So you’ve welcomed in 2024 with fireworks, parties or just a quiet night in. Continue as you mean to go on (except perhaps that last one). There are bucketfuls of great events this month, from parades to art fairs to light festivals, all designed to brighten up your January and keep you entertained.
New Year’s Day Parade
Watch as over 10,000 participants from the UK and abroad put on the show of a lifetime, with marching bands, floats, cheerleading and more. London boroughs each enter a performance for the Borough competition, vying to win a prize of thousands which they can distribute to chosen charities in their area, so performers will certainly be giving it their all. The route begins at 12pm on Piccadilly and moves through lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and ending on Parliament Street. There are plenty of great viewing points along the route, although there are stand seats available for around £30.00 if you book ahead. There are also a series of musical concerts which require tickets and feature some of the world’s best orchestras and choirs.
New Year’s Day 10k & Fun Run
If you’re hell-bent on getting fit this year, why not start with a 10k run through the beautiful Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens? There’s nothing better than a refreshing run, and if 10k seems a bit much, there’s also a 3k fun run you can take part in too. It does cost between £18.00 and £20.00 to participate, but it’s free to watch, so if you wanted to take a stroll and maybe be inspired, this is the perfect chance.
London Mime Festival
Who doesn’t like a bit of mime now and then? Before you laugh, things have changed—it’s far more sophisticated than it used to be, we promise. Running since 1977, this festival attracts some of the best performers in the world including mimes from France, Belgium, New York, and of course the UK. This isn’t the black-and-white street act you might be thinking of—there are full performances and plays as well as discussions and workshops if you want to get involved. There are various different performance areas and stages including the Barbican, Shoreditch Town Hall and Soho Theatre.
The No Trousers Tube Ride
Organised by the Stiff Upper Lip Society, the No Trousers Tube Ride is pretty much what it says on the tin: Londoners meet up, go in groups to certain tube stations, then remove their trousers and ride the tube. London eccentricity at its finest.
There really is no putting London’s biggest annual arts event in a box. Expect eight beautiful weeks of fringe and experimental theatre, comedy, acrobatics spoken word, film, podcast recordings, cabaret, music and late night parties. There’s a whole heap of shows for under a tenner—and there are buy one get one free tickets for some events too. You won’t find many big-name events with this much bang for your buck.
Short Film Festival
Named the best short film festival in the world by the Guardian Guide, this ever-growing event is screening cutting-edge and multimedia pieces in a variety of locations across the city. The schedule lists plenty of intriguing collections and you’ll be hard pressed to select one night over another.
Brighten up one of the darkest months with some beautiful illuminations on Canary Wharf. There will be sculptures, structures and installations surrounding the commercial towers. The event is completely free and you can spend an evening wandering through the unusual creations—ideally with a hot chocolate in hand. It’s not just Canary Wharf these days either—there are stunning displays across the city.
London Art Fair
If you’ve been saving up all your Cheapo pennies to start a new life as an art dealer, this is your opportunity to get involved in one of the most prestigious art scenes in the world. With previews of renowned works and international galleries displaying their best pieces, there will be works on show from the 20th century to contemporary creations.
The New Black Vanguard
This exhibition is a celebration of Black creativity, on both sides of the camera. Featured works include Black stylists, models, make-up artists and creative directors who are bringing a radically new set of references and experiences to image making.
Last Chance Events
Christmas by the River | Until Jan 2nd | London Bridge
Christmas at Kew | Until Jan 8th | Kew
Leicester Square Christmas Market | Until Jan 8th | Leicester Square
Hampton Court Palace Ice Skating | Until Jan 8th | Richmond
Gingerbread City | Until Jan 2nd | South Kensington
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland | Until Jan 2nd | Wesminster
Ice Skating at Somerset House | Until Jan 15th | Aldwych