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What to do during Dry January?

Dry January Things To Do

January is around the corner – you’ve had a wonderful Christmas holiday, you’ve finished eating the fridge and possibly other people’s fridges (small print: we don’t judge) and now you’re probably thinking about starting the year off with a New Year’s resolution.

If you’re going to be doing a Dry January then, as with most resolutions, planning is the key to success: Planning what you’ll do instead of drinking and planning how you’ll navigate the situations where other people are drinking.

So if you’re lacking ideas around alternative activities next month, then we’ll help you out with a few ideas with our list below. Many of the activities we list are in and around London as this is our home, but we’ve tried to find things around the country. If there’s nothing near you on this list, then you can use it as ideas for events to search for in your area, wherever you are.

Survival tips

Before we dive into our ocean of to-do’s, here are our top tips for surviving your first night out – because unless you’re managing to avoid all social situations with those who aren’t doing dry January, then chances are you need a few tips:

  • Pick a location with good alcohol-free drinks. Looking up the menu of where you’re going before you head out, will reduce the likelihood of you reverting to habit and ordering your usual at the bar – and sticky cola or OJ gets boring real quick.
  • Check out our various drinks suggestions articles to discover what alcohol-free options are out there, so you know what to look for.
  • Be picky about what you say yes to socialising wise. If you’re not sure if you want to go then don’t – or at least plan what time you think is an acceptable time to leave.
  • Get sponsorship for the sober month, a bit of accountability goes a long way in making you stick to your guns!
  • Eating is always a handy distraction, so pubs with good food menus or snack options are a must.
  • Games are also a nice way of ensuring you have a better time than just sitting around watching people get pissed. Pool tables, pub quizzes, board games, whatever floats your boat.

If you’d really rather avoid pubs and bars, then there are plenty of other ways to enjoy your January – and alternative ways to catch up with family and friends. The more you explore, the more things you will find you like or dislike. It’s better to do ‘something’ than ‘nothing. Why not do something different each day – something new, something fun, something mischievous or something to overcome your fear and bring out the best in you.

Big events

Number One on our list is our Mindful Drinking Festival coming up on 12th and 13th January 2019 at The Truman Brewery – a two-day extravaganza of booze-free frolics with some of the best alcohol-free drinks producers in the business. It’s a great way to explore new drinks options and meet new people – and we’ll have competitions, celeb guests, inspirational speakers and lots more. You can also check out our events page for our socials, lunches and nights out.

The Re:Solutions Festival is happening at the Truman Brewery at the same time as our festival, so head along for the ultimate wellbeing with meditation, gong baths, and nutrition.

Sober dancing and clubbing

Morning Gloryville are hosting a New Year’s Day rave – in London no boozing, just good times. We’re regulars of MGV events and can say first hand that they are ALWAYS awesome. And you can move swiftly from Dry January to Dry February with Sober Clubbing in Glasgow on 7 February.

On top of sober raves and club nights, you could also look for 5 Rhythms, ecstatic dance, or contact improvisation groups where you are – and there are many other alcohol free dance classes too!

For a more chilled vibe, High Mood Food cafe in London’s Marylebone will host an “alternative after work chill out“, between 5:30-8:00 pm every Thursday, with a kombucha bar and alcohol free cocktails and beers. And in Dublin, MVP pub hosts a weekly ‘Sober Sundays Series’ of curated alcohol free nights with drinks, talks, demos & tastings.

Gyms and fitness

If you’re looking to get fit and healthy in January then you can commit to a full years worth of gym at BLOK London – located in both Shoreditch and Clapton with a built-in cafe. KXU, Psycle, and Frame are also great options if you’re looking for an urban-styled motivational gym experience. Outside of London? Just do a search locally and find the gym that suits you best – whether the edgy and cool Upfit in Manchester or something more traditional.

If you’re not feeling the gym scene then try indoor bowling for a bit of fun and gentle exercise – or for something a little more adventurous you can go Hiking at the Virginia Water Cascades and Windsor Castle. Get your dance on at London Yoga Dance Class and some places have twists like Dancing in the Dark.

Although Christmas has passed and winter is nearly over, you still have a chance to go ice skating, often until the end of January. In London, why not try the Tower of London Ice Rink or even the beautiful Skate at Somerset House. Birmingham has the Big Wheel Ice Rink

Arts, culture, and bumper cars on ice

There are many events for the art lover, like the free Art Walk in Plymouth on Sunday 13 January. Or go see the Raymond Briggs The Snowman exhibition at Brighton Museum (only until the 6 January).

Then there’s the Winter festival at Southbank Centre, the London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2019 and the David Bowie Musical Walking Tour for the music fans (only until 2 January though so be quick!).

Try Bumper Cars on Ice at Elephant and Castle – but hurry, because it shuts for the winter on the 6th January. For the Hogwarts lovers there are Warner Bros. Studio Tours – The Making of Harry Potter.

Theatre-wise you can check out the classics Peter Pan – Richmond theatre and Snow White at the London Palladium. For something a little darker, The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre is still running and is hugely popular. Or see the classic Wizard of Oz in Birmingham.

Feeling spooky? There are guided ghost walks every Saturday evening in Nottingham. And in Brighton, you can go on a ghost hunt at Preston Manor on Saturday 19th.


If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live (check the ‘articles’ section for the saved videos) and to share stories, advice, and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best drinks and places for mindful drinkers.

And don’t forget our Mindful Drinking Festivals – the next one is in London on 12th & 13th of January!

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Social Media Witch. Moderate drinker. Metal chick.

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