6 Popular London Events
London – just the name conjures up images of the Queen and Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and all those places whose names are so familiar from endless hours of playing Monopoly. London is steeped in history and yet vibrant to this day. To be in London is to soak up its culture, breathe its heritage and savour the experience it offers. So what if you’re on a shoestring budget? There is ever so much you can do in London that is absolutely free.
From January to December, there’s always something big going on in London. To give you a taste of classic English culture, however, I’ve picked out the five events you simply must see. What’s more – you don’t have to pay a penny!
There can be no better way to walk through some of London’s best known locations than as a part of London’s New Year’s Day Parade. Watch the Big Ben strike noon and follow the parade as it starts from Parliament Square and winds through Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Regent Street and Picadilly before ending at the Green Park at 3 pm. That is three hours of marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, balloons, and pure entertainment. Join half a million spectators to witness this performance featuring 10,000 artists from all over the world. For all enthusiasts, information for the upcoming New Year’s Day parade is chronicled at londonparade.co.uk.
Come spring every year, Britain’s oldest two universities take each other on in a boat race across a 4.25 mile stretch of the Thames River, to see who can make it from Putney Bridge to Mortlake, the fastest. Be sure to get yourself a place at one of the many vantage points along the course, like Bishop’s park or Chiswick Bridge (the finish line). If you need more details on the race you can find it here: londonparade.co.uk . Note: The parks feature food outlets and beer stands as well.
Music, visual arts, films, walks – all commemorating London’s historical buildings and beautiful outdoor spaces – if you are in the city during the summer, head out to this major cultural event and you can immerse yourself in three weeks of musical and artistic extravaganza.
November 5th marks the day Guy Fawkes failed to blow up Parliament over religious differences in 1605. Expect a whole lot of fireworks on this day at parks all over the city. If you are lucky, you will get to see kids walking the streets pushing wheelbarrows, keeping up an old tradition of making an effigy of “the Guy” to be burned later as part of a huge bonfire. For all you history buffs, you can read more about Guy Fawkes and the event sparked off (literally!) by his foiled attempt, at bonfirenight.net.
Fun and frolic mark this British-style race in which a team of six runs around the Covent Garden piazza, trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a plate, while wearing fancy dress! No, it doesn’t get any weirder than this. Celebrity guests and obstacle courses lined with flour-filled balloons make for an hour of great fun. On a serious note, though, this is a charity race organized to raise money for cancer research. Details available at xmaspuddingrace.org.uk.
Come, discover the fun side of London!