60 Of The Best Things To Do In London This Spring

60 Of The Best Things To Do In London This Spring
Two Chelsea Pensioners in their red coats. One is pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers, and the other carries a spade.
The Chelsea Flower Show is a highlight of spring in London. Image: RHS

Things to do in London in March, April and May 2024

Cultural events in London this spring

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: March is Women's History Month, so there's plenty going on to celebrate the achievements of women and non-binary people, including exhibitions and one-off events, as well as International Women's Day celebrations. Browse our pick of events.

LITERARY FOOTPRINTS: The guides at Footprints of London have once again put together a series of guided walks themed around literature, creating the Literary Footprints festival. Throughout March, join walks (and some virtual tours) on topics including Wolf Hall, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, literary Soho and much more. 1-31 March

WOMEN'S MUSEUM: After years of plans for various museums, London finally gets a women's museum in March — it opens on International Women's Day. Known simply as the Women's Museum, it opens in Barking, and focuses on the achievements of local women, including the nuns who lived at nearby Barking Abbey. From 8 March

AFFORDABLE ART FAIR: Prices for artworks start at £50 at the Affordable Art Fair, which is held at Evolution Battersea. Thousands of contemporary artworks are for sale, with special events including late night openings, and a family hour at the weekend. 6-10 March

THE OTHER ART FAIR: The Other Art Fair takes over the Old Truman Brewery for four days of artwork that's accessible to all. Affordable and original pieces are up for grabs, alongside immersive installations, live performances and a bar. 7-10 March

ST PATRICK'S DAY: Around the middle of March each year, most Londoners suddenly remember their distant Irish heritage, and embrace it by getting involved in the St Patrick's Day celebrations. The main event is the St Patrick's Day festival and parade, but look out for plenty of other Irish-themed parties, supper clubs, menus, bar crawls and events. Maybe acquaint yourself with one of London's best Irish pubs too. 17 March

EARTH HOUR: For one hour on a Saturday evening, London's switching the lights off for WWF's Earth Hour, raising awareness of the effects of global warming. Individual businesses and households are encouraged to take part by turning off the lights, but several of the capital's major landmarks will be plunged into darkness too. FREE, 23 March

OPEN AIR THEATRE: For a high-brow night under the stars, head to London's open air theatre in Regent's Park. Bear Snores On, Twelfth Night, The Enormous Crocodile, The Secret Garden and Fiddler on the Roof have been confirmed for the 2024 schedule. From 23 March

A wooden wheelbarrow full of tulips in a courtyard at Hampton Court Palace.
It's tulip season at Hampton Court Palace. © Historic Royal Palaces.

VAISKHI FESTIVAL: Vaisakhi — the Sikh and Punjabi cultural festival — takes place on 13 April this year, but London's main celebration returns to Trafalgar Square the previous week. The free festival features live entertainment and performances, martial arts demonstrations, a showcase of Sikh art, plus food and drink stalls. FREE, 6 April

TULIP FESTIVAL: Over 100,000 bulbs bring a riot of colour to the gardens of Hampton Court Palace for its annual Tulip Festival — one of the UK's largest displays of planted tulips. Wander through the formal gardens and historic courtyards, and see  'floating' bowls in the Great Fountain and a free style of planting in the kitchen gardens. 15 April-6 May

EID IN THE SQUARE: Trafalgar Square's the setting for Eid in the Square, London's official Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community. Market stalls, live performances and family-friendly activities take place throughout the afternoon. Find out about other Ramadan and Eid events in London this year.  FREE, 20 April

ST GEORGE'S DAY: 23 April is St George's Day, a celebration of the patron saint of England (plus Catalonia, Ethiopia, and various other regions). London's free St George's Day Festival takes place in Trafalgar Square a couple of days before, with live music and performers, family activities, and food and drink. FREE, 21/23 April

OUTDOOR CINEMA: As soon as the sun comes out, London's cinemas go al fresco, pitching up on rooftops, at palaces and in lidos across the capital. We'll provide details as soon as they're announced — in the meantime, browse London's 2023 outdoor cinemas to get an idea of what to expect. Usually from early May

WIMBLEDON ART FAIR: More than 150 artists exhibit at Wimbledon Art Fair, giving you a chance to purchase artworks directly from their creators. There's also a rare opportunity to go inside artists' studios. FREE ENTRY, 9-12 May

A floral display featuring a huge bucket of popcorn in Sloane Square
There's a foodie theme at Chelsea in Bloom this year. Photo: Londonist

DULWICH FESTIVAL: A celebration of art and culture in the local area, Dulwich Festival has yet to announce its full programme, but will include an artists' open house weekend, and the Dulwich Festival Fair on Goose Green. 10-19 May

EUROVISION: If you're partial to sequins, disco balls and cheese by the truckload, put 11 May in your dairy. That's the date of the Eurovision final, taking place in Sweden this year. Here's our guide to London parties and screenings, which we'll add to closer to the time. 11 May

CHELSEA AND BELGRAVIA IN BLOOM: Two separate (free!) events usually run at the same time as the Chelsea Flower Show (see below): Chelsea In Bloom will have a foodie theme this year, with dramatic flower installations erected outside shops, restaurants and cafes in the area. We're awaiting confirmation of the Belgravia In Bloom theme. FREE, -27 May

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: A highlight for any green-fingered Londoner, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes over the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, with gardeners from all over the country showing off their work; stalls where you can buy flowers and plants to take home; and a chance to pick up tips from gardening experts. 21-25 May

FLOWERS: For more even more flowers, take a look at our guides to where to see cherry blossom, wisteria, bluebells and roses in London.

Family events in London in spring

A man dancing with a girl in a sparkly dress next to a DJ booth an Urban Village Fete
Urban Village Fete takes place in Greenwich. Photo: Kris Humphreys

EASTER HOLIDAYS: The first two weeks of April are the Easter holidays for the majority of London schools. If you've got children or teenagers to entertain, take a look at our Easter holidays events guide — we've covered shows, exhibitions and one-off events, as well as some free things to do. Late March-mid April

BANK HOLIDAYS: What, with the Easter bank holidays, plus the double dose in May, our guide to spending bank holidays in London should come in handy over the next couple of months. Just remember to check opening hours before you travel, as some venues operate to different hours over bank holiday weekends.

CHEAM CHARTER FAIR: Rumour has it that the Cheam Charter Fair dates back to 1259 — though even the modern-day organisers can't verify that. Either way, head to the London-Surrey border for a traditional fair of stalls, kicked off with a procession at 9am. FREE ENTRY, 18 May

URBAN VILLAGE FETE: Live music and dancing, street food stalls, crafting workshops, and talks on topics including sports and sustainability are all part of the Urban Village Fete. It's a family-friendly event taking over Greenwich Peninsula. FREE entry (charge for some workshops), 19 May

Unique London events in spring

An actor portraying Jesus surrounded by disciples in Trafalgar Square
The Passion of Jesus is something of a Good Friday tradition. Image: Wintershall

THE PASSION OF JESUS: As a gift to the people of London, the Wintershall Players perform a rendition of the Easter story for free every Good Friday. The event takes place in Trafalgar Square, and thousands of people turn up to watch every year, so turn up early to get a good view. FREE, 29 March

GRAND FLANEUR WALK: 'A celebration of the pure, the immutable and the pointless, taken by the bold, the adventurous and the inebriated' is how organisers describe the Grand Flaneur Walk, a stroll without purpose, with participants wearing their finest dandy, flaneur or fop outfits — think top hats, handlebar moustaches, pocket squares, pocket watches, the works! FREE, 28 April

CANALWAY CAVALCADE: If you go down to the canal over the May Day bank holiday, you're in for a big surprise. Dozens of canal boats moor up in Little Venice for the Canalway Cavalcade, a vibrant festival with live music, children's activities and boat-based fun. FREE, 4-6 May

PUPPET FESTIVAL: One of those unique London events we love, the Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival is back. It celebrates the first recorded production of a Mr Punch show, as seen/recorded by Samuel Pepys in Covent Garden in 1662, and draws puppeteers from all over the country for a procession, church service, shows, stalls and workshops. FREE, 12 May

KENSINGTON DOLLSHOUSE FESTIVAL: Experience life in miniature at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. 120 top miniaturists from around the world exhibit and sell their works for anyone looking to kit out their own dolls house, plus there are displays, kids' activities and more. 17-18 May

Sport events in London in spring

Crowds cheering on runners taking part in the London Marathon on streets in Canary Wharf
The London Marathon is one of London's biggest sports events. Image: iStock/IR_Stone

RIVER RACE: The Head of the River Race is rowed annually from Mortlake to Putney, with up to 400 crews of eights taking part. Get down to the river's edge to watch the action. 23 March

PALACE HALF: If ever a half marathon route was fit for a king/queen, it's the Palace Half. Start your run at the gates of Hampton Court Palace and take in the local area — including crossing the Thames twice, before finishing in the palace gardens. Plenty of charities are still looking for runners to take part on their behalf. 24 March

BOAT RACES: The Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races take place on Easter Saturday this year. They'll most likely be broadcast on TV as usual, but if you're keen to see them in person, get down there early to grab your spot. FREE to watch, 30 March

KEW THE RUN: Another one for London's athletic types, Kew the Run is a 10K or half marathon route finishing in Kew Gardens. The 10K course (Saturday) is entirely contained within the gardens, while the half marathon (Sunday) starts and ends in the gardens, meandering down to Ham House in Richmond and back. 30-31 March

LONDON MARATHON: It's that time of year again, when thousands of runner pound the pavements in London, many in bizarre costumes to raise money for good causes. This year's London Marathon follows the usual route and format. Even if you're not watching or taking part, be aware of widespread road closures, bus diversions and the like, on and around 21 April

RIDE LONDON: This year's RideLondon is routed through Essex once again, beginning at Victoria Embankment and heading out to Braintree, before retuning to the finish line at Tower Bridge. Sign up to take part, or line the route on the day to cheer the riders on. Either way, be aware of road closures across the capital and beyond. 26 May

Music events and festivals in London in spring

South Asian Sounds is a new festival at Southbank Centre. Image: Arnhel de Serra

For a detailed look at music festivals taking place in London this year — from early spring round until the autumn — have a browse of our guide to London's best music festivals, and get booking.

SOUTH ASIAN SOUNDS: Southbank Centre launches a new event series, South Asian Sounds, celebrating the musical traditions of the Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan diaspora. More than a dozen events take place across four days, including performances by the Afghan Youth Orchestra and Indian folk singers Malini Awasthi and Anwar Khan Manganiyar. 7-10 March

COUNTRY TO COUNTRY: Three days of country music comes to The O2 as Country To Country festival returns. Rising Nashville stars take to the stage between sets from headline acts including Kane Brown, Carly Pearce, Jake Owen and Brothers Osborne. 8-10 March

BARNES MUSIC FESTIVAL: Pianists, saxophonists, organists, singers and a concert band are some of the performers lined up for this year's Barnes Music Festival, which takes place at venues across the area. The Music in the Dark concert is a particularly popular aspect of the programme. Under-12s get free entry as part of the festival's Youth Programme, in a bid to reach a younger audience. 9-24 March

TEENAGE CANCER TRUST: The Who, Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, and The Chemical Brothers are among the headliners at a series of gigs in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, taking place at the Royal Albert Hall. 18-24 March

MESSIAH ON GOOD FRIDAY: For the 148th time, the Royal Choral Society performs Handel's Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall on Good Friday — a tradition that's only ever been interrupted by the Blitz and Covid. 150 singers are conducted by the choir's music director Richard Cooke, and accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a quartet of soloists. 29 March

LATIN MUSIC FESTIVAL: La Linea Latin music festival takes place at several venues around central London. It opens with Grammy award-winning Mexican-American singer-songwriter Lila Downs, and other highlights include performances by Manguebeat pioneer group Nação Zumbi, and Baque Luar, a collective of female and non-binary vocalists and percussionists. Browse the full programme. 12-22 April

IN THE ROUND: The latest incarnation of In The Round Festival takes place at Camden Roundhouse, giving fans a chance to experience music performed live on the venue's circular stage. South-east London based singer-songwriter Tirzah, electronic musician and composer Jlin and acoustic singer-songwriter Lucy Rose are on this year's programme. 18-27 April

BRICK LANE JAZZ FESTIVAL: The Brick Lane Jazz Festival returns for a weekend of live music. Headline acts include RnB artists Ojerime, Gremmy-nominated artist Theo Croker, and French-Senegalese singer, songwriter and producer anaiis. You can buy day or weekend passes to all shows at the Old Truman Brewery, with tickets to Village Underground shows sold separately. 26-28 April

New exhibitions in London this spring

Paws on the Wharf is London's latest free sculpture trail.

ANGELICA KAUFFMAN: The Royal Academy's new exhibition puts the spotlight on Angelica Kauffman, a child prodigy-turned renowned painter who helped shape the direction of European art. Find out about her rise to fame in London, her role as a founding member of the Royal Academy and her later career in Rome, through her drawings and paintings, including some self portraits. 1 March-30 June

WOMEN OF THE RNLI: Greenwich's National Maritime Museum opens its exhibition Women of the RNLI, celebrating the bicentenary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It features 42 photographs taken by Jack Lowe, photographer on the Lifeboat Station Project, each depicting women who volunteer for the RNLI. From 2 March

DISNEY EXHIBITION: Remember the Disney100 exhibition which opened in October and closed earlier this year? Well, it's back for another innings, returning to the ExCeL Centre, with 250 rare artefacts, artworks, costumes and props on show. From 6 March

UNTOLD LIVES: Kensington Palace opens a new exhibition, Untold Lives, celebrating people from all walks of life who worked at the Royal Palace over 300 years ago. Find out about roles including rat-killer, 'Groom of the Stool', who was responsible for looking after the monarch on the toilet, and the 'Keeper of Ice and Snow’. 14 March-27 October

PAWS ON THE WHARF: London's latest free sculpture trail is Paws on the Wharf, which sees individually designed sculptures of dogs dotted around Canary Wharf in aid of Guide Dogs. The free trail is in situ for six weeks, after which the artworks are auctioned off to fundraise for the charity. FREE, 25 March-17 May

ENZO MARI: The Design Museum opens a new exhibition dedicated to the life and work of 20th century Italian designer Enzo Mari. His projects ranged from furniture, children's books and games to product and graphic design, plus more conceptual installation-based works — and the exhibition gives an insight into his research and creative process. 29 March-8 September

The misleadingly named mountain chicken — see it at London Zoo. Image: Ben Tapley/ZSL

SECRET LIFE OF REPTILES: London Zoo opens its newest experience, The Secret Life of Reptiles and Amphibians, just in time for the Easter holidays. The new, purpose-built space is home to many species, including the world’s largest amphibian and biggest aquatic frog, and offers a chance to learn about the science behind caring for them. From 29 March

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS: One of the highlights of the London photography calendar is the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House. They're doing things a bit differently this year, with photographs printed, projected and presented digitally to 'enhance your visual experience'. There's also a display dedicated to the works of Edgar Martins, the 2023 Photographer of the Year, telling the story behind his project. 16 April-6 May

THE LAST CARAVAGGIO: The National Gallery's new display, The Last Caravaggio, shows the last known work of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula comes to London for the first time in 20 years, displayed alongside a letter that details its creation, which together give an insight into the artist's final years. FREE, 18 April-21 July

LIGHT INTO LIFE: 20 artworks by Marc Quinn form new exhibition Light Into Life at Kew Gardens. The artist worked in close collaboration with Kew scientists and horticulturists to identify significant plants from across the collections to inspire the works, which include installations and sculptural portraits. 4 May-29 September

VICTORIAN LONDON: Watercolours, prints and documents dug out from the London Metropolitan Archives are on show in Lost Victorian City: A London Disappeared, a free exhibition which shows us what London looked like in Victorian times. The 17th century Oxford Arms coaching inn, and the Crystal Palace settling into its Sydenham home are depicted in photos. FREE, 13 May-February 2025

PHOTO LONDON: International fair Photo London is back at Somerset House for a celebration of all things snap happy. As well as a chance to collect and purchase photos from around the world, there are talks, tours and workshops on all aspects of photography. 16-19 May

Food and drink events in London in spring

Foodies Festival returns to Syon Park

LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL: Get your fill of caffeine and then some, at the London Coffee Festival, a four-day programme of tastings, demos, competitions, shopping and more at The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. 11-14 April

BREW LDN: Raise a glass to Brew LDN — the beer festival is back at a new venue this year. Taking over Between The Bridge for three days, with Toast Brewing, Renegade Brewery, Jiddler's Tipple, Moot Brew Co, Flowerhorn Brewery, and SXOLLIE among those confirmed to be attending. 24-27 April

HOT SAUCE FESTIVAL: How hot is too hot for you? Find out at the Hot Sauce Festival in Peckham, where hundreds of small-batch sauces from 40+ traders are available to try and buy, along with live music, games, street food — and a bar for those all-important, palate-cleansing drinks. 11 May

KINGSTON BEER FESTIVAL: Kingston Workmen's Club and Institute — just a few minutes' walk from the station — hosts the Kingston Beer Festival. Sample some of 70 ales — many brewed locally — plus ciders and perries. 23-25 May

THE TACOVER: Apparently London's only taco festival, The Tacover comes to Signature Brew in Walthamstow. Held in association with the Mexican embassy, the foodie event champions authentic Mexican owned brands from across the UK, with 30 taco vendors (including vegan and Halal options) present at four sessions across two days. 25-26 May

FOODIES FESTIVAL: Head to Syon Park for Foodies Festival, a three-day celebration of all things edible (and quaffable), with a side of live music. Sister Sledge, Blue and Symphonic Ibiza are among the performers, with live demos by celebrity chefs, street food and artisan markets, kids' cookery sessions, pop-up bars and more. 25-27 May

Last Updated 18 March 2024