Festivals in London

There’s always something happening in London, but the very best way to experience it is at one of the city’s many festivals. Events are held all year round and involve a wide range of different activities, so whatever they’re into, visitors can find something that’s right up their street.
Seasonal festivals
Autumn is the best time to visit London for seasonal festivals, with special celebrations taking place for Diwali, Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve. Diwali on the Square, in Trafalgar Square, features spectacular displays of light, floating lanterns and storytelling sessions for children, whilst Bonfire Night features huge firework displays and parties. One of the best places to watch the action is from the bridges over the Thames.
Music festivals
You might be used to having to go out of town to attend music festivals but London has several happening in parks right in the heart of the city. There’s Hard Rock Calling in June, hip hop festival Wireless in July and club-style dance favourite South West Four in August. Further afield, Hatfield House hosts the Night + Day celebration of electronic pop in June, while the One Love Festival at Damyns Hall Aerodrome, in August, celebrates the best of reggae and dub.

Culture festivals

August sees the biggest of London’s festival events, the fabulous Notting Hill Carnival. It includes a children’s parade and a main parade, with floats, spectacular costumes and cheerful calypso music, plus there’s lots of delicious Caribbean food to enjoy. Also worth checking out is Pride in June, with its parade followed by music and comedy events.
Where to stay
Those not camping out at one of the out of town music festivals will be pleased to know that there are hotels in London priced to suit all budgets. If budgeting is an issue, the trick is to book early. London also has several good youth hostels, especially in the Euston area and staying near an underground station makes it easy to get around.
Staying safe at festivals
As well as attracting visitors, festivals are known for attracting thieves. If possible, belongings should be left in a safe; most hotels have one, with only what is really needed for the day being carried on the person. Visitors should make sure bags and jackets are not left unattended, even for a moment; the same goes for drinks, as ‘spiking’ unfortunately does happen. People travelling alone should try to stay away from isolated places and save their exploring for the daytime.
Travelling to festivals
Reaching London by bus, train or plane is easy and there are some surprisingly good discounts available for savvy bookers. For people travelling on a limited budget, a much safer option than hitchhiking is using the internet to arrange a car share with other festival-goers. Details of the vehicle being used can then be left with trusted people. The best way to have the most fun, however, is simply arranging to go with friends, as festivals are best when they’re a shared experience.