You are here: Home » Destinations » London

Basic information

  • Area: 1,706.8 km² (659 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +4420
  • Currency: Pound Sterling (£) GBP
  • Population (EST): 7,556,900
  • Language: English
  • Time Zone: GMT (UTC+0) BST (UTC+1)

London – Events

More

Valentine's Day

14th February is the time of year to tell someone that you love him or her. Both men and women can send cards or give presents. Traditionally, you do not write your name on the card or present. They are often sent by post, delivered by someone else or are hidden: they are not normally given directly to the person. Among the most common presents are chocolates, teddy bears and flowers. Couples sometimes go out for a meal: reserve a table early if you want to go to a restaurant on this day. This is the most expensive time of year to buy red roses.

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) 16th February

Historically, on Shrove Tuesday Christians confessed their sins and asked to be forgiven for them (this was known as "shriving"). It is the day before the period known as Lent, when Christians traditionally did not eat fatty foods (for example: meat, fish, eggs and milk) for 40 days until Palm Sunday, which is a week before Easter Sunday. Families had a feast on this day to eat those foods which could not be kept for 40 days: eggs and milk were used by adding flour and frying them to make pancakes. This tradition is still kept by many families. The popular name for Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day.

Chinese New Year: Chinatown event

26th February is a celebration of the Chinese New Year in the Chinatown area of London. The main events are in Gerrard Street, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. The entertainment includes lion and dragon dances, martial art demonstrations, Chinese food and music, and firecrackers.

London St Patrick's Day Festival

A celebration of Irish culture in London, usually on the Sunday nearest to St Patrick's Day which is 17 March. There is a parade starting at 12 noon which passes down Piccadilly, Regent Street and Trafalgar Square before finishing in Whitehall Place. There is also a festival of music and cultural performances in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

Cheltenham Festival

One of the main horse racing events of the year takes place in Cheltenham. This is jump racing (over fences), with many top British and Irish horses competing. The most important race is the Gold Cup on Friday.

Head of the River Race

A boat race on the river Thames in London for "eights", which each have eight people who row and one person who directs the boat. There are several hundred boats competing, setting off at 10-second intervals and the times to finish the course are recorded. It is expected to start at 1:15pm and end at about 2:30pm; the fastest boats can complete the 4.25 mile (7 kilometer) course in about 20 minutes. The race starts at Chiswick Bridge and ends at Putney Bridge. You can watch it from any accessible point along the river, but the best views are probably on the east bank of the Thames (the side which is in Surrey) just north of Chiswick Bridge.

April Fools Day – 1st April

Be careful - it is traditional for people to try to trick you. This is meant to be for fun so try not to take it too seriously if someone tries a joke on you or tries to make you believe something strange. Many people believe that someone should only be tricked in the morning; otherwise the person who is doing the tricking is the "fool".

St Georges Day

England’s national day celebrated in conjunction with Shakespeare’s birthday. The legend of George slaying a dragon and rescuing an innocent maiden from death is medieval. St George's Day is celebrated on the 23rd April, presumed to be the day of George's death in 303, this day was officially named this day in 1222. The story of Saint George is so wrapped in myth and legend that it's difficult to extract the historical facts of a real life but we know he was born in Cappadocia and area which is now in Turkey, he later lived in Palestine. His parents were Christian but he protested against Rome's persecution of Christians and became a Roman solider.

The Grand National

A famous horse race which is held in Aintree near Liverpool. You can see it in the afternoon on television on BBC1. Many British people like to make a small bet about the result of this race; it is quite popular amongst the British people.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

The world famous boat race between the two oldest universities in the country takes place on the banks of the River Thames each year for what promises to be an epic battle between the two. The Race takes place on the River Thames. The Race starts at Putney Bridge, following the river and ends up at Chiswick Bridge.

The London Marathon

The London Marathon has been taking place each year since 1981. Many of the runners are taking part in order to raise money for charity. There are three starting points close to Greenwich, races start between 9am and 10am. The nearest railway stations are Maze Hill or Blackheath; Greenwich train station and the DLR station at Cutty Sark are also close. The race ends on The Mall. The centre of Greenwich (near the boat called the "Cutty Sark") and the area near to the finishing line can become very busy. Recommended places to view the race are either close to the start, or somewhere along Westferry Road on the Isle of Dogs. A free spectator's guide is available from underground stations. You can also watch the marathon on television: it is shown on BBC1 in the morning and early afternoon.

New Years Day – 1st January

A public holiday in the UK to celebrate the start of a new year, most people make new year’s resolution’s that they try and keep throughout the entire year.

Valentine's Day

14th February is the time of year to tell someone that you love him or her. Both men and women can send cards or give presents. Traditionally, you do not write your name on the card or present. They are often sent by post, delivered by someone else or are hidden: they are not normally given directly to the person. Among the most common presents are chocolates, teddy bears and flowers. Couples sometimes go out for a meal: reserve a table early if you want to go to a restaurant on this day. This is the most expensive time of year to buy red roses.

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) 16th February

Historically, on Shrove Tuesday Christians confessed their sins and asked to be forgiven for them (this was known as "shriving"). It is the day before the period known as Lent, when Christians traditionally did not eat fatty foods (for example: meat, fish, eggs and milk) for 40 days until Palm Sunday, which is a week before Easter Sunday. Families had a feast on this day to eat those foods which could not be kept for 40 days: eggs and milk were used by adding flour and frying them to make pancakes. This tradition is still kept by many families. The popular name for Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day.

Chinese New Year: Chinatown event

26th February is a celebration of the Chinese New Year in the Chinatown area of London. The main events are in Gerrard Street, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. The entertainment includes lion and dragon dances, martial art demonstrations, Chinese food and music, and firecrackers.

London St Patrick's Day Festival

A celebration of Irish culture in London, usually on the Sunday nearest to St Patrick's Day which is 17 March. There is a parade starting at 12 noon which passes down Piccadilly, Regent Street and Trafalgar Square before finishing in Whitehall Place. There is also a festival of music and cultural performances in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

Cheltenham Festival

One of the main horse racing events of the year takes place in Cheltenham. This is jump racing (over fences), with many top British and Irish horses competing. The most important race is the Gold Cup on Friday.

Head of the River Race

A boat race on the river Thames in London for "eights", which each have eight people who row and one person who directs the boat. There are several hundred boats competing, setting off at 10-second intervals and the times to finish the course are recorded. It is expected to start at 1:15pm and end at about 2:30pm; the fastest boats can complete the 4.25 mile (7 kilometer) course in about 20 minutes. The race starts at Chiswick Bridge and ends at Putney Bridge. You can watch it from any accessible point along the river, but the best views are probably on the east bank of the Thames (the side which is in Surrey) just north of Chiswick Bridge.

April Fools Day – 1st April

Be careful - it is traditional for people to try to trick you. This is meant to be for fun so try not to take it too seriously if someone tries a joke on you or tries to make you believe something strange. Many people believe that someone should only be tricked in the morning; otherwise the person who is doing the tricking is the "fool".

St Georges Day

England’s national day celebrated in conjunction with Shakespeare’s birthday. The legend of George slaying a dragon and rescuing an innocent maiden from death is medieval. St George's Day is celebrated on the 23rd April, presumed to be the day of George's death in 303, this day was officially named this day in 1222. The story of Saint George is so wrapped in myth and legend that it's difficult to extract the historical facts of a real life but we know he was born in Cappadocia and area which is now in Turkey, he later lived in Palestine. His parents were Christian but he protested against Rome's persecution of Christians and became a Roman solider.

The Grand National

A famous horse race which is held in Aintree near Liverpool. You can see it in the afternoon on television on BBC1. Many British people like to make a small bet about the result of this race; it is quite popular amongst the British people.

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

The world famous boat race between the two oldest universities in the country takes place on the banks of the River Thames each year for what promises to be an epic battle between the two. The Race takes place on the River Thames. The Race starts at Putney Bridge, following the river and ends up at Chiswick Bridge.

The London Marathon

The London Marathon has been taking place each year since 1981. Many of the runners are taking part in order to raise money for charity. There are three starting points close to Greenwich, races start between 9am and 10am. The nearest railway stations are Maze Hill or Blackheath; Greenwich train station and the DLR station at Cutty Sark are also close. The race ends on The Mall. The centre of Greenwich (near the boat called the "Cutty Sark") and the area near to the finishing line can become very busy. Recommended places to view the race are either close to the start, or somewhere along Westferry Road on the Isle of Dogs. A free spectator's guide is available from underground stations. You can also watch the marathon on television: it is shown on BBC1 in the morning and early afternoon.

The Chelsea Flower Show

Held every year during May, The Chelsea Flower Show is the worlds most popular and renowned flower show. The show lasts for a week and includes large Show Gardens, created by the world’s best known designers, as well as a variety of smaller gardens created by individuals and members of small clubs and societies. The floral pavilions contain displays from around the world and there are all sorts of garden related items to be seen, ranging from conservatories and greenhouses to furniture, statues and tools.

The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships

A must for any tennis fan. The tournament takes place at the all England lawn tennis and croquet club and starts six weeks before the first Monday in August and lasts for a fortnight, or for as long as necessary to complete all events. Tickets are hard to come by and are allocated by ballot, details of which can be found at the official Wimbledon website. There are also a small number of tickets available on the day by queuing at the All England Club.

Taste of London Festival

Hotly anticipated London restaurant event Taste of London brings together a selection of world famous London restaurants in a unique outdoor food and drink festival, showcasing cuisine from some of the country’s best chefs. At the Taste of London festival, visitors can sample gourmet cooking in Regents Park over four mouthwatering days in June.

London Proms

Proms in the Park is still one of London's most popular events, Uniting the nation in song, the world-famous Last Night of the Proms is one of the hottest tickets in the musical calendar. And if you're looking for the best way to enjoy it, just head to Hyde Park with food, flags, family and friends, where for £25.00 you'll get five hours of music and entertainment, and a sensational firework finale.

Henley Regatta

Each summer, Henley-on-Thames is brought to life with the Henley Royal Regatta. The Regatta, first held in 1839, is a unique rowing event offering 100 world-class races over 5 days and the chance to see our Olympic stars, whilst enjoying a day of lavish hospitality and elegance on the banks of the River Thames. The pleasing surroundings and glorious summer sunshine, provide a welcome haven of relaxation and tranquillity from the stresses of city life. The ambience is one of a large, Edwardian garden party and this prestigious event offers an idyllic opportunity for corporate or social entertainment.

The Notting Hill Carnival

Taking place every year during the August bank holiday weekend the Notting hill carnival transforms this part London into an exotic blaze of colour and sound, as street performers use a combination of music, drama, costumes and dance to dazzle the crowds.

Brick Lane Curry Festival

The Brick Lane Curry Festival is a gastronomic extravaganza in London's Brick Lane, celebrating the best in curry culture. Visitors have the chance to sample some of the most tantalizing cuisine from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan over two weeks.

London Design Festival

Exhibitions and general designer love this event. The festival is huge and extremely varied; there are open studios, installations, talks, workshops, tours and exhibitions by the well established big names. Everything is scattered between a dozen or more venues so you'll need to plan your day.

London Film Festival

The London Film festival is a celebration of actors, directors and writers. The Times BFI London Film Festival is the UK’s largest public film event, screening over 300 films from 60 countries. The festival, the LFF, is held every year by the British Film Festival and currently sponsored by The Times Newspaper. The Festival presents selected new films from the full spectrum of world cinema, with an extensive schedule of industry and public forums, education events, lectures and celebrity interviews.

The Lord Mayor’s Show

Held annually on the second Saturday of November, the lord mayor’s show has been taking place for nearly 800 years. It is a spectacular procession that carries the Lord Mayor of London to the Royal Courts of Justice to pledge allegiance to the Crown. With thousands of participants and military personnel, hundreds of vehicles, numerous marching bands and the glorious state coach, it is the largest parade of its kind in the world. The end of the day is marked by a spectacular fireworks display on the River Thames.

Somerset House Ice Rink

Somerset House ice rink is open to skaters and spectators alike, promising a magical ice skating London experience for all visitors to Somerset House courtyard. Relax before or after your skate and soak in the atmosphere at Somerset House, which promises something special for Londoners of all ages. There's also The Skate Cafe and Bar which is open for the skating season so if you fancy some tasty hot food, or just a warming or refreshing drink, it's all right there.

Winter Wonderland

Even if you're feeling Scrooge-like, this often surreal market-meets-fairground in Hyde Park will have you grinning ear-to-ear from the second you pass the talking, mounted moose head on the way in. The city's largest rink is pretty narrow so watch the turns as you work up an appetite. In fact, just standing in the outdoor seating area, it's hard not to salivate; the air is so perfumed with waffles, chocolate crepes, caramelized nuts and the occasional waft of bratwurst. After your skating session have a nose round the other activities on offer - great views of the city from the Ferris wheel, a Bavarian village, the pirate haunted house and plenty of stalls for picking up stocking fillers.

State Opening of Parliament/the Queen's Speech

One of the most colorful and glamorous state occasions of the year, the State opening of Parliament marks the beginning of a new parliamentary year and sets out the agenda for the coming period. This is held at House of Parliament, Westminster, London. Procession starts at Buckingham Palace and ends at the Houses of Parliament.

Remembrance Sunday

In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November (Armistice Day), which is the anniversary of the end of the hostilities of the First World War at 11 a.m. Since 1918 in the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting

Marking the official start of the Christmas season, the lighting of the Christmas tree at Trafalgar Aquare is accompanied by carols by the St Martins in the Fields Choir. The tree itself is given to Londoners by the Norwegian people, as a token of their appreciation for Britian's help during the Second World War.

Royal Variety Performance

Since 1912 there has been an annual variety show performance attended by the king or queen, with the money raised going to a fund to help retired entertainers in need (the artists perform for free). The show is shown on television at a later date.

More