St Patrick's Day isn't a bank holiday in London, but you'd think it was, given the amount of partying. 17 March is the day everyone remembers they've got a tiny bit of Irish blood flowing through their veins, dons a fluffy green top hat and declares their love for Guinness. Here are the best St Patrick's Day 2020 events in London.
London's St Patrick's Day Parade 2020
St Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday in 2020, but the St Patrick's Day Parade takes place on the previous Sunday (15 March). It's the heart of London's St Patrick's Day celebrations, with floats and processions winding their way from Hyde Park Corner, down Piccadilly and Haymarket and through to Trafalgar Square on a 1.5 mile route. As you'd expect, many Irish dancing schools and community groups show off their skills, but equally as prominent are marching bands and sports clubs from the rest of the UK and America.
Trafalgar Square becomes the focal point for the afternoon's entertainment, with a line-up of Irish singers, dancers, musicians and other performers on the stage. Irish food and drink stalls form a street food market, and there are family-friendly activities including arts and crafts. The festival culminates in the Big St. Patrick’s Céilí — getting everyone on their feet for jigs and reels.
St Patrick's Day Parade 2020, free. 15 March, 12pm.
Mayor of London's St Patrick's Day Festival
In addition to the parade above, there's a whole official St Patrick's Day festival, with events going on all over London. Our picks include the Irish music trail at Camden Market, with special St Patrick's street food to tuck into as you enjoy live music.
London St Patrick's Day Festival. 1-17 March.
St Patrick's Day Film Festival
The St Patrick's Day Film Festival is also part of the official St Patrick's Festival London, which includes the parade above. The programme for this year's film festival hasn't been announced at time of writing, but based on previous experience, expect plenty of dramas, documentaries and shorts with links to the Emerald Isle.
St Patrick's Day Film Festival London at Regent Street Cinema. Tickets TBC, 13-15 March 2020.
Midnight Apothecary St Patrick's Day special
'Secret' garden cocktail bar The Midnight Apothecary holds a special St Patrick's opening. Enjoy live music from Irish jazz and blues band, Nathan Osgood Trio, in Brunel's underground chamber, before heading above ground and drinking Irish whiskey hot toddies around the campfire.
Midnight Apothecary St Patrick's Day special at Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe. £12, 14 March.
Club de Fromage St Patrick's Day party
Cheesy disco club night Club de Fromage throws a St Patrick's special, where green clothing is practically mandatory, stout is the order of the night, and Irish bands are the soundtrack. Dance the night away to the likes of Westlife, Boyzone, B*Witched, The Corrs, U2, The Pogues and Jedward, interspersed with the usual Club de Fromage pop, rock, indie, disco, classic dance and R&B classics. We're also promised confetti cannons, sing alongs and a balloon drop, to ensure the night goes off with a bang.
Club de Fromage St Patrick's Day party at Islington Academy. From £7.50, 14 March.
Paddy Fest at The Clapham Grand
South London party pub The Clapham Grand goes all out with Paddy Fest, an afternoon and evening celebrating all things Irish. It's aimed at homesick Irish, with food stalls selling traditional and nostalgic grub, as well as anyone else hopping on the Paddy bandwagon (think leprechaun decor and Irish cover bands). Live DJs, face painters, Irish dancing, photo booths and green confetti make up the rest of the entertainment.
Paddy Fest 2020 at The Clapham Grand. £13.20, 14 March.
Northern Ireland showcase at Borough Market
Foodie haven Borough Market hosts 14 guest traders to showcase Northern Ireland's best produce. Keep an eye on the website for the further details of the four-day event.
Northern Ireland showcase. 18-21 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. It makes for good craic though.