London in January: A Great Start in The British Capital
Tips for a Fantastic Trip to the Capital in January
Although the festive season is over, London in January is as lively and exciting as ever. The city's famous shopping streets and malls attract smart bargain hunters who come for the fantastic January sales. It's the perfect month for museums and galleries, and you can also catch some of the best new music and dance shows in the capital's top theaters and venues right through January. Catch exciting exhibitions like the London Boat Show or the London Art Fair, or take advantage of fewer crowds with a sightseeing trip of some of the city's best-known monuments and neighborhoods. Top events, including the New Year's Day Parade at the start of the month and the Burn's Night celebrations a few weeks later make London in January an appealing choice for all ages.
Visit London in January for the Best Winter Sales in the UK
If you're planning to visit London in January, you can't avoid those winter sales! Most sales in the capital start on Boxing Day (December 26th) and run until mid-January. Some of the best places to shop in London in January include world-famous department stores like Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, and Fortnum & Mason. You'll also find fashion, homeware, and accessories at the year's lowest prices in John Lewis, Debenhams, and House of Fraser on Oxford Street, Peter Jones and John Lewis on Sloane Square, and Fenwick's on Bond Street.
The big Westfield shopping malls at Shepherd's Bush and Stratford are ideal for those who like to combine shopping under one roof with a meal or movie, and you'll find great brands like Thomas Pink, Hugo Boss, and Scuh. Designer label lovers should visit Bond Street or Sloane Square and the King's Road for Chanel, Gucci, Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and many more.
Harrods - Shop at London's Most Famous Store
Harrods has been one of the city's best-known luxury shopping destinations for over 160 years and it's the ideal place to spend an hour in London . The store is known for its outstanding service as well as for its exclusive and sometimes unusual collections. Discover seven floors and 330 departments, such as the new Superbrands womenswear department, which boasts 17 boutiques including Prada, Valentino, and Dior. Browse the finest leather goods and accessories or choose a signature fragrance in the store's famous Salon du Parfums - many are exclusive to Harrods.
The Harrods Food Halls are an essential stop and you'll find an amazing selection of fine tea and coffee, fresh produce, and chocolate. Harrods also offers an excellent range of customer services such as its Gift Concierge service and By Appointment Personal Shopping. Plus, you can pay with most major credit and debit cards or in US dollars, Euros, or China UnionPay cards instead of Pounds if you prefer.
Celebrate the New Year in London
Celebrate the start of 2018 at the capital's annual New Year's Day parade on the 1st of the year. Over 10,000 performers representing London's boroughs and various other countries take part in this massive parade through the streets of central London in January. Over 500,000 spectators come from around the globe to enjoy the festivities as dancers, marching bands, acrobats, and cheerleaders lead a convoy of historic vehicles over the route.
The parade sets off from Green Park underground station on Piccadilly at 12 p.m. and makes its way towards Piccadilly Circus. Colorful giant inflatables float past spectators and confetti and glitter fill the air as the bands and performers turn down Lower Regent Street and along Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square. The parade crosses the famous square under the watchful eyes of its iconic lions and marches down Whitehall to Parliament Square for around 3:30 p.m. Be sure to choose your spot on the route early for the best views.
See the Famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony
If you only have an hour to spare during your stay in London in January, the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace is an excellent way to spend it. The New Guard takes over from the Old Guard at this popular event in front of the Queen's most famous palace. The actual ceremony, which is sometimes referred to as Guard Mounting, starts at 10:45 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and an hour earlier on Sundays. However, the full changeover starts when the Buckingham Palace Old Guard start taking their position on the forecourt at around 10.30 a.m. They are then joined by the St. James's Palace Old Guard.
Once the Old Guard is in position at 10.45 a.m. the New Guard arrives from nearby Wellington Barracks to take over and the process is complete at 11 a.m. The formal handover is set to music and kids will love seeing the bright red tunics and bearskin hats that are traditionally worn by members of the Queen's Guard. The Changing of the Guard is a free event, but it's very popular so do get there early to find a spot with a good view.
Art for Art's Sake in the Heart of London
Contemporary art fans are in for a treat as the London Art Fair returns to the Business Design Centre from the 17th to the 21st of January. The event is the UK's largest contemporary art fair, and it has been a highlight of London in January for over thirty years. You'll have access to some of the best contemporary and modern art from leading British and international galleries and curated sectors like Photo 50 and Art Projects. Photo 50 offers a unique look at contemporary photography and this year's edition, which will be curated by the Hemera Collective, is entitled "Resolution is not the point."
Located next to the main exhibition on Gallery Level 1, Art Projects is now in its 14th edition. The curated showcase concentrates on new contemporary art from around the globe with two-thirds of exhibitors from galleries outside the UK. London Art Fair takes place at the Business Design Centre in Islington's Upper Street.
Discover a London Landmark - The Business Design Centre
Formerly the Royal Agricultural Hall, the Business Design Centre is housed in a Grade II Listed Building that opened in 1862 as a venue for agricultural shows. Once home to the Smithfield Show, an annual event hosted by the Royal Smithfield Club from 1862 to 1938, the Royal Agricultural Hall also presented the first Cruft's Dog Show in 1891. It was the original venue for the Royal Tournament, the largest military tattoo pageant in the world from its inauguration in 1880 until it became too large for the hall and moved to Olympia in the early 1900s.
Today, the Business Design Centre building is an Islington landmark and the venue for the annual London Art Fair. It's home to over 100 businesses and retailers including Barbour, Illy, Samsung, and Oficina Inglesa, and just a two-minute walk from the trendy stores and pubs that line Upper Street and Islington Green. The Business Design Centre is relatively close to hotels such as the Mercure Hotel London Bloomsbury. If you're staying in hotels in another part of London in January, just take the London Underground (Northern Line) to Angel or Highbury & Islington (Victoria Line).
Go on a Camden Crawl
The London Borough of Camden is one of the most vibrant parts of the city and it's a great place to spend some time in if you're visiting London in January for a week or more. Shop at Camden Market and the Stables Market during the day before exploring Camden's pubs and bars. The neighborhood is well-known for live music venues like KoKo, The Roundhouse, the Jazz Cafe, and the Electric Ballroom.
However, Camden's music pubs are just as popular with both locals and visitors. Go on a mini Camden Crawl and you're sure to find some of the best London shows in January. You can experience British punk rock legends at the Dublin Castle in Parkway on 4th January or see tribute band The Jam'd on the 13th. The World's End is opposite Camden Town tube station and it's another popular meeting place for rock fans. Its famous downstairs venue, the Underworld, presents some of the best in contemporary and alternative music in London in January. Go along for Rage and Firewind on the 21st or Miss May I on the 26th. Other great Camden music pubs include the Monarch, the Unicorn, Blues Kitchen, and Barfly, while contemporary art gallery and bar Proud is transformed into a burlesque venue and club after dark.
January's Unmissable Music Events
If you're looking for not-to-be-missed concerts in London in January, there's certainly a lot to choose from. Combining jazz and contemporary music, "A Night of Amy" at the Jazz Café in Camden's Parkway on the 1st of January is sure to be memorable. Amy Winehouse's haunting songs will be performed by a host of talented artists with a full live band. Iconic soul, gospel, jazz and blues singer Mica Paris is at the Hideaway Jazz Club in south London on the 5th, or you can go along to the intimate venue for a night of the music of Charlie Parker on the 11th.
If soul music is your thing, try "A Night of Motown: 59 years on" at the Roof Gardens in Kensington on the 12th - it's sure to be a highlight of your visit to London in January. Indie fans can celebrate all things Morrisey and The Smiths with popular tribute band The Smyths at the O2 Academy Islington on the 6th, and the venue presents "Absolute Bowie: 50 Years of Bowie" on the 13th. Head for Oxford Street and the famous 100 Club for London Blues Week from the 15th on, or visit the iconic address on the 27th for London Calling playing The Clash. Love rock and metal? Grab tickets for US rockers Dr. Feelgood at The Borderline on the 19th and 20th, or see Steel Panther at Shepherd's Bush Empire on the 22nd.
Laugh Away the Winter Chill
Comedy shows in London in January are always a big hit. There's nothing like laughter to make you forget the chilly weather in London in January, so wrap up warmly and venture out for an evening of fun and frivolity. The Ku Bar in London's Leicester Square presents a host of established and up-and-coming talent at regular comedy nights in the heart of the West End. Highlights for London in January include Caroline Maybe on the 15th and Hal Cruttenden on the 22nd. Head around the corner to Shaftesbury Avenue for Comedy Carnival Leicester Square at Bar Rumba. The popular club night is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and you'll enjoy the best of stand-up in a cosy setting.
The Delights of Theaterland
London's West End theatres are legendary and you're just a short walk from some of the most famous when you choose central hotels for your trip to London in January, such as the magnificent Savoy Hotel or the Victory House London Leicester Square MGallery by Sofitel. London theater in January sets the scene for the coming year and outstanding productions like Ivo Van Hove's Hedda Gabbler starring Ruth Wilson at the National Theatre are ideal for lovers of classic drama. If you love musicals, then a visit to a leading London theatre in January is a must. Take the kids to see Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre or plan a couple's night out that includes a fabulous show like Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre. There are lots of terrific theater shows to choose from in London; try the Royal Shakespeare Company's Antony and Cleopatra at the Barbican Theatre or catch Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre.
And Finally...Some Practical Advice
Visitors to London in January should be sure to pack warm clothing and waterproof footwear. British weather is unpredictable. Temperatures can be as mild as 10C or as chilly as 0C during the day, with a drop of around five degrees on some nights. It might snowy in London in January, or it might not. However, rain is certain to be part of the forecasted weather in London in January, so it's worth carrying an umbrella and investing in a good waterproof jacket. Choose sturdy, comfortable footwear for visits to landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, or the Tower of London. Add gloves, scarves and warm sweaters for chillier days, and you'll take the weather in your stride in London in January.