Top Annual Festivals In London

The City of London is known for its rich culture, music and arts. London is home to people of different cultures and nationalities. As result, the city is able to hold a wide variety of annual events and festivals. If you intend to visit London, you may schedule your visit to coincide with the festivals and events you are interested in. These annual events and festivals will enable you to sample culture, fun, excitement and new experiences. Some of the top annual festivals in London include:

Trooping the Colour

Trooping the Colourflickr/Jon Bennett

Trooping the Colour is an annual festival held in June to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday. It is one of the greatest traditions in London. The festival starts at Buckingham Palace through The Mall to Horse Guards Parade. The Queen is accompanied by the Household Cavalry and the crowd is entertained by about 400 musicians. The Queen inspects her troops at Horse Guards Parade before leading the Royal Family to the balcony at Buckingham Palace to view a flypast by the Royal Air Force. Spectators can watch the ceremony for free at The Mall and as it marches past Buckingham Palace.

Lord Mayor’s Show

Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is held in November when the newly elected Lord Mayor of the City of London travels from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice in Westminster to declare his loyalty to the Queen. The 800-year old festival attracts visitors from all over the world to experience traditional British pageantry. Each year, The Lord Mayor rides in a state coach which was built in 1757. For the better part of the year, the state coach is on display at the Museum of London.

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnivalflickr/Angel Ganev

The Notting Hill Carnival is among the most iconic and biggest annual festivals in Europe. The festival, which takes place in summer on August Bank Holiday, attracts over one million people from London and other parts of the world. It is characterised by colourful costumes, Caribbean culture, live music and the parade of floats. This festival is a true reflection of cultural diversity in London. Notting Hill area is mainly composed of people of Trinidad and Tobago heritage (Trini population). Delicious foods such as West-Indian delicacies highlight the event’s Caribbean vibe.

State Opening of Parliament

State Opening of Parliamentflickr/robertsharp

This world-famous event attracts the best classical music performers and orchestras from all over the world. The Proms takes place in the iconic Royal Albert Hall between July and September every year. The festival dates back to 1927 and is held to show patriotism. The Last Night of the Proms is characterized by British anthems and flag-waving patriotic citizens. The festival is broadcast live on BBC as well as shown in Hyde Park at a ceremony known as the BBC Proms in the Park.

Trafalgar Square Festival

Trafalgar Square Festivalwikimedia/Gareth Jones

Trafalgar Square hosts the most famous Christmas tree in London. This festival is devoted to the visual arts, poetry and chamber music.

Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Wimbledon Tennis Championshipsflickr/Ashley Buttle

Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, has been held at the All England Club since 1877. For two weeks every summer, hundreds of players and thousands of spectators descend on the venue to enjoy and relax. The Wimbledon Tennis tournament is played on the grass unlike other Grand Slam tournaments. This tournament attracts the world’s best tennis players.

Fireworks on Bonfire Night

Fireworks on Bonfire Nightflickr/Epic Fireworks

The Fireworks on Bonfire Night festival was started by James I in 1605 to commemorate Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up Parliament. The annual event is held on the 5th November and is marked by burning big bonfires and letting off fireworks.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year in Londonflickr/Duncan Harris

Held in late January or early February, the Chinese New Year festival is marked with music, paper dragons, firecrackers, bustling street markets and dances through Chinatown. The festival comes to a climax at Trafalgar Square where people are entertained by musicians, oriental dancers and acrobats. The event attracts over 300,000 people.

Remembrance Day Parade

Remembrance Day Paradewikimedia/Sgt Dan Harmer

Remembrance Day occurs in November when members of the British Royal Family, senior British political figures and high-ranking members of the British armed forces gather to honour people who have died in war in the service of the country. Those in attendance observe 2 minutes of silence before laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Later, a major procession by veterans takes place as military bands provide live music. This festival attracts people from different parts of the world and the United Kingdom.