London Events and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(London, England, UK)




Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace photoThe Lord Mayor's Parade, the daily Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, the Promenade concerts and Notting Hill Carnival are just a few of the great number of spectacular events that complement this most famous capital city. London's West End 'Theatreland' is, along with Broadway, the world's most famous theatre district and the home of wonderful musicals and events.

National Public Holidays


  • 1st January - New Year's Day
  • Good Friday / Easter Monday - late March or early April
  • First and last Monday in May
  • Last Monday in August
  • 25th December - Christmas Day
  • 26th December - Boxing Day

(If Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the next weekday becomes a public holiday).


January


  • The London Parade Festival - January 1st, one of the biggest events in London's calendar. With almost 10,000 participants from around the world, it draws a street audience of close to one million people
  • London International Boat Show - early January, Europe's biggest boat show - Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road
  • Charles J. Commemoration - last Sunday in January, commemorating the anniversary of King Charles' execution, cavaliers march through Central London dressed in 17th-century attire
  • London International Mime Festival - end of January, artists from all over the world come to London to take part in this festival

February


  • Great Spitalfields Pancake Day Race - mid-February, on the day before Lent
  • The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair - mid-February, held in Olympia, featuring over 200 exhibitors selling antique period furniture and works of art
  • Chinese New Year - mid-February, famous Lion Dancers, paper dragons and firecracker processions in SoHo
  • Valentine's Day - February 14th, commercialised, romantic celebrations throughout the city

March


  • Classic Motor Show - mid-March, one of the largest exhibitions of vintage, Edwardian and extremely rare vehicles in the world - Alexandra Palace, Wood Green, north London
  • St. Patrick's Day - March 17th, many pubs and other venues have concerts and celebrations, particularly in north London
  • Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race - late March, Cambridge and Oxford universities race their boats along a 4.25-mile / 7-km stretch of the River Thames, between Putney Bridge and Mortlake

April


  • Ideal Home Exhibition - new ideas for the home and the garden, technological gadgets that you can see being demonstrated and purpose-built houses
  • Kite Festival - early April, kite flying and displays on the vast Blackheath Common
  • London Marathon - mid-April, around 30,000 people run the 26-mile / 41.5 km course from Greenwich Park and Blackheath to the Buckingham Palace Mall, cheered on by thousands of spectators
  • London Garden Show - late April, Alexandra Palace in Wood Green is home to many hundreds of vendors and gardening artists for this annual spring event

May


  • Covent Garden Festival - throughout May, including a wide range of operatic musical concerts
  • The May Fayre and Puppet Festival - one day in May, at St. Paul's Church in Covent Garden, a great day not just for the children but for all the family
  • The London Dollhouse Festival - mid-May, this festival started in 1985 and is a stopping place for some miniature houses, which will eventually end up at Museum of Miniatures in Los Angeles
  • Outdoor Shakespeare Performances - late May to Summer, bring a blanket and enjoy Shakespeare plays in the open air
  • Chelsea Flower Show - late May, largest flower show in the world, beautiful gardens and displays of plants and flowers
  • Coin Street Festival - last bank holiday of May continuing until September, celebrating cultures from all around the world including music and street performances. Most events are at the weekend on the south bank around Gabriel Wharf and the OXO Tower

June


  • Epsom Derby Stakes - early June, this derby is the biggest event in the British horse racing calendar
  • Trooping the Colour - official birthday of the queen, who inspects her regiments while seated in a horse-drawn carriage, as they parade their colours before her - Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall
  • Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition - early June to mid-August. Dating back to 1768, this institution has been sponsored for some two centuries
  • Summer Exhibitions of living painters - June to August. Browse and make purchases of reasonably priced art - Burlington House, Piccadilly Circus
  • The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair - mid-June, held in Olympia, this fair features over 200 exhibitors selling antique furniture and fine art works
  • Grosvenor House Antiques Fair - mid-June, prestigious antiques show
  • Kenwood Lakeside Concerts - mid-June to early September - this historic tradition of outdoor concerts has been preserved for fifty years, fireworks and dramatic laser shows - North side of Hampstead Heath
  • Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship - late June to early July, started in 1877 at Wimbledon this tournament consistently draws large crowds - Wimbledon, South-west London
  • Royal Ascot - mid-June, takes place over four days and is the most popular flat race meeting in Britain, with a total of GBP 2.5 million to be won, many famous people attend, including The Royal Family




July


  • City of London Festival - mid-July, arts festival around the city
  • Royal Tournament - late July, displays of athletic and military skills performed by the British armed forces - Earl's Court Exhibition Centre
  • The Proms - mid-July to mid-September, the traditional Promenade Concerts began 1895 to attract classical music lovers from all over the world
  • Swan Upping on the Thames - takes place over a week in July, this a traditional ritual with boats and oarsmen all dressed up in colorful clothing making it a spectacular sight to see
  • Ealing Summer Festival - includes all types of entertainment for both children and adults - most events are free and are held in Walpole Park or other parks in the area, including shows, sporting events and theatrical performances
  • British 10k Run - end July, open to all entrants, this 10 km / 6.3 mile run across London has a celebrity start and entertainment all along the route

August


  • Ealing Jazz Festival - first week in August, this is the largest free jazz festival in the UK, with concerts taking place at lunchtimes and during the evening throughout Walpole Park
  • African-Caribbean Street Fair - late August, live reggae, soul music and tasty Caribbean food attract over half a million people - one of Europe's largest festivals
  • The Notting Hill Carnival - on August bank holiday, this is the largest street party in Europe and the carnival covers a large area off Portobello Road over the Sunday and Monday
  • Great British Beer Festival - with live music, pub games and a wide range of different merchandise to buy - not just for people who like beer - with over 700 real ales, ciders and imported beers to choose from

September


  • London Open House - where public access is given free of charge to buildings of architectural and community interest across the capital, including The Royal Courts of Justice, The Guards Museum, Royal Opera House, Royal Court Theatre and many more
  • Covent Garden Festival of Street Theatre - over two weeks in September, this street theatre in Covent Garden features many plays, all of which are unique and of a high quality
  • Chelsea Antiques Fair - mid-September, something for everyone no matter what they are looking for or what their budget is, many large antiques shops have a stall at the fair that runs for over a week
  • Thames Festival - celebrating the river that has made London so prosperous and popular - the festival takes place between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge and includes a fanfare, river displays, face painting, craft and food stalls
  • Quintessentially Epicure - early-September, two days food event with tastings of dishes from London's preeminent restaurants, demonstrations from renown international chefs, and sampling of wines, spirits and champagnes

October


  • Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival - early October, from all over London, pearly Kings and Queens get together to celebrate the Harvest Festival and parade through London to St. Martin-in-the-Fields church where they have a service of celebration
  • Opening of Parliament - first Monday in October, the monarch opens parliament in the historic House of Lords after riding from nearby Buckingham Palace to Westminster in a colourful royal coach
  • Trafalgar Square Festival - early October, this festival is devoted to poetry, chamber music concerts and many aspects of the visual arts
  • Punch and Judy Festival - first Sunday of October, Punch and Judy take over the Piazza - a great day out for children and grownups alike, with cries of 'That's the way to do it!'

November


  • Fireworks Night - early November, bonfires are lit around the city to commemorate the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, by the infamous Guy Fawkes
  • Lord Mayor's Procession and Show - mid-November, inauguration of the new 'Lord Mayor of the City of London' - Guildhall to the Royal Courts of Justice
  • Remembrance Sunday Ceremony - first Sunday after the 11th of November, ceremony to commemorate those people who gave their lives for the country in both the First and Second World War - the Queen, the Prime Minister and other Heads of State lay wreaths and observe a minute's silence at 11:00
  • The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair - late November, held in Olympia, featuring more than 200 exhibitors selling antiques, period furniture and fine arts
  • London's Annual Film Festival - mid-November to early December, including a selection of some of World's best films

December


  • Christmas Lights - late November / early December, the Christmas illuminations are switched on by a famous celebrity at Regent Street
  • Window Displays - it is worth a trip into the shopping areas just to see the amazing window displays of the major shops at Christmas time
  • Christmas Tree - every year the Norwegian people give the British nation a fir tree to thank them for their help during the war. The tree stands in Trafalgar Square and is decorated with lights. Occasionally carol concerts are held under the tree during lunchtimes
  • Boxing Day Sales - December 26th, the day after Christmas day - the sales are an absolute must and last for about a month. The best deals are to be found on the first few days
  • New Year's Eve Celebrations - every year the celebrations get bigger and better, with many different celebrations going on around the capital, featuring street theatre and fireworks - alternatively there are always crowds in Trafalgar Square







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