The first weekend of July hosts the "London Pride" festival, during gay pride day. The most important event is the parade that takes place on the main streets of the city, from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. It's a massive event that is attended by around a million people, both participants and spectators. Although it's intended to claim the rights and social integration of gays and lesbians, it has bisexual and transgender acts that are festive and lively, and everyone goes out in costume. There's also a complementary gay film festival with theater, debates, poetry and many concerts. London Pride is an annual landmark festival and one of the largest in the UK. London was chosen to host WorldPride 2012, which is held every 5 years.
We went to see the fireworks they do every year on the banks of the Thames to celebrate the new year. It is an amazing experience, but there were a lot of people. We arrived around 11 pm, and waited a little over an hour, it was really cold! You can't move much or you will lose your place. In total, the fireworks last a little over 10 minutes, beginning at midnight exactly. This year, there were more than 50 tons of explosives! It was great, and you can see it on Youtube without feeling the cold! Everything is centered around the London Eye. At the same time, the buildings are illuminated, projecting videos saying Happy New Year, with a "countdown" that tells you when the new year arrives. A nice memory.
During the Thames Festival the city is transformed! Concerts, parties, fashion shows and exhibitions are all options for Londoners and tourists looking for something different. At the end of the celebrations, there are fireworks like on the 4th of July in America. I recommend going down to one of the boats and having a drink with your friends while the festival takes place.
The London Thams Festival is one of those holidays that most tourists do not know about, yet it is one of the most beautiful events that take place in London throughout the year. The dates change from year to year but it is usually held in the second weekend of September, because it is considered to be the closing party of the summer. It takes place all over the south bank of the Thames, from Waterloo Station to near Tower Bridge. There are shows, music, food stalls serving cuisine from all over the world (Spain, India, Mexico, Italy, etc ...). The event closes on the Sunday evening with a beautiful show of fireworks over the river, with the dome of St Paul's Cathedral making a stunning backdrop. The views of the city that can be seen as you walk around the festival are wonderful. And be sure to visit Blackfriars Bridge, which is partially transformed into a large table for the weekend. Admission to the festival is free.
On my last trip to London I was pleasantly surprised at the Remembrence Day celebrations in Westminster Abbey. It is a day for remembering the memory of all those who died in the various wars in which the country participated. The way to commemorate it is to wear a poppy on the lapel. It is held on 11 November and is sincerely overwhelming.
In London, as in many large cities, the Chinese community is an important one as is evident by the size of Chinatown. The Chinese New Year is celebrated in Trafalgar every year and there are concerts, exhibitions, Chinese cuisine and a parade. There are also fireworks but definitely bring a coat because it is cold in London in January!
Each year in London, as in all major cities, a Gay Pride parade takes place. After a parade through the city, a concert is held in Trafalgar Square, often featuring songs from musicals. A great atmosphere, and the chance to see the National Gallery like you've never seen it before!
Street Feast is a weekly food festival held throughout summer at various locations around London. There are three or four different Street Feasts, but I went to the one in Dalston Yard. When I went, there were a dozen or so vendors set up selling everything from Buffalo wings slathered in hand-made sauce (they best wings I’ve ever had outside of the US) to Indian burritos (Indian food wrapped in a burrito was a revelation) to Korean barbecue (you can’t have a street food festival without it) to gourmet sliders. There are also two or three craft beer stands set up selling reasonably-priced pints. Dalton Street Feast gets packed early, so I’d suggest getting there rather early if you want to eat without having to suffer enormous lines. If you’re just going for the drinks and the atmosphere then…well…go whenever you feel like it.
It was held in an abandoned industrial space with a lot of the roof missing, but the nice part about that is that they could have some warming fires scattered around the event. Also, the space is divided in a couple of different areas, some with open flooring, and others with picnic tables. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, there’s a semi-hidden craft Gin bar in the back that offers a quiet, candle-lit respite from the hungry crowds out front.
Street Feast is held every Friday and Saturday from 5:00pm to midnight until the end of September. If you get there before 7:00pm it’s free, otherwise there’s a reasonable 3 pound cover charge. All in all, the food is good and the ambiance is unbeatable…it’s an unbeatable plan for a Friday night.