Old Operating Theatre Museum is hosting one of their instant sell-out Victorian surgical demonstrations this month – but just to put it even more in demand, they’re throwing in a little live music, too. From the theatre stalls where medical students would have once watched complex operations, you’ll be able to listen to a selection of pieces written by overlooked 19th century female composers.

Details: 16th January Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY £20

Joining the avalanche of light-based art installations popping up across the capital this month, Leo Villareal’s latest exhibition comes up top for three key reasons: 1) He’s the artist who’s recently illuminated 14 bridges across the Thames; 2) It’ll feature an array of eye-dazzling artworks, including a 10m wide screen of cosmically undulating lights; and 3) It’s indoors.

Details: Until 18th January Pace Gallery, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1S 3ET | Free Entry

Wassail at the Midnight Apothecary

Midnight Apothecary - Valentine's Day Date Ideas London 2019

Here to cure wassails you, rooftop garden bar the Midnight Apothecary is honouring the old folk tradition of blessing the forthcoming apple harvest with wassail carolling, a candlelit procession to the apple trees, and plenty of cider. And unlike the old folk tradition, there’ll also be marshmallows to toast by the fire, hot cocktails, street food, and late night dancing to live folk music in a subterranean Victorian tunnel.

Details: 18th January Midnight Apothecary, above the Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, SE16 4LF £10

Calçotada at Brindisa

Calcotada Brindisa

It takes a lot of skill to do the Catalan Calçotada festival justice.

Luckily, the people at Brindisa really know their onions.

Every weekend in January and March, their Shoreditch and Battersea restaurants will be holding traditional feasts in honour of the calçot (a long, green onion), scorching them over an open flame and serving them up with fresh romesco sauce. And to go with the main dish, there’ll be roasted poussin, grilled Spanish artichokes, flame-roasted veg and jugs full of cava…

Details: Weekends from 18th January Brindisa Shoreditch & Battersea£35

The Candlelight Club

Candlelight Club

The Candlelight Club – the roving 1920s party lit almost entirely by candles – is decking the halls of their secret ballroom space for a special festive edition this month. There’ll be live music from the Swing’It Dixieband, vintage DJ’ing by The Bees Knees, and MC’ing from the compère without compare, the inimitable Champagne Charlie. READ MORE

Details: 18th January A Secret Location From £25

Explorer Series at Mr. Fogg’s

Making circumnavigating the globe in 80 days look tame, ex-rugby player and recovering quadriplegic Ed Jackson climbed Mt. Snowdon a year after being told he’d never walk again. And if you’re looking for a strong dose of new year motivation, he’ll be speaking about his inspirational journey at an intimate soirée at Mr. Fogg’s Residence this month.

Details: 20th January Mr. Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, London W1J 6JD

How To Change Your Life With Tiny Habits

It’s the 21st January, and on the off-chance you haven’t yet mastered Italian, quit smoking forever, and learnt to unicycle blindfolded, you might find some solace in this talk from the How To Academy. Behavioural scientist B. J. Fogg will be talking about the scientific basis to changing habits, and will let you in on the hacks that could make at least one of your New Year’s Resolutions last past February.

Details: 21st January Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3DW | £30


Lightopia January things to do

The people at Chiswick House must have been wondering what to do with their 65 acres of grounds this month.

Then somebody had a lightbulb moment.

They’re going to fill the huge estate with a spectacular trail of lanterns, lights and interactive installations. There’ll be glowing musical eggs, rainbow tunnels, a field of 70,000 roses and epic projections onto the house itself – all alongside acrobats, street food and live music… READ MORE

Details: 22nd January – 1st March Chiswick House Gardens, W4 2QN £20

The Little Orchestra

Little Orchestra - things to do in London this month

Beethoven never heard some of the music he wrote.

But by all accounts he was still a pretty solid composer – and his music sounds even better when it’s played in a spine-tinglingly intimate and special setting by an orchestra who specialise in taking the pomp and stuffiness out of classical concerts… READ MORE

Details: 24th & 25th January Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN | £25/£45pp for a sofa

Raise A Glass To Robert Burns

Whether you decide to pay tribute to the Scottish bard with whisky, haggis, dancing, or a combination of all three, we’ve rounded up the best spots in London in which to do so. Take a wee peek at yer Burns Night Guide.

World Championship of Ping Pong

It takes a lot of balls to enter Ping Pong’s most prestigious tournament. And you can watch the competitors in action at Ally Pally this month, who are hosting two days of fast and furious wiff waff that’ll be broadcast around the world.

Details: 25th & 26th January Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY From £21.05

VAULT Festival 2020

London’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe is back, and promises (as ever) an extraordinary motley crew of performers. This year, you can catch a one-to-one immersive physical theatre show based on the diaries of Dalí; a VR holiday where you can taste and smell the world around you; a theatrical cookery lesson inspired by Dungeons & Dragons; a dramatised first-hand account of the slave trade through traditional African Griot storytelling; and an attempt to answer the age-old theatrical dilemma: “how pregnant is too pregnant to perform a one-woman show?”

Details: 28th January – 22nd March The Vaults, Leake Street, SE1 7NN

The Invitation

What is this an invitation to, exactly? Well, it’s the next show from Secret Theatre, which has just sold out its run in Hong Kong and is now settling in to the 5* Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel. You’ll be required to don a mask before entering an exclusive club committed to the debauched and the occult. Described as Eyes Wide Shut meets SE7EN, there’ll be a sinful dinner (prepared by Simon Shand at The Corner Room restaurant); passwords to exchange; cabaret acts to watch and deadly secrets to uncover…

Details: From 28th January Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF From £39

The Travelling Circus

The Travelling Circus is going to be staying put for the near future at Elephant & Castle’s sprawling street food marketplace, Mercato Metropolitano, which is putting on a very different kind of festive shindig this year. It’s all being curated by Josie and Rob da Bank, the co-founders of Bestival, who are essentially staging a fully-fledged festival inside the market every weekend until the end of January.

Details: Until end of January 2020 | Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR | £30

Adventure Film Club

Secret Adventures

The insanely popular Adventure Film Club is back this month – and suitably, they’re trying it out in pastures new. This time, they’ll be screening half a dozen thrilling short films (including one about a guy who wanted to slackline, without safety equipment, across a Canadian canyon) in a beautiful Hackney church, as well as setting up a mulled wine bar and campfires for marshmallow toasting outside. READ MORE

Details: 31st January Round Chapel, 1d Glenarm Rd, Lower Clapton, E5 0LY £20

Pitch Black Playback

pitch black playback date ideas

If you’re in the dark about PBP, well… that’s only to be expected. They’re an underground listening party collective who stage album listening nights in the dark, in beautiful, unusual venues around the city. This month, there’s six new events in the line-up, including play-throughs of Frank Ocean’s album Endless, the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Ghosteen, and the soundtrack to Twin Peaks… READ MORE

Details: Throughout January Various locations £8-10

Sneak In One Last Round of Ice Skating

Ice Skating - Natural History Museum things to do in London this month

Most of them are still open – but leave it later than the 12th, and you might find yourself skating on thin ice. Check out the best rinks in London.

London’s Best Winter Rooftops

Rooftop drinking. It’s the height of sophistication. Especially when you do it at one of the city’s finest high-altitude spots, which have all been decked out with suitably wintry decor, hot cocktails, and fondue menus… READ MORE

Flight 338

Flight 338

It’s an escape room, set on a plane. As in an actual plane, not just a narrow room with a drinks trolley. It’s a decommission jet they’ve parked in Greenwich, you’ll play a jailbird in a criminal gang aboard a prisoner transport, and you’ve got to find the tools smuggled abroad to help escape. The company behind the entire enterprise, The Riddle Within, haven’t done any escape rooms before, so yes – this is their pilot show. Hopefully it takes off.

Details: Throughout January | 338 Boord Street, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0PF | £20-£87pp

Secret Cinema Presents: Stranger Things

We never thought we’d see the day that Secret Cinema adapted a TV show. But Stranger Things have happened. Yes, the immersive experience pioneers are back, and after a staggering 70 productions they’re taking on a whole new branch of entertainment… READ MORE

DetailsUntil 29th February | A Secret Location | From £49

Moving to Mars

You can now see what it would be like to live on Mars, thanks to the new exhibition from the Design Museum –  because they’ve got a full-scale, completely liveable Mars home inside it… READ MORE

Details: Until 23rd February | The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG | £16-£18

WOW at Japan House


When you call your visual design studio an all-caps, back-patting, rakishly confident name like WOW you had better deliver. And WOW certainly does. They’re a Japanese firm whose work has been stunning audiences in the Far East, and is now making its way to the UK for the first time. It’s at Japan House, and you’ll find digital installations including Tokyo Lights Odyssey, a 360-degree immersive look at Tokyo at night, and Poppo, a chance to carve a traditional wooden doll and project your own face onto it.

Details: Until 22nd March 2020 | Japan Centre, 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA | Free


This vast exhibition is apparently the last chance you’ll have to see the riches of Tutankhamun’s tomb before they return to Egypt forever. Hopefully, it’s not just some kind of pyramid scheme. The largest exhibition ever staged outside of the country, it promises to feature over 150 of the awe-inspiring objects the boy king was buried with, from precious gold artefacts and statuettes to a pair of 3000 year-old gloves.

Details: Until 3rd May 2020 | Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY | £24.50-28.50

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019

There’s only one acceptable context for shooting wild animals, and it’s the one practiced by the world’s wildlife photographers.

And now in its 55th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year is back to show off the very best amongst them. This year, they trawled through some 48k entries from 100+ countries before landing on the winning images, which are displayed on special lightboxes (alongside dozens of runner-up shots) throughout the Natural History Museum’s gallery. READ MORE

Details: Until 31 May 2020 | The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | £14

See The Best London Theatre Shows On Right Now

Ever since the dawn of time, human beings have gazed at the stars in awe and asked themselves Where can I get a list of only the best London Theatre shows playing right now – divided into musical, comedy, drama, and immersive categories – in which I can also discover a heap of nearby bars and restaurants to help me make a night of it?” 

And the answer is… well, here.

Peruse London’s Best Art Galleries

Royal Academy - art galleries in London

And over in the art corner, we have an exhibition of a 1930s surrealist female photographer; prize-winning works from emerging young artists; another chance to see some Antony Gormley; an immersive journey into one of da Vinci’s greatest paintings; pioneering infographics used to fight for racial equality; the first collection of self-portraits by Lucian Freud, and much more…SEE WHAT’S ON IN LONDON’S ART GALLERIES

Go To The Best Restaurants In London

If we simply wanted to round up the 39 best restaurants in London… we’d just say 40. But we’re not. We’re rounding up the single best restaurant in every London neighbourhood.

Or, at least, 39 of them. Selected on the basis of a strict set of criteria, namely 1) supreme deliciousness, 2) a superlative atmosphere and 3) being located somewhere; we’ve picked out each area’s classic, must-visit eatery. It’s the most delicious tour of London you’ve ever been on.

Check out the best restaurants in London.


Main image: UAII Studio at Winter Lights

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