January do’s: The best London events to kick off 2018

If you’re visiting London over the next few weeks, there’s no need to get struck down by the January blues. The capital is gearing up for a celebratory start to the new year, with plenty of exciting events on offer throughout the month. Here’s our pick of the best…

Twelfth Night Celebration at Bankside

Twelfth Night Celebrations at Bankside © Garry Knight/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Twelfth Night Celebrations at Bankside © Garry Knight/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Produced by theatre company the Lions part, this annual Twelfth Night celebration combines a host of traditional Midwinter festivities. Proceedings begin with the arrival of the foliage-strewn Holly Man from the Thames; the winter incarnation of the mythical pagan Green Man. The Bankside Mummers will then toast or ‘wassail’ the crowds beside the Shakespeare’s Globe, before a freestyle performance of their Folk Combat Play on the Bankside Jetty. The evening culminates in a boisterous procession to the medieval George Inn in Southwark, for more drinking, storytelling, mulled wine and merrymaking.

Twelfth Night Celebration, Bankside: Sunday 7th January 2018

London Short Film Festival

London Short Film Festival 2018 – Festival Trailer from London Short Film Festival on Vimeo.

With 2018 marking its 15th anniversary, the London Short Film Festival is now a firmly established date in the city’s cultural calendar. Featuring a mix of dramas, comedies, animations and documentaries, as well as special events and retrospectives, the festival has garnered a reputation for risk-taking and cutting edge creativity over the years. Screenings take place in some of London’s best known cinematic venues, including the ICA, Curzon Soho, BFI Southbank and Rio Cinema in Dalston.

London Short Film Festival, various venues: 12th – 21st January 2018

Lumiere London

Lumiere London © Barney Moss/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Lumiere London © Barney Moss/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Returning for a second edition after its debut outing in 2016, Lumiere London looks set to cement its position as a firm winter favourite in the capital. The magnificent show will present the works of more than 40 local and international contemporary light artists, illuminating the shadowy streets of London over four nights. This year’s programme will see installations across six central areas: King’s Cross, Fitzrovia, the West End, Mayfair, Westminster & Victoria, and the South Bank and Waterloo. Download the app to plan your ideal route.

Lumiere London, central London: 18th – 21st January 2018

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf © Garry Knight/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf © Garry Knight/Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

Equally innovative but on a slightly smaller scale, Winter Lights at Canary Wharf offers an alternative nocturnal experience in a different part of the city. Installations can be found at some of the Wharf’s most prominent locations, including Jubilee Plaza, Cabot Square, Crossrail Place and Westferry Circus, where the trees will be illuminated by Tom Dekyvere’s light sculpture Apparatus Florius, a multicoloured installation that intermingles and grows with the greenery as you watch. Download the programme for a full list and map.

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf: 16th – 27th January

Burns Night in London

Traditional Burns' Night supper © Norman Pogson/Shutterstock

Traditional Burns Night supper © Norman Pogson/ Shutterstock

Join London’s Scots and other revellers in a celebration of the life and work of beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns. Homesick Highlanders and the haggis-curious can find traditional Burns Night suppers across the capital, in venues ranging from cosy whisky bars to high-end restaurants and hotels. Usually featuring a menu of Burns Night classics – neeps and tatties, cock-a-leekie, Aberdeen Angus fillet and a classic raspberry cranachan dessert – the only limit is your appetite. If it’s modest-to-medium, opt for the Burns Week menu at Scottish steakhouse Mac & Wild in Fitzrovia (£40 per person). If it’s on the heartier side, consider the four-course extravaganza at Craft London in North Greenwich, which features five pairings from boutique Scotch whiskymaker Compass Box (£48 per person).

Burns Night in London: 25th January

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About Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.
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