The Irish are renowned for hosting a great party. Even if you’ve never stepped foot on the Emerald Isle, St Patrick’s Day is still a great excuse to celebrate.
This year the holiday falls on a Saturday, so there’s no excuse not to get involved!
Whether it’s your first time or one of many, here’s our advice for how to spend St Patrick’s Day in London this year.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
Setting out from Piccadilly at 12pm, the St Patrick’s Day Parade has become a longstanding tradition in the capital. Thousands of spectators line the streets to watch dazzling dancing displays, marching bands and floats filled with leprechauns make their way through the city.
The parade is just one part of the celebrations – London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival brings together the best of Irish music, culture and of course, food and drink!
Whether you’re looking to find the best stew in town or a proper pint of Guinness, the Irish Street Food Market showcases the best Gallic cuisine in the city. How better to spend St Patrick’s Day in London that indulging in some delicious grub?
The main stage in Trafalgar Square plays host to some of the best-known Irish acts, with special tributes this year for Cranberries’ star Dolores O’Riordan who sadly passed in January.
England v Ireland in the Six Nations
Even if you’re not an avid rugby follower, watching the clash of the titans as England fight to redeem themselves against Ireland is one of the best ways to spend St Patrick’s Day in London.
The visitors are one victory away from only their third ever Grand Slam – and their first since 2009. England, on the other hand, will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat – having lost second place in World Rugby’s rankings to the Irish in the last few days.
Although it may be too much to hope for a tournament win for England, there’s still plenty to play for – this is a game not to be missed!
If you’ve not been able to nab tickets to see the action live at Twickenham Stadium, there’s still plenty of places to soak up the atmosphere on St Patrick’s Day in London.
One of our top spots to try is Hawker House. They’ve teamed up with Guinness and put their huge warehouse to great use, setting up a special stadium-style grandstand and a massive LED screen. Watch all three matches and munch your way through the best street food in town.
Alternatively, head closer to the action and try to find a space at The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham, which describes itself as the most famous rugby pub in the world!
If you’d rather avoid the crowds on St Patrick’s Day in London, try The Crown and Shuttle in Shoreditch where you can swap Guinness for craft beer while watching the game on one of their six dedicated screens.
Put on your dancing shoes
If you want to jig into the early hours, why not book a place at one of the many céilí events taking place this month?
The Round Chapel in Hackney is hosting a night of dancing on the 22nd March. Don’t worry about being a beginner – their expert callers will guide you through the moves!
If you’re planning to make a weekend of the festivities, there’s no better place to start than The Portico Gallery in Knights Hill. Get expert tips from professional Irish dancers and skip along to the reels of Ceilidh Tree.
As well as a delicious Irish stew, Guinness will be in abundance to give you that extra bit of confidence you might need to get on the dancefloor.
Irish Film Festival
Taking place across the whole weekend, the Irish Film Festival is another highlight of London’s St Patrick’s Day Festival.
Celebrate the creativity and diversity of the Irish community with workshops, short screenings and feature films. This year’s line-up includes Ian Power’s BAFTA nominated The Tattoo and the UK premiere of Damo & Ivor at the Prince Charles Cinema.
If you catch Damo & Ivor, be sure not to miss the Q&A with the film’s director Ronan Burke and the lead actor Andy Quirke.
There’s plenty for the wee ones too, with a free family screening of Moon Man on Sunday 18th March as well as a two-hour children’s shadow animation workshop.
Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in London
With the streets set to turn green from the 16th March, St Patrick’s Day is a great way to get out into the capital and spend a day with friends embracing Irish culture.
We hope this blog has given you some ideas for celebrating St Patrick’s Day in London – let us know in the comments what you’re planning to do this weekend!