London is vibrant with festivals and special events all year round. There is not a day without something intended to entertain the city’s citizens. To keep yourself up to date with specific events from “the Great Christmas Pudding Race” to “Lord Mayor’s Show” consult London’s official website: http://www.visitlondon.com/events/special/. On a weekly basis, check Time Out (http://www.timeout.com/london) for full listings.
For an advance calendar, check these very useful sites: http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/whats-on.php?type=festival and http://www.world-guides.com/europe/england/greater-london/london/events.html.
The London Parade Festival
On 1st January, London holds its biggest street parade, attracting over a million sightseers.
Shoreditch Festival: http://www.shoreditchfestival.org.uk
In July, this festival is a cultural delight if you’re into the arts. There’s a parade, dance show, dog show, concerts, food, poetry readings, ‘enchanted garden’ and lots more.
Notting Hill Carnival: http://www.thenottinghillcarnival.com/
If you like crowds, loud music, and beer in plastic cups, this event is for you. Check out all the dancers in lavish costumes and have some jerk chicken. The ‘carnival’ emphasizes multiculturalism and happens every August in Notting Hill, West London. Entry is free.
There is not a week without a fair from food to cars via kites, there is a fair for all and a fair for everything. Here are a two that are especially worthwhile.
Frieze Art Fair: http://www.friezeartfair.com
This huge festival in October takes place in Regent’s Park and showcases artists from around the world. For £15, art lovers can engage in informative lectures and see all the works they want. Painting, sculpture, and just about every other art form is represented at Frieze.
Ideal Home Exhibition – http://www.idealhomeshow.co.uk/
Usually in March, this exhibition displays new ideas for the home and the garden, technological gadgets that you can see being demonstrated and purpose-built houses.
With over 300 languages spoken in London and as many cultures represented, communities celebrate their heritages throughout the year.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year takes place according to the lunar calendar, usually in January or February. Celebrations take place in Soho with famous Lion Dancers, paper dragons and firecracker procession.
St. Patrick’s Day
Though it’s officially a one day celebration, in London St. Patrick’s Day is often is celebrated over a whole week. Bands, floats and representatives of more than 32 Irish counties parade through the city beginning at Picadilly at midday on the day. Almost every resident will make at least one visit to one of the many Irish pubs!
African-Caribbean Street Fair
In late August, live reggae, soul music and tasty Caribbean food attract over half a million people to one of Europe’s largest festivals. Mostly taking place in Brixton.