London events and festivals

The Big Smoke’s best celebrations


Sophie Gackowski

Sophie Gackowski
HomeAway travel expert

London events and festivalsFrom festivals of food and flowers to frivolity and floats, there’s nothing London doesn’t do well. England’s capital is a cultural hotspot, and as such, it boasts an impressive calendar of both annual and one-off events. You can pack your bags and celebrate Bonfire Night in the big city, or make your way to the metropolis for a New Year to remember; but there are so many celebrations specific to the boroughs of London, it’s worth spending some time researching the events you’ll enjoy most. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to Pride London, or can’t wait to wangle a ticket to Wimbledon? Whatever gets your pulse racing, we’ve a range of comprehensive guides to the best events and festivals in London.

Of course, we also offer an extensive range of private holiday rentals in London, with something to suit every budget and desire. We have luxurious townhouses located in Kensington and Chelsea, as well as affordable apartments in Camden and Canary Wharf. Whatever festival or event you dream of taking part in, HomeAway has the property to suit. So why wait? Here’s our rundown of just a few celebrations the Big Smoke has to offer.


Our guide to fun and festivities in London


Notting Hill Carnival Notting Hill Carnival

As one of Europe’s largest street festivals, Notting Hill Carnival continues to be as colourful and community-led as it was back in 1964. Conceived predominantly by the West Indian population of Notting Hill and its surrounding areas, it features an enormous parade replete with elaborate and detailed costumes, a tempting myriad of food and drink stalls - rice and peas, anyone? - and some of the finest Calypso and Soca music this side of the Caribbean. Held in August over two days, it’s followed by an array of exciting after-parties. Fancy strutting your stuff alongside a million revellers? We thought you might.

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City of London Festival City of London Festival

Founded in 1962, City of London Festival continues to energise the cultural life of the capital. Taking place over three fun-filled weeks, it features an extensive programme of artistic events, from the musical and visual to guided walks and thought-provoking talks. If you’re in the city, simply pop into one of the free events held at any one of London’s impressive buildings or outdoor spaces: there are over 100 to choose from. If you’re planning a visit, you may wish to pick up a pass to one of the 50 ticketed events, which can include everything from concerts in St Paul’s to aerial acrobatics in ancient halls.

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Pride London Pride London

Held in late June, Pride London is one of the UK’s largest outdoor events, celebrating everything LGBTQ. Although a relatively early addition to London’s festival scene, it’s one of the most hotly-anticipated, attracting over one million people: it’s now famed as Europe’s largest non-ticketed party! Featuring colourful floats bearing the famed rainbow flag, it starts at Baker Street and proceeds down Oxford Street, taking in London’s major sites as it marches through Piccadilly and onto Trafalgar Square. With a vibrant line up of stalls, speakers, and stage performers, it’s a fantastic celebration of sexuality.

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Chelsea Flower Show Chelsea Flower Show

Now topping 100 years old, the pride and joy of the Royal Horticultural Society only surpasses itself every year. Chelsea Flower Show is England’s greatest festival of all things flora and fauna, from time-old favourites re-imagined with innovative twists to launches of new luscious species. Held in May over five days, the event sees 150,000 green-fingered attendees file through its gates, sampling Show Gardens in the Great Pavilion, or drinking champagne in peaceful Eden-like paradises. From gleaning inspiration for your own front lawn to admiring aesthetic triumphs of verdure, it’s not to be missed.

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Wimbledon Wimbledon

Fresh strawberries with a glass of fizz? It’s got to be Wimbledon. This Tennis Championship has truly stood the test of time, as it's the oldest in the world. Held at the All England Club since its beginnings in 1877, today it’s as classy as ever. Over a fortnight in late June and early July, the grounds see the world’s very best players gather for fierce competition, focussing heavily on the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals. Of course, it’s not only the momentous matches which attract fans from around the globe: traditional Royal patronage and an elusive public ballot also play their part!

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