What’s on in London in 2020

Things to do in London

Christmas shopping, pantomime visits and family feasts take centre stage in the big build up to the Christmas holiday. Then it’s straight back to the top of the calendar, to New Year resolutions and plans for the next year.

If improving your English is near the top of your ‘things to do in 2020’ list, why not combine a holiday in London with some private English lessons? With Lingua Holidays, you can squeeze in lessons at any time of the day or even visit some of London’s attractions with your teacher. There’s always something new to see and do in the city, and 2020 will be no exception. Here are 12 reasons to visit London in 2020, one for each month of the year.


January 2020 in London is topped and tailed by traditional New Year celebrations. Start at midnight on 31 December when a traditional fireworks display lights up London’s skies.  Do try to plan ahead as you’ll need a ticket to attend the display. Alternatively, why not join a New Year’s Eve cruise on the Thames or book a restaurant with an amazing view of the fireworks?

Visit Chinatown in London at Chinese New Year
Enjoy the celebrations in London’s Chinatown

Meanwhile, the end of the month marks Chinese New Year. Watch colourful parades and performances in and around Chinatown on 26 January 2020 as London’s Chinese community welcomes the Year of the Rat.


A good month to catch up on exhibitions and also to start thinking about Spring. Kick off with the Picasso exhibition which runs at the Royal Academy of Arts from 25 January to 13 April 2020.

Enjoy the first sign of spring at snowdrop events around London
See the snowdrops at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Enjoy Spring flower power at snowdrop events in different locations and, at Kew Gardens, an Orchid Festival which runs from 8 February to 8 March 2020.


The Houses of Parliament have barely been out of the news in recent months. If you’re interested in finding out more about this historic building, there are excellent tours for adults and families on most Saturdays.

Enjoy a fascinating audio or guided tour of the Houses of Parliament
Take a tour of the Houses of Parliament

Prices: Audio tours cost £19.50 per adult, with one child (aged 5-15) per adult free, and all under-5’s free. Guided tours cost a little more.


Visit Columbia Road Flower Market for spring blooms and independent boutiques and cafes
Spring blooms in Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market beats all other London markets when it comes to atmosphere. Popular with tourists, yes, but at the same time, packed full of Londoners ready to snap up a bargain for their Spring garden planting. Pick up some Cockney rhyming slang while you wander and see how much of the traders’ banter you understand! Meanwhile, the 60 or so shops on the street are privately owned and operated. Browse vintage clothes collections and art galleries, and pop into bakeries and delis.


Get spectacular view over London's rooftops from the Sky Garden
Sky Garden

Pray for blue skies to get the best view over London from the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street. The building’s upper floors provide three levels of beautifully landscaped public gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace. You can book a table at one of the bars or restaurants or reserve one of the free tickets which are released up to 3 weeks in advance.


This is the last chance to catch the National Portrait Gallery’s David Hockney Exhibition, which closes on 28 June 2020. Featuring around 150 works, this is the first major exhibition devoted to Hockney’s drawings in over 20 years.


Catch an open air performance at Holland Park Opera. The 2020 season runs from 2 June to 8 August, with general booking opening on 26 February 2020. Highlights include Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance and, as usual, performances by the Royal Ballet School’s young dancers.


Join the Londoners who flock to Hampstead's ponds to swim outdoors in the summer months
Outdoor swimming in Hampstead ponds

August is a wonderful month to visit London. Crowd and traffic-free, it’s a great time to be in the city! Take advantage of open-air entertainment opportunities such as Regent’s Park theatre and cinema screenings. Then there are parks, al fresco dining and plenty of places to swim outdoors.


Visit London in September and make the most of Open House London when, over the weekend of 19 and 20 September 2020, you can get free entry to some of London’s most interesting buildings. Tickets to several buildings, such as 10 Downing Street, are by ballot, and some require pre-booking. However, many are on a turn up and queue basis.


If you’re an art enthusiast, plan a visit to London in October so you can drop in on the EY Exhibition: Rodin at Tate Modern. From 21 October 2020 to 21 February 2021.


Visit Richmond Park in November to see deer and spectacular autumn colours
Deer at Richmond Park

Bundle up and head for the vast open space of Richmond Park. Visit in November when the park takes on a magical quality as the autumn colours fade and herds of red and fallow deer dot the landscape. Watch the spectacle of rutting males clashing antlers during their breeding season but be sure to keep your distance.


The Word on the Water bookshop is on the Kings Cross Canal, London
Word on the Water bookshop

Wait for a weak winter sun, then set out for a walk along the Kings Cross canal. The Word on the Water is a 1920’s barge which now houses an eclectic collection of books in an atmospheric setting. Browse the assortment of classic and contemporary literature and selection of children’s books. Why visit in December? What better time to gather round the wood-burning stove?! Once you’ve had your fill of words, continue on to Granary Square in the former King’s Cross train sheds.