Five free things to do and places to go in January

You may have got used to holiday mode over Christmas and now it's back to normality but there's no reason to stop doing fun things. So what to do this coming weekend? Here are our top 5 suggestions for free things to do and places to go in January...

1. Take a tour of the V&A, London

The V&A offers free introductory tours of the museum every day. Depending on what you’re interested in, you could also take a tour of the British Galleries, the theatre and performance collections, which include everything from rock and pop posters to ballet costumes, or perhaps the stunning Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. If you can’t get to London find out what’s on at your local galleries.

2. Start a 365 day project

Take one photo every day for a whole year – it doesn’t matter what it is, just commit to doing it. Your photography will improve because you’ll be forced to think of new ideas and new ways to approach familiar subjects – and at the end of the project, you’ll have an amazing record of your year.

Or alternatively, follow the route that Kate Bingaman-Burt took. She decided to draw every single thing she bought for a whole year – the result was a book called Obsessive Consumption. This fascinating book gives an insight, not only into her life, but also in our need to spend. What could you draw every day that would document your life in a similar way? For Lisa Congdon it was her drive to improve her lettering skills that led to a project called 365 Days of Hand Lettering; a testament to her passion, skill and commitment. 'I think letter forms are beautiful in and of themselves,' she says. 'Combining beautiful lettering with beautiful words is doubly alluring. My first inspiration is often a quote or poem that has significant meaning to me on a particular day.' What could your project be?

3. Try your hand at printing

Christine Schmidt’s book Print Workshop is jam-packed full of easy printing projects – she even makes a gorgeous picnic blanket using potato printing. If you can make something beautiful using a potato and some ink, it’s got to be worth a go, right?

4. Wrap up warm and get out into nature

There is something very cleansing about a bracing walk, not to mention how inspiring it is to be surrounded by nature. To really get the creative juices flowing, you could try going on an ‘inspiration walk’. Document the things that catch you eye, either by photographing them, drawing them, or embrace your inner child and try a bark rub or two. When you get back home spread everything out on a table and just play with them and see what happens – you never know what might spark an idea.

5. Take a tour of Scottish Parliament.

If you’re North of the border, how about a free tour of the Scottish Parliament. The stunning building has been designed by the late Enric Miralles and takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape, flower paintings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the upturned boats on the seashore. A particular celebration of Scotland’s literary history can be seen in the 26 quotations carved into the façade of the Canongate Building, which includes well-loved pieces of poetry and quotes.

[Pic Credit: Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body - 2011]

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Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor

View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor