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Greater London hosts an abundance of annual events from grand slam tennis competition at Wimbledon to world-class food, film, floral and cultural festivals, art and book fairs, parades, and more.
Below is an overview of major annual events, some with links to more information on venues and related activity. For specific dates on events, check out the EventGuide calendars for London.
- London International Boat Show
- The biggest, splashiest boat show in Europe unfolds at Earl's Court Exhibition Center on Warwick Road. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- New Year's Day Parade
- Thousands of spectators line the streets as more than 10,000 participants follower the Lord Mayor of the city of Westminster on this quite spectacular two-mile parade. Call (44) 20 8566 8586 for more information.
- Charles J. Commemoration
- The last Sunday in January mark the anniversary of King Charles' execution, as cavaliers march through Central London in 17th-century attire. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Russian Winter Festival
- Nearly 75,000 celebrants gather for this eclectic staging of folk acts from across Russia, along with performances of big names in rock and pop. Call (44) 20 7510 2560 for more information.
- The Olympia Fine Art and Antique Fair
- Held in Olympia, this fair features more than 200 exhibitors selling antique furniture and fine art works. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Chinese New Year
- Heralding renewal after winter, London marks China's traditional celebration with firecrackers, music, bustling street markets, drums and paper dragons. Call (44) 9068-663-344 for more information.
- Holiday & Travel Show
- The United Kingdom's largest consumer travel and holiday show unfolds at Earls Court, presenting thousands of destinations for short or long-haul trips. Call (020) 7370-8256 for more information.
- Classic Motor Show
- Alexandra Palace, Wood Green, in north London, stage one of the world's largest exhibitions of vintage, Edwardian and rare vehicles. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- London Book Fair
- Dispensing advice on publishing novels and showcasing collections of rare books, the London Book Fair hosts more than 1,000 companies involved with the trade along with authors, literary agents, librarians and avid readers. Call 44 20 8910 7850 for more information.
- Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
- Cambridge and Oxford crews race along a 4.25 mile stretch of the Thames River, between Putney Bridge and Mortlake. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- London Maze
- Guildhall Yard off Gresham Street becomes the scene for this free, local history fair that brings a wealth of historical resources under one roof, with talks, guided walks, stalls and fun. Call (020) 7332-3700 for more information.
- Whisky Live London
- At the Lawrence Hall & Conference Center, Whisky Live London is the United Kingdom's whisky event of the year, appealing to both enthusiasts and novices, with expert advice, tastings, live music, and regular nose-off competitions. Call (020) 7828-4125 for more information.
- London Marathon
- The 26-mile course for about 30,000 runners stretches from Greenwich Park and Black Heath to the Buckingham Palace Mall, with a continuous line of live bands entertainment and thousands of cheering fans. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race
- Held on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, teams of four run relays with frying pan and pancakes. Call (44) 20 7375 0441 for more information.
- London Garden Show
- The Alexandra Palace in Wood Green hosts hundreds of vendors and floral artists for this extravaganza ushering in spring. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Chelsea Flower Show
- Plants and flowers for all seasons from some 600 exhibitors are on display at the Chelsea Flower Show, held annually since 1913 and always a sellout. Call (0171) 630-7422 for more information.
- London Dollhouse Festival
- Founded in 1985, this festival is a stop for miniature houses eventually making their way to the Museum of Miniatures in Los Angeles. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Outdoor Shakespeare
- Bankets and refreshments go well with Shakespearean favorites presented in the open air. Call (0171) 486-2431 for more information.
- Baishakhi Mela
- London's east end hosts the Baishakhi Mela, celebrating Bangla New Year, with artists, chefs, musicians and other entertainers showing off their talents amid an atmosphere of culture and fun. Call (020) 7377-5300 for more information.
- All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
- Wimbledon is the site for these annual competitions held during June and July. To book seats for the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club competitions, click here.
- Epsom Derby Stakes
- The Epsom Derby Stakes, the most recognized event of the British horse racing circuit, unfolds at Epsom Downs. Call (01) 372 47 7747 for more information.
- Trooping of the Colour
- The official birthday of the sovereign is observed at Horse Guards Parade in Whitewall as the reigning monarch inspects regiments parading their colours from the vantage point of a horse-drawn carriage. Call (020) 7414-2479 for more information.
- Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition
- From early June through mid-August, the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, sponsors Summer Exhibitions of living painters at Burlington House in Piccadilly Circus. Patrons can browse and purchase at reasonable prices throughout the summer months. Call (0171) 439-7438 for more information.
- Kenwood Lakeside Concerts
- This tradition of outdoor concerts from June through September has been preserved for 50 years, and is now embellished with fireworks and laser shows. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- From late June through early July, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship, started in 1877, draws a socially prominent crowd, often including royalty, along with tennis fans from far-flung corners. Call (0181) 946-2244 for more information.
- Great British Beer Festival
- Sometimes stretching into August, this gigantic suds festival features more than 200 British beers, plus another 200 imports, and assorted food stalls. Organized tastings offer opportunity to sample award winners. Call (44) 1727-867-201 for more information.
- Party in the Park
- Party in the Park, a 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. Call 44 (800) 333-958 for more information.
- The Proms
- From mid-July through mid-September, the traditional Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, launched in 1895, attract music aficionados from around the world. Call (020) 7589-8212 for more information.
- African-Caribbean Street Fair
- Live reggae and soul music and Caribbean food attract more than half a million people, making it one of the largest festivals in Europe.
- Carter's Steam Fair
- Chair-0-Planes and Rock & Roll Dodgem are traditional at this fair. Call (020) 7401-2255 for more information.
- River Cultures Festival
- Family activities and street entertainers are part of the River Cultures Festival fun. Call (020) 7538-5422 for more information.
- Notting Hill Carnival
- Caribbean rhythms arrive in West London, with steel drums, floats, colorfully attired dancers, rap, reggae and Red Stripe beer. The parade route covers Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove, Ladbroke Grove and Kensai Road. Call (020) 8964-0544 for more information.
- Chelsea Antiques Fair
- Running for more than a qeek, the Chelsea Antiques fair is known for having something for all budgets. Call (20) 7928-0011 for more information.
- Covent Garden Festival of Street Theatre
- For more than two weeks, Covent Gardens comes alive with acts of quality. Call (020) 7836-9136 for more information.
- Thames Festival
- Celebrating London's life source, the Thames, this river festival on the south bank provides free exhibitions for the arts, accompanied by fireworks, treasure hunts and a torch-lit procession with illuminated floats. Call (020) 7401-3610 for more information.
- Opening of Parliament
- The British Monarch opens parliament in the House of Lords, riding from Buckingham Palace in a in a royal coach. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Horse of the Year Show
- Riders arrive from all over the world to join in this “equine extravaganza" at Wembley Arena. Call (0181) 902-8833 for more information.
- London Film Festival
- Top films from around the world are screened shown at cinemas across the UK. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Trafalgar Square Festival
- The Trafalgar Square Festival is in devoted to poetry, chamber music and the visual arts. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
- This motoring spectacle is a run, not a race, sponsored by the Royal Automobile Association, with vehicles built before 1905 creeping through central London no faster than 20 m.p.h. Some vintage cars don't finish, and some fail to even start. Call (44) 1753-765000 for more information.
- Christmas Lighting Ceremonies
- From mid-November on, London is ablaze with Christmas lights, especially on famed shopping byways such as Bond Street, St. Christopher's Place, Regent Street, and Covent Garden Market, all celebrating the lighting of Christmas ornamentation. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Guy Fawkes Night
- Fireworks on Nov. 5 mark renegade Guy Fawkes' failed effort in 1605 to blow up Parliament over religious differences. Other activities include the burning of an effigy, and many parks have fairs. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- London's Annual Film Festival
- For Long includes a selection of some of the best films from around the world shown at cinemas across the UK. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Lord Mayor's Procession and Show
- For inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Queen must ask permission to enter the city's square mile, a right guarded since the 17th century by London's merchants. Ceremonies are at Guildhall to the Royal Courts of Justice. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Christmas Nightmare
- From the weekend after Thanksgiving, through the Christmas and New Year holidays, the The London Bridge Experience & The London Tombs tour company, along Tooley Street underneath the London Bridge, hosts a tour led by the ghostly Ebenezer Scrooge where you will meet historical characters and experience the harsh realities of a Dickensian Christmas. Call (020) 084 4847-1757 for more information.
- Christmas Tree
- Each year the people of Norway give the people of Britain a fir tree as a salute to British help during World War II. The tree is placed and lighted in Trafalgar Square, with concerts scheduled at intervals. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
- Boxing Day Sale Celebrations
- Retailers and shopaholics agree that the sales beginning the day after Christmas are not to be missed. Bargains galore are big not only in the West End, but all over London. Call (020) 7234-5800 for more information.
This page is intended to be an overview only. For a complete list of current
London-area events, please have a look at the
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