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St Patrick’s Day in London

Tuesday 17th March 2020 London

St Patrick's Day in London

Join in the lively Irish celebrations with St Patrick’s Day events and activities in London.

Every 17 March, Ireland celebrates one of its patron saints, St Patrick, with a national holiday and a traditional feast. Although it is not a public holiday in England, London marks St Patrick’s Day with fun and spectacular events every year, usually on the weekend closest to 17 March.

St Patrick’s Day Parade in London

Be amazed by flamboyant pageantry, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the UK, sports clubs and Irish dancing schools in the annual London St Patrick’s Day Parade. The procession sets off at midday from Piccadilly and makes its way along a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) route, passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall.

St Patrick’s Day Festival in Trafalgar Square

Join the St Patrick’s Day Festival, which takes place in Trafalgar Square between 12 pm and 6 pm.

Watch St Patrick’s Day performances by well-known Irish acts, rising stars and special guests. Then, browse craft stalls, and tuck into traditional and modern Irish food from the market. There is also usually a family zone on Pall Mall East, hosting an array of free child-friendly entertainment, workshops and activities. You can also celebrate St Paddy’s Day with parties and Guinness in London’s Irish pubs and bars, many of which are decorated in green for the occasion.

The Grand National 2020

Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 5.15 pm Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool

The greatest steeplechase in the world

No other race arouses so much interest worldwide. At least 600 million people are said to watch on TV. And in England, people who never bet on anything have “a flutter” on the Grand National. Plan ahead and you could be one of almost 200,000 who attend the three-day race meet. Friday is Ladies Day, a great social event with smart attire and big hats.

The Grand National itself is run on Saturday and, after the buildup, the four and a half mile race, over 30 fences, is finished in minutes. Seventy thousand are there on the day and the atmosphere is electric.

The Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 2020

Sunday 29th March, 2020 at 15.44 From Putney to Mortlake on the River Thames in London

Boat Race

A single crew from Oxford and a single crew from Cambridge have raced each other on this London stretch of the Thames for more than 150 years. It’s a gruelling race. The 4.25 mile distance is three times the length of an Olympic course and the Thames is not a placid stretch of water.

The whole event goes back to a challenge between two school friends in 1829. The date varies from year to year, depending upon the Oxford and Cambridge terms, and the needs of television schedulers (the race is watched by about 8 million worldwide). Tides determine the starting pistol; the race sets off an hour before high water so that the crews are always racing with the tide rather than against it. Even if you’ve never watched a crew race in your life, make your way to one of the bridges or pubs along the route if you are in London on race day. You may only see the boats race by in seconds (the whole race takes about twenty minutes), but the crowds and the festival atmosphere make this a great day out.

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