28 March 2017 | 6 °C

A Guide To St Patrick's Day In London 2017

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

A Guide To St Patrick's Day In London 2017

St Patrick's Day is the annual celebration of Ireland's patron saint. This year London is holding its biggest ever celebration for the 900,000 plus Londoners who are ethnically Irish. Don't worry, you might have never even tried Guinness and you'd still be welcome to the party. Here's what London has planned between Friday 17 and Sunday 19 March 2017.

Photo: කේදාර KhE 龙

The Parade

We begin at the finale, not without good reason. The Parade is the biggest event of the weekend, working its way from Piccadilly all the way down to Trafalgar Square. There are London Irish sports clubs, dance schools and many other community groups. Watch out for the incredible creations by Macnas, who brought this last year:

It all culminates in a big stage show hosted by prolific stand-up comic Jarlath Regan. There's a packed line-up ranging from the more traditional fare of country star Derek Ryan, to Irish hip-hop from Rusangano Family and the neo-trad band MOXIE. Proceedings will end with a giant singalong of classic Irish tunes, making central London feel more like the heart of Ireland.

Walks

There are free walks all over London celebrating the capital's Irish heritage. The first happens on Friday and follows the 1916 rebellion, covering the area between Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. Then on Saturday wander through Camden to hear about lumpers, impresarios, writers, navvies and musicians. Finally, Sunday's tour travels from Ludgate Hill to Covent Garden and paints central London emerald.

Photo: Charos Pix

Film festival

The city is also doubling up as a showcase for Irish cinematic brilliance. There's a short film festival, screening the likes of Traders (thriller) and The Young Offenders (Comedy). Find more details online.

Our pick is the gorgeous Oscar-nominated, Song of the Sea. It weaves Irish myths and fairytales with a grounded sibling relationship. It's all told through stunning animation too. Following the film there's a shadow animation workshop for children aged 8-11.

Irish music and poetry on the Underground

If you travel via Victoria, Waterloo, Tottenham Court Road or Covent Garden on Friday 17 March, you might catch a rather wonderful performance of traditional Irish culture. Here's what happened last year.

Family events

Despite its booze-heavy reputation, St Patrick's Day is for the entire family. Camden Market is hosting many family-friendly events on Saturday: kids can learn traditional Irish dancing, get their faces painted (green, obviously) and much more. There's also a concert in The Interchange Atrium, which everyone is welcome to (£6 entry fee).

After that, head to central London on Sunday. Travel a mile and a half and meet fantastic characters as you quest on a treasure trail, ending up outside the National Portrait Gallery.

Art exhibition

If you head to City Hall from 13-31 March, you'll see a free exhibition of Irish art. The work comes from a father and son, John B Vallely and Lorcan Vallely. For both of them, rural Ireland is a heavy feature of their work.

Lorcan Vallely, Cross Country Race

That's not all

There's also a free lecture on 13 March at the Irish Cultural Centre, tackling Perspectives on Irish Feminism. There's even more going on, check out the official programme.

There's way more that's going on outside of the city's official reach; hundreds of bars will be hosting their own St Patrick's Day events all across the weekend, so keep an eye out.

Last Updated 06 March 2017