St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and we can’t wait to celebrate – London style! There are all sorts of St. Patrick’s Day events going on throughout the city. The festivities are a chance for the Irish community of London – and anyone who just loves a good bit of Irish ‘Craic’ – to celebrate all things Irish. Check out our guide to what the festivities are all about and the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in London.
What is the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of Irish culture, held on or around the 17th March each year. The day marks the death of St. Patrick (c. AD 385–461), Ireland’s primary patron saint, who is widely regarded as the founder of Christianity in Ireland. Both religious and secular events take place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day including festivals, church services, public parades and traditional dances.
Do the English Celebrate St Patrick’s Day?
Although St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally an Irish Celebration, you’ll find St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations taking place far and wide. Many Irish people emigrated to countries all over the world during The Great Famine of the 1840s and, as a result, many nations feel a strong connection to the Irish and Irish culture. The United Kingdom is Ireland’s closest neighbour and, not one to miss out on a good Irish party, the English love to get involved with St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations. You’ll find St. Patrick’s Day parties and festivities happening all over England.
What is there to do on Paddy’s Day in London?
There’s all sorts to do on St. Patrick’s day in London. From the big St. Patrick’s Day Parade with its epicentre in Trafalgar Square, to Irish themed club nights and parties that go until the wee small hours, there’s plenty to do on Paddy’s Day in London.
Where does St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London start?
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London starts at Piccadilly and ends at Trafalgar Square. The whole parade route is closed off to normal traffic and the street is filled with Irish themed floats, traditional dancers, Irish flags and thousands of people dressed up as leprechauns or wearing green.
So, without further ado, here’s our suggestions on the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in London:
Head along to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival
If you’re visiting London on St. Patrick’s Day, then prepare yourself for a whole lot of Irish themed fun. St. Patrick’s Day officially falls on March 17th, but as you’d expect from the party-loving Irish, the celebrations usually run over the course of a whole weekend. This year, the main St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in London take place from 16th – 18th March in Trafalgar Square.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London is, in essence, a big street party, with thousands of people (Irish and non-Irish) heading to central London to enjoy the festival-like atmosphere. Starting at Piccadilly on March 17th at around 12pm, the lively procession winds its way along a 1.5mile route. Look out for famous landmarks like The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall. And remember to don some green as part of your outfit to feel like a proper honorary Irish person!
A large stage is set up in Trafalgar Square with performances by well-known Irish bands, up and coming musicians and special guests. There’s plenty of street food and pop up bars around the area too, so there’ll always be somewhere to find some yummy grub or a green Guinness!
Find out more about the festival here
Did you know? Legend has it that whilst St Patrick worked to convert the Irish into Christians, he used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the holy trinity. St. Patrick’s Day revelers today wear a shamrock as a nod to this Irish legend.
Drink a Guinness (or two!) an Irish Pub
We don’t like to stereotype but we think it’s probably fair to say that the Irish enjoy a tipple every now and then. Guinness is probably the most famous of all Irish drinks. Originating at the Arthur Guinness Brewery in Dublin in 1759, it is now brewed in 50 countries around the world and available to drink in over 120. Of course, you’ll be able to find a great pint of Guinness in London.
We’ve picked out a couple of the best Irish bars in London near the Parade Route, so if you’re in need of a pint before or after the festivities, you’ll know where to go.
Why go? For week-long St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations and a good pint of Guinness
Waxy O’Connor’s is a cracking Irish pub in Central London, just a few minutes’ walk from the start of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade route. Waxy’s is packed full of character with an interior that feels like a cross between a church and a castle, with stone walls, intricate wood paneling and cushioned church pews.
Get stuck into a range of Irish beers such as Rebel Red, Caffreys and, of course, Guinness. There’s also some good hearty grub on the menu with meat pies, burgers, ribs and a pretty decent all-day cooked breakfast on offer. St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations are big here, so expect a week-long schedule of events to commemorate the occasion.
14-16 Rupert St
W1D 6DD, UK
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Did you know? Irish party-goers often choose to dress as Leprechaun’s to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, wearing a green coat and large green hat and a long fake beard. Leprechauns are fairy like creatures that often appear in Irish folklore. They are intelligent and at times devious!
Why go? For a lively atmosphere in a great central location
The Porterhouse is a sprawling Irish Pub in Covent Garden. Spread across an incredible 12 floors, this popular Central London Irish bar is consistently busy with a good atmosphere. On a sunny day, head to the outside terrace which is the perfect place for enjoying a pint with friends in the sun. If the weather isn’t so nice, then there’s plenty of nooks and crannies around the place to while away a few cosy hours.
Run by Porterhouse Brewing Co – an Irish Brewery with six bars in Ireland and one in New York – this isn’t a quaint and charming small Irish pub. However, if you’re looking for a lively Irish Pub in Central London, The Porterhouse is a good choice.
21-22, Maiden Lane
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Listen to some Live Irish Music
Music and storytelling is an incredibly important part of Irish culture and history. In centuries gone by, villagers would gather around a fire in their local pub, share stories and listen to folk music played by local musicians. The tradition has been kept alive ever since. If you’re looking to enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day music in London, then there’s plenty of places throughout the city that will be more than happy to oblige. We’ve picked out a couple of our favourite places to enjoy live Irish music in London.
Why go? For a relaxed local vibe, rollicking Irish folk bands and great karaoke nights
Self-proclaimed ‘purveyors of craic’ Skehan’s is a back-road gem in South East London. When the trendy pubs of Peckham are jam-packed, those in the know head to Skehan’s for its laid-back atmosphere, friendly staff and hearty Thai food. Arguably, Skehan’s is one of the best Irish pubs in London. The wood burning stove is always lit during the chilly winter months and there’s a pool table and darts to keep you entertained.
Live music nights usually take place on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights with traditional Irish folk bands often getting the crowds involved for riotous singalongs. There’s also a chance to test your vocal prowess at Skehan’s rip-roaring karaoke nights.
1 Kitto Rd
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Why go? For some great Irish tunes without any of the gimmicks
The Lamb isn’t strictly an ‘Irish Pub’ but it is a cracking local boozer serving craft beer and local ales from the likes of Howling Hops, Signature Brew and Five Points. Shamrocks or leprechauns you won’t find at The Lamb, but it’s got a lovely cosy vibe, with traditional wood-panelling, rustic floorboards and a laid back atmosphere.
The spirit of Holloway Road’s Irish sessions is kept alive at the Lamb. Every Tuesday head along to the lamb for a dose of traditional Irish folk music led by Mick O’Connor. All musicians are welcome to come along and participate so if you happen to be in London with your fiddle or flute, come get involved! (or just come along and listen)
54 Holloway Rd
N7 8JL, UK
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Visiting London with friends? Have a look at our guide to the best things to do in London as a group.
Party like the Irish
We don’t like to stereotype but, by all accounts, the Irish do love a good party. If you’re keen to do St. Patrick’s Day like the Irish, then you’ll no doubt want to hit the town, have a cheeky drink and dance until the wee small hours. Here’s a couple of St. Patrick’s Day events in London that have caught our eye this year:
Can’t Dance Ceilidh – St. Patrick’s Day at The Piano Works
Why go? For brunching, drinking and dancing until your feet hurt
The Piano Works bill themselves as ‘London’s Only Non-Stop Live Music Venues’ and their St. Patrick’s Day offering looks like it’s going to be a whole lot of fun. If you’re feeling energetic, you can start the celebrations early with one of their ‘Brunch to the Beat’ packages which includes some modern takes on brunch classics and bottomless drinks.
Do pace yourself though as you don’t want to miss out on what this St. Patrick’s Day evening holds. The Piano Works house musicians will be playing songs requested by YOU (well, you and the rest of the crowd) until late.
With whiskey in your jar and music in your soul, you’ll be jigging your way into the night.
More info and ticket prices here
St. Paddy’s Party at Pop Brixton
Why go? For great street food and entertainment from one of London’s most exciting Ceilidh bands
Pop Brixton is one of our favourite hang outs in South London. Made out of old shipping containers, this once disused space has been transformed into a creative space for local, independent business and street food vendors. Kicking off the spring season with a bang, Pop Brixton is hosting an Irish-inspired knees up for St. Patrick’s Day on 17th March.
Starting at 5pm, live music from Fiddle Paradiddle (one of London’s most energetic Ceilidh bands) will keep crowds well entertained all night, teaching you a little bit of traditional Irish dancing along the way …
More info here
49 Brixton Station Road
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