Welcome to 2017! You made it through one of the strangest and let’s face it, gloomiest years in a long time – but you’re out the other side. It’s time to start fresh and make this year amazing. However, January blues are a real thing and with a belly full of cheese and crackers and a bank account that’s emptier than it’s been in a long time, January is always a hard one for Londoners. Well, for anyone really. But do not fear, there’s also something to do in London. There’s always something to make you feel healthier or simply get you out of the house. Here’s your end of January survival guide…
Free boot camp sessions
When January hits, you’ve drank all the gin and feel like a physical pig in blanket – what else is there to do but sweat it out? Boot camps are the perfect place for it. A lot of them offer a free trial class too – yay! It may seem impossible to do when there’s more ice than green grass outside, but put on an extra pair of socks and get going. Check out British Military Fitness for classes in 37 different locations, Fit for a Princess that’s for women only and Our Parks classes that are always free!
Hot yoga hopper
This much-loved form of yoga is a secret of the stars and is a blessing for sweating away all those Christmas drinks and gaining mindfulness and calm for the beginning of the year. It’s yoga but with heat… 40 degree heat to be precise and with only 40% humidity in the room. Take advantage of studios’ introductory offers and make it cost effective. There are so many located all around London so you can sample until your hearts content – or until you can perfect the downward dog. Some favourites are: Yoga Haven located in Clapham, Richmond and Islington who have a variety of different packages in their January sale and an introductory offer for new students. Hot Yoga Society in London Bridge offer 20 days membership for £35 and Hot Power Yoga which is a bit cooler than other studios (28 – 32 degrees) and have an introductory 30 day membership for just £40.
Sweaty Betty workout classes
Another free fitness class! London really is wanting us to get active. The workout brand offers free in-store classes with certified instructors. They have a class for everyone; from yoga to 80’s aerobics to bootcamp. Get sweaty and treat yourself to some shopping! You can book classes one day in advance and there’s classes at most branches in London. Check out their website to find out where, when and how to get your hands on a spot: http://www.sweatybetty.com/page/fynder/
Magical Lantern Festival
As the Christmas lights have dimmed and pavements are fast becoming Christmas tree grave yards, keep the spirit alive with a Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens. Turns out you don’t have to be a Disney Princess to experience a lantern spectacular! From the 19th January their doors will open for you to ‘Explore the Silk Road’ an adventure through Europe, Egypt, Persia, India and China. Keep an eye peeled for a luminous sculpture of the Houses of Parliament! It runs until 26th February and tickets are priced from £16.50.
House of Minalima
Calling all muggles! An exhibition of works by Minalima (responsible for the design collaboration on Harry Potter as well as the Fantastic Beasts phenomenon) is open and free for you to enjoy – but only until February 4th! Hidden in Soho, in a creaky shack (no, it’s not the Weasley’s house) is the most intimate and interesting exhibition of them all. Crossed with a entrance gift shop and a gallery, this attraction showcases everything from props used in the films, prints of newspaper fronts from all the Potter films and all the memorabilia you cold wish to see. Honestly, it’s 3 stories high and full to the brim. The first floor is dedicated to Fantastic Beasts work whilst stories 2 and 3 is all about Potter. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop on your way out!
Alternative London Tour
Explore more of London, like we always say we will do. Delve into the lively East End and discover all that it has to offer from the experts. Alternative LDN have come together to show you what they love about their area; the graffiti, the sights and everything else in between. The guides are locals who are either involved in the local community or are well known street artists – they are the bible. They offer the tours on a pay-what-you-want basis, so if you think it’s great, then get out those notes. They offer their tours on foot, on bike, tours of pubs (my first choice) and even tours of the local graffiti. Visit http://www.alternativeldn.co.uk/ for more information.
La La Land
One of the hottest and most anticipated movies of the year (albeit we are only 9 days in…) is La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. I had to put this one in, as I am eagerly awaiting it’s release! Not only that, but I am still choosing which of London’s amazing cinema houses to watch it at. Electric Cinema in Portobello with foot stools and leather arm chairs, Picture House Clapham with carefully hand picked beer to accompany my film or maybe Rich Mix Cinema in Shoreditch for a real artist and film lover experience? If it’s as good as the critics are saying, I may just got to them all.
Natural History Museum
Farewell Dippy, the beloved dinosaur has been welcoming visitors to the museum for 120 years. He’s currently being flat-packed to be taken on a 2 year nationwide tour – well, we couldn’t keep him forever could we? His 3 and a half week dismantlement means that Hintze Hall, the famously intricate masterpiece, will be closed to visitors until he has been packed away. We’re all sad to see Dippy leave the capital (after all, he is a capital fellow), but this is a reminder that we shouldn’t take the world-class, and best of all free, museum on our doorstop for granted.
Top Secret Comedy Club
Unfortunately, not so secret anymore! We all need a good laugh in January and this is a perfect night out with friends, date night or even a work night out – comedy is for everyone, after all. As it showcases some new, some unknown and some random stand ups, the tickets are very reasonable! On a Thursday, you can get an adult ticket for just £5, but are only £10 on other nights too. There’s a bar selling reasonable drinks and easy, central location – what more do you need?
One New Change
The frost is out and London has never looked so pretty than in Winter time, so why not look at our City from a brand new angle? One New Change is a beautiful shopping centre with an even better view. Bypass the shops (well, try…) and head to the glass elevator and ride it all the way to the top. There is the most perfect view of St Pauls – like you’re stood on top of it. Look to your left and London is open before your eyes. It’s a secret London spot.