Hogwarts in the Snow
While you aren’t guaranteed snow in London during the winter you can see some magical snow at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. This is where the Harry Potter movies were filmed and Hogwarts in the Snow is the annual event where the rooms are decorated for Christmas, and the huge Hogwarts castle model is covered in snow.
On until 29 January 2017, you can see the Great Hall tables laid for a festive feast, and real Christmas cards the children in the films made and sent to each other. And when you head outside to see the triple decker Knight bus it really snows!
I’ve visited this winter and loved it. You must book in advance as there’s always limited availability.
London Art Fair
The 29th London Art Fair marks the beginning of the art world year, featuring museum-quality Modern British art alongside contemporary work from today’s leading artists. It’s on from 18 to 22 January 2017 at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
The contemporary artworks cover the period from the early 20th century to the present day, and the Fair features over one hundred carefully selected galleries from the UK and overseas.
Emerging artists are also featured alongside contemporary photography. The Fair is great for collectors but also for art enthusiasts as there is a programme of talks and interactive events running throughout the week.
Cirque du Soleil has been wowing London audiences with jaw-dropping and daring circus shows at the Royal Albert Hall since 1996. Following the success of the 2016 premiere, Cirque du Soleil – Amaluna is returning to the Royal Albert Hall from 12 January to 26 February 2017.
The show is over 2 hours long and tells the tale of castaway romance and the obstacles that true love presents, filled with spectacular performances.
The production is a celebration of love and a tribute to the work and voice of women, with female performers making up the band and the majority of the cast.
Leighton House Museum has the Flaming June: The Making of an Icon exhibition on until 2 April 2017. This stunning painting has returned to the artist’s home for this short visit from the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico.
Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896), was one of the pre-eminent artists of his day. President of the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1896, he achieved great fame and influence as a figurehead for art in late Victorian society.
You can stand in Leighton’s studio where the painting was created and see further works submitted by Leighton to the Academy in 1895.
Leighton was already unwell with the heart condition that would kill him at the time he made this last Academy submission. The assembled pictures represent his last statement as an artist and allow a reappraisal of his achievements.
The Kite Runner
Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international best-selling novel, The Kite Runner is on at Wyndham’s Theatre until 11 March 2017.
It’s a beautiful afternoon in Kabul and everybody is enjoying a kite flying tournament. But when a terrible incident takes place two childhood friends are torn apart and Afghanistan plunges into of war.
This stage production tells the powerful story of a friendship which spans cultures and continents, and allows one man to confront his past and find redemption.
Joyce El-Khoury, Ekaterina Bakanova and Corinne Winters lead three excellent casts in Richard Eyre’s much-loved production of Verdi’s most famous opera. La Traviata is on at the Royal Opera House from 16 January to 1 February 2017.
Richard Eyre’s classic production conveys the indulgent social whirl of 19th-century Paris, and provides a vivid setting for Verdi’s emotional score. The role of courtesan Violetta (the ‘fallen woman’ of the title) is one of Verdi’s most complex and enduring characters – and one of his most beloved.
The basic story is: Alfredo and Violetta fall in love, but Alfredo’s father, Giorgio, disapproves. Giorgio convinces Violetta to leave Alfredo, yet he doesn’t know that Violetta is very ill. Alfredo is distraught and doesn’t understand why she’s left him, but on her deathbed Giorgio tells Alfredo what he did and Alfredo can be with Violetta as she dies.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is on 28 January but in London we have the celebrations on Sunday 29 January 2017 from 10am to 6pm. The dragon and lions parade is the biggest in Europe and there’s entertainment in Trafalgar Square all afternoon.
These are free guided walks across London which give you a wonderful reason to get out and enjoy the city. Some walks are just an hour and some take all day. The guides do an excellent job in making urban exploration enjoyable.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the January 2017 in London blog post from our sister hotel, London Bridge Hotel.
Opening on 24 February 2017, Diana: Her Fashion Story traces the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. Twenty years on from her death, this new exhibition and temporary garden celebrating her life will be opened at Kensington Palace, her home for over 15 years.
The world’s most extensive retrospective of the work of David Hockney opens at Tate Britain on 9 February offering an unprecedented overview of the artist’s work to date. As the artist approaches his 80th birthday, this exhibition will celebrate his achievement across painting, drawing, print, photography and video.
Robots opens at the Science Museum on 8 February and features a unique collection of over 100 robots. From a 16th-century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research labs, this exhibition enables visitors to discover the cultural, historical and technological context of humanoid robots.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.