Winter Itinerary Ideas: What to Do in London In January

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Winter Wonderland

Who’d want to visit London in January? It’s a city that, situated in such a northerly spot in the Northern Hemisphere as London, doesn’t exactly sound much fun – but only someone who’d never visited London before would truly gold that opinion. Indeed, the mega-metropolis that’s London is simply a sensational destination whatever season – and month – of the year it is…

London Art Fair

(Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street N1 0QH/ 16th- 20th January)

Could be you’ve always liked the idea of throwing yourself into the arts world but, being a total layman and would-be-novice at best, you were daunted by the eons of artistic treasures to explore and familiarise yourself with before you can ever hope to get started with paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics and more. If that scenario sounds all too familiar then, don’t doubt it, this highly accessible event’s just for you. Hosted by the trendy Islington destination that’s the Business Design Centre, London’s official ‘art fair’ is now in its 31st year, and so can be guaranteed to consist of at least 100 galleries featuring museum-standard works from more than a century ago right up to the current era. Moreover, make the most in your browsing of the curated sections too, where new artworks and modern photography are the mainstays.

Courtauld Impressionists: From Manet to Cézanne

(National Gallery, Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DN/ runs until 20th January)

It’s been six long decades since the globally renowned National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square (ideally positioned then for Paddington accommodation) has showcased some of the absolutely finest Impressionist paintings from its lesser-known but still well-regarded neighbouring venue, the Courtauld Gallery. Yet, this winter, that’s exactly what it’s doing. And what a selection of pieces it is at that; enabling the exhibition to chart the beginnings, development and last throes of the Impressionist movement, via more than 40 different masterpieces dating from around 1860 up to the early 20th Century.

Burns Night

(various venues/ 25th January)

Christmas’ll be well and truly over by January 25th (indeed, it’ll be a whole month after all the mid-winter merrymaking) yet, for all Scots (and Scotophiles) everywhere the celebrations don’t come to an end – because on this very evening feasting, imbibing and dancing’s very much on the menu, in order to mark the memory of arguably Scotland’s most famous (and best loved son), the hugely loved and legendary 18th-Century rebellious poet, Robert Burns.

A proper Scottish celebration, Burns Night (which takes place every year on the date of his birth) is involves a Scots-cuisine supper, carousing a-plenty and, of course, readings of his verses. Now, in terms of geography, London’s pretty much as far as possible in Britain from Burns’ homeland, yet being the international metropolis it is, the capital’s undoubtedly somewhere where Burns Night’s a big deal in pubs, bars and restaurants scattered throughout the city.

Winter Lights

(Canary Wharf E14 8RR/ 15th-26th January)

How do you say you just don’t care the drab British winter weather’s nothing to shout about in January?  Why pop on a subterranean train (easy from the West End and the likes of the Park Grand Central hotel London) by Tube and/or Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to the exciting, 21st-Century financial district that’s Canary Wharf – and specifically for its Winter Lights event that, come this time of year, annually and joyfully illuminates the area. Featuring installations produced a coterie of global artists, this collection of bright, bold and vibrant artworks will surely ensure your eyes dazzle, your mind’s engaged and your heart’s warmed.

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