London's Annual Events and Festivals
There is so much for you to do and see in London. In addition to attractions and West End shows, you will find lively festivals and other scheduled events. If you have flexibility in determining your travel dates, please review a sample list of events below:
In January, you will find the Russian Winter Festival. This festival celebrates Russia, but is perfect for individuals of all nationalities. In fact, it draws over 70,000 visitors each year. This free event is home to some of the best Russian influenced films, concerts, and food. Also, in the month of January, you will find the New Year’s Day Parade. This 2-mile parade is filled with thousands of participants, including the mayor.
In February, you can join London as they celebrate the Chinese New Year. Occasionally this event will fall on a date in late January. Throughout Chinatown, you will find a colorful parade, great food, and various forms of entertainment. Most events associated with London’s celebration of the Chinese New Year are free of charge.
In March, you will find the London Maze. Although the name can be deceiving, this annual event is your chance to learn about the history of London and the impact it had on today’s society. This event is free to the public and takes place at the Guildhall Art Gallery. Here you will find guided walks, informational lectures, and booths setup by area museums and libraries.
In April, you will find the running of the London Marathon, also known as the Flora. In 2008, over 30,000 runners competed. As for spectators, watching the race isn’t all that you can do. The area comes alive with various celebrations, including food and live music.
In June, on the second Saturday of the month, you can see one of the largest military displays in the United Kingdom. This day is known as both the Horse Guards Parade and Trooping the Color. The Queen is even in attendance. Although it is difficult to gain display tickets, it is easy to see the procession from the sidelines.
In July, towards the end of the month, you will find the Great British Bear Festival. With organized tasting, you can enjoy a day filled of fun. In addition to over 200 British beers and another 200 imported beers, you will find great music and tasty foods.
In August, there is the African-Caribbean Street Fair. This fair is one of the largest annuals festivals in all of Europe. Each year, it attracts about 500,000 people. If falling on the date of your travel, let lose and enjoy a day filled with reggae music and Caribbean foods.
In September, the Thames Festival takes place. This festival is often referred to as an end of the summer party for London. This free festival takes place at various landmarks along the Thames River. This festival is large enough that some road and bridges are closed down, making away for the celebration of culture.
In the month of October, the Trafalgar Square Festival takes place. This large and extended festival is home to some of the best chamber music and poetry in the country. All outdoor performances are free.
Throughout the month of November, you will find numerous Christmas lighting ceremonies in and around London. Many parts of London are lit for the holidays. Areas you should check out include St. Christopher’s Place, the Covent Garden Market, and Regents Street.
In the month of December, you will find a special Christmas tree ceremony in the Trafalgar Square. The tree is given by Norway, as a thank you for assistance during the war. Here, you can find a special tree lighting ceremony, sing Christmas carols, and listen to live performances.