It’s official, Blue Monday is done, hump day has been and gone and London is gearing up for the weekend. Preparing to ring in the year of the rat - symbolic of wealth and surplus - it’s only right that this week’s roundup is brimming with fun-filled ideas for you and yours.
Sample a hot G&T
This is not a drill people! Sipsmith’s Hot Gin Roof is back in town and searching for the city’s most dedicated gin enthusiasts. Cosy up on Ham Yard’s exclusive rooftop terrace with a cocktail in hand and cheers to the weekend. In search of a new signature drink? Try the Iced Clover Club cocktail, garnished with a flaming kumquat. Feeling extra? Then the Temperance Punch served straight from a cauldron on the BBQ is right up your street. Tickets are £20 per person and include a complimentary hot G&T, followed by a cocktail of your choice.
WHEN: 24 - 29 January
WHERE: Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
For more information visit: firmdalehotels.com
Explore the illuminated wonderland of Lightopia
Lose yourself in the bright lights of the big city at this interactive festival. Upon arrival, visitors are presented with illuminated badges detailed with the Chinese symbol of light, enabling them to navigate the vibrant metropolis of Lightopia. Featuring acrobats, musicians, 3D projection and 47 different installations - including the Tree of Light centrepiece and a field of 70,000 flickering roses - make light of the weekend at this one-of-a-kind event.
WHEN: 22 January - 1 March
WHERE: Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Ln, Chiswick, London W4 2RP
For more information visit: lightopiafestival.com
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Afternoon tea with a Chinese New Year twist
If Chinese food and Afternoon Tea seems a confusing fusion, then there's no option but to take a trip to the TING at the Shangri-La Hotel in London to try it for yourself. It turns out, not only are there incredible views over the whole of the capital through the stunning decor of Chinese dragons and bright-red lanterns, the food is delish. From sesame, yuzu and lemon choux buns to smoked salmon and wasabi sandwiches, the Asian influence is subtle and intriguing. And if you like a bit of tradition there's no need to worry - the all-important scones, jam and clotted cream are on the menu too. All washed down with a glass of champagne. Traditional Afternoon Tea with an Asian Twist is priced at £59 per person, and available until the end of the month.
WHEN: January 2020
WHERE: Shangri-La Hotel, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9QU London
For more information visit: ting-shangri-la.com
Support The #Australiaisburning Fundraising Initiative
That’s right, you can finally justify your borderline unhealthy coffee addiction! In lieu of Australia Day, PAUL’s Bakery is sending 100% of revenue made from all hot drinks to the Australia Bushfire appeal. Stop by any of PAUL’s 37 stores across the UK for your morning cuppa with a difference - we’ll take a guilt-free cappuccino please.
WHEN: Friday 24 January
WHERE: PAUL Bakery nationwide
For more information visit: paul-uk.com
Calm your mind in a breathwork session
With wellness firmly in the spotlight this month, Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London, is hosting a series of events designed to help you reset, kickstart and embrace 2020. The events, in association with Breathpod and OTO CBD, begin with a CBD shot before leading into a 60-minute high intensity breathwork session. Guided by Breathpod founder Stuart Sandeman, the sessions are set to a special soundtrack of vibrational sounds to deepen and elevate your experience. You will be encouraged to let go of negative habits, stresses and anxieties and move into a higher state of learning, developing, self-awareness, growth and flow - an experience amplified by the power of the hottest new ingredient CBD. After the session, guests will be treated to two of Blakes feel-good cocktails. Tickets cost £35.
WHEN: Friday 24th January, 7:30pm to 9pm
WHERE: 33 Roland Gardens, South Kensington, London SW7 3PF
To book a ticket, visit otherness.co
Celebrate Chinese New Year
Ring in the Chinese New Year at this lunar parade. A haze of acrobats, musicians, dancers and hand-crafted floats, this free event kicks off in Charing Cross, weaving through Shaftesbury Avenue before winding down in Chinatown. Showcasing the largest collection of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe, this fun-filled party lives up to the hype.
WHEN: Sunday 26 January
WHERE: Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0AW
For more information visit: chinatown.co.uk
Get some major fashion inspo at The Mary Quant Exhibition
Throwing it back to the swinging 60s, the V&A’s Mary Quant exhibition provides major fashion inspo with A-line mini skirts, hot pants and coloured tights among the 200 garments on display. Including unseen pieces from Quant’s personal archive, find out how this daring designer won over the British high street.
WHEN: 6 April 2019 - 16 February 2020
WHERE: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
For more information visit: www.vam.ac.uk
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Have a Greek vegan feast for just £9.95
Not just in the shadow of Tower Bridge, but actually built into the wall of the iconic London monument, the newly-opened The Real Greek restaurant in Southwark is a fantastic new dining spot. Intimate, yet much bigger than it looks from the outside, this fabulously-located spot is a must-visit restaurant, and if you're quick and get in before the end of Jan you can make the most of a fantastic Veganuary deal - 4 dishes for less than £10. In fact, whenever you visit, vegans or vegetarians have an amazing array of food on offer - from vegan meatballs and jackfruit stifado, to vegan vanilla ice cream! And for the meat-lovers among you, don't miss out on the moussaka and the lamb cutlets. If you close your eyes and ignore the subzero temperatures outside, you could almost be in a little taverna on Mykonos....
WHEN: January 2020
WHERE: Duchess Walk, Bridgemaster’s House, Tower Bridge London SE1 2UP
For more information visit: therealgreek.com
Catch a must-see show in the West End
If your New Year's Resolution was to be more 'cultured' then head over to Buyagift. The gifting website will make your goal so much easier to achieve thanks to the range of theatre experiences online. From electrifying Tina – The Tina Turner Musical to children's classics like Matilda, to some of the hottest tickets in town, there's something for everyone in the West End. Simply pick from a range of different experiences, buy your voucher online and then book in your theatre date and seats for yourself and a loved one. What's more, there's a range of price options available to suit your budget, the booking process is so easy! And if you decide you don't want to see that particular show, you can always swap the voucher for another experience. Simple and stress-free!
WHEN: Vouchers valid for ten months
WHERE: Various locations in the West End
To buy your voucher online visit buyagift.co.uk
Beat the January blues with this shopping trip
In an effort to lift moods around the country, colour psychologists, light artists and designers have come together to create a new Light House Experience using colour combinations proven to make visitors feel happier, calmer or more energised. The Happy, Calm and Energise houses are free to visit in 12 intu shopping centres nationwide throughout 2020.
WHEN: January 2020
WHERE: intu shopping centres nationwide
Visit here for more information intu.co.uk/light-house
Get delicious food sent straight to your home
DabbaDrop is the first plastic and emissions-free takeaway delivery service, which has been founded by two (female) friends. Serving deliciously wholesome vegan curries, DabbaDrop delivers in stainless-steel tiffin boxes and on pushbikes inspired by the Indian Dabbawalla lunch delivery system. What's not to love?
WHEN: January 2020
WHERE: Across London
Take a look here, dabbadrop.co.uk/
Soak up the live music at Eastcheap Records
So you may have heard of Northcote Records and Venn St. Records, but did you know their little (or not so little) sister Eastcheap Records has just opened in the City? If you're looking for a guaranteed good night out (and want to go big), head to the Monument venue – the first ever 'Records' bar in this part of town that is quickly making a name for itself thanks to its happy hour cocktails, insane pizzas and sharing platters and infectious live music. If you can't wait to see the back of dry January, or January for that matter, head to Eastcheap Records for a buzzing Friday night. There are crowds aplenty and the dance floor will be packed, especially when the band gets going at 10pm. Before you throw some shapes though, fuel up on 2-4-1 cocktails from the very extensive cocktail list, and order a selection of bar snacks. The mac 'n' cheese nuggets, the buttermilk chicken tenders (coated in sriracha mayo or china town sauce) and the short rib nuggets are all must-haves. Snacks have never tasted so good.
WHEN: Open now, closed Sundays
WHERE: 20 Eastcheap, Billingsgate, London EC3M 1EB
To book a table visit eastcheaprecords.com
Embrace Veganuary in new all-vegan site Palm Greens
Did you jump on the Veganuary bandwagon this month, or pledge to eat less meat in your diet? Then you'll want to check out Palm Greens, a new all-vegan site that's just opened in King's Cross. Making everything from scratch, the casual eatery serves up plant-based breakfasts and lunches. Think big nutritious bowls and colourful salads. There's the Kale Caesar salad, the Mexican Tostada and the Miso Mushroom, as well as Miso Soup and snacks such as Ginger curry leaf cashews and Tamari seeds. Prepare to feel ultra-wholesome.
WHEN: Open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm
WHERE: Unit S2, King's Cross Square, Euston Road, London N1C 4DE
To see the menu visit palmgreens.co.uk
Celebrate Burns Night at The Sun
In celebration of Burns Night on Saturday 25th January, East London cocktail bar, The Sun Tavern is honouring everything great about Scotland with a special collaboration alongside Craigellachie Whisky. For a day of unmissable events, the teams are joining forces to bring guests all the Scottish classics, including a daytime Craigellachie whisky tasting experience, a Scotch cocktail menu from Iain McPherson of Edinburgh’s famous Panda & Sons and free haggis balls from the legendary Deeney’s, ready to raise a glass to the National Bard himself.
WHEN: Saturday 25th January
WHERE: The Sun Tavern, 441 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AN
Make the most of Dry January at Shaman
No alcohol doesn’t mean no fun - so we tried Shaman in the city for some virgin cocktails and delicious food, and we definitely will be visiting in February too! Located beneath Leman Locke's spiralling pink staircase, it serves up a range of fresh juices, low/no ABV drinks and locally roasted Assembly coffee - plus a variety of healthy grab & go foods to match. The monthly changing menu is 80% vegetarian, with many vegan and gluten-free options - each approved by nutritionist Olga Hamilton.
WHEN: Open now
WHERE: 15 Leman Street, London E1 8EN
Raise a (virgin) toast at TYLD
This Dry January, the Flatmates at The Little Yellow Door will be bringing plants to the party with Three Spirit, creating a specialty low-no ABV cocktail menu which guests can enjoy throughout the month of January. The offerings include Eat Pray Love with Three Spirit Social Elixir, lemon juice and egg white; Night Cap, with Three Spirit Nightcap, Apricot juice, maple syrup; and Livener, with Three Spirit Livener, Apple Juice, Pineapple, Spinach, Cucumber, and Mint. Delicious - AND we promise zero hangover!
WHEN: Month of January
WHERE: The Little Yellow Door, 6-8 All Saints Road
Enjoy an R&B bottomless brunch
100 Wardour St's Bottomless Sunday brunch is fast becoming a very popular choice for Londoners who love a party brunch, and this weekend, it’s home to DJ Trevor Nelson spinning the best hip hop and R&B hits of the 90's. We may have just reached the year 2020, but why not throw it back a few decades?
WHEN: Sunday 26th January,
WHERE: 100 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 0TN