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Things To Do This Week in London: 22-28 January 2024

Welcome to another exciting week in London, filled with a variety of events and activities to keep you entertained. Whether you're a history buff, art enthusiast, nature lover, or simply looking for a fun night...

Welcome to another exciting week in London, filled with a variety of events and activities to keep you entertained. Whether you're a history buff, art enthusiast, nature lover, or simply looking for a fun night out, there's something for everyone. Let's dive into the highlights of what London has to offer this week.

All week

A man and a woman on stage, illuminated by candlelight Last chance to see Ghosts at Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Marc Brenner

SHAKESPEARE'S FIRST FOLIO: The City of London Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery is hosting a free Shakespeare exhibition. Don't miss the opportunity to see one of the most complete copies of William Shakespeare's First Folio in the world. You'll also find other remarkable objects, including a deed with Shakespeare's rare signature. This exhibition closes on Thursday, so make sure to catch it before then. FREE, until 25 January

WINTER LIGHTS: Illuminate your evenings at Canary Wharf Winter Lights. Take a stroll through the dazzling trail of illuminated artworks amidst the towering skyscrapers. With 13 temporary installations to discover, you'll be captivated by the magical ambiance. The lights are switched on from 5pm to 10pm daily. Make it a night to remember by exploring the dining options in Canary Wharf as well. FREE, until 27 January

GHOSTS: Experience the final week of Ghosts at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Immerse yourself in the scandalous world of this play by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen, which caused quite a stir when it premiered almost 150 years ago. Don't miss this opportunity to witness the incredible performances before it wraps up on 28 January.

HERALDING SPRING: If you're longing for an escape from the winter blues, head over to Chelsea Physic Garden. This historic four-acre garden has just reopened and is already blooming with the earliest signs of spring. Explore the beautiful displays of hellebores, irises, and snowdrops, and you might even find a new addition to your own garden. There's also a plant sale running until 28 January. Admission is £10.50. Book ahead (sponsor)

A colourful graphic of a boy riding a bike over a hill Cute opens at Somerset House on Thursday. Image: Wong Ping, Still from 'An Emo Nose', 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Kiang Malingue

TUBE SKETCHES: Immerse yourself in the artistic world of Martin Church's tube paintings at Barbican Library. This stunning exhibition showcases over 100 paintings and mixed-media works capturing people's daily lives on the Metropolitan line. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the vibrant and diverse tapestry of London. FREE, until 29 January (open Monday-Saturday)

THEATRE TOURS: Explore the hidden gems of London's 'oldest new theatre' on a tour of the Alexandra Palace Theatre. This historic venue, which originally opened in 1875 but remained closed for decades, has been lovingly restored and reopened for performances in 2018. Join a guide and immerse yourself in the rich history and stunning architecture of this iconic theatre. Suitable for ages 14+. Until 31 January

SLOW MOTION SAUNA: Warm your cockles at the Scandi-style Slow Motion Sauna pop-up in Lewis Cubitt Square, King's Cross. Step into a wood-fired communal sauna, brave the plunge pool, and indulge in a rejuvenating salt scrub. This unique experience is available for just £6 per session. Until 11 February

A pepperoni pizza Alley Cats in Marylebone is dishing up NYC-inspired pizza action

OTHELLO: Experience Othello in a whole new light at Shakespeare's Globe. Set inside the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, this retelling transports 16th-century Venice to modern-day London, shedding light on the enduring issues faced by Othello that still resonate today. Catch this captivating performance until 13 April.

SNOWDROPS: Witness the beauty of the first snowdrops flowering in England, usually around 26 January. If you're eager to admire these delicate white flowers pushing through the winter ground, check out our guide to when and where to see snowdrops in London. You may even find a snowdrop sale this Saturday.

EAT OF THE WEEK: If you're in the mood for pizza, head to Alley Cats in Marylebone. This newly opened eatery channels the vibes of NYC, with a walk-in only policy and mouthwatering pizzas available by the slice or whole. Indulge in classic favorites like pepperoni, margherita, or sausage, or try something new like their vodka pizza.

PLAY OF THE WEEK: Fans of the Netflix comedy series Kim's Convenience will be thrilled to know that it originated as a play at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. Now, it's returning to its roots with a run at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. This hilarious and heartwarming play, written by Ins Choi, explores the experiences of a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store. Don't miss it! Until 10 February

Monday 22 January

A man looking at himself in a steamed up mirror, with one hand raised to the glass. Othello is now open at Shakespeare's Globe

ASIAN QUEER STORY: Be part of the London debut of 'Coming Out To Dead People (An Asian Queer Story)' at Soho Theatre. This highly-lauded show by NYC-based stand-up comedian Ricky Sim explores his personal journey of coming out to his Chinese-Malaysian immigrant mother. Get ready for an evening of laughter and reflection. 22-24 January

LANTERN MYSTERY TOUR: Embark on a magical lantern mystery tour at the Royal Geographical Society. Speaker Nick will take you on a journey through a set of 87 magic lantern slides, revealing the captivating story of Willie Read and his 1912 unknown expedition from Srinagar to Siberia. Immerse yourself in this captivating tale from 2.30pm to 3.45pm.

OCEANIC ENIGMA: Join Jyotika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, at the Royal Institution for a fascinating talk on deep sea exploration. Discover the mysteries of the ocean depths and learn about the Institute's plans to increase our understanding of the underwater world. You can choose to watch the talk in person or via livestream from 7pm to 8.30pm.

WORLD'S BIGGEST MYSTERIES: Join investigator Andy Thomas at OSO Arts Centre in Barnes as he delves into some of the biggest mysteries and unexplained events he's worked on over the past 40 years. Discover why so many people doubt the truth of events like the moon landings and explore the fascinating world of conspiracy theories. The event starts at 7.30pm.

MONDAYS IN LONDON: Looking for something else to do today or any other Monday? Check out our guide to things to do in London on a Monday. From live music venues and comedy clubs to guided walks and tours, we've gathered a variety of options to help you make the most of this typically quiet day of the week. Plus, we've included a few special offers for you to enjoy.

Tuesday 23 January

The Drawing Room of the Covent Garden Hotel The Covent Garden Hotel hosts an evening about set design

DECORATIVE FAIR: Make your way to Battersea Park for the Winter edition of The Decorative Fair. Here you'll find a wide range of decorative and fine antiques, 20th-century design, furniture, lighting, mirrors, traditional textiles, and captivating artwork. Whether you're a seasoned collector or simply looking for unique pieces, this fair has something for everyone. 23-28 January

BRONCO BILLY: Experience the musical adaptation of the 1980 Clint Eastwood film Bronco Billy at Charing Cross Theatre. This all-singing, all-dancing production tells the story of the leader of a Wild West show who employs a newlywed heiress on the run from her husband. Don't miss out on this captivating tale, running from 23 January to 7 April.

GENOMICS: Delve into the world of genomics and its transformative impact on cancer treatment at a Gresham lecture delivered by Professor Sanjay Popat. Discover the latest advancements in understanding and treating cancer and gain valuable insights into the promising future of personalized medicine. The lecture is free and starts at 6pm.

NEURODIVERGENCE AND COMEDY: Join comedians Joe Wells and Victoria Melody at Conway Hall's Unmasked event as they discuss the role of neurodivergence in shaping comedic talent. Explore how neurodivergent individuals hone their humor and the challenges they face in a career in the spotlight. The discussion takes place from 6.30pm to 8pm.

SET DESIGN: If you have an interest in theatre set design, don't miss the evening with theatre set designers at the Covent Garden Hotel. Listen to industry experts, including Tom Pye and Georgia Lowe, as they share their experiences and discuss the art of set design. Hosted by THESP founder Gilly Hopper, this event starts at 6.30pm.

SOUTH BANK BUILDINGS: Discover the hidden history of London's South Bank at Stanfords in Covent Garden. Authors Rachel Kolsky and Louis Berk will introduce their book, London's South Bank in 50 Buildings. Get insights into the selection process and delve into the fascinating stories behind these remarkable landmarks. The event starts at 7pm.

An unmissable event for new and aspiring entrepreneurs

StartUp Show Logo

Got a brilliant business idea up your sleeve? Ready to take your enterprise to the next level? Just desperate to finally be your own boss? You need to know about the StartUp Show. The tenth edition of this blockbuster event for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs takes place on Saturday 27 January at Bush House, King’s College London. It's an opportunity to network, gain expert insight, and get guidance on various aspects of entrepreneurship.

With over 100 speakers, including founders, CEOs, and PR experts, you'll find valuable advice on brand strategy, digital marketing, financial management, and much more. The event features industry-specific panel discussions and one-to-one consultations for personalized guidance. Plus, you can take advantage of incredible deals from event partners in the exhibition area, all while mingling with like-minded business owners. Tickets are available for £20, so grab yours now.

StartUp Show, 9am-4.15pm on Saturday 27 January at Bush House, King’s College London. Book now.

Wednesday 24 January

Glowing blue butterflies in front of Battersea Power Station Battersea Light Festival begins on Thursday

BRITISH INDIA: Explore the virtual reality experience about the 1947 partition of British India at Hampton Court Palace. This docu-drama-style experience focuses on two men, one Indian Hindu and the other Pakistani Muslim, as they play a board game, sharing their experiences of migration. Witness this powerful exhibition from 24 to 28 January.

CHRISTIE'S LATES: Christie's St James's auction house stays open late to celebrate the legendary guitar collection of Dire Straits musician Mark Knopfler. Explore guitars spanning his 50-year career, listen to panel discussions, and watch demonstrations. This event is free and runs from 5pm to 10pm.

FROM ANOTHER STAR: Join Chris Lintott at Gresham College as he reveals the fascinating insights gained from studying Oumuamua, an object discovered in 2017 that originated from beyond our solar system. Learn about the formation of solar systems and the possibilities Oumuamua has unlocked. The lecture is free and starts at 6pm.

FOOD SECURITY: Don't miss the livestreamed panel discussion on climate change and its impact on global food supply chains at the Science Museum. Discover how severe weather events are affecting crops worldwide and explore strategies to make our food supplies more resilient. Join the conversation from 7.30pm to 8.45pm. The event is free.

HOLOCAUST HISTORY: In preparation for Holocaust Memorial Day, join historian and author Roger Moorhouse for an online event hosted by the National Archives. He will share the story of a daring rescue operation involving a group of Polish diplomats and Jewish activists who forged papers to save the lives of thousands of Jews. The event starts at 7.30pm.

STAND UP COMEDY: Celebrate the launch of Index on Censorship's winter magazine issue at The Book Club in Shoreditch. Enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy by Rosie Holt, Ahir Shah, Yasmeen Ghrawi, and Aatif Nawaz. Laugh your way through their performances as they discuss the risks comedians face in telling jokes. The show starts at 7.30pm.

Thursday 25 January

A bagpiper in traditional Scottish dress Celebrate Burns Night in London. Image: Evie Fjord via Unsplash

BURNS NIGHT: Join the celebration of Scottish poet Robert Burns on the anniversary of his birth. Burns Night is marked with traditional suppers, ceilidhs, and more. Check out our guide to Burns Night 2024 events in London and immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of Scotland. 25 January

BATTERSEA LIGHT FESTIVAL: Battersea Power Station comes alive with glowing artworks as the Battersea Light Festival kicks off. Marvel at the stunning installations, including a giant diamond, illuminated butterflies, a playable light piano, and a cycling light battle. Enjoy free live entertainment and music performances as you explore this mesmerizing festival. 25 January-25 February

CUTE: Somerset House invites you to explore the world of cute culture in its new exhibition, Cute. Curated in partnership with Sanrio to celebrate Hello Kitty's 50th anniversary, the exhibition delves into the influence of cuteness in music, fashion, toys, video games, and social media. Discover the enduring appeal of adorable characters and their impact on popular culture. 25 January-14 April

SATIRE: Join award-winning cartoonist Martin Rowson at Gresham College as he uncovers the fascinating history of satirical cartoons. Delve into the world of lampooning the ruling classes and explore the power of political satire throughout the centuries. The lecture is free and starts at 6pm.

DEAR ENGLAND: If you missed the opportunity to catch the play Dear England at the National Theatre, fear not. Barbican Cinema is screening an NT Live recording of the performance. Immerse yourself in the story of England football manager Gareth Southgate as he leads his team to victory. The screening starts at 7pm.

PALOMA FAITH: Join Paloma Faith at the V&A Museum for an engaging discussion on female empowerment and the societal pressures faced by women. Paloma talks to V&A curator Kate Bailey in relation to the current DIVA exhibition. Although tickets for the live event are sold out, you can still watch the livestream from the comfort of your own home. Tune in from 7pm to 8pm.

FRANK MATCHAM: Explore the extraordinary achievements of Victorian and Edwardian theatre architect Frank Matcham at a talk by theatre historian Mark Fox. Learn about the man behind iconic venues like London Palladium, London Coliseum, and Hackney Empire. Discover how Matcham's legacy continues to influence modern theater design. The talk takes place at Highgate Cemetery at 7.30pm.

Friday 26 January

A CGI of an elephant walking on a frozen River Thames The Bankside Frost Fair begins today — on the banks of the Thames, rather than the river itself.

BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH: Help the RSPB monitor the wild bird population in London by participating in the Big Garden Birdwatch. Spend an hour counting and recording the numbers and types of birds that visit your garden or outside space, then report the data to the RSPB. Your participation will contribute to important research on bird populations. FREE, 26-28 January

FROST FAIR: Step back in time and experience the historic frost fairs of London at the Bankside Frost Fair. Although the Thames may not be frozen this time around, you can still enjoy traditional games, music, dance, artisan stalls, art, and craft workshops. Don't forget to indulge in Frost Fair-themed food and drink as well. This event takes place from 26 to 28 January.

JUST FOR ONE DAY: The Old Vic presents Just For One Day, a musical that captures the spirit of the Live Aid concert held on 13 July 1985. Featuring songs by iconic artists like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Queen, and more, this production weaves together various individuals' stories on that momentous day. 10% of all ticket sales will be donated to The Band Aid Charitable Trust. 26 January-30 March

CHOPIN BY CANDLELIGHT: Treat yourself to an enchanting evening of music with a performance by concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith. Enjoy the timeless compositions of Chopin at the atmospheric 1901 Arts Club in Waterloo. Your ticket also includes a pre-concert champagne reception. Choose between two sessions, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm or 9pm to 10pm.

PHILIPPA GREGORY: Join best-selling author Philippa Gregory at the National Portrait Gallery as she introduces her new book, Normal Women: 900 Years of Making History. Spanning from 1066 to modern times, this book explores the significant role everyday women have played in shaping history. Watch the event at the gallery or via livestream from 7pm to 8pm.

IMPROV: Experience the improvisational brilliance of Shoot From The Hip at The Pleasance in Islington. This chaotic comedy improv troupe delivers an evening of unplanned games, scenes, and laughs. Get ready for a night filled with spontaneity and side-splitting entertainment. The show starts at 7.30pm.

Saturday 27 January

Outside tables loaded up with snowdrop plants for sale Browse and buy snowdrops at Myddelton House Gardens

SNOWDROP SALE: Don't miss the Ultimate Snowdrop Sale at Myddelton House Gardens in Enfield. This highly anticipated event offers a wide selection of snowdrop bulbs from local nurseries and garden centers. Peruse the stalls and discover rare and unusual varieties of these delicate white flowers. The sale takes place from 10.30am to 12pm.

PHOTOSHOOT: Learn the art of staging a thematic photoshoot and editing the results with expert guidance from Reuben Lee. Join this photography class at Montcalm East and capture stunning images with the help of a professional model and props. The class runs from 11am to 1pm.

LINO PRINTING: Unleash your creativity at a lino printing class at Poplar Union. Bring along a plain item of clothing or tote bag from your wardrobe and learn how to plan, carve, and print your own unique lino design. Discover the joy of this versatile printing technique under the guidance of textiles artist Jasmine Karis. The class starts at 1pm and runs until 3.30pm.

MOCKTAIL MIXOLOGY: Join Jack Sotti from Channel 4's Sunday Brunch for a mocktail mixology masterclass at Ester, a restaurant and cocktail bar in Camden Market. Learn the art of balancing flavors and master techniques like shaking, stirring, and garnishing to create your own delicious alcohol-free drinks. Sessions are available at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm.

LOVERGROUND & VALENTINO: Dance the night away at Juju's in Spitalfields as dance producers Loverground and Valentino spin an eclectic mix of music styles. From house and pop to soul and afrobeats, they'll keep you moving to the rhythm of their beats. The event is free and runs from 7pm to 11.30pm.

AUSTRALIA DAY PARTY: If you're an Aussie missing home, join the Aus Day London Expat Party at The Troxy. Celebrate Australia Day with your fellow countrymen and enjoy Australian beers, snacks, and music throughout the night. Let loose and dance to tunes by Beth Caldow, Jimmy Mac, KatsNotDogs, Mike Gill, and Wonder of Down Under. The party starts at 7pm and continues until 2am.

SHOOT FROM THE HIP: Prepare for a night of improvised comedy as Shoot From The Hip takes the stage at The Pleasance in Islington. This talented troupe creates hilarious scenes and games on the spot, fueled by audience suggestions. Get ready to laugh until it hurts at this unscripted comedy extravaganza. The show starts at 7.30pm.

SE11 SESSIONS: Wind down your week with SE11 Sessions at Vauxhall's Tea House Theatre. Sip a cup of tea or enjoy supper while being serenaded by live jazz, soul, and funk music performed by the house band. Stick around for the jam session and perhaps even join in the musical fun. The event starts at 8.30pm.

Sunday 28 January

Momtaz with rainbow hair and colourful clothes surrounded by craft projects Momtaz Begum-Hossain leads a mindful crafting session for adults.

CYCLO-CROSS: Herne Hill Velodrome hosts a day of London Cyclo-Cross Association events. Marvel at the skill and determination of cyclists as they navigate challenging terrains on their bikes. While you're there, learn about the velodrome's rich history, which includes hosting cycling events during the 1948 Olympic Games. The event runs from 9.30am to 4pm.

ANTIQUES FAIR: Indulge your love for all things vintage at the Adams Antiques Fair in the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster. With over 120 exhibitors showcasing antique jewelry, silver, decorative pieces, and collectibles, you're sure to find something special. This well-established event has been delighting enthusiasts since the 1970s. Don't miss it from 10am to 4.30pm.

GLASS ONION VINTAGE: Get ready to revamp your wardrobe at the Glass Onion pop-up event, Walthamstow's Big Penny Social. With over 40 rails of trend-led pieces, designer items, and remade treasures, you're bound to find unique additions to your style. Enjoy great deals with prices starting at just a tenner. Entry is £1 after the first hour or £5 for early bird entry.

CIVIL WAR REENACTMENT: Witness a living history display as a royalist branch of the English Civil War Society commemorates "His Majestie's horrid murder." Volunteers dressed in royalist costumes, mounted troops, and weapons reenact the final journey of King Charles I from St James's Palace to the execution scaffolding at Banqueting House on Whitehall. The event starts at 11am and is free to attend.

KIDS' COMEDY: Treat the whole family to Comedy Club 4 Kids at artsdepot in North Finchley. This special comedy show is tailored for younger audiences, offering jokes and entertainment suitable for children. Recommended for ages 6 and above, this is a great opportunity for the entire family to enjoy a lighthearted and laughter-filled afternoon. Performances are at 12pm and 2.30pm.

MINDFUL CRAFTERNOONS: End your week on a creative and mindful note at a crafting session led by Momtaz Begum-Hossain, a Londonist contributor. Immerse yourself in a world of crafts, painting, collage, sewing, and embroidery, and embrace the therapeutic benefits of creativity. All materials are provided, and no experience is necessary. The session runs from 4pm to 6pm, and donations go to the CALM suicide prevention charity.

SUPPER CLUB: Join Kanishka, an Indian restaurant in Mayfair, for a unique dining experience as they host guest chef Anna Haugh from Myrtle restaurant. Chef Haugh presents a six-course meal inspired by old Irish recipes, featuring delicious dishes like cheese mousse with mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke, smoked salmon, and buttermilk panna cotta. Indulge in this gastronomic delight at 6pm.

Good Cause of the Week

London Winter Run Logo

Cancer Research UK's London Winter Run is fast approaching. This 10k challenge on Sunday 25 February is one of the few charity events that closes off large sections of central London. As you run through the City and West End, you'll be surrounded by "high-fiving huskies, partying penguins, and huggable polar bears." More importantly, your participation will help raise millions for cancer research. Final entry places are now available, so sign up and make a difference.