5 reasons to plan a trip to London this January
After all the excitement of Christmas and New Year, January can feel a bit underwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Plan a trip to London and experience some of the most spectacular events of the year. From Burns’ Night suppers to the aerial acts at Cirque du Soleil, you won’t be disappointed.
Some of the world’s finest light artists have created installations for this year’s Lumiere festival at venues across the capital. From the West End to Trafalgar Square, London acts as a canvas for the visions of more than 40 global creators.
Highlights are set to include French artist Patrice Warrener’s takeover of the Great West Gate at Westminster Cathedral and an ivy-inspired installation by Simon Cordor on a building in Mayfair. Even the National Theatre, which is known for its brutalist architecture, will be transformed by German visionary Ulf Langheinrich, as he lights up the Fly Tower.
Lumiere runs for four days from 18 January.
Robert Burns may be a big name north of the border, but the poet’s birthday does not go unmarked in London. The perfect excuse to eat haggis, drink whisky and have a good old knees-up means you’ve got your pick of places to discover your inner Scot in the capital.
Bread Street Kitchen is pairing each of its five courses with a malt whisky for the occasion, while 1 Lombard Street is going very traditional. As well as the classic cock-a-leekie, haggis, neeps and tatties, and cranachan, there will be a bagpipe player on hand and the full haggis address.
If you don’t feel like going for the whole Burns supper, but would still like to mark the poet’s birthday, head along to Bertie’s Bar at the hotel and indulge in a wee dram of whisky. Alternatively, you could have one expertly mixed into a cocktail. The Mary Peaty is made with 16-year-old Lagavulin, while the Islay Slammer features a splendid drop of Jura.
Burns Night is 25 January, which this year is a Thursday.
LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL
There are hundreds of film screenings to choose from at the annual London Short Film Festival, which is returning to the capital for its 15th year. Spread across seven locations, the event has built up a reputation for its avant-garde and challenging offerings. Topics explored in this year’s programme include everything from Brexit to the thin line between risk and freedom.
One of the standout features of the 2018 event is a look back at the best screenings from the festival’s history. Also not to be missed is a triple-bill premiere of the films specially commissioned by the With Teeth fund, which presents moving image artists with the means to create new material.
Catch a screening between 12 and 21 January.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
Cirque du Soleil returns to the Royal Albert Hall this January with a brand-new show that has never been seen before in the UK. OVO looks to the undergrowth for a tale about the critters that live there, but it also takes to the air with characteristic aerial displays and plenty of awe-inspiring moments.
The action revolves around the story of a ladybird that falls in love with the new fly in town, but the insect has arrived with a mysterious egg, which has wide-reaching implications for the whole community. It’s colourful, clever and totally mesmerising.
OVO starts on 7 January and you can make a real event of it with the Royal Garden Hotel Cirque du Soleil package.
RHYTHM AND REACTION: THE AGE OF JAZZ IN BRITAIN
Jazz was the musical phenomenon that swept Britain in the wake of the First World War and is still popular to this day. To mark 100 years since it came to these shores, the impressive neo-gothic mansion that is Two Temple Place is hosting a special exhibition dedicated to jazz and the culture that has surrounded it for a century.
Head down to the venue on the Victoria Embankment to see paintings, cartoons, textiles, ceramics, films and instruments, as well as recordings of that distinctive jazz sound. Among the first jazz groups to be heard by British audiences were the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, who visited from the US. They would have a profound influence on British culture, one that is fascinating to explore to this day.
Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain opens on 27 January.
Photo credit: GeoffGoldswain via iStock