Bulbs begin to bloom in London’s parks and temperatures start to rise. Spring in London sees Irish heritage celebrated with the St Patrick’s Day parade (usually on the weekend closest to 17 March), and serious runners and fancy-dressed fundraisers take to the streets for the London Marathon (April). Easter brings activities such as Easter egg hunts in famous locations. The Chelsea Flower Show (May) is a hugely popular celebration of horticulture with the show offering spectacular displays of garden design.
The best blooms in London happen just steps from The Landmark London in the Queen Marys’ Garden in Regents Park boasting 12,000 roses and 9,000 begonias with the first few weeks in June the ideal time to visit. London’s private garden squares open to the public for Open Garden Squares Weekend in June. In July, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships brings the world’s top players to South West London. Hyde Park hosts the British Summer Time Festival with concerts and free events (July), and the August bank holiday weekend is carnival time in Notting Hill with dancers, colourful floats, steel bands and calypso music.
In September, Open House London offers a weekend of architectural treasures, opening up buildings not normally open to the public and offering a new perspective on more familiar places. As the season progresses, leaves turn red, gold, auburn and yellow in London’s parks. Halloween (31st October) is celebrated with weird and wonderful activities for adults and children; Bonfire Night (5th November – although fireworks dates depend on venue) sees the London sky ablaze with fireworks – the most popular include Alexandra Palace and Southwark. The Lord Mayor’s Show (November) is a grand procession through the city.
While the temperature may be dropping, winter is a magical time in London. Streets are lit for the festive season, warming mulled wine is on offer at the Christmas markets and the stores are dressed with elaborate window displays. On New Year’s Eve, fireworks light up the Thames, while New Year’s Day brings an impressive parade. Boating enthusiasts head to The London Boat Show (January); London is lit up for a nocturnal art exhibition, Lumiere London (January), and the Scottish poet Robert Burns is celebrated with suppers of haggis and whiskey for Burns’ Night (25 January). Chinese New Year (the date varies) is marked with a festival across Chinatown and the West End, and romantics celebrate their love on Valentine’s Day (14th February).