things to do in London in 2016

Unmissable Things To Do in London in 2016

It’s looking to be a sensational year for things to do in London in 2016. From bearded circus through to a subterranean festival check out these picks from us and let us know if we missed a gem.

Big Spectacle

Barbu | London Wonderground, South Bank | 15 June – 25 Sept | From £26

Hilarious & jaw dropping bearded circus from the extremely talented Cirque Alfonse. We gave it ★★★★★ here.Barbu - London Wonderground 2016

Magical Lantern Festival | Chiswick House & Gardens | 3 Feb  – 6 March | From £10

A 66 metre long dragon and many more epic lanterns await at this debut of a new festival for London.

MagicLanternFestival

Lumiere London | West End & Kings Cross | 14-17 Jan | Free

London lights up for an incredible short festival of outdoor light art. Discover the full programme here.

Lumiere London

1.8 London by Janet Echelman / Studio Echelman

The Hunger Games | Wembley Theatre | Summer 2016

The Hunger Games is opening Wembley’s new theatre designed by Flanagan Lawrence architects. This should be a must see but details are scarce. Read the press release here for more.

The Hunger Games Wembley Theatre

Comedy

Artificial Hip Hop: Ida Barr | Wilton’s Music Hall | 11-13 Feb | £15-5

Chris Green’s hilarious OAP music hall star turned hip hop sensation makes her homecoming to the 1858 gem, Wilton’s Music Hall.

Ida Barr

Shit-Faced Shakespeare | Leicester Square Theatre | 26 April-11 June | £20.50-18.50

The rowdiest Bard bonanza around, we can’t wait to see this EdFringe hit take over London.

Shit-Faced Shakespeare

Shows

1972: The Future of Sex | Shoreditch Town Hall | 13-23 April | £12.50

A 2015 fringe hit from the awesome young company The Wardrobe Ensemble.

1972 The Future of Sex - The Wardrobe Ensemble

Funny Girl | Savoy Theatre | From 9 April | Tickets from £25

Sheridan is on to a winner with this long awaited revival. Laugh, cry & feel the power of Smith’s epic performance.

Funny Girl The Musical

Harry Potter – The Play | Palace Theatre | May 2016 | From £15

The stage is set 18 years later from the last book. The cast is a coup and we’re hoping this is the hit we all want it to be.

Harry Potter the Play

Light by Theatre Ad Infinitum | Battersea Arts Centre | 1-13 Feb | £15-9

This eye popping dystopian tale is a delight to behold, we loved it at the fringe.

light

Mark Bruce Company: The Odyssey | Wilton’s Music Hall | 23 Feb-19 Mar | £25/20

After a stonking Dracula in 2014, Mark Bruce company are back with a breathtaking dance-theatre version of Homer’s classic greek tragedy.

Mark Bruce Company The Odyssey

Miss Revolutionary Idol Berserker | Barbican | 22 June-2 July | £18

“Part pop concert, part controlled chaos, orchestrated by a rigorous director – this is Japanese subculture conveyed in all its multi-coloured, cacophonous, frenetic glory.”

MissRevolutionaryIdolBeserker

Whose London is it Anyway | Camden People’s Theatre | 9-31 Jan | From £7

Artist pop ups, interventions & shows exploring London’s housing crisis, the impact of “regeneration”, the privatising of public space, and the experience of living in Europe’s only megacity.

WhoseLondonisitanyway

Film

gal-dem Winter Film Festival | Art Nouveau Brixton | 17 Jan

A chance to get to see new films from female directors and producers of colour from all over the world, showcasing established filmmakers and fresh, young talent.

galdemfilmfestival

London Short Film Festival | Various venues including ICA | 8-17 Jan | Various Prices

Confrontational, eclectic & eye opening festival of short films. This year the festival includes CATS&CATS&CATS a night dedicated to feline films.

LondonShortFilmFestival

Sundance London | Picturehouse Central

Sundance London is back after a rather shaky start at the O2 to a perfect new home of Picturehouse Central.

SundanceLondon

White Horse – Films from Georgia | Deptford Cinema | 3-17 Jan | £5/3.50

Discover Georgia’s fascinating culture and history at the awesome community run Deptford Cinema.

whitehorsefilmsfromgeorgia

Exhibitions

Design Museum Kensington | 2016

The Design Museum will be closing at its current site on Thursday 30 June and opening the impressive new space in Kensington later in 2016.

Design Museum Kensington

Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966) | Whitechapel Gallery | 29 Jan-15 May | Tickets from £11.95

100 works to show the impact of computer and Internet technologies on artists from the mid-1960s to the present day.

ElectronicSuperhighwayAddie-Wagenknecht,-Asymmetric-Love-(2013)-Courtesy-bitforms-gallery,-New-York.-Photograph-by-David-Payr-©-Addie-Wagenknecht

UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility | Somerset House | 25 Jan-2 Oct

Events, exhibitions and new commissions celebrating the idea of Utopia to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s influential text at the beautiful Somerset House.

Utopia

Festivals

Changing Minds | Southbank Centre | 6-7 Feb

Looking closer into mental health, this first weekend festival brings top talks and shows including the legendary Brigitte Aphrodite.

ChangingMinds

Convergence | Various Locations | 10-18 March | Various Prices

Music, art & technology combine to make a future fest full of great artists including Of Montreal & The Correspondents.

Convergence

Circus Fest | Roundhouse | 4-24 April | Various Price

Circus Fest is back with 3 weeks of thrills including from the Finnish Race Horse Company & the UK’s Barely Methodical Troupe.

circusfest

DIY Pop Fest | The Shacklewell Arms | 29 April-1 May | From £12

Over 20 bands prove that twee & DIY pop is the sound of 2016.

DIY Pop Fest

Field Day Festival | Victoria Park | 11-12 June | From £49.50 

The revolutionary indie icon PJ Harvey is headlining the uber-hip festival in East London.

Field Day Festival 2016 - PJ Harvey

Vault Festival | The Vaults, Waterloo | 27 Jan-4 March | Various

London’s closest equivalent to Edinburgh Fringe, the subterranean Vault festival announces its programme on 4 January so keep your eyes peeled.

Vault Festival 2016

Out of London

Mighty Hoop-la Weekender | Butlin’s Bognor Regis | 26-29 Feb | £100+ including accomodation

Poptastic powerhouses: Guilty Pleasures, Friday I’m in Love, Sink The Pink and many more come together for a giant pop weekender in the kitsch seaside Butlin’s resort.

The Mighty Hoopla

Root 1066 International Festival | Sept-Oct

An arts festival to celebrate 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings including an innovative immersive show on the seafront.

Root 1066

Did we miss the perfect 2016 event or opening? Let us know in a comment below and we’ll do our best to add it in.

Rupert Dannreuther

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.