Expats can look forward to a wonderful array of annual events in London alongside the vast selection of activities and things to do in the city. Expats can be sure that they'll find something to pique their interest, whether they enjoy art, sports or are simply looking for an excuse to party.

Here is a list of the main festivals on the city's calendar.


Annual events in London

Chinese New Year (January/February)

London's Chinatown, located in Soho, comes alive with colour each year to mark the advent of the Chinese New Year. Expats can expect processions, parades and lots of great food.

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (March/April)

This boat race between Oxford University Boat Club and Cambridge University Boat Club takes place on the River Thames each year. The race is a popular fixture on the British sporting calendar and about a quarter of a million people come out to watch from the banks of the famous river.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May)

This five-day flower bonanza is the gardening event of the year. Showcasing the world’s best horticulture, the Chelsea Flower Show is attended by more than 150,000 people every year. The show gardens on display are a truly unique and spectacular kaleidoscope of colour. 

Trooping the Colour/Queen's Birthday Parade (June)

A colourful parade full of pomp and pageantry, the Trooping of the Colour takes place amid the pleasant summer weather of June each year. The parade of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment with their magnificent black chargers is a highlight of the event, as is the Queen's presence throughout the event.

Pride in London (June/July)

The annual gay pride parade is held in June or July each year. It is one of the UK’s largest outdoor events and is attended by around a million people annually. Large numbers of people also take part in the parade, which is known for its colourful and festive atmosphere.

Notting Hill Carnival (August)

Since 1966, this has been one of London’s biggest and most colourful parties. This free-to-attend festival is held each year in celebration of London's vast Caribbean community.

Totally Thames (September)

This festival celebrates London’s life source, the River Thames. Recently revamped, festivities last a month and are marked with diverse and exciting events all along the river, including pop-up performances, art installations, river clean-ups and workshops.

London Marathon (October)

The Virgin Money London Marathon run is a 26-mile (42km) route starting in Blackheath and winding its way past noteworthy London landmarks such as Greenwich and Tower Bridge. At least 40,000 professional and amateur athletes take part in the competition each year, and the atmosphere is both festive and inspirational for spectators.

Christmas in London (November/December)

There's a plethora of fun and festive events leading up to Christmas in London, beginning with the switching on of the lights in November. Throughout December, attendees can enjoy Christmas markets, ice-skating and more.

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