Once again, for a city as large and as important as London, it’s absolutely no surprise to hear that there’s plenty of festivals in London throughout the year. A number of cultural events take place that are very often free to attend; alternatively, there are also themed multi-day festivals (or sometimes events that take place every weekend in a certain month, or over summer, or similar) that are normally also free to attend, but which have stalls where you can buy products, food and other items at.
In cultural terms, one of the most popular and best known festivals in London is the Notting Hill Carnival. This takes place over the last weekend of August each year (the Monday of this weekend is always a public holiday in the UK – hooray!) and the central part of this event is the magical parade, featuring numerous amazingly attired participants, as well as floats, music and more. There’s also plenty of sound systems dotted around the Notting Hill area, as well as street stalls, food, drink (these aren’t free, obviously!) and with it being a summer public holiday in the UK, it’s just a general excuse to party.
Another great free cultural event to attend is the Chinese New Year celebrations centred around London’s Chinatown every January/February. A very colorrful and loud experience!
The Southbank Centre, right on the River Thames, often plays host to (or rather, its outside space) all sorts of mini-festivals and events. Very often these take a foodie slant, such as The Chocolate Festival that’s on each March. Entry to these events is normally free, although items at the festival must obviously be purchased!
Winter Wonderland isn’t really a festival, as such, but a Christmas themed event that takes place in Hyde Park each year. It has grown to something of a monster (and I mean that in a nice way!) with the many, many stalls, rides, games, activities, restaurants that it now comprises these days and it can sometimes (particular during school holidays) get very busy. Although many of the activities (such as ice skating, or going on the fairground rides) aren’t free, entry to the whole area is free – and it’s pleasant to walk through and admire all the Christmassy celebrations.