Fast-paced dancing, rowdy sing-a-longs, a parade and a pint or five – the Irish have always known how to party and celebrating St Patrick’s Day in London is no exception. St Patrick’s Day in London is a chance for Irish London (and, of course, anyone and everyone who’s Irish-at-heart) to hit the streets and show the city the true meaning of the word ‘craic’. Also, how to use the word ‘craic’ because frankly, most people are murdering it.
The official holiday lands annually on March 17 (a Saturday in 2018), but this year the main London celebrations take place in Trafalgar Square March 16-18.
At this year’s three-day shindig, more than 125,000 revelers are expected to descend on Trafalgar Square for a lively parade of music and ceilidh dancing, plus plenty of things to do with the kids, from an Irish art exhibition and film festival to Irish walking tours. Feeling peckish? Fill up on traditional grub from the Irish Street Food Market.
If you can’t face the crowds, we’ve rounded up the best St Patrick’s Day happenings below. Or if you want more cultural inspiration, check our pick of the best London events in March. Get ready for a very green weekend.
When is St Patrick’s Day?
It’s always March 17, but in true Irish fashion, St Patrick’s Day sessions usually run throughout Paddy’s weekend. In 2018, the St Patrick’s Day Parade lands on Sunday 18 March 2018, with events running from March 16-18.
What is St Patrick’s Day?
The date supposedly marks the death of this guy called (yep, you guessed it!) St Patrick, who travelled to Ireland in the fifth century to convince Irish pagans that Christianity is where it’s at. Do you associate Ireland with shamrocks? That’s down to him too: the story goes that St Patrick used the three-leaved clover to describe the Holy Trinity to non-believers. Oh, and legend says he banished snakes from the country by chasing them into the sea. Best mull that last part over with a Guinness.
Where is the London St Patrick’s Day Parade?
London’s St Patrick’s Day parade lines the streets from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square and cheers on a stream of leprechaun floats, traditional musicians and squads of Irish dancers. The main stage at Trafalgar Square will be surrounded by a street food market and a ‘tea tent’, with a line-up of Irish bands. Basically, it’s a big, rip-roaring one-day festival, only the pints are a shade of Gaelic green.