1. Notting Hill Carnival

    This three-day Caribbean festival is Europe’s largest carnival, with steel bands and DJ’s playing all imaginable kinds of music, street food, brilliant costumes and lively dancers. Children’s parades on Sunday, grown-ups’ on Monday.

    • Notting Hill W11

    • Last Sat–Mon in Aug

    Extravagant costume, Notting Hill Carnival
  2. Chelsea Flower Show

    As much a society outing as a horticultural event, this is the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious annual show. Beautiful and imaginative gardens are created especially for the event.

    • Chelsea Royal Hospital SW1

    • Mid-May

    • Admission charge

    Chelsea Flower Show
  3. Trooping the Colour

    The Queen celebrates her official birthday on Horse Guards Parade where troops of the Household Division, in their famous red tunics and bearskin hats, put on an immaculate display of marching and drilling before escorting her to Buckingham Palace.

    • Horse Guards Parade SW1

    • Sat closest to 10 Jun

    Trooping the Colour, Horse Gaurds Parade
  4. BBC Promenade Concerts

    The most extensive concert series in the world. The famous last concert is relayed live to adjacent Hyde Park, when Land of Hope and Glory rocks the Royal Albert Hall to its foundations.

    • Royal Albert Hall SW1

    • Mid-Jul–mid-Sep

  5. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

    Around 1,000 works are selected from the public and academicians for the art world’s most eclectic summer show. Works sell for as little as £100.

    • Piccadilly W1

    • Jun–Aug

    • Admission charge

  6. Lord Mayor’s Show

    Every year, the City of London elects a Lord Mayor who processes through the Square Mile in a gilded coach. Military bands, floats and city guildsmen in traditional costume go from Guildhall to the Law Courts. Evening fireworks.

    City of London

    • 2nd Sat in Nov

    Lord Mayor’s Show

    Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks
  7. Guy Fawkes Night

    Effigies of Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow up Parliament in 1605, are burned on bonfires across the country, with accompanying firework extravaganzas. Children make dummy Guys and ask for pennies to pay for their little arsenals.

    • 5 Nov

  8. Chinese New Year

    Chinatown is taken over by dancing dragons breathing fire during this vibrant, colourful festival. Food and craft stalls are authentically oriental.

    • Soho W1

    • Late Jan–early Feb

  9. London Film Festival

    Scores of international films are shown in this three-week festival when cinemas, including the National Film Theatre, reduce prices. A booth is set up in Leicester Square to take bookings and distribute programmes.

    • West End

    • Nov

  10. Great British Beer Festival

    Organized by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), this annual festival in a major London exhibition hall is a chance to sample the best beers and ciders produced in Britain.

    • Earls Court SW5

    • Aug

    • Admission charge

Top 10 Sports Events

  1. Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship

    The world’s top grass-court championships.

    • All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon

    • Jun/Jul

  2. London Marathon

    26.2-mile (42-km) road race from Greenwich Park to The Mall.

    • Apr

  3. Friends Provident Trophy

    The climax of the cricket season.

    • Lord’s NW8

    • Jun

  4. Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

    The two universities’ annual rowing race covers some 6.5 km (4 miles) on the Thames.

    • Putney to Mortlake

    • Mar

  5. The London International Horse Show

    Family fun at this Christmas show.

    • Olympia W8

    • Dec

  6. Varsity Match

    The Oxford-Cambridge rugby union duel.

    • Twickenham Rugby Ground

    • Dec

  7. Head of the River Race

    A day-long event in which some 400 rowing boats struggle for supremacy.

    • Mortlake to Putney

    • Mar

  8. Six Nations Rugby

    Annual rugby union contest with England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

    • Twickenham Rugby Ground

    • Feb/Mar/Apr

  9. Royal Ascot

    All London Society goes to the races in top hats and other glamorous creations.

    • Ascot, Berkshire

    • Jun

  10. Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager

    Guildsmen from the Company of Watermen compete in a single sculls race.

    • London Bridge to Chelsea Bridge

    • Jul

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