Where To Celebrate St George’s Day In London

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It’s England’s National Saint’s Day on 23 April and there are plenty of things to do to celebrate: expect dragons, morris men and lots of eating.

Feast of St George

This is the big, free one in Trafalgar Square, organised by City Hall. Get down there between noon and 6pm on Monday 21 April for 20 stalls selling mouthwatering foods like hog roast, pies and freshly made lemonade, plus a Cook’s Corner with chefs demonstrating how to make traditional English dishes. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite London bun — Hackney or Chelsea? — and see the winner made in front of you. There’ll also be free music, activities for the kids and an outdoor games area.

Leadenhall Market

Lunchtime in the City on 23 April will be enlivened by morris men and live music, plus St George touring the market. Get to Leadenhall Market between 11am-1.30pm to catch the entertainment, or there’s more music on Thursday 12-2pm. Free.

Walk

GoToMidtown Walks has organised a themed walk for 23 April taking in the place where the national anthem was first sung publicly, and the former home and final resting place of the composer of Rule Britannia. Meeting at the orange kiosk outside Holborn station at 1pm. Free.

Museum of Childhood

There’s youngster-friendly fun at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green on Saturday 26 April. Round off the Easter school holidays with Punch and Judy, storytelling, games, crafts, live music and a brass band. Free, 11.30am-4pm

Borough Market

More food can be found on Sunday 27 April at Borough Market, as the now traditional link-up between the market and traders in Catalonia (who also have St George as their patron saint) for cookery demos, entertainment and more grub to stuff your face with. Free entry, 12-4pm.

A Gala for St George

The Royal Albert Hall‘s outdone itself with this patriotic, flag-waving-inducing bill: Brian Blessed bellows introduces performances of classics by Elgar, Handel and Holst, rousing wartime favourites and a reading of Shakespeare’s St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. Sunday 27 April, £17.29-£55.54, 3pm

Go to the pub

Drinking: that’s a traditional English activity, right? Sink a pint of ale at The George Inn in Southwark and marvel at London’s history all around you.

Photo by Robbie Ewing from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • jmarin

    In 1188 Henry II of England and Philip II of France agreed to go on a a crusade, and that Henry would use a white cross and Philip a red cross. 13th-century authorities are unanimous on the point that the English king adopted the white cross, and the French king the red one (and not vice versa as suggested by later use). It is not clear at what point the English exchanged the white cross for the red-on-white one.

    There was a historiographical tradition claiming that Richard the Lionheart himself adopted both the flag and the patron saint from Genoa at some point during his crusade. This idea can be traced to the Victorian era,[2] Perrin (1922) refers to it as a “common belief”, and it is still popularly repeated today,[3] even though it cannot be substantiated as historical.[4]

  • Mister Dan

    St Alban should be patron Saint of England, I mean at least he lived and died in the country.