London hosts several festivals, ceremonies, fairs and carnivals throughout the year, including many Royal Ceremonies.
Winter - Spring - Summer - Autumn
Winter (January - February)
London New Year Day Parade
10,000 dancers, acrobats, cheerleaders, musicians and performers assemble in the
heart of the city for a "celebration of nations." Young people from the US, Japan and Europe come together with those from London for three hours of pomp and frivolity.
The parade starts in Parliament Square at noon, as Big Ben strikes the hour and proceeds along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, Cockspur St, Pall Mall, Lower Regent St, Piccadilly Circus and Piccadilly.
Twelfth Night Celebration - Southwark
Twelfth Night is an annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London. It is a celebration of the New Year, mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity.
London International Boat Show - January
London International Mime Festival - January
Internationally recognised as the world's leading showcase for innovative and entertaining visual theatre, the London International Mime Festival, founded in 1977, is the largest event of its kind in the world. Artists perform in a number of venues across the capital including the South Bank Centre, Royal Opera House and the ICA, attracting an annual audience of around 16,000 people.
Chinese New Year -
London's Chinese community celebrates the New Year with a series of events around the city centre. Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square are the focus of the revelry, with stages featuring an array of Chinese talent, including music, lion dances and martial arts demonstrations.
Starts in Trafalgar Square from 12 noon. Later in the afternoon in Leicester Square, cover your ears for the deafening Chinese firecrackers and, later on, more traditional fireworks. In the evening, head north to Chinatown itself where you will be greeted with exhibitions and food stalls.
The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race - Shrove Tuesday
The races start at 12:30pm at Dray Walk, the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
(nearest Tube: Aldgate East or Shoreditch)
Spring (March to May)
London Marathon - April
Greenwich to Westminster Bridge via the Isle of Dogs.
London Harness Horse Parade- Easter Monday
Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race - April
Britain's oldest two universities battle it out in this yearly event to see who can make it from Putney to Mortlake the fastest.
Queen's Birthday Gun Salute 21 April
Hyde Park and Tower of London. A 41-gun salute to mark the actual (not the official) birthday of The Queen, fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park (opposite the Dorchester Hotel), and a 62-gun royal salute fired by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London.
May Fayre and Puppet Festival May
Gardens of St Paul's Covent Garden, Bedford Street.
Oak Apple Day 29 May
The Chelsea Pensioners honour Charles II, founder of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, on the anniversary of Charles II's escape after the Battle of Worcester. The king's statue is decorated with oak leaves in memory of the fact that Charles hid in an oak tree to escape his pursuers.
Covent Garden Festival
Takes place throughout May and includes a wide range of operatic musical concerts.
Summer (June - August)
Trooping the Colour
Horseguards Parade, Whitehall
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships
Wimbledon's centre court is world famous and for the last two weeks in June the
whole of London goes tennis mad. Tickets are available on the day and discount
tickets are available for the afternoon session.
City of London Festival - June/July
The City of London Festival brings together the very best in music and the arts to promote the cultural diversity and wide-ranging talent of some of the world's leading artists in some of the City's most beautiful and historic venues.
Party in the Park
huge open-air pop festival to benefit the Prince's Trust, takes place on the first Sunday of July, featuring big name acts on one ticket.
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
The world's largest and most vibrant annual flower show. The idyllic setting in the parkland of Henry VIII's favourite palace is transformed for six sumptuous summer days. The spacious grounds showcase an exciting range of flowers, plants and gardening accessories, giving you the opportunity to both browse and buy.
Henley Royal Regatta
The Henley Royal Regatta is the oldest rowing regatta in Europe. First held in 1839 the event has been held annually in the month of July ever since. It takes place in one of the most beautiful towns in Oxfordshire, Henley-on-Thames.
Swan Upping on the Thames July
This ancient ceremony of counting and marking the swans along the
River Thames takes place over five days during the third week in July. (Find out more)
Notting Hill Carnival - August Bank Holiday
The world's largest carnival. It takes place over the August bank holiday weekend, and attracts almost 2 million people. It has a distinctly Afro-Caribbean flavour, and highlights include a competition between London's steel pan bands and a 3 mile street parade with dancing and music.
Autumn (September - December)
Great River Race Thames Festival September
A 22-mile international River Thames ‘marathon’ for traditional rowed and paddled boats, propelled by a minimum of four oars or paddles, without sliding seats or riggers. Starting at Richmond, it passes down river, under Tower Bridge and past the magnificent Docklands skyline before finishing at historic Greenwich. Good views of
the finish are to be seen from Greenwich and Island Gardens.
Regent Street Festival September
London's elegant Regent Street closes for a musical and theatrical extravaganza.
The Mayor’s Thames Festival - September
South Bank, Bankside & Pool of London
The annual festival running from Westminster to Tower Bridge closes busy streets and transforms the river, parks and open spaces with a rich programme of new creative commissions, a riverside bazaar and night market, family oriented activities, street theatre, music, and more.
Horseman's Sunday - September
It's horses galore in Hyde Park on Horseman's Sunday as the vicar of St John's Church appears before his congregation on horseback and leads a cavalcade of over 100 horses and riders to the church.
Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival - October
Witness a spectacular display as the original Pearly Kings and Queens gather in their buttoned suits for the annual Harvest Festival Service, held at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Day Parade - October
Every year the Sea Cadet Corps lead the Trafalgar Day Parade through Trafalgar Square to celebrate one of the most famous British victories in history, when Lord Nelson vanquished the French and Spanish fleets at Cape Trafalgar, off the coast of Spain.
October Plenty October
An autumn harvest celebration presented by the Lions Part theatre company, mixing ancient seasonal customs and theatre, beginning on the Bankside near Shakespeare's Globe and ending among the food stalls of Southwark's Borough Market.
State Opening of Parliament - November
Parliament is reopened after the summer break in October by the Queen with great pomp and ceremony. The Queen wears her crown and rides down to Parliament from Buckingham Palace in a lavish coach. The ceremony offers the best opportunity to see the royal family.
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run November
Held on the first Sunday in November
The 5th of November sees the celebration of Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up Westminster and the monarch. Events take place all over the capital starting a few weeks before the day. Expect a lot of local fireworks.
Lord Mayors Show November
This annual event has been taking over the streets of London for nearly 800 years now. A parade involving over 6,000 people, bands, over 140 decorated floats, costumed performers and a gilded State Coach that the Lord Mayor travels in.
The procession leaves Mansion House at 11am; fireworks 5pm
The parade leaves from outside the Guildhall, heads down Princes St and picks up the Lord Mayor at Mansion House. It then moves off up Cheapside to St Paul's Churchyard, then down to Ludgate Circus and up Fleet St. There it pauses outside the Royal Courts of Justice before moving off down Victoria Embankment to Upper Thames St and Mansion House, then back to the Guildhall by mid-afternoon.
Remembrance Ceremony and Parade - November
On the nearest Sunday to 11 November, the Royal Family lead a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to commemorate the dead.
Festival of Remembrance - 11 November
First held in 1927, the Royal British Legion welcomes members of the Royal family, Government Ministers and the public to join in the annual Festival of Remembrance and two-minute silence at the Royal Albert Hall, in honour of those who have given their lives in the service of their country.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree - December
For over a century Trafalgar Square has been adorned with a majestic Christmas tree, an annual gift from the City of Oslo in Norway, thanking us for support and friendship during World War II. Occasionally carol concerts are held under the tree during lunchtime.
Christmas Lights - Nov/Dec
Christmas Street lights are switched on at the end of November at various celebrations across Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street.
Great Christmas Pudding Race - December
In a classic example of English eccentricity, celebrities and members of the public in fancy dress take part in this festive relay race around Covent Garden's East Piazza, avoiding novelty obstacles and carrying a Christmas pudding.
The event starts at about 11.30am and lasts for about an hour: there are also entertainments before, during and afterwards. The event raises money for Cancer Research UK.
Frost Fair - December
The Frost Fair originates from the freeze of 1564 when the people of London took to the ice for a carnival on the water. They had coach races, puppet plays, cooking and tippling. This became an annual event and the last Frost Fair was held in 1814, almost 200 years ago, until 2003, when Bankside yet again became the site of the Frost Fair Carnival.
New Years Eve fireworks and Street Party - 31 December