So, the festive season has been and gone. Faces have been stuffed, gifts have been given, and Oxford Street’s famous Christmas lights have been taken down. But while January for many people brings to mind well-intentioned but ultimately doomed gym memberships, cold, wet weather and long winter nights without so much as a mince pie to take the edge off, London remains as vibrant a destination as ever in the first months of the year. Here are just a few of the attractions on offer.
Culture vultures of all stripes, as ever, should get themselves down to the British Museum, one of the world’s foremost collections devoted to human history, art and culture. General admission, as with many of London’s museums, is free – meaning that you can always duck in to escape the January weather (although, be warned, you’ll probably end up staying all day). The ticketed exhibitions, though, are particularly great in January. ‘Celts: Art & Identity’ is the first major exhibition to examine the full history of Celtic art and culture, with items from across Britain and Europe, including the Waterloo helmet and Battersea shield which were dragged up from the bed of the Thames. Museum members and under-16s get in free; adult admission is £16.50. The British Museum is also famous for its Egypt exhibitions, and ‘Faith After the Pharaohs’ takes in twelve centuries of Christian, Islamic and Jewish history from 30BC to 1171AD.
Meanwhile at another of the city’s great institutions, the Natural History Museum, you can check out some of the world’s very best wildlife photography at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit. Here, photographers capture the ferocity, beauty and high spectacle of the natural world and have their work exhibited on beautiful backlit panels, with over 100 of this year’s winning images on display. The exhibit runs until 10th April 2016, and adult tickets cost £13.50. Child and concession tickets are £6.75. Marble Arch by Montcalm’s central London location means that the Natural History Museum is just a stone’s throw away. If visual art is more your thing, head down to the National Gallery for ‘Visions of Paradise: Botticini’s Palmieri Altarpiece’, which is dedicated to the great artist’s Assumption of the Virgin, which has bewildered scholars for centuries.
If you’re missing the warm glow of London’s famous Christmas lights, don’t despair: there are still plenty of phosphorescent delights across the city. Perhaps the most notable comes courtesy of Lumiere London, the capital’s biggest ever light festival. Produced by events company Artichoke and supported by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Lumiere features the work of international artists which transform London’s streets after dark, from King’s Cross to the West End, with 3D projections, interactive installations and other extraordinary light works. There is also the annual winter light display at Canary Wharf, which this year is a wind-powered installation courtesy of Dutch artist Rombout Frieling. The exhibit is designed to represent the wind, and is set against a fleet of ship’s sails floating across Canary Wharf’s Middle Dock.