Planning to visit London soon? This is one of the best travel decisions you could have made this year. London is one of the most popular cities in the world. Over 20.4 million international visited in 2018 to catch some popular sights including The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Windsor Castle, Warner Bros Studios, Buckingham Palace, museums and so much more.
However, it is the carnivals and festivals that keep visitors streaming throughout the year. If you want to experience the lively and wild side of this historic city, you have to live its carnivals and festivals. Due to globalisation, the city has an international face in its events. The streets of the city come alive every month with a new event to celebrate something unique. These festivals bring participants and visitors from across the globe.
If you plan to visit London, here are some exciting free festivals you should include in your itinerary.
- The Notting Hill Carnival
West London comes alive every the last weekend of August with Caribbean colors, music, and flavors. This event started in 1966 as an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival. The beautifully costumed performers and colorful floats are the main features of this free festival and the carnival parade lights up the usually quiet streets.
The calypso music and steel bands keep everyone’s spirits up. This has grown to become the largest street festival in Europe with thousands attending.
- Changing the Guard
While this is not a festival or a large celebration, it is one of the biggest attractions unique to London. The changing of guards at Buckingham palace starts at 10.45 am and lasts around 45 minutes. The actual change of guard takes place at 11.00 am.
At 10.30 am, the Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms up at the forecourt and the St James’s Palace Old Guard joins in at 10.45 am. At 11.00 am, the New Guard arrives from Wellington Barracks to take over responsibilities.it is a formal ceremony accompanied by music and you have to arrive early to book the best spot.
- Chinese New Year 2020 in London
The Chinese New Year celebrations are always a big part of the annual events in London. For 2020, you can join the celebrations at London’s West End as the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Rat. This is the biggest celebration of the Chinese New year outside of Asia.
The activities include a colorful parade, sampling of traditional Chinese food, free stage performances and New Year greetings (“Xin Nian Kuai Le” or Happy New Year in Mandarin or “San Nin Faai Lok” in Cantonese).
- Regent Street Motor Show
Another must-attend event if you are in London is the Regent Street Motor Show in the iconic central London shopping street. Get a chance to see old-school classics alongside futuristic vehicles. From Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus, you will get your fill of beautiful road machines dating way back to the 20the century up to date.
- Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival
Catch up with the dressed-up Pearly Kings and Queens of London at Guildhall Yard as they celebrate the bounty of the autumn harvest with traditional entertainment. They then walk through the streets in a parade to St Mary Le Bow Church for a service of thanksgiving. Features to look for include colorful characters, Morris dancing, maypole dancing, and marching bands.
London has so much to offer every visitor. These are just a few of the free festivals and you’ll never have a dull moment throughout the year. If you want to feel the true spirit of the city, make sure you include some of these carnivals and festivals in your itinerary.