When it comes to things-to-do, visitors to London are spoiled for choice. There are the museums and galleries, the West End shows, and plenty of historic landmarks to explore. Then, to top if off, there’s the plethora of events that take place throughout the year.
It’s probably safe to say that there’s always something going on in London – and you never know when you might turn a corner and find a festival or a parade or a pop-up market that you weren’t expecting to be there. That’s certainly one of the joys of visiting the Big Smoke. And, while many these events are one-offs that you’re just lucky enough to stumble upon, there are many annual events that you can plan to attend too.
If you’re planning on staying at the Park Grand London Kensington, you won’t have to travel far to find something happening. With its central location and easy access to the Tube network (just a two-minute walk from Earl’s Court station), the hotel is perfectly situated for visitors to quickly get to any of the capital’s main venues. In fact, two of the top spots are very nearby: the London Olympia and the Royal Albert Hall. Both have programmes chock-full of concerts, shows and other events, so you’re sure to find plenty of events and activities to help fill your itinerary.
Here’s a list of some of the annual events that you can find near the Park Grand London Kensington:
Chelsea Flower Show
Every spring, the Royal Horticultural Society presents this massive flower show on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The event has been going on since 1913 and is a famous horticultural exhibition that sees entries from around the world.
Awards are given for a number of categories, such as floral, trees, vegetables and herb gardens. There are also exhibits with educational and scientific themes, as well as photographic displays of floral arrangements.
Opera Holland Park
Every June, July and August, Holland Park hosts a variety of open-air operatic productions, with a combination of well known operas and more obscure titles. In recent years, the performances have been highly acclaimed and the venue is known for providing a comfortable, informal atmosphere and accessible pricing.
Thanks to an overhead canopy, performances can go on, no matter what the weather is like, and spectators can enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery while watching the show.
This contemporary art festival takes place every summer across a number of venues in Kensington.
The festival is designed to provide people of all ages with a chance to explore and enjoy innovative new artistic collaborations. It celebrates the changing urban landscape and makes use of public and private spaces across the region.
The Great British Beer Festival
Since 1977, the Campaign for Real Ale has organised this festival. Today, it offers a selection of more than 800 real ales, ciders, perries and pear ciders, as well as international beers.
Visitors to the event number in the tens of thousands and hundreds of local breweries also take part. As well as a huge variety of drinks, there is also live music and entertainment and plenty of food options to taste – such as sausages, cheeses, meat pies, crisps and pork scratchings.
The name of this event means “to paint rapidly” and this is the UK’s biggest outdoor painting festival. Hundreds of artists get together on a single day to create a work (of any style, size and medium) that captures the spirit of the area.
Visitors can watch the artists at work all around the borough on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, artists exhibit their works at the Town Hall on King’s Road.
The BBC Proms
Comprising eight weeks of classical music concerts and events, the Proms is held every summer from around July to September at the Royal Albert Hall. Offering everything from classical symphonies to chamber concerts and vocal artists, this festival of music has become something of a British institution.
The final performance of the Proms is broadcast live on the BBC and entails a variety of popular classics as well as patriotic British pieces. Tickets for this event can be difficult to acquire, so an event has been established in Hyde Park to accommodate the huge demand. This event includes its own concert, and a live broadcast from the Albert Hall is shown on a huge screen.
The Notting Hill Carnival
This event, which has happened every year since 1966, takes place during the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.
It’s Europe’s biggest street festival and celebrates London’s multiculturalism – particularly its Caribbean population – with colourful costumes, music, dance and a fabulous selection of food.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum
As winter sets in, you’ll find outdoor skating rinks pop up all over London in places like Canary Wharf, Somerset House and the Tower of London. But one of the most picturesque spots for ice skating has got to be the Natural History Museum.
This 1,000 sq ft rink might not be the biggest of the capital’s outdoor skating venues, but with the architectural beauty of the Natural History Museum as a backdrop, as well as plenty of festive decorations and twinkly fairy lights, it’s the perfect spot to experience some holiday magic. Plus there’s a bar serving hot drinks and snacks, including mulled wine, Winter Pimms and hot chocolate – giving you a great place to warm up after your skating session is over.
This annual fair in Hyde Park runs from late November to early January and it includes a variety of craft stalls and food vendors.
There’s also Santa’s Grotto, some lovely light displays, ice sculptures, an ice skating rink and fairground rides.