London Attractions & Events
18 September 2011
Here is some information to guide you to some of London’s main attractions and events. This is by no means all-inclusive and does not include museums. I am hesitant to give dates as events may change from year to year.
Ceremony of the Keys (Tickets Required)
The Tower of London (see below) houses the crown jewels. They are protected by the Yeoman Warders. The ceremony dates back to xxxx and illustrate how the Tower was locked at night. This Wiki article gives some idea why the Yeoman Warders are called Beefeaters. The Yeoman from Star Trek was not one of them. This ceremony requires tickets, which must be requested months in advance. This website explains it all.
Changing of the Guards
The changing of the guards takes place at Buckingham Palace in the forecourt. There are 7 regiments and you can identify each one here. A schedule of days and time can be read here. All three links are from the same website, changing of the guard dot com.
Remembrance Sunday is a ceremony and service on Whitehall in honour of the men and women of the military who died. The link I provided has detailed information and comes from the website UK Student Life.
Royal Gun Salutes
Royal gun salutes takes place is royal parks (Hyde Park, Green Park) and the Tower of London for royal occasions and state visits.
Trooping the Colour
This takes places annually on a Saturday in June. This site gives information and more can be found on this royal site. This Wiki article is excellent.
Armed Forces Day (June 25)
Armed Forces Day gives everyone an opportunity to show support and thanks to the men and women in the armed forces of the United Kingdom. Events take place throughout the county
Bonfire Night, see Guy Fawkes Night below
Burns Night (January 25)
Burns night is a celebration of the life of Robert Burns. This has no ceremony but many pubs and restaurants celebrate buy serving a special diner that includes haggis. Expect gallons of beer. As a public disclosure I have had haggis (twice) in Edinburgh and enjoyed it. I will have it again.
Chinese New Year
Information about Chinese New Year - London comes from London Chinatown dot Org. I had some trouble maneuvering through this site, just to let you know.
Christmas In London
Everything you need to know about Christmas in London, or so says Totally Online, the maker of the site. I have never been to London on Christmas Day but I have been here many times on New Year’s Day and lights and sites are spectacular. The day after Christmas is Boxing Day. The Woodlands Junior School in Kent explains it all here.
Easter in London
About.com is a good place to start to find activities and a Google search will yield more. What would Easter be like without a visit to St. Paul’s?
The Royal Horticultural Society puts on the Chelsea Flower Show as well as many others. The London Flower Show is four different shows at ditterent times of the year.
Good Food Show (Entry Fee)
The Good Food Show allows you the opportunity to try foood from some of London’s popular restaurants. See the Wine Show, below.
Great British Beer Festival (Entry Fee)
London can count on two things every August; heat and the Great British Beer Festival. It is held in Earl’s Court. English cask ale is the reason this takes place but American micro beers and other craft beers are available. This is a CAMRA event.
Guy Fawkes Night (November 5)
Guy Fawkes and other Catholics plotted to blow-up Parliament in 1605 with gun power but were thwarted. Guy Fawkes night is also known as Bonfire Night and expect firework over London on this night.
International Food & Drink Exhibition
The exhibition is more of a trade show for those in the business. I don’t know if tourist can get in but I see it as a lot of fun, if not interesting should you get in.
London Boat Show
The boat show is held every January to showcase boats that I will never own.
London Fashion Week
As I am a guy I have no interest in fashion so you will have to click this link to find out more.
London Film Festival
The festival is an series of events held in October in several areas of London as well as across England.
The marathon takes place in summer. Many celebrities and sometimes members of the royal family run in this race. This is one time the paparazzi do not run after them.
London Olympics 2012
The 2012 summer Olympics are scheduled for 27 July thru 12 August.
The parade takes place on New Year’s Day. There are quite many marching bands and majorettes from the States.
This gay event (http://www.pridelondon.org/) takes place in early July. Actually, it is a series of events lasting a fortnight. Oh come on. You can’t go to London without knowing what a fortnight is?
Lord Mayor’s Show
The show in November is a parade as well as other events held in the city where the Lord Mayor travels to the Royal Courts of Justice to pledge allegiance to the Crown. There are evening fireworks.
Notting Hill Carnival
The carnival takes place in August. If you have ever seen this on the telly or you tube then you will know this is a huge carnival with some history of problems. Things are getting better but do exercise caution as you will be in a large crowd, not unlike Piccadilly Circus.
Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race
The boat race as it is known is on the River Thames in late March. As the name implies it is a rowing event between the students of Oxford University and Cambridge University.
For the best on the London Olympics see the official site.
Pancake Day is Shrove Tuesday in February and you can actually get in on the fun and join the Pancake race.
The Proms is a classical music extravaganza at Royal Albert Hall.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Official weekend marking 60 years as Queen Elizabeth II is 2 – 5 June 2012. The late May bank holiday will be moved to Monday, 1 June and Tuesday will be special bank holiday allowing for an extended weekend. Timeandate.com has more on this.
St. Patrick’s Day
The day is March 17 and the parade is typically on the Sunday on or before.
Taste of London
The Taste of London is a food festival in Regent’s Park. Although London restaurants are dishing it out here expect to find European food and beer as well. One must buy tickets for this event.
This is a family event that takes place in September for two days. It, as the name implies, takes place near the river Thames (pronounced with a silent h). It is made possible by the Thames Festival Trust. It is also known as the Mayor’s Thames River festival. Festival web: http://www.thamesfestival.org/
Tower Bridge (Self Guided Tour, Entry Fee)
Not everyone may know, but the parts of the bridge connecting the tower near the top are walkways. They offer a fine view of the city and illustrate how the bridge was built. You can also see the machinery and old hydraulic gear that raises the deck. More on the exhibition can be found here.
Tower of London Tour
The Tower of London is an independent charity and the official website for the Tower. The Tower is located in Tower Hamlets (of course) near the Tower Bridge. This Wiki article is a must read before you go.
What would London be like without Lawn Tennis? Visit the Wimbledon Museum.
Wine Show (Entry Fee)
The Good Food Show and the Good Wine Show is held in November.
Exhibition Halls and Event Centers
Other websites listing events in London
Event Guide http://london.eventguide.com/
London Online http://www.londononline.co.uk/events/
London Town http://www.londontown.com/events
Time Out http://www.timeout.com/london/
Visit London http://www.visitlondon.com/events/detail/7562420
London’s official website
Special Events http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/london/events.htm by Mandy Barrow
UK Bank Holidays http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/LivingintheUK/DG_073741 listed here for reference
UK Student Life http://www.ukstudentlife.com/