Fancy a mind-bending challenge? Head to one of the two Omescape venues (in Kings Cross and Aldgate) for a proper immersive experience. Not only do they offer six different escape rooms to challenge the intellect, there are two award-winning, pulse-racing multiplayer VR adventures for you and your friends to take on together. Can your crew save humanity in 44 nervewracking minutes?
One of the cultural staples of London is Baker Street, best known as the street that Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective Sherlock Holmes lived on. Today you can find a Sherlock Holmes museum near the Underground station, especially popular after the BBC revival ‘Sherlock’. Madame Tussauds is just around the corner, the internationally-famous wax museum where you can pose with your favorite celebrities. Afterwards, escape the crowds of Baker Street in the nearby Regent’s Park, or by climbing Primrose Hill for London’s most spectacular view of the city.
Explore the New Ikea
A huge new IKEA opens in Greenwich on February 7, and somehow this was one of our most-read stories on the site last month, so we know you’re all secretly longing to go.
Cruise on the Thames
The Thames is the lifeblood of London, bringing industry to the city for centuries. It is England’s longest river, leading into the North Sea at its end. It has been the base for settlements since prehistoric times, and was a strategic importance to the Romans and English Kings, as well as during both World Wars. There are a number of companies in London offering cruises across the Thames. Cruises run as regularly as every 30 minutes from several key locations. The cruises pass several key sightseeing locations, including Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Some cruises run at night so you can see the sights all lit up, whilst others are served with a meal or afternoon tea. This is a lovely and unique way to view the city, traveling along the historic Thames.
See The Green at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens will once again unveils its annual orchid display, this year celebrating the biodiversity of Colombia and its 2,700+ species of orchids. The eye-catching plants will fill every corner of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, but don’t miss the rest of Kew Gardens and the cute pub at the nearby station either!
Go to Hempstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is one of the largest parks in London, covering a massive 790 acres. It sits atop of one of the highest points in London, offering excellent views of the city from Parliament Hill. The Heath features grassy fields, wooded areas, and a number of large ponds. It is the best place to experience nature in London with plenty of wildlife around and small woods in which to get lost. There are swimming lidos for those feeling brave enough to swim outdoors in the great British weather. For history buffs, visit Kenwood House, a historical stately home that is known for its curated art collection.
Visit the Vaults
VAULT Festival runs from January through March, so there are hundreds of shows to catch in the tunnels beneath Waterloo Station. It’s quite Edinburgh Fringe-y, with lots of stand-up, experimental theatre, and works-in-progress, so it’s your chance to catch the next big thing in comedy… or, quite possibly, someone that should be banned from ever getting behind a microphone again.
Soho has long been known as the base of London’s sex industry. The area is now the most popular nightlife spot although there are still some sex shops dotted here and there, giving Soho a delightfully risqué vibe. Soho is often considered the center of the city’s LGBTQ* community with plenty of gay and lesbian bars to check out after the sun goes down.
In addition to bars and clubs, Soho has a number of theaters, jazz bars and restaurants to explore, making it a cultural hotspot. Its close proximity to Leicester Square means it’s also a great place to go for a few drinks after a play or stage show.
During the day, Soho loses none of its charm. Here you’ll find lots of music shops, small cafes and quaint bakeries. Stop for a coffee and pastry on Old Compton Street for perfect people-watching.
Be one of the first to try Vivi (Feb 16 onwards)
A sleek, Sixties-style restaurant is taking up residence at the brutalist Centre Point late in the month. Split into four different spaces, each with its own offering, the core Dining menu promises such throwback dishes as cheese soufflé, chicken kiev, raspberry and lemon arctic roll, and jelly and custard. There’ll be 50% off food Feb 16-18 and 25% off Feb 19-24 as they limber up with a soft launch.
Visit The Camden Locke
Camden is a well-known cultural neighborhood in north London. Known for its alternative culture, the crowds here are filled with goths, punks, rockabillies and tourists alike. Camden has a vibrant body mod community and you will find a number of piercing and tattoo shops in this part of town. Camden Market is eclectic and diverse, featuring street food from international cuisines, and lots of stalls selling trinkets and unique artwork to take home. Rummage through vintage clothing racks, find a used book to take on your travels, or visit one of the city’s best vegan bakeries at Cookies And Scream.
After your shopping spree, stroll down to Camden Lock to relax by Regent’s Canal or walk along the water all the way to King’s Cross.
Catch a hot new musical
Three much-anticipated musicals land in the West End in February. Waitress, a hit adaptation of the 2007 film, arrives at the Adelphi Theatre on February 6; Only Fools And Horses, featuring Paul Whitehouse, opens at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on February 9; and award-winning Sondheim revival Follies is at the National Theatre from February 12.
Visit Westminster Abbey
Westminster is considered the political hub of London and is home to the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous Big Ben. Big Ben is the name of the bell housed within the iconic clock tower, and it still chimes every hour.
You can also find Westminster Abbey here, which is open to the public most days. Whilst visiting these landmarks, be sure to rest your feet in Parliament Square which features statues of important political individuals including Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.
Catch the newest art exhibitions (Feb 25 onwards)
London’s art exhibition calendar gets back up and running in February. American photographer Diane Arbus is featured in a solo show at the Hayward Gallery and Don McCullin’s war photography is exhibited at Tate Britain; Norweigan artist Harald Sohlberg will be celebrated at Dulwich Picture Gallery while the abstract sculptures of Franz West will appear at the Tate Modern (and you can even touch some of them!).