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Your Guide to Dry January in London

Whether you have overindulged during the festive period or are just keen to start 2018 with a health kick, you may well have decided to take up the Dry January challenge. Going for 31 days without alcohol is certainly admirable, but it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun.

There are lots of ways to spend a break in London without letting a drop of alcohol pass your lips. Pick an alternative form of entertainment or order a delicious mocktail that will deliver all the flavour with none of the consequences the morning after.

Not only will you feel the benefits of abstaining from alcohol, but it will open up hidden parts of London you may never have explored if you’d stuck to the same pubs and bars. Dry January is an opportunity in waiting.

Queens Skate, Dine and Bowl

Something of a one-stop shop for all your Dry January entertainment needs, Queens has been open to the public since the 1930s. Tap into this good old-fashioned wholesome fun with a spot of ice skating or some bowling at one of the venue’s 12 lanes. There’s even a retro games arcade, featuring original vintage machines that have been lovingly restored to allow you to play the likes of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Mario Kart until your thumbs go numb.

Electric Cinema

A trip to the cinema is a great way to have fun while not drinking, but there’s one movie theatre in London that offers a really different experience. The Electric Cinema opened in 1910 and was among the first purpose-built picture houses in the country. During its long history, the cinema has undergone various name changes and new directions, but it was returned to its full glory and reopened in 2001.

Now, you can enjoy a film in this Grade II-listed building with the best of modern amenities combined with historic style. Grab a substantial cinema snack and settle into one of the 65 leather armchairs before the movie starts. Each of the seats is complete with a footstool, side table and cashmere blanket, offering a level of sophistication that could not be any more removed from the average multiplex. All you have to do now is pick a feature to watch.

London’s best mocktails

Alcohol-free cocktails are far from boring when you have stunning views of London to accompany them. The bar, lounge and roof terrace at Madison offer incomparable vistas of the city, including being in close proximity to the famous dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. Feel virtuous sipping on a Passionfruit Cooler or a refreshing Cool as a Cucumber mocktail.

Taking part in Dry January need not mean missing out on decadent dining opportunities either, as the virgin cocktail menu at 34 Mayfair exemplifies. At this sumptuous grill restaurant, you can enjoy your steak, seafood or game with a Nordic Lemonade, Blossom Lake or the house special, 34 Virgin Caribbean Cup. The flavours are so perfectly balanced, you won’t miss the alcohol at all.

Exercise classes

One way to get a buzz without the booze is to take part in some exercise. In London, there is no shortage of exercise classes, ranging from the tried and tested to the new trends set to sweep the nation. Try aerial hoop or aerial silk workouts at Flying Fantastic, which help to build core and upper body strength, as well as being a really fun alternative to the treadmill.

If you would prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, then give HulaFit a go. Not only does it burn calories, but helps to improve co-ordination and you certainly won’t be thinking about a glass of wine as you aim to keep that hoop spinning. In just a short class, you can see vast improvements, resulting in a natural high that’s better than any found in a beer glass.

Redemption Notting Hill

Dry January may not be your only New Year’s resolution, so you can tick off several in one go with a visit to Redemption in Notting Hill. Feel particularly saintly at this alcohol-free, sugar-free, wheat-free bar and eatery that is so chic you’ll not miss the temptations of most other venues. With the tagline: “Spoil yourself without spoiling yourself!” you can’t possibly go wrong.

The drinks list is exhaustive, with everything from a Pious Piña Colada to an Activated Charcoal Martini on the cocktail menu. Alternatively, you could go for a natural isotonic Fitbeer or a Bees Knees sparkling wine to quench your thirst. Even your regular coffee can have a superfood makeover, with a latte made with turmeric, black pepper and coconut milk gracing the menu.

Photo credit: YelenaYemchuk via iStock

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