The best things to do out and about in January around the UK

Posted by
Harriet Hall
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January again: broke, cold, drizzly, dry, diets, a gym membership that will go unused for most of the year, and a sun that never seems to rise. 

If these are the thoughts that go through your mind when you think of the first month of the year: shame on you. 

As well as new diaries, new Christmas clothes and a chance of renewal, January has a lot going on. So, this month, instead of being a misery guts and staying indoors until Spring has sprung, why not go out and about and enjoy one of several exciting events that are going on. 

From spectacular light festivals to spoken word poetry and knitting extravaganzas, there's a tonne of fun to be had - and we've rounded it up in a nice little list, just for you. 

Get booking.

Crafts: Get your knit on with Wool and the Gang

London, 11 January

Whether you’re a seasoned knitter, shipping out fisherman jumpers for the whole family, or a complete novice in search of a new mindful hobby, this is the event for you. Knitting aficionados, Wool and the Gang, will be hosting a knitting night on the Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop terrace. All materials, needles and patterns will be provided. Get ready to stitch ‘n’ bitch.

£30 earlybird, £35 on the night, Queen of Hoxton, London. Get tickets here

Theatre: Escape into a fairy tale with the Scottish Ballet

Glasgow, 12-16 January

Discover the world of Cinderella in the European premiere of Christopher Hampson’s sparkling ballet, based on the classic fairy tale. Acclaimed designer Tracy Grant Lord’s luxurious costumes and extravagant sets create a glittering fantasy world peopled with characters that are touching, funny and authentic. Accompanied by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, performing Prokofiev’s powerful score, this is a ravishing interpretation of the ultimate rags-to-riches romance.

£10-£34, Theatre Royal Glasgow. Get tickets here. 

Art: Celebrate female art at the Saatchi Gallery

London, 13 January- 6 March

On 13 January, London’s Saatchi gallery will be launching their first-ever all-woman exhibition, to celebrate the gallery’s 30th anniversary. Champagne Life will celebrate a range of diverse female artists including Jenny Saville, Tracey Emin and Marie Angeletti, whilst addressing the idea of the art world’s glass ceiling. To celebrate the opening, the gallery will be hosting a screening of  Mirrors to Windows: The Artist as Woman and Director’s Q&A with  Emmy Peabody and award-winning filmmaker Susan Steinberg.

Free. The Saatchi Gallery, London. Get tickets here

Theatre: Reframe your views on love and violence at the Lowry

Manchester, 13-14 January

Based on verbatim stories from all rungs of the social ladder, And then You Kissed Me is a new play about domestic violence. It explores the way in which sexual chemistry and a need for love and care can become toxic. The relationship experiences of several characters are interwoven to illustrate how one choice can define us all.  

£12. The Lowry, Manchester. Get tickets here.

Art: Enlighten yourself with Lumiere London

London, 14-17 January

This month, London will become home to the capital’s biggest-ever light festival. From 6.30-10.30pm on 14-17 January, the city’s iconic landmarks will be illuminated by a series of magical light installations. The Lumiere light festival will include a tropical light garden in Leicester Square, a ‘painted’ Westminster Abbey and light graffiti in King's Cross, transforming the city’s streets into a spectacular art gallery. All installations are free to view, and Lumiere London has provided suggested walking routes, to best see the works. You can even stop-off for some nosh and tipple, en route. Bye bye miserable Jan.

Free. Various London locations. More info here.

Art: Get lost in creativity at the London Art Fair

London, 20 January 

Running for the 28th year, the London Art Fair returns to Islington’s Business Design Centre (also home to Stylist Live), this January. Celebrating British artists, the fair this year will be partnered with Hastings’ Jerwood Gallery, and will display works in an exhibition entitled Coast, by artists including Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and John Piper. The fair will also see a display of photographic works, entitled Photo50, selected to loosely relate to Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 film, Masculin Féminin. This will explore the dynamics of male and female interactions.

From £15, The Business Design Centre, London. Get tickets here.

Art: Be at one with nature at the Painting the Modern garden exhibition

London, 30 January - 20 April

The Royal Academy’s first major exhibition of the year, Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, opens to the public on 20 January and will examine the role gardens played in the work of mid-nineteenth-century to early twentieth-century artists. The period covers the movements including Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the Avant-Garde, bringing together over 120 works by artists including Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Gistav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky. A fresh start to 2016. 

£16, The Royal Academy of Art, London. Pre-book tickets here.

Music: Feel the beat at Music North West

Manchester, 22-19 January

If you haven’t discovered the richness and diversity of the North West’s music scene, now’s your chance. This 8-day, 30-event festival is the largest, most intense focus on new music in Manchester, with over 50 new works performed at venues across the city. Expect electronics, opera, orchestras, folk, pop – sometimes separate, sometimes combined.

Prices and venues vary. Get tickets here.

Science: Regress to a childlike state with Astronights

London, 23 January

Were you ever jealous of those kids who got to sleepover at the Science Museum on school trips? Banish those thoughts. Astronights is an adult sleepover at the museum on 23rd January and 4th March. The event includes the opportunity to explore the museum’s galleries by torchlight, enjoy the current Cosmonauts and Gathered Leaves exhibitions, enjoy workshops, behind-the-scenes access and an opportunity to be a curator for the night. The event includes a drink, three-course meal and a hot breakfast the next morning. Book early as demand will be high.

£180, The Science Museum, London, Get tickets here.

Travel: Explore the world with the Adventure Travel Show

London, 23 January

If you’ve got wanderlust, this is the event for you. Now in its 20th year, the Adventure Travel Show at the Olympia London brings together the biggest collection of adventure travel companies in one place. There will be over 100 free talks and seminars, where visitors can learn how to discover hidden gems, take beautiful travel photographs, and pen the perfect travel piece. Booking highly recommended.

From £8, Olympia London, Get tickets here.

Poetry: Squeeze in a few stanzas at The Book Club

London, 27 January

From slam poetry to storytelling, That’s What She Said is The Book Club’s night of spoken word written and performed by women. From 7-10pm write, perform or simply listen. You can sign up for open mic on the night, but booking a space in advance is recommended. Email to do so.

£6.47, The Book Club, London. Get tickets here.

Art: See the pages come to life at the Museum of Innocence

London, 27 January - 3 April

This month, Somerset House will collaborate with author, Orhan Pamuk, to create a physical manifestation of his novel, The Museum of Innocence. The display will tell the story of engaged wealthy socialite Kemal Bey and his obsessive love for his distant cousin, through a series of significant items, interwoven with film by director, Grant Gee. By walking through the collection, visitors will become acquainted with the couple’s ill-fated romance and be able to put-together the story in their minds, as if they themselves are the author. The display brings to mind the important of commonplace objects and the meaning imbued within them by all of us.

Free. 27 January- 3 Arpil, Somerset House, London. Get tickets here

Music: Dance like a mole at the Vault Festival

London, 27 January - 6 March

Thought waterloo was just a station? Think again. On 27th Jan Vault festival will fill the labyrinthine vaults beneath the station with something for everyone, from theatre performances to stand-up comedy, workshops, pop-up restaurants, and family events. Themes covered include gender, mental health and conflict. Every night of the festival will host a late-night clubbing event so you can dance into the wee hours.

27 January - 6 March, Waterloo Station, London. Get tickets here

Design: Become a culinary expert at Friday Late

London, 29 January

Held on the last Friday of every month, the V&A’s Friday Lates present a curated programme of live performances, late-night exhibition openings, special instalments, talks and installations, set to a background of DJs and accompanied by food and drink. On Friday 29 January, Spoon, Knife, Fork, will investigate the way we approach and consume food. Foodies can discover fascinating facts from space consumption to the history of cutlery, and how to make coca cola. We’ll see you there.

Free. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Literature: Fall for Mr Darcy with Austentatious

Brighton, 29-30 January

One of the most talked-about shows on the UK comedy scene, this comedy play is spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen – and based entirely on audience suggestions. After the show’s run in Edinburgh, The Guardian described it as “one of the most enjoyable shows on the fringe”, while The Scotsman’s critic said it was “supersmart and terrifically funny”. Catch it while you can.

£14, The Old Market, Hove. Get tickets here.

Words: London events- Harriet Hall, all others - Moya Crockett