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How to Celebrate St. George’s Day in London (2024)

Have you ever thought about the British flag? Much like the components of the U.S. flag have various meanings that together comprise the “Stars and Stripes, the “Union Jack” is actually an amalgamation of the flags of the countries that comprise the U.K. One such component is St. George’s Cross which is the flag of England: a red cross on a field of white. Once you see it, you spot this flag everywhere in London!

St. George is the patron saint of England, and he is celebrated annually on St. George’s Day across the country, in different festivals and activities. Whether you’ve heard about this celebration or are trying to discover unique experiences you can have on your London trip, this guide will help.

St. George's Day in London Hero

St. George’s Day has always held a special spot in the heart of London On My Mind founder Valerie – it’s also her birthday! It just seemed fitting that she loves London so much, and that the city throws a big party on that day.

Even if it’s not your birthday, you might want to celebrate St. George’s Day if you’re visiting London at the right time of year. Read on to discover when St. George’s Day is celebrated and how to celebrate it in London.

What is St. George’s Day?

St. George's Day in London - City of London

To explain the basics of St. George’s Day in England, it helps to start with the basics of St. George’s life.

St. George was born in the late 3rd Century AD in a place that was then known as Cappadocia, but today, we know it as Turkey. Evidence suggests he was a Roman soldier and died a martyr’s death. He was executed on April 23rd, 303 AD for failing to renounce his faith in Christianity.

Several countries claim St. George as their patron saint, including England, and thus St. George’s Day is celebrated in England on April 23rd each year. (St. George is also the patron saint of other countries, including Georgia – makes sense! –, parts of Spain, Portugal and Brazil, and more.)

Ways to Celebrate St. George’s Day

Photos courtesy of Ian Livesey via Flickr

Although St. George’s Day is not celebrated as enthusiastically as it may have been in the past, many particularly patriotic people still make the effort to mark the occasion. 

There’s a chance you will see plenty of English flags flying around the 23rd of April. The English flag is white with the red cross of St. George on it. Incidentally, the cross refers to St. George’s role in the Crusades of the Middle Ages.

Serious St. George fans will tell you that blue was his favorite color and so many people choose to dress up in blue for the 23rd of April. 

Other people celebrate their patriotism with a large feast with friends and family.  Historically, banquets were how Saints’ days were traditionally honored. These days some choose to host a feast and serve the most popular English dishes, including roasts, pie and mash, and even fish and chips!

Plenty of towns and villages throughout England will host parades to commemorate St. George’s Day. These will incorporate Morris dancing, singing, street parties, and all sorts of other fun things. 

Lastly, because any excuse is a good one, you might find food and drink specials for St. George’s Day at some of London’s pubs; this is a good opportunity to save a few quid even if you do nothing else to “celebrate.”

St. George’s Day Events in London

So is St. George’s Day Celebrated in London? Yes! St. George’s Day in London is still a big deal, with many joining in with the fun and family-friendly celebrations. Here are some of the festivities you might see or participate in during your visit.

Celebration in Trafalgar Square

Each year, Trafalgar Square plays host to some superb patriotic St. George’s Day celebrations. Usually, huge crowds will gather to commemorate George the Dragon Slayer, through dancing, live music, family-friendly games, and much more.

Food stalls serving typically English fare line the Square, and the red and white colors of the English flag cover all the landmarks.

Parade Through Central London

Photos courtesy of Stuart Grout via Flickr

Parades to celebrate St. George’s Day take place all over England on April 23rd, but the biggest is most definitely the one that marches through central London each year. This fabulous parade features themed floats, joyous marching bands, and other entertaining street performers and attracts thousands of spectators each year.

The parade begins in Trafalgar Square, the hub of the patriotic celebrations, and makes its way through the city streets before ending up at the historic Guildhall.

St. George’s Day Fireworks

Historically, Alexandra Palace, or “Ally Pally” as it is affectionately known by Londoners, has hosted St. George’s Day fireworks. This spectacular display is one of the highlights of the annual celebrations. Previous years have seen superb pyrotechnic displays accompanied by popular English music and is the ultimate end to a day of celebrating English culture. 

They haven’t been announced for 2024 yet, but keep an eye on their What’s On page for details if they’re announced this year.

Have any other questions about how to celebrate St. George’s Day in London? Let me know in the comments below!

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Vikki grew up in south east London and enjoyed all aspects of the city for many years before she left to travel the world. She still has family in the city and brings her kids back to enjoy all the wonders of London whenever she can.

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