Annual Events

Camden Fringe

This is a 4-week festival that essentially acts as a mini-Edinburgh Fringe. Up-and-coming acts perform comedy, music, theater and more in small venues around Camden. As with the Edinburgh Fringe, this festival offers performances from many talented people with great stories (or jokes) to tell. Website

Royal Albert Hall (2)
Jingle Bell Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

Jingle Bell Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

Each Christmas season, the London Concert Orchestra and the “Jingle Belles” (London’s version of the Rockettes) put on a great performance of classic Christmas songs. The show (which is just one of a few Christmas shows put on at the stunning Royal Albert Hall) is not quite as big of a production as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York, but it is tastefully done and ideal for those looking for Christmas music and sing-along. Website

London Short Film Festival

A series of screenings of short films from local and international filmmakers. The films are generally hit or miss, but you can expect a good variety, a unique experience, and different perspectives. Two of the six international films we saw in our screening event were good, and made the whole experience well worth the cost. Website

Lumiere Light Festival

This festival takes place annually in a UK city and was held in London in 2016. Hoards of people push their way along the streets in the freezing cold to see creations that may have been impressive a century ago, but today look like nothing spectacular. We don’t recommend seeking this out. Website

Open House London

For one weekend in September, the public is granted free access to numerous buildings across the city that are deemed architecturally noteworthy. As with the similar Open House New York (see the NY Annual Events page), many buildings provide free tours, though there will be long queues for the more popular buildings. Website

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

This rowing race between the UK’s two greatest universities has been an annual event since 1856, and is held at the end of March or beginning of April along a 4 mile stretch of the Thames. Due to the length of the race, it is difficult to see much of the action from any one place, but huge crowds gather all around and make for a fun and rowdy atmosphere. While you may initially start out trying to catch a glimpse from the riverbank, you’ll likely just end up going into a nearby pub the second the boats pass by your section so that you can actually watch the race. Website


This is a fantastic eight-week series of daily classical music concerts held at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues each summer. The goal of the proms is to make classical music affordable to the masses. For some events, you can buy cheap tickets on the day of the performance if you’re willing to stand up during the concert (and queue for tickets). Doing so is referred to as Promming and those who do so are called Prommers. If you want a proper seat, you can just book tickets in advance and for the majority of performances, ticket prices are very reasonable. Website

Udderbelly Festival

This festival takes place at the beginning of every summer in a giant inflatable purple cow on the Southbank near the London Eye. The shows focus mostly on stand-up comedy, but there are also music and theater performances as well. Connected to the venue is an outdoor bar and several food stands. For some headliners, tickets can sell out in advance, so check the calendar ahead of time. Website

Leake Street (2)
Leake Street Tunnel

Vault Festival

This festival, like the Camden Fringe, offers comedy, music, and theater performances from up and coming acts. The venue is a cool series of converted vaults underneath Waterloo station, accessed through an abandoned-looking graffiti-covered tunnel called Leake Street. We’re big fans of the Vault festival and encourage you to check it out if you’re around while it’s on. Website


If you’re a tennis fan, seeing a match at Wimbledon may be a must. Seeing the big matches will likely cost a small fortune, but you can also gain access to the outer courts for less. Just make sure you do your research ahead of time to determine your options. Website


Winter Wonderland and Winterville

The established Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and the newcomer Winterville in Victoria Park are winter festivals with carnival rides and games, street food and drinks, and scheduled events (such as Christmas Bingo at Winterville). Winter Wonderland also has an ice skating rink and a large Christmas market. Winter Wonderland WebsiteWinterville Website