What's on in January 2020: uplifting things to do in London

Natasha Afxentiou

2 January 2020

With the festive celebrations over and work emails threatening to ruin your holiday calm, start the year strong this January with our delightful guide on the best cultural events in the capital

2 January 2020 | Natasha Afxentiou

Picasso and Paper at The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

The Royal Academy of Arts is displaying more than 300 works from across Picasso’s prolific 80-year career with a focus on the artist's use of paper. In a celebration of how the artist imaginatively used the medium, the exhibition showcases collages, drawings and sculptures with a variety of papers. Highlights include Self Portrait, a drawing using pencil and charcoal on wove paper; and Femmes à leur toilette, a collage of papers which has not been exhibited in the UK for 50 years. 

Pablo Picasso, Femmes à leur toilette, Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Adrien Didierjean, © Succession Picasso/DACS 2019

Date: From 25 January 2020 Time: 10am-6pm daily, 10am-10pm Fridays Price: From £18 Location: Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD Closest Station: Piccadilly Circus 

Website: royalacademy.org.uk 

Cirque du Soleil at The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington 

This month, Cirque du Soleil’s dazzling extravaganza, LUZIA, is coming to Europe for the first time at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Step into a dream as the surrealistic show transports you to an imaginary Mexico where mesmerising acrobatic performances, visual surprises and displays of light and rain abound. LUZIA combines both traditional and modern places, faces and sounds of Mexico to bring sunny cheer to any glum January day. 

Date: From Sunday 12 January 2020 to Sunday 1 March 2020 Time: 11am, 3pm, 3.30pm, 7.30pm, 8pm Price: From £33.75 Location: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP Closest Station: South Kensington 

Website: royalalberthall.com 

Wellness Events at Carousel,  Marylebone 

Carousel is an innovative and stylish polymath of a building in the heart of Marylebone, which hosts an ever-changing programme of workshops, performances and menus. January's uplifting calendar of events includes pasta or terrarium making, calligraphy and wildlife drawing, while the restaurant's roster of international chefs includes Barcelona's Pablo Lagrange and South Korea's Suhyung Lee. A new sister site in Covent Garden is hosting an R&R pop-up from 8-11 January, with feel-good workshops, talks and masterclasses. 

Read More: Dine Ahead of the Curve at Carousel 

Location: 71 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 8AB Closest Station: Baker Street

Website: carousel-london.com

Vault Festival, Waterloo 

Vault Festival, London’s boldest arts and entertainment festival, is returning for its eighth year and is the UK's fastest-growing arts festival. Enjoy eight weeks of immersive experiences, theatre, comedy, late-night parties, live performances and cabaret in 18 spaces across Waterloo and the South Bank where works by new and established artists can be enjoyed. Global stories and key conversations focusing on diversity are at the heart of the event, and Child.org’s Team Mum Campaign will also be supported.  

Date: Tuesday 28 January to Sunday 22 March 2020 Time: Tuesday to Sunday times vary Price: Prices vary, ticketed events from £5 Location: Various Locations, see website for details Closest Station: Waterloo 

Website: Vaultfestival.com

Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights, Canary Wharf  

Canary Wharf, London's futuristic district, will be illuminated with enchanting light installations during the sixth annual Winter Lights Festival which is returning this January. Combining art and technology, more than 25 artworks are installed throughout Canary Wharf to delight your senses. New installations such as Squiggle by Angus Muir comprised of 450 metres of digital neon tubing, and Ditto by Ithaca, a column of light which swirls above and below visitors accompanied by sound will be featured alongside returning favourites from previous years. You can also quench your thirst and satisfy your appetite during your visit at the various food trucks offering a diverse range of cuisines in Cabot Square, Montgomery Square and Crossrail Place. 

Date: Thursday 16 January to Saturday 25 January 2020 Time: 4pm-10pm daily Price: Free Location: Throughout Canary Wharf estate Closest Station: Canary Wharf 

Website: canarywharf.com 

Wolf & Badger Wellness Month, King’s Cross

After a busy and indulgent festive period, January is the perfect time to pay extra attention to wellness. With this in mind, Wolf & Badger is hosting a Wellness Month in the Coal Drops Yard flagship, offering various classes, treatments and workshops from a curated range of brands. From a Natura Face Mask Workshop and an Exhale Pilates London class, to a Frank's Remedies Healing Facial, the events promise to be relaxing, rejuvenating and revitalising ways to start the new year. A variety of beauty and activewear products will also be available in the wellness pop-up shop. 

Date: 6 January to 31 January 2020 Time: Treatments, workshops and classes are held  between 11am and 6pm Price: Prices vary with some events free of charge, reserve your place for each event via website Location: Wolf & Badger, Coal Drops Yard King's Cross, London, N1C 4DQ Closest Station: King’s Cross 

Website: eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellness-month-at-wolf-badger-tickets-84742102911 

London Art Fair, Islington 

Browse and buy paintings, sculptures, photographs and ceramics galore at the London Art Fair in Islington’s Business Design Centre this January, which unites 100 galleries from around the world. Museum-quality Modern British art is presented alongside contemporary work from today’s leading artists, covering the period from the early 20th century to the present day. Alongside the main Fair, you’ll also find two curated sections focusing on emerging artists and contemporary photography: Art Projects and Photo50.

London Art Fair 2019 

Date: 22 January to 26 January 2020 Time: Varies Price: From £17 Location: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH Closest Station: Angel 

Website: businessdesigncentre.co.uk