Special Events in London

Notting Hill Carnival
First held in 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival is the second largest street festival in the world. Originally organized by Claudia Jones, the carnival began as a way to celebrate Trinidadian culture and was inspired by the Trinidad Carnival. Since 1987, the carnival has taken place during August and features a parade, Calypso music, and a costume contest.

London Mela
Begun in 2003 as a celebration of Indian and South Asian culture, the London Mela is held in August at Gunnersbury Park and features street theater, live music, fireworks, a carnival, children's area and copious amounts of food and drink.

City Harvest Festival
Organized in 2000 by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, the City Harvest Festival is held each September at Capel Manor Gardens. The festival features gardening and livestock exhibitions, cooking demonstrations, children's activities, and farm animal competitions.

Harvest Festival
The annual flagship event for the Pearly Kings and Queens, the Harvest Festival showcases the fundraising efforts of this working class group of philanthropists. The festival is held on the second Sunday of October at St. Paul's Church.

London Design Festival
Established in 2003 to celebrate London's status as one of the top design centers of the world, the London Design Festival is a 10-day event that features international exhibitions, product launches, seminars and receptions. The festival happens every September and has been held at the Victoria and Albert Museum since 2009.

London Boat Show
First held in 1955, the London Boat Show has grown into the largest show of its type in the UK. Organized by NBS, a subsidiary of the British Marine Federation, the London Boat Show is a 10-day January event that kicks off the boating season. Held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre since 2004, this event showcases all types of boats and personal watercraft.

New Year's Day Parade
Begun as a way to raise funds for London charities, the New Year's Day Parade includes entries from each of London's 32 boroughs and has become one of the largest New Year's events in the world. Originally named Lord Mayor of Westminster's Big Parade, the first London parade took place in 1987.

The Great River Race
Held on the Thames since 1988, the Great River Race is an annual 21-mile September boating marathon that begins at the Millwall Dock Slipway and ends at the Ham House. With up to 300 boats competing, the vessels are classed into speed categories, and the slowest always head out first.