St Patrick's Day isn't a bank holiday in London but you'd think it was, given the amount of partying that goes on. 17 March is the day thousands of Londoners remember they've got a tiny bit of Irish blood flowing through their veins, don fluffy green top hats and declare their love for a certain brand of stout. Here's where to go and what to do for St Patrick's Day 2023 in London.
London's St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival 2023
The St Patrick's Day Parade and Festival are back for 2023. The parade winds its way through London's streets from Green Park to Trafalgar Square, with Irish bands, dancers and pageantry making up the procession. In Trafalgar Square itself, the festival consists of concerts, storytelling, films, games, face painting, workshops and food and drinks stalls, making for a very family-friendly event.
St Patrick's Day Festival and Parade, 12 March 2023, 12pm-6pm.
St Patrick's Day 2023 events in London
WHISKEY TASTING: The Single Malt Shop gets the St Paddy's Day celebrations off to an early start with a whiskey tasting at Darby's in Nine Elms. Irish whiskey educator Charlie McCarthy leads you through samples of five different Irish sips, including Redbreast 22 YO and Bushmills 2002 Vermouth Cask. Each whiskey is accompanied by a bespoke dish from Darby's — itself an Irish-owned restaurant, belonging to Dublin chef Robin Gill. 9 March
PUB QUIZ: Gather your savviest mates and fire up your little grey cells for the Paddy's Day pub quiz at Big Penny Social in Walthamstow. It's £2 per person entry, with a chance of winning a £100 bar tab for your team, as you compete with trivia questions and activities. 14 March
2 JOHNNIES: Musical comedy duo the 2 Johnnies are beloved in the podcasting world for their cheeky ditties and Irish small town life sketches. On St Paddy's Day Eve, they're giving us the live treatment at Hackney Empire. 16 March.
TEA DANCE: The London Irish Centre in Camden is the obvious place to go year-round for Irish culture in the capital, with a regular programme of live music and comedy. It kicks off its St Patrick's events with a lunchtime tea dance. 17 March
CÉILÍ: Hot on the heels of that tea dance at the London Irish Centre is a St Patrick's night Céilí, hosted by Irish comedian Alison Spittle. Brace yourself for a lively one, with Céilí dance instructor Louise O'Connor on hand to talk you through the steps (beginners welcome) accompanied by live band Celtic Dance Party. That continues until 10pm, when DJ Jim D0noghue O'Martin from RTE 2xm takes to the decks for a DJ set until midnight. 17 March
CHAMBER CONCERT: For a sophisticated St Patrick's Day, head to 116 Pall Mall for a special concert by the London Chamber Orchestra, accompanied by a three-course dinner. Irish-born violinist and singer Úna Palliser joins the orchestra's musicians for an evening of Irish jigs and ballads. Choose whether to opt for the concert alone, or pay extra for the meal — it has an Irish theme, and includes whiskey-cured smoked salmon, Irish banger sausages, and Guinness-infused onion gravy. 17 March
WHISKEY TASTING: It's not all about the black stuff, as this whiskey tasting at Sydenham's Ignition Brewery proves. Sip your way through samples of small batch and limited edition Irish whiskies (exact blends tbc), under the guidance of an expert. 17 March 2022.
IRISH MEAL: If food is your chosen method of celebration, you could do a lot worse than the St Patrick's Day menu at Rotunda in King's Cross. Book ahead for dishes including Irish gin-cured salmon, Guinness-braised blade of beef, and Irish apple cake. There's live music by The Craicheads to accompany your meal. 17 March
IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY: As has become a 17 March tradition, the Brixton Windmill pub transforms into Paddy's Bar from the sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Garish green decs, Irish dancing and live music, plus free-flowing Guinness, are promised. (Don't hold out your hopes that Danny DeVito will show up though.) This event tends to sell out, so be quick to nab your ticket. 17 March
MURDER CAPITAL DJ SET: Dublin post-punk quintet The Murder Capital are behind the decks at Bethnal Green's Sun Tavern, for a blowout that also includes free bivalves from Oyster Boy, and special cocktails mixed with Jameson Black Barrel. 17 March
MIDNIGHT APOTHECARY: Rotherhithe's rooftop cocktail bar The Midnight Apothecary once again holds a special St Patrick's Day session. Sup on Irish whiskey hot toddies as you gather around a fire pit on the candlelit roof garden. Your ticket includes a guided tour of Brunel's underground Grand Entrance Hall, directly beneath the garden. 17 March
SKYLIGHT PARTIES: Both of London's Skylight bars throw St Patrick's Day parties. Skylight Tobacco Dock has games, bars, live music and more spread across multiple floors with igloos and huts available for private hire for your group. Further south, Skylight Peckham has a live Irish band — and both venues are serving Jameson cocktails. Both 17 March
SMITH & WOLLENSKY: The swish American steak restaurant (of Fleabag fame) goes green for one night only, serving up Irish steak, oysters, pints of stout, Slane whiskey cocktails — plus live Irish music to keep the party going till late. Sounds like quite the blowout. 17 March
ST PATRICK'S DAY RUN: If your idea of celebrating is going for a run, you're in luck — the London St Patrick's Day run is back, following a 5k route around Hyde Park, before going on to a social at an Irish-themed bar. 18 March
FAMILY CÉILÍ: The whole family are invited to celebrate at a special family Céilí, held on a Saturday and open to all ages. In addition to the dancing, little ones can learn the story of St Patrick and follow a snake-themed treasure hunt through the London Irish Centre building, representing St Patrick's defeat over the snakes of Ireland. 18 March
CLUB DE FROMAGE: Regular cheesy disco night Club de Fromage gets an Irish makeover for its event on St Patrick's weekend. Alongside the usual pop, rock and disco tunes, you can sing and dance the night away to songs by Irish artists including Westlife, Boyzone, B*Witched, The Corrs, U2, The Pogues and... Jedward. 18 March
Irish pubs and bars in London for St Patrick's Day
If you're just looking for somewhere to kick back with a pint of Guinness, hit up one of London's best Irish pubs. Don't go in expecting a quiet pint this weekend though — all of London's pubs, bars and venues with links to the Emerald Isle will be rammed over St Paddy's Day. Makes for good craic though.