Last Updated on 8. May 2018 by Simone Kunisch
London is worth a visit anytime in the year. There are amazing events happening each month. But what is going on exactly? In the blog post below you will find the best events for each month so that you can turn your trip to London into an exciting one.
My favourite months for travelling to London
In the last years I have visited London many times in different months. Some of them have become my favourites and here is why. I love visiting in March when the City awakes from dull winter. Life is back in the parks, there are tulips and crocus blooming, the sun is shining, it’s time again for outdoor sports and perfect timing for getting some new pieces for your summer outfits.
In midsummer (July/August) the days can be really hot. You can either spend them relaxing in one of the parks, inside the cooled museums or just give into the heat in the City. The latter can be fun especially if you wear flipflops while all the poor people working have to wear suits. November kicks off the christmas season. Buy your presents and get xmas-sy .
The year in London – Events per month
The following list gives an overview of what is going on each month.
January – Chinese New Year
There is a big Chinese community in London and the first big event each year is “Chinese New Year”. Celebrations take place at Trafalgar Square with a free event for everyone to join. The exact date varies each year as it depends on the New Moon between end of January and end of February. If you are in London at that time and if you are not afraid of masses of people – join the celebrations!
February – Month of fashion and pancakes
In February it’s all about fashion with the “London Fashion Week”. This event is “trade only” but luckily for all the fashionistas out there – you can visit “London Fashion Week Festival” to get your inspiration for upcoming seasons.
Later that month there is “Pancake Day”. This special occasion is always 47 days before Easter so dates may vary. Why pancakes? Before going into Lent, people use remaining ingredients like sugar, eggs and butter and turn them into pancakes. On the day people eat lots of them, restaurants in London offer special menues and there will be pancake runs (yes, people compete in running while holding pancakes…)
March – St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day
On the 17th of March it’s “St. Patrick’s Day” and people honour the patron saint of Ireland. There is a big festival at Trafalgar Square and in many pubs around town you can taste Irish drinks and listen to Irish music.
3 weeks before Easter we celebrate our mums, it’s Mother’s Day. Shops offer specially themed presents, restaurants create special menues, in short, the event gets more or less commercially exploited.
April – London Marathon and St. George’s Day
Let’s get sporty and join the London Marathon who takes runners onto a 42 km long sightseeing run across the City. On race day some streets will be closed, keep that in mind when planning your day. Also consider that it can be more crowded than usual before and after the race.
Always on 23rd of April there is St. George’s Day. This English National Day remembers the patron saint of England, Saint George, who rescued a beautiful princess from an evil dragon. His emblem is the red cross on a white ground which is the flag of England and part of the “Union Flag”. There is a big party at Trafalgar Square.
May – Flowers, flowers, flowers at Chelsea Flower Show
Flower fans this event is for you! The “Chelsea Flower Show” presents massive flower installations and latest trends while plants and equipment can also be purchased. Important to know: the first two days are for members of the “Royal Horticultural Society” only. If you wonna visit you need to get one of the limited tickets. These are not super cheap but any profit made will go into charity.
June – Horse race and the Queen’s birthday
In June we see two royal activities. At the horse race “Royal Ascot” in Ascot it’s not only the Queen hoping for her horse to win. At “ladies day” show up with a unique and striking hat – this is most important on that day!
Also in June we will see the Queen’s birthday parade. The official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is on 21st of April but she spends that day with her closest family only. The official celebration takes place in June (to be on a safer side in terms of the weather). After a military parade at “Horse Guards Parade” the Queen uses the “The Mall” to drive up to “Buckingham Palace”. This is where she will appear on the balcony with the Royal family. “Trooping the colour” is celebrated on the 17th of June and is a wonderful opportunity to see her Majesty in real life.
July – BBC Proms and a visit at Buckingham Palace
July kicks off a number of events which will last all summer. The “BBC Proms”, a series of classical music concerts starts at “Royal Albert Hall”. Highlight each year is the “Last night of the Proms” which is shown in parallel at the Hall and in Hyde Park. At Hyde Park visitors celebrate with a massive picknick and live music. Throughout the evening, there are live broadcastings between the Hall and the Park to check where people have more fun. And when they play “Jerusalem”, “Rule, Britania!” and “God save the Queen”, I can guarantee goose bumps all over. There is a very special atmosphere which I have experienced two times already. If you are in London – join the crowd in Hyde Park. It’s amazing!
Buckingham Palace opens its doors for visitors from July onwards. The Queen will spend the summer at “Balmoral Castle” in Scotland so no chance of meeting her. But you get the see the State Rooms which is pretty interesting. Photography is not allowed inside the Palace but once in the garden you can take your selfie. The Palace is open for visitors until October and I highly recommend the visit.
August – Notting Hill Carnival
The last weekend of August offers the “Notting Hill Carnival” and brings music and good vibes into town. For two days, the Carribean communities celebrate and you are invited to join.
September – start of Autumn with festivals and fashion
The “Totally Thames Festival” takes place in the whole of September and brings art events, exhibitions, concerts and more at the Thamse.
During the “Design Festival” it’s all about modern design. For a week there are events at several locations (e.g. at the V&A museum) and offer free exhibitions and other events.
Furthermore, there is the autumn edition of “London Fashion Week” with the “London Fashion Week Festival”.
October – Festival of lights and Halloween
At the end of October it’s time for Diwali, the festival of lights. This Hindu festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. There is a big parade at Trafalgar Square. So far, I have never attended the celebrations but it’s very high on my wish list as I expect the atmosphere to be spectecular.
On 31st of October it’s time for your horror make-up and then off you go to one of the many Halloween Parties.
November – Lots of fireworks and remembrance of war heroes
November will start with big fireworks on the 5th. At “Guy Fawkes Day” or the “Bonfire night” people remember the failure of the November 1605 Gunpowder Plot in which Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament. Ever since that event, the cellars below Parliament get searched thoroughly each year before the State Opening of Parliament.
A few days later there is “Lord Mayor’s Show” in which the newly elected Mayor of London presents himself to the Londoners. After the parade there are fireworks.
On 11th of November it’s “Remembrance Day” on which we remember and honour those who have lost their lives during the World Wars. Poppies are worn on collars and floral arrangements are put at the memorials in town.
December – let’s get festive
December is the month of christmas markets, of “Winter Wonderland” in Hyde Park and of ice rinks. Visit in this month if you want to buy unique presents and if you don’t care about crowded streets and busy shops. The christmas lights are absolutely beautiful as they light up the main shopping streets.
The year closes with the New Year’s celebrations and massive fireworks. Check out in advance where you can see the best fireworks and if you need a ticket.
And there is so much more to see..
Obviously, there is so much more to do in London throughout the year. New exhibitions and pop-up restaurants, concerts and walks. For latest info check out the Totally-London Facebook page.
Which regular events can you recommend? When do they take place and what makes them so special? Please leave your comment below.
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