Glum and grey though the skies might be, it's still party time for St George's Day. Not that George, we mean the other one. Also, happy birthday to the bard as today marks Shakespeare's grand 400+ year and various venues around London celebrate approximately four and a half centuries of theatre and poetry, including your last chance to hear shelf-stackers reciting sonnets in the supermarket.
So, unfurl your umbrella, roll out the barrels and flick that hanky in your best Morris dancing manner: your St George's Day programme looks like this...
As we mentioned previously in this week's London on the Cheap, the obvious place to head to for celebrations of Shakespearean proportions is Shakespeare's Globe on South Bank. Grab a good spot on the riverfront for 6pm when a miniature Elizabethan theatre will sail down to the Globe, hailed by period musicians along its route. The 2008 season opens at the Globe tonight (groundlings, bring your waterproofs) with an appropriately windswept, rainy King Lear.
If you would rather prioritise dinner over theatre, then veer away from the river towards Trafalgar Square for The Festival of English Food. You've got until 7.30pm to sample oysters, Chelsea buns, Eccles cakes, gourmet sausage rolls and Cornish pasties, traditional ginger beer and lemonade all accompanied by live performances ranging from roaming actors to an animated compost heap to the curiously named Vegetable Nannies.
But for those who are feeling green-fingered at the hint of spring mingled with the drizzling rain, Covent Garden is a better bet. A massive floral installation by sculptor Preston Bailey will dominate the piazza from today until 18 May as part of the Covent Garden Spring Renaissance. There will also be a pop-up garden shop and free drop-in surgery with urban gardening guru Matt James so bring those burning questions abot your languishing window boxes. Further events for the weekend ahead in the Renaissance programme include honey tasting, a guide to foraging, guerilla gardening and a Beatrix Potter reading - click here for more info.
Or make up your own St George's Day / Shakespeare celebration. Suggestions in the comment box below - the best ideas will be incorporated into the Londonist events diary for next year.
Image courtesy of imbo from the Londonist Flickr pool