Things to do in London in 2023

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023

What next, eh? 2023, that’s what! That’s right, time churns inexorably onward, so we’re back with another list of Unmissable Things To Do in London (and beyond) – forget your troubles, c’mon get happy!

First things first: some fun and fabulous things to do this January. Then, on to some of the other delightful diversions 2023 has to offer – and, of course, we’ll have a dedicated February list for you, next month…

Banish those January blues!

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023 1

Factory International | Manchester | From 1 January

New arts hub Factory International is the reason to get out of London and head north. From an epic opening light installation First Breath, to the impossible Matrix-inspired spectacle Free Your Mind, by way of Yayoi Kusama’s dotty You, Me and the Balloons (pictured), you are going to be wowed by this future national cultural institution. One of the top things to do in 2023 in London is to get out of your London bubble.

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023 2

Le Gateau Chocolat & Jonny Woo: A Night at the Musicals – 90 Years of Drag! | Soho Theatre | 4-21 January | From £13

Get those glad rags on and head to seedy Soho for this triumphantly camp tribute to the best of the musicals, from the best in the business: Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo.

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023 3

London International Mime Festival | Various Venues | From 16 January

If the idea of mime makes you cringe this festival will turn your expectations upside down, with a jaw-dropping mix of physical and visual performance. Highlights include showbiz legends Charlie and Stan at Wilton’s, Thick and Tight’s cheeky dance retrospective and Andrea Salustri’s ethereal object theatre, Materia.

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023 4

We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants | Riverside Studios | From 17 January | £15

Seven mind-expanding stories are told by cabaret storyteller extraordinaire Jemma Kahn.

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf - Pink neon rings in a big warehouse. Part of things to do in London in 2023.

Winter Lights | Canary Wharf | 18-28 January | FREE

London’s most innovative and exciting free light festival is back for another year to drag us out of the January doldrums.

Sound of the Underground at Royal Court Theatre - pink and green images of underground drag icons. Part of things to do in London in 2023.

Sound of the Underground | Royal Court | From 19 January | From £12

‘Part-play, part-raucous cabaret, part-workers’ manifesto, join eight underground drag icons as they spill the tea, free the nipple and fight the shadowy forces that threaten their livelihoods’. Unmissable theatrical freedom and riotous fun from Travis Alabanza.

London Short Film Festival | Various Venues | 20-29 January

Truly original film talent doesn’t often come through via Hollywood. Open your eyes to a range of cutting edge creatives all with films that will suit your Tik Tok-addled attention span, at this pioneering short film festival.

Vault Festival. Part of things to do in London in 2023.

VAULT Festival | From 24 January

London’s earthy answer to the Edinburgh Fringe returns, packed with inspiring new shows, all taking place in the underground noir that is the drippy vaults under Waterloo.

Housemates Returns: Chicken Burger N Chips. Part of things to do in London in 2023.

Housemates Returns: Chicken Burger N Chips | Brixton House | From 31 January | £21

A love letter to saarf London’s un-gentrified heart.

February & Beyond!

Certain Blacks presents Heroes Festival - A man with a gold sequin dress stands with arms close to their neck. Part of unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Certain Blacks: Heroes Festival | Rich Mix | 2-17 February

A celebration of box fresh talent including female musicians Maria Uzor, Helen Adove Hawk, Daphne Sadeh & duo Eastern Strings, an exclusive event from legendary grime innovators Ruff Sqwad and The MixRace Mixtapes from John-Paul Zaccarini, a LGBTQ+ poet, stand-up and academic. Heroes culminates with a rare visit from L T Beauchamp (AKA Chicago Beau), the esteemed Chicago blues innovator.

Alan Turing the Musical. A man in a black tie and pullover sits at a desk with typewriter and a egg timer. Part of unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Alan Turing: The Musical | King’s Head Theatre | 6-11 February | £14-£18

A new musical which looks to the personal side of the mathematician, codebreaker and LGBT+ icon.

Dead Poet Lives: Sylvia Plath. Part of unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Dead Poets Live: Sylvia Plath | Wilton’s Music Hall | 7-9 February | From £12.50

See Denise Gough live at Wilton’s Music Hall playing everyone’s favourite angst-ridden writer Sylvia Plath.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock: Am I Made of Stardust? A black female astronaut stands in the middle of a scene with planets and stars. Part of unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock: Am I Made of Stardust? | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 15 February | £10

Science superstar Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock unlocks the secrets of space with this event, launching her new children’s book ‘Am I Made of Stardust?‘.

Under your nose. A protest march with people holding a banner saying 'Black Lesbian and Gay centre'. Part of our unmissable things to do in London 2023.

Under Your Nose | The Albany | 17 February | Pay-What-You-Decide

An important documentary telling the story of the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre, a ground-breaking project that supported thousands of black queer people in the 1980’s and 90s.

Soho Rising. Part of our unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Soho Rising | Soho Theatre | 20 February – 4 March | From £15

A great chance to see the next big thing in comedy & cabaret. Highlights include future national treasure Toussaint Douglass and Friends, the batshit sounding Posey Mehta: I am not a Gorilla, Cerys Bradley’s relaxed cute comedy of not fitting in, Sportsperson, and And(Dre)a Spisto’s show about a queer, autistic, latinx caterpillar.

Kalikang Festival. Part of our unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Kakilang Festival | Various Venues | 21 February – 22 April

A festival platforming Southeast and East Asian voices. This year the programme includes the mind-boggling VR/dance fusion of Home X.

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2023 5

Merboy | Omnibus Theatre | 21 February – 4 March | £16

A poetic, queer retelling of The Little Mermaid featuring the sounds of 1960s girl groups.

Elephantology Festival | Blue Elephant Theatre | 22-25 February | £10

Elephantology is Blue Elephant Theatre’s Festival for recent graduates and those who are just entering the performing arts industry. Don’t miss these striking debuts.

Black Belt Eagle Scout - an indigenous woman in a pink toile dress in a mountainous landscape. Part of our unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Black Belt Eagle Scout | MOTH Club | 25 February | £16.50

Katherine Paul’s epic sound channels her indigenous strength and healing power.

WOW – Women of the World

WOW – Women of the World | Southbank Centre | 10-12 March

‘The world’s biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people is back in 2023 with its 13th edition.’ Expect world famous speakers as well as chances to hear inspiring stories of women, girls and non-binary people.

Kim Noble

Kim Noble: Lullaby for Scavengers | Soho Theatre | 15 March – 8 April | From £17

Chaos theory comes to life in this ode to loneliness and (dis)connection, from cult comedy artist Kim Noble.


QUEER’D | Rich Mix | 24 March | From £12

Queer storytelling. Enough said.

Eve: All About Her

Eve: All About Her | Soho Theatre | 30 March – 1 April | From £15

Keith Ramsay delves into the psyche of great artists and showpeople by way of the great All About Eve.

RESOLVE Collective at Barbican

RESOLVE Collective: them’s the breaks | Barbican | 30 March – 16 July

Interdisciplinary collective RESOLVE use structural engineering to get inside the skin of the iconic Barbican centre.

The Go! Team at Lafayette. Part of our unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

The Go! Team | Lafayette | 30 & 31 March | £22.50

If joy was a sound it would be The Go! Team. The colourful mash-up artists bring their epic show to Lafayette in King’s Cross.

Musical Comedy Awards

Musical Comedy Awards Final 2023 with Rachel Parris | Bloomsbury Theatre | 31 March | From £10

Musical comedy is taking over with artists like Jordan Gray killing it in 2022. Let’s see what can make us titter until we’re tickled this year.

Raucous. Image shows a large pair of fake teeth with a tongue hanging out of them.

Raucous | Omnibus Theatre | 31 March | £10

Discoland’s first comedy night features an all-female/non-binary line up.


Peaness | MOTH Club | 5 April | £12.10

Divine girl grunge from new band Peaness comes to the church of camp, MOTH Club.

Family Tree

Family Tree | Brixton House | 12-23 April | £21

‘A beautifully poetic site-responsive performance inspired by the little-known story of Henrietta Lacks and her stolen cells.’

2023’s must-see play comes to Brixton House and is #1 on our things to do in London this year.

Read our full review here

Shonen Knife

Shonen Knife | The Garage | 16 April | £16

Cult 1981 Japanese pop-punk band return with their sun-soaked 1960s beach-core.


MERKY Books Literature Festival | Roundhouse | 22 & 23 April

Masterclasses, talks and performances by authors, songwriters, screenwriters, directors, playwrights, poets, illustrators, editors and podcasters presented by Stormzy’s imprint at Penguin Random House.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. A band with glitzy stars all on a staircase.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox | Royal Festival Hall | 28 April | From £35

Fans of 2022’s John Lewis ad and epic swing covers of pop hits need to see this.

August in England with Lenny Henry.

August in England | Bush Theatre | 28 April – 10 June | From £12

Lenny Henry dissects the Windrush Scandal in this poignant and hilarious story.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day | The Old Vic | 20 May – 12 August | £13-£85

Tim Minchin’s musical had a short-lived run in 2016. It shouldn’t work as a premise for theatre but it does. The music is insanely catchy and the whole thing is a pure sensation on repeat.

Moldy Peaches

The Moldy Peaches | Roundhouse | 29 May | £36

Juno soundtrack stars return for a DIY lo-fi reunion at London’s quintessential gig venue the Roundhouse.

Mighty Hoopla

Mighty Hoopla 2023 | Brockwell Park | 3 & 4 June | From £59.60

London comes alive with the sound of pop mystique every year, and this line up is extra – including Aqua, Jamelia, Kelly Rowland, Kelis and the Almighty GC (Gemma Collins).

Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens’ Meltdown | Southbank Centre | 9 – 18 June

No line-up is confirmed as yet but it promises to be all in the best possible taste if Christine has anything to do with it.

Diva at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Maria Callas is pictured with hair in a bun a sexy black dress with white gloves.

DIVA | The V&A | From 24 June

Queen Victoria herself would be proud of this exhibition channeling the legendary Diva performers.

The SpongeBob Musical

The SpongeBob Musical | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 26 July – 27 August | From £22.50

A dazzling new production of the planet’s coolest sponge who lives in a pineapple featuring music from such giants as David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper and The Flaming Lips.

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović | Royal Academy | 23 September – 10 December

Demystify performance art through Marina Abramović’s visionary work.

Women in Revolt! at Tate Britain. Part of our unmissable things to do in London in 2023.

Women in Revolt! | Tate Britain | From 8 November

100 women artists working in the UK from 1970 to 1990 take over Tate Britain exploring the British Women’s Liberation movement, the fight for legal changes impacting women, maternal and domestic experiences, Rock Against Racism and Punk, Greenham Common and the peace movement, the visibility of Black and South Asian Women Artists, Section 28 and the AIDs pandemic.

Elvana at Roundhouse

Elvana: Elvis Fronted Nirvana | Roundhouse | 16 December | £28.50

Elvis fronts Nirvana for this glitzy festive show.

Did we miss any big incredible things to do in London (or beyond) for 2023?

We almost certainly did – please let us know in the comments below!