London Short Film Festival

January 6-15

Hundreds of shorts are being shown at different cinemas all across London as part of the Ninth London Short Film Festival, so get online and see what jumps out at you. Some of the shorts are dark; some are funny; some focus on femme fatales; others are deliberately abstract and a bit messed-up; and others focus on peculiarly striking landscapes. 

Various cinemas around London

London Bike Show

January 12-15

A three-day show at the ExCel Centre offers access to some of cycling’s top stars, the chance to try out the latest bikes and watch live demonstrations including Europe’s No 1 mountain bike freestyle team.

Get advice from experts, shop for bike parts and accessories, or Europe’s No 1 mountain bike freestyle team try out bike polo on a specially constructed taster pitch.

ExCel London, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL
Tickets £16 – £20
Tube: Canning Town

London Ice Sculpting Festival

January 13-14

Eight teams of ice sculptors from around the world compete to impress you with their frozen artwork. The sculptors have two days to complete their offerings before the winner is announced on Saturday at 4pm. Watch the speed sculpting competition on Saturday afternoon from 2.30pm to 4pm. 

Montgomery Square, Canada Square Park and Jubilee Place Shopping Mall (Canary Wharf)
Tube: Canary Wharf 

Burns Night

January 25

Burns Night is an annual celebration of Scottish poet and national hero, Robert Burns. On January 25, Scots gather for a Burns Supper which traditionally involves bagpipes and haggis. If you want to experience the fun for yourself, here’s a list of London venues that will be putting on events or serving special menus.

66 Trafalgar Square, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DS 
020 7930 0066

The Avalon
16 Balham Hill, London SW12 9EB
020 8675 8613

13-15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX
020 7730 6922

The Cadogan Arms
298 King’s Road, SW3 5UG
T: 020 7352 6500

My Dining Room
18 Farm Lane, SW6 1PP
020 7381 3331

Chinese New Year

January 23

Chinese New Year is a big deal for London’s Chinese community and the capital will be thronged with more than 300,000 people.

The date is calculated using the lunar and solar calendar and therefore varies each year, falling on  January 23 in 2012.

Actual celebrations for Chinese New Year take place on January 29.

A colourful parade featuring costume and dance begins at 10am and passes through Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and Rupert Street on its way to Trafalgar Square where the main festivities take place.

Mime Festival

January 11-29

This is theatre at its most unusual. The Mime Festival features some of the most inventive physical theatre around including puppetry and acrobatics.

Venues across London

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Royal Academy, London

21 January – 9 April

Featuring vivid paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, these large-scale works have been created especially for the galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts and will include a display of Hockney’s iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using 18 cameras, which will be displayed on multiple screens. 

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London W1J 0BD
Tube: Piccadilly  Circus, Green Park    

Death Festival

January 27-30

Confronting an inevitable but rarely-discussed reality, The Death Festival at Southbank Centre explores death and the way we remember the dead through a variety of free and ticketed events, approaching the subject in both a respectful and light-hearted manner through installations, talks, debates, performances and live music.

Southbank Centre
Tube: Waterloo

Damien Hirst, The Complete Spot Paintings

January 12 – February 18

Check out more than 300 of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, ranging from a single spot on a canvas to his more recent works which feature several thousand.

Gagosian Britannia St, 6-24 Britannia St, WC1X 9JD 
Tube: Kings’ Cross

Cirque du Soleil, Totem

January 5 – February 5

Cirque du Soleil’s serves up its usual spectacular of costume, acrobatics and stunts. Totem is based on the founding myths of different cultures.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP  
Tube: South Kensington