London is the capital of the UK and the country’s biggest city — it’s home to around 9 million people. The city has a lot of history, dating back to around AD 47 when the Romans settled on Thames River and called their new home Londinium. Today it’s a significant city, acting both as a hub for many industries and as a popular travel destination. There’s a wide range of attractions to explore in the city, from Buckingham Palace and Parliament to major museums like National Gallery and British Museum. Not to mention great shopping options and an endless supply of restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. But London is also home to some fun festivals. Here, we’ve put together a list of popular festivals in London, UK, so read on and check out the options.
1. New Year’s Day Parade
We’ll start our list off with London’s New Year’s Day Parade, which is a great way to start the new year. The first parade happened in 1987, and today it’s the biggest street event on New Year’s Day, with around a million people coming to enjoy the festivities. The parade takes place in west London, starting at the Ritz Hotel and taking a two-mile (3.2 km) journey to Parliament Square. So, what can you see in the parade? All 32 London boroughs are encouraged to submit an act, and performers from all over the world participate as well. Each year is different, but you can expect to see marching bands and dancing. If you’re not too tired from counting down the new year the night before, it’s undoubtedly a great way to start the year with some fun.
New Year’s Day Parade
Address: Parade starts at Ritz Hotel, 150 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9BR
Website: New Year’s Day Parade
Takes place: January
2. The Great British Beer Festival
If you’re a beer lover, then you’ll definitely want to plan your trip to London in August when the Great British Beer Festival is on. The festival has been running for more than 40 years, and celebrates cask ales from the United Kingdom as well as across the whole world. Nearly 1,000 drinks are offered and thousands of people attend annually — in 2011, nearly 63,000 people came to sip some brews. You’ll also find live music, pub games, and of course, plenty of food on offer at the festival.
The Great British Beer Festival
Address: Olympia London, Hammersmith Rd, Hammersmith, London W14 8UX
Website: The Great British Beer Festival
Takes place: August
Price: from 9 USD
3. London Jazz Festival
The London Jazz Festival got its start back in the 1970s when Jazz Week was a feature of the Camden Festival. After 1992, the London Jazz Festival became a festival on its own, occurring each November at different venues. Today, the festival brings in musicians from all over the world, including seasoned players and emerging acts. It’s one of the UK’s major music festivals, and if you’re a jazz fan, this festival shouldn’t be missed.
London Jazz Festival
Address: Varies by venue
Website: London Jazz Festival
Takes place: November
Price: Varies by performance
4. South West Four
If you’re a fan of dance music, including techno, grime, and drum and bass, then South West Four is the festival for you. Each August, a variety of dance acts take the stage for two days straight. The lineup changes yearly, but recent performers include Craig David and Martin Garrix. The 2020 festival takes place in Clapham Common and will feature Major Lazer and Kano. So, if you’re ready to dance that weekend away, keep an eye on the festival‘s website for the availability and selling of tickets.
South West Four
Address: Clapham Common, Windmill Dr, London SW4 9DE
Website: South West Four
Takes place: August
Price: From USD 71
5. London Yoruba Arts Festival
Next up we have the London Yoruba Arts Festival, which was initially started back in 2009. The festival aims to celebrate the art and culture of the Yoruba, a group of people originating from West Nigeria who has since migrated to other parts of Africa. They were also the largest group of people taken during the Slave Trade. This festival celebrates the tradition and culture which has lived on — from music and visual arts to food and workshops. The festival is free and family-friendly, so come along and support the community.
London Yoruba Arts Festival
Address: 89 Kingsland High St, Dalston, London E8 2PB
Website: London Yoruba Arts Festival
Takes place: April
6. British Summer Time
Some of the world’s biggest music acts have played on British Summer Time, including The Cure, the Rolling Stones, and Lionel Richie. The festival takes place each August across two weekends. With such major acts, tickets are highly sought after by music lovers. The lineup changes each year, and in 2020 we can look forward to seeing Little Mix, the Pixies, and Taylor Swift. There are various ticket types — from VIP tickets to daily tickets — so check out the website to see what’s still available and prepare for a weekend of great music.
British Summer Time
Address: Hyde Park
Website: British Summer Time
Takes place: August
Price: from 90 USD
7. Citadel Festival
Up next, we have the Citadel Festival, which is perfect for fans of indie rock. The festival lasts on a single day, and its lineup changes each year. Last 2019 saw Friendly Fires, Bastille, and Bear’s Den take the stage. The festival will take place in Gunnersbury Park in 2020. In addition to the music, you’ll find food stalls, fun workout sessions, and tents with arts and exciting speakers. Keep an eye on the Citadel Festival website to check out the 2020 lineup.
Address: Gunnersbury Park, Gunnersbury Park, Popes Ln, London W3 8LQ
Website: Citadel Festival
Price: From USD 32
8. London Seafood Festival
If you love food from the sea, you must check out the London Seafood Festival. The festival in 2019 fittingly took place along the River Thames, at the Battersea Power Station. Seafood lovers come to this five-day event to taste some food, take a class, and watch cooking demonstrations by chefs. The festival will be back in 2020, so check out their website to find out more information.
London Seafood Festival
Address: Battersea Power Station, 188 Kirtling St, Nine Elms, London SW8 5BN
Website: London Seafood Festival
Takes place: Summer
Price: Free, but some events require tickets
9. Wireless Festival
Wireless Festival got its start in 2005 as a rock and pop music festival. Today, this multi-day festival by Live Nation now includes hip hop and R&B music. The festival has taken place at various sites in London and Birmingham, but for the past handful of years, it has made its home at Finsbury Park in London. Some fantastic acts have taken its stage, including New Order, Jay-Z, and Drake. If you love a variety of musical genres, this is the festival for you. This 2020, the festival will take place in July, with A$AP Rocky, Skepta, and Meek Mill currently scheduled to perform. Check out their website for up-to-date information.
Address: Finsbury Park, London
Website: Wireless Festival
Takes place: July
Price: From USD 93
10. Notting Hill Carnival
We’ll end our list with one of London’s most beloved festivals: Notting Hill Carnival. The carnival takes place across two days in August, which has been going strong since 1966. The British West Indian community in London leads the carnival, attracting a whopping two and a half million visitors. As such, it is one of the world’s biggest street festivals. So what exactly happens at the carnival? There’s a stunning parade to watch, with colourful floats, performers in elaborate costumes, and live music. Of course, you can sample Carribean foods from the plentiful food stalls there. It’s a fun way to celebrate the Caribbean and Black British culture, so plan to have a fun time!
Notting Hill Carnival
Address: Notting Hill, Kensington, London
Website: Notting Hill Carnival
Takes place: August
So much fun at festivals
It’s no surprise that a city as big as London offers plenty of festivals to enjoy. From a parade to start the new year, music festivals and festivals devoted to food and drink, there’s a little something for everyone to celebrate. So, book a ticket to your favourite festival today, and start planning your trip!
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