Seasonal events in London

The Home of Regal Pom, There’s so much to do in London
Luke Abrahams
20 May 2023

The Big Smoke, and indeed the UK, knows how to put on a party. All year round, the capital plays host to a fantastical roster of events that celebrate everything from the monarch’s birthday to blooming beautiful florals and London’s loud and proud LGBT+ communities. The point is, Londoners love any old excuse to have a good old time, and they are often hellbent on making anyone who visits join in with all the fun, day and night. No matter the season, there’s always something to suit every type of nomad visiting glorious Londinium.

The Boat Race (March)

This is a slice of university rivalry at its watery finest. Every year, the institutions of Oxford and Cambridge University battle it out in style as they roar, oars and all, down the mighty River Thames. Hundreds of thousands normally turn up to cheer, either along the route or in the city’s pubs that turn into an all-day party fest. The entire thing is free to watch so there’s no need to worry about booking a ticket to see it all, but the one thing to remember to bring, without cost, is an umbrella. The weather is always unpredictable, and though it takes place in the spring, the sporting event can sometimes be met with a mighty downpour.

London Marathon (April)

Thousands descend on the capital every year to partake in the world-famous London Marathon. The whole thing covers 26.2 miles, crisscrossing the city’s most well-known historical landmarks from The Palace of Westminster to Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and finally, down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace – where the big old marathon traditionally ends. It’s a big affair with all sorts of professionals, celebrities, and truly ridiculous outfits taking center stage. Roads are closed, many are held and the pubs up and down the whole place are rightly rammed. It’s all in the name of fun, and of course, charity. Sign up if you dare.

Chelsea Flower Show (May)

Everyone’s heard of the Chelsea Flower Show thanks, mostly, to our late Queen Elizabeth II whose love of perennials and the great outdoors was infectious, as it was, world-famous. The show normally lasts four days and is notoriously difficult to get tickets for due to its sheer popularity. The hype, however, is worth it. The gardens deliver every year with all sorts of green-fingered paraphernalia. More details are generally released closer to the show’s drop date but expect everything from themed landscape bliss to dainty florals and some seriously spectacular gardening accessories.

Trooping the Color (June)

Trooping the Color is officially known as The King’s Birthday Parade. While it does not take place on the big day itself, the pomp show of pageantry ushers in the monarch’s “chosen” birthday, which for the last few centuries has taken place in June to mark the start of summer. Carried out by His Majesty’s Horse Guards, Trooping the Color is a military tradition that dates back to the early eighteenth century. It was intended to help weary soldiers find their ranks, but now it’s more about putting on a good show for all the spectators. You can watch it along The Mall for free or apply for the ballot to sit in the grandstand seating at the start of every year.

Pride London (June)

Research Pays Off

There's always something going on in London, so it's well worth checking out what ticks your fancy months before visiting. Research pays off, especially if you want to attend one of the big events.

Pride is a fantastic time of year in London. The parties are wild; the costumes are uber colorful; the events are loud and cheerful; and the parade is downright fantastic fun. The festival celebrating the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots often ushers in a new celebratory theme each year, shining a light on practically every spectrum of the LGBT+ community. As well as the buzzing march, lots of after-parties take place, as well as specially curated queer fringe events that roll out across the entire summer season. All in all, it’s a time to let loose, have fun, and remember those that liberated an entire social movement. What’s better than that?

World Naked Bike Ride (June)

London’s most X-rated event has a good heart and cause. For years it protested for a better environment for all, as well as campaigning for safer cycling routes throughout London and beyond. It normally takes place in the summer (for obvious reasons) with a few thousand riders parading all their bits to the world as they pass some of the city’s biggest landmarks. Sure, it’s not one for the prudes of this world, but with an open mind, you’ll see this annual hit is all about practicing the fine art of liberation.

Notting Hill Carnival (August)

Europe’s largest street carnival is a spectacle of pure joy to behold. It’s one of the oldest street festivals on the planet and is a celebration of freedom and Caribbean culture, first started by London’s West Indian communities. The iconic parade is a wave of kaleidoscopic color featuring boas, feathers, sparkly dresses, soca, calypso, steel bands, and some very loud Soundsystems that quite literally electrify Notting Hill for two straight days during the August bank holiday weekend. The schedule is often released far closer to kick off with all sorts of fun announced on both the adults’ and family days. It gets a little intense, but that’s all part of the fun.

The BBC Proms (August)

The most famous classical concert show in the world is always a smash hit with the crowds. The annual event takes place inside the architecturally astounding Royal Albert Hall where 52 concerts featuring no less than 30 (or sometimes more) orchestras and ensembles and a staggering 2,000 musicians wow on loop. Recitals often clang out the old greats and the new, singer-songwriters and the odd opera singer who loves to blow out the exceptionally good acoustics. Tickets are hard to come by, so we seriously suggest you book a spot as soon as the tickets for the performance you want to see if released.

London Film Festival (October)

The London Film Festival is the capital’s way of showing off its enduring love of the movie business. For nearly took weeks every year, Theatreland kicks off the yearly glitzy soiree with days and nights of fancy galas, A-List lead screenings, buzzy events, and great talks all over London and across the rest of the UK. In addition to showcasing the best in new movies, it’s also a chance to see a load of restored works from the British Film Institute’s (BFI) glorious archives on the big and small screens. Everything is ticketed, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for announcements by signing up for updates from the BFI website.

Lord Mayor’s Show (November)

The beauty of London for me is that it's a city with so much going on. Even if you don't make it to one of the big hitters, it's well worth checking out what's going on locally, from book fairs to flea markets and more.

Aside from the celebration of the monarch’s birthday, The Lord Mayor’s Show is perhaps the most pomp event in London. One of the ancient City of London’s oldest traditions, the spectacle dates back to the thirteenth century when the Square Mile was granted permission from the king to elect its own mayor. Now, the show isn’t so political and is a chance for Londoners and visitors to see a swathe of huge floats and groups festooned in outrageous costumes flutter through the streets that make up the winding and grinding the City of London. It normally kicks off in the morning with marching bands and drummers and a horse-drawn carriage. All great #Instagram content.

About the author

Luke AbrahamsLuke Abrahams is a London-based freelance journalist specializing in news, luxury lifestyle, and travel features. Luke was previously the features social media editor at the London Evening Standard. His work has appeared in more than 25 U.K. and U.S. publications, including British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, The Times, Town & Country, The Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveller, Time Out, House & Garden, Suitcase, Elite Traveler, Insider, and more. So far, Luke has visited 82 countries. His favorite is Italy, and it always will be.