Each year on March 17th, members of the Irish diaspora and friends get suitably merry in honour of St Patrick, one of the country’s most notable patron saints. In London, which is home to roughly 176,000 Irish people, St Paddy’s Day and the weekends bookmarking it are a guaranteed period of merriment. Fancy joining in with the celebrations? Here’s our top London St Patrick’s Day Events:
St Patrick’s Day Parade
The biggest of the London St Patrick’s Day events is undoubtedly the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, which features elaborate floats, marching bands, Irish dancing and Guinness galore. Starting at midday in Piccadilly, the 1.5 mile route finishes at Trafalgar Square via many iconic London landmarks (although not all will be sober enough to recognise them). Roughly 125,000 people will take part, with many donning green face-paint and Leprechaun-style hats.
Timing: Sunday March 15th, 12 pm–6 pm
Camden Market St Patrick’s Day Takeover
Head to Camden Market for a celebration of all things Irish. A selection of participating venues will be showcasing music from some of Ireland’s finest new talent. Plus, there will be an Irish-themed pop up bar, as well as St Patrick’s Day street food stalls and drink specials.
Recommended London Accommodation
Timing: Saturday March 14th, 12 pm–7 pm
Irish film at the Regent Street Cinema
For screenings of and discussions about some of Ireland’s most hotly anticipated new releases, visit the Regent Street Cinema over the weekend preceding St Patrick’s Day. Highlights include a screening of Calm with Horses, a gripping thriller set in rural Ireland that was produced by Michael Fassbender. There’s also a talk with Lenny Abrahamson, the director of the upcoming TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award-winning novel Normal People.
Timing: Friday March 13th–Sunday March 15th
Cost: various prices, see the Regent Street Theatre website for details
The ultimate St Patrick’s Day Quiz
Bring your lucky shamrock to Drink Shop Do, which is hosting a St Paddy’s Day quiz special. The night is hosted by comedian and DJ Huw Joseph (who is, confusingly, Australian). Described as “the boozy quiz you’ll never forget”, participants are given free welcome cocktails and have the opportunity to score shots throughout the night. The winning team will receive a £50.00 bar tab (We make that approximately 8–10 pints of Guinness).
Timing: 7 pm–10 pm, Tuesday March 17th
Cost: £12.50, including a free welcome drink
An afternoon of Irish comedy
A squad of Northern Ireland’s best comedians is taking over the South Kensington Comedy Club for an afternoon of merriment. The three hour show will be followed by a screening of the Ireland/France rugby match—the last in this year’s Six Nations. Just be careful which side you’re supporting!
Timing: 4:30 pm onwards, Saturday March 14th
Irish folk dancing
For something a bit different, head to the Sherriff Centre, a social enterprise organisation in north London, for an evening of Irish folk dancing. Otherwise known as a ceilidh, the night will be accompanied by a live band and ceilidh caller to show you the moves. There will also be a fish and chip stand and, rather essentially, a fridge packed full of Guinness. What could be better?
Timing: 7 pm–10 pm, Saturday March 14th
Shamrock Sessions: St Patrick’s Day
BOXPARK Wembley is throwing a free party in honour of St Patrick’s Day. The day will feature live music, comedians, street food from more than 20 traders and kids’ activities galore. The event is in association with Jameson, the iconic Irish whiskey brand. So you can expect the three bars to be pretty well stocked.
Timing: 3 pm–9 pm, Sunday March 15th