If you are on a budget, and let’s face it many of have to cut back a little at the start of the year, after all the expense of buying Christmas gifts etc, then London in January is one of the best months to make a visit to our wonderful capital. Not only will you find a multitude of items to buy during the January sales, where you can pick up vastly reduced bargains, but you’ll also be able shop in relative comfort, without the hustle and bustle of last minute Christmas shoppers jostling for any space available. London's top shopping destinations such as Harrods and Selfridges are still resplendent in all their glory, albeit a little quieter after the Christmas rush. So why not enjoy that long awaited stroll through London’s streets and see if you if you can bag yourself a real gem of a bargain?
Now is certainly the time to make the most of London’s quieter areas. Many of the city’s attractions are much easier to gain entry to, and are less busy during January and February, so why not take the time work off that Christmas bulge, get out and about and indulge in a meander around our capital city’s lovely museums. You won’t break the bank at many of these spectacular venues, as many of them have free entry, but you’ll also avoid the usual long queues that you’ll get at other times of the year! A win-win situation!
Take the Natural History museum, The Science Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museums, all based in South Kensington, as prime examples. These superb, ‘hands on’ attractions are fantastic for a day out with the children. They boast a plethora of activities and wonderful displays, although at many times during the year are so popular that that queuing is inevitable. Yet, if you want to see more without feeling squashed like a sardine, then January is the time to go.
January in the Parks
January can be cold in London, so ensure you wrap up warm when you are out and about. Strolling in London’s parks and gardens during the winter brings its own beauty, especially if you combine this with taking refuge in one of London’s very attractive pubs for a hot toddy! Alternatively, London has many heated roof top terraces to enjoy, where you can indulge in a hot chocolate whilst taking in a panoramic view of the city.
There is still time to take in one of London’s temporary ice rinks, as many are still open until the end of January. Canary Wharf’s ice rink is actually open until February, so there is no excuse about losing those extra Christmas pounds!
For a lovely free festival, which takes place between 18 and 21 January, try ‘Lumiere’ London. It’s the UK's biggest light festival, and returns for the third successive year, with more than 40 spectacular installations dotted around the city. International and local artists are invited to create works that light buildings and public spaces, transforming the city’s skyline and changing the way we think and feel about public spaces. During the festival, large areas of the West End, including Oxford Street and Piccadilly are pedestrianised. The festival has attracted more than 1,000,000 visitors to the city in the past, and this year’s extravaganza is likely to be just as successful.
Visit Harry Potter
If you want a day filled with spectacular effects and wizardry, then how about exploring the Harry Potter film studios which have been transformed for winter at Hogwarts in the Snow? Running until 28th January, the magical makeover shows how film-makers create fire, ice and snow that never melts, as you embark on a journey through Hogwarts in the Snow. You’ll witness some of the Harry Potter film series’ most iconic sets decorated for the festive season. The Great Hall will be transformed, decorated as it was for the iconic Yule Ball. Every detail of the Great Hall will be covered in dripping icicles and sparkling snow and the Gryffindor common room will be adorned in all its seasonal splendour. There will be snow-covered Christmas trees, an orchestra of magical instruments. Many of which are painted by the Prop-Making department to match the silver of the Yule Ball.
Catch a last-minute panto
There isn’t much time left so make haste! A few pantos run until the end of January, although to avoid disappointment you will have to book fast! Christmas in London isn’t complete without a traditional panto, and what better place than the West End’s legendary London Palladium to get you into the panto vibe? Don’t miss out on the adventures of Dick Whittington, who is aided and abetted by The Spirit of the Bells, as they combat the dastardly Queen Rat. Amazing sets and costumes really come to life and make this well worth a visit.
Set sail for the London Boat Show
From 10th -14th January the new ‘re-defined and re-imagined’, 5 day London Boat Show celebrates everything you can do on the water. This year’s world-famous show is set to be better than ever. You can spend time with some sailing legends, climb aboard classic boats, modern yachts and pick up the latest marine technology. Bringing inspiration and exclusive deals, the London Boat Show 2018 will be packed with retailers and showcases vessels of all shapes and sizes. Not to be missed!
Visit the London Short Film Festival
From the 12th-21st January why not celebrate the best in UK short film-making talent? The LSFF is an annual event which for several weeks in January, takes over London's best independent cinemas and venues to showcase some great short films. Combine this with a mix of live music and parties and you have a marriage made in heaven!
The London Art Fair
Continuing the culture theme, from the 17th-21st January why not browse or buy, some of London’s contemporary British art? Over the last 30 years, the London Art Fair has given us expert insight into the changing market. The fair invites collectors and visitors to discover works by a range of renowned and up and coming artists.
On the 25th January London gets an excuse to celebrate Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Annual Burns night festivities take place throughout the capital, with Scottish foods including haggis and tatties, a wee dram or two of whisky and everyone’s favourite, the bagpipes! From ceilidhs to a fully- fledged Burns Night meal, there's something which will appeal to everyone.
Celebrate Chinese New Year
Chinatown in London comes alive during the city’s huge Chinese New Year celebrations, which occur each year in either January or February. This year is the year of the Dog, and the event takes place on 18th February. Expect dragons and floats full of exotic colour and noise, along with streets awash with Chinese lanterns, music and dancing, marking the start of the Chinese New Year.
So there you have it- a feast of low cost, often free activities that won’t break the bank during the month when most of us tighten our belts. Visiting London during the winter makes perfect sense, not only to avoid the crowds but also on the accommodation front too! At this time of the year accommodation can be far cheaper than in peak season, which adds to the attraction of a winter break.
If you intend to make an extended stay in the capital, then Euracom’s range of affordable serviced apartments could be what you are looking for. Why pay the huge expense of an impersonal hotel when you can have ‘home from home’ comfort in one of our sumptuous apartments?
Take, for example….Kensington Queens Gate serviced apartments, London SW7
Set within a beautiful Victorian building, these luxurious serviced apartments feature contemporary design elements and 4-star service within a spacious setting. With sleek wooden floors and fully equipped kitchenettes, these apartments retain many of the classic features you’d expect in such historical surroundings, yet are finished to a high standard with modern amenities. Ideal for both business travellers and tourists alike, who are looking for a quality apartment to rent within central London, these apartments start from a very reasonable £185p/n. Close to a wealth of museums, exhibition halls, theatres and London's West End, these apartments make the ideal base as everything is so close to hand. They have great transport access throughout London and there are a wealth of fantastic local attractions nearby, such as the V and A Museum, the National History Museum & the Royal Albert Hall. For ample space, great comfort and fantastic flexibility, these apartments make a good alternative to hotels, saving on average 25% compared to a similar standard hotel.
Or, for a slightly less expensive option why not try…Flats to rent in central London, Spitalfields E1
For a nightly fee of £155p/n, these corporate serviced apartments are located in London’s Spitalfields, Bishopsgate, on the edge of London's famous Square Mile. This lively area is famous for its independent shops, boutiques, restaurants and trendy bars as well it’s most stylish markets. These serviced apartments offer flats to rent, comprising of modern and spacious 1 or 2 bedroomed accommodation that has been finished to a very high standard. They are the perfect flats to rent when working or sightseeing in London. Each offers floor to ceiling windows, contemporary furnishings and a fully equipped kitchen. Some feature an en-suite shower room as well a stylish main bathroom. They offer the guest exceptional value for money. With close transport links throughout the capital, these apartments provide a convenient base to London’s shopping areas and cultural sites like St Pauls Cathedral.
Our final featured apartments this month; the Corporate serviced apartment rentals London, Stratford E15 provide exceptional value at only £93 p/n. With easy access to Central London, Canary Wharf, The O2, other exhibition venues and Westfield shopping centre, these apartments were designed by a top architect to meet the increasing demand for top-quality long-stay accommodation in London without the City price tag. This development consists of 111 high-specification apartments, providing space and comfort to suit every guest's needs. Each apartment offers premium quality fittings and soft furnishings throughout and is equipped with the most up-to-date technology including broadband, wide-screen televisions and high-specification kitchens and bathrooms.
By Another Believer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Zachi Evenor [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons