Things to do in London in 2024

Unmissable Things to Do in London in 2024

We’re back with another bumper list of Unmissable Things To Do in London (and beyond) – come on 2024, let’s be ‘avin’ you!

First things first: some distracting things to do this January. Then, on to some of the other delightful diversions 2024 has to offer – and, of course, we’ll have a dedicated February list for you, next month…

Scroll down for your January fix – or jump ahead to…

Banish those January blues!

Balloon Museum

EmotionAir | The Balloon Museum @ Old Billingsgate | Until 18 February | Prices Vary

Incredible, mind-blowing and thought provoking aren’t usually phrases associated with balloons. But wow, this inflatable journey through the emotions is our cultural highlight of 2024 (so far). Totally unmissable.

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Spin | Arcola Theatre | 9-20 January | From £15

January is full of post-stuffing health guilt, so the perfect time to dissect the toxic fitness culture with this dark comic show from Kate Sumpter.

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(Mis)impersonator | The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre, Birmingham | 11 January | £15

Fans of the festive TV tribute to Caroline Aherne will delight in Tracey Collins’ surreal love letters to legends like Elvis, Cher and Audrey Hepburn.

Cowbois | Royal Court | 11 January – 10 February | From £15

A fabulously queer Western transfers to the Royal Court.

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HERMAPHROGENESIS | VSSL Studio | 11-28 January

A boundary-pushing exhibition which combines iconography, queerness and body organs.

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Develop Your Inner Mythic Bear | The Albany | 16 January – 6 February | Pay-What-You-Decide

Take a chance and write with your inner mythic bear, in this pay-what-you-can workshop series from The Albany.

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London Short Film Festival | Multiple Venues | 19-28 January | Prices Vary

Hollywood’s slate in 2024 looks flat as a pancake. Away from the multiplex, let your imagination soar with this smorgasbord of beautiful and challenging shorts. The programme is epic and standouts (to our eyes) include:

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The Glowbot Garden | KCL Strand Campus | 17-20 January | FREE

A winter garden full of inflatable art from Air Giants, including Luma – the 9 metre-long, flexing, contorting snail.

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Stamptown | Soho Theatre | 17-27 January | From £23

‘A batshit crazy variety night of lols, with everyone’s favourite slime ball Jack Tucker (Zach Zucker) and friends.’ Read our Edinburgh Fringe review!

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Winter Lights | Canary Wharf | 17-27 January | FREE

The cold, sterile financial district of Canary Wharf comes to life with this annual outdoor exhibition of light art made for snapping.

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MimeLondon 2024 | Barbican | 23 January – 17 February | Prices Vary

The annual mime festival returns, and there’s always something mind-bending to alter your perception of this much-mocked art form.

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The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 25-28 January | From £20

‘An exquisite, revolutionary riot with a cavalcade of queer talent calling out the need to fight for queer joy and not to assimilate’. Read our full review!

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CUTE | Somerset House | 25 January – 14 April | £18.50

Cute things sadly dominate our puny human brains. Celebrate this at Somerset House, with this exhibition/marketing manager’s dream.

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Queer Euphoria: A Celebration of Queer Circus Cabaret | Jacksons Lane | 27 January | £16

Circus often perpetuates heteronormativity in macho or femme tropes, but queer shows like this will shake things up.

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This Might Not Be It | Bush Theatre | 30 January – 2 March | From £15

A chance to look behind the bureaucracy of overstretched NHS Mental Health services.

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Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha | Soho Theatre | 30 January – 17 February | From £20

Surreal comedy in Soho – perfect for those dark days when you really need a laugh!

February

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Soho Rising 2024 | Soho Theatre | 5-17 February | From £13

A chance to see the hottest new talent coming from Soho Theatre, including highlights like: Bi Curious George: Queer Planet, Reparations by Maryam Garad and Chin Wang: Wang’s Republic (pictured above).

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Self-Raising | Soho Theatre | 6-17 February | From £13

‘Graeae Artistic Director Jenny Sealey delivers a generous warm hug of a show which explores family secrets and the power of truth-telling.’ Read our Edinburgh Fringe review!

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Shifters | Bush Theatre | 16 February – 30 March | From £12

Lynette Linton directs this romance for those longing for something else.

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The Tiger Lillies and David Hoyle: Lessons in Nihilism | Wilton’s Music Hall | 20 February – 2 March | From £12

London’s most glorious relic (we say lovingly) hosts regulars The Tiger Lillies, who are joined by unexpected, anarchic, guest David Hoyle. Be warned ye all who enter Wilton’s for this inspired gathering.

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Malorie Blackman in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo | British Library | 23 February | From £12

Two titans of literature talk books and more at the British Library.

March

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Soul on Ice | Rich Mix | 14-17 March

Certain Blacks explore diversity, identity and improvisation in a festival of music, cabaret and live art!

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7th Annual Stuart Hall Public Conversation with Isaac Julien | Conway Hall | 23 March | £20

Artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien comes to Conway Hall to share insights into his work.

April

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Musical Comedy Awards Final 2024 with Jazz Emu | Bloomsbury Theatre | 13 April | £15

Musical comedy’s finest assemble for this fight to the death for the crown – with a headline performance from 2017 Best Newcomer and 2018 runner-up, Jazz Emu.

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Blue Beard | Battersea Arts Centre | 23 April – 18 May | From £16

Emma Rice delivers her unique storytelling vision to this tale of Blue Beard the Magician, promising to explore curiosity and consent, violence and vengeance through music, wit and tender truth.

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Spirited Away | London Coliseum | 30 April – 24 August | From £28

The second epic Studio Ghibli theatre staging is sure to wow in its original Japanese language.

May

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Eurosmash Festival | Woolwich Works | 4 May | From £39.50

A Eurovision themed feast including live performances from Katrina (UK’s Eurovision winner in 1997), Konstrakta (Serbia’s cult favourite from 2022) and Gustaph (Belgium’s LGBT+ icon from the 2023 contest in Liverpool).

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Common | Sydenham Common | 7-12 May | £TBC

For 400 years the site of Sydenham Common was fought over. Theatre in unexpected places faves Teatro Vivo take to the green to expose hidden histories of these spaces.

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Perfect Show for Rachel | Barbican | 24 May – 9 June | £18

Meet learning disabled artist Rachel as she creates her perfect show.

June

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100 years of Theatre and Performance at the V&A | From 1 June | £TBC

A new festival celebrating 100 years of the theatre and performance collections at the V&A.

July

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Barbie®: The Exhibition | The Design Museum | From 5 July | £TBC

Thought BARBIELAND was over? Hell no, Barbie commemorate 65 years of the brand pioneered by Ruth Handler with an iconic exhibition at Kensington’s Design Museum.

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Fuerza Bruta | Roundhouse | 9 July – 31 August | From £20

The world’s most pulse pounding spectacle returns with a new show at Roundhouse.

Autumn

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Medieval Women | British Library | From 25 October | £TBC

Women take centre stage for this exploration of 500 years of history from 1100-1600.

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Chila Kumari Singh Burman | Compton Verney | From 26 October

The artist that brought Tate Britain into the neon-lit multi-cultural future now takes on the Midlands’ gorgeous country estate, Compton Verney.

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Electric Dreams | Tate Modern | From 28 November | £TBC

Tate takes on the mind-boggling machine art of 1950s and 1980s.

Did we miss any big incredible things to do in London (or beyond) for 2024?

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