Top 10 spring events in London

We're bloomin' excited about this bunch of events springing up in the capital this season

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  • London Coffee Festival

    Fri Apr 4 – Sun Apr 6. 15 Hanbury Street, Old Truman Brewery, E1 6QR.

    Returning for another year, the London Coffee Festival is the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event. A celebration of London's vibrant coffee culture, the festival showcases the best in gourmet coffee, speciality tea and artisan food, features demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music and hosts a huge range of talks and discussions that will educate even the keenest of bean lovers. Head to Old Truman Brewery this April to learn about the various ways of making and brewing coffee at home, plus explore the newly-added fashion, design and foodie area.

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  • International Pillow Fight Day

    Sat Apr 5. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN

    On Saturday April 5 feathers will fly in Trafalgar Square and it'll be nothing to do with the pigeons – in fact, they should probably plan to be elsewhere. Pillows in cities from Amsterdam to Toronto get an airing at this annual festival and London's mass feathery fracas takes place at the foot of Nelson’s column. The rules are easy: don't hit anyone holding a camera and don't hit anyone without a pillow; swing lightly as lots of folks will be swinging at once; remove your glasses and deploy soft pillows only.

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  • The Oxford v Cambridge Goat Race

    Sun Apr 6. Spitalfields City Farm, Buxton St, E1 5AR

    Every year, the Goat Race sees two goats – one named 'Oxford', the other 'Cambridge' – take part in a dash around Spitalfields City Farm. In previous years the event has taken place at exactly the same time as 'the other race' between Oxford and Cambridge universities, but as 2014's Boat Race doesn't kick off until 6pm, the goats may compete earlier. Whatever time the billy battle commences, the farm gates will open early afternoon for the usual bands, booze and other fun, goat-related nonsense. There will be an official bookie on site if you or your nanny fancy a flutter.

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  • The Boat Race

    Sun Apr 6. Putney Bridge (south side)

    The traditional rowing race between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge began in 1829 and now attracts around 250,000 spectators every year. The four-and-a-quarter mile course runs along the Thames from Putney Bridge to Mortlake and takes around 16 to 18 minutes to complete (Cambridge holds the course record of 16 minutes 19 seconds, set in 1998). Whether you're a rowing enthusiast or just a fan of river-side drinking, the Boat Race is afternoon well worth getting involved in.

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  • The London Marathon

    Sun Apr 13. Start Greenwich Park, Park Row, SE10 8XJ

    This annual slog of a race starts from three different points in Greenwich Park but the biggest crowds of spectators gather at Tower Bridge, Embankment and at the emotional finish line on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. This year, prepare for mass Mobots along the route as double Olympic champion Mo Farah makes his full marathon debut. If you're not taking part in the marathon, be sure to show your support for those who are (come on, running 26 miles dressed as a chicken is hardly the simplest of tasks, is it?). Check out our race route to find the best spectating spots and track down nearby pubs and bars for when all that cheering and applauding leaves you gasping for refreshment.

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  • Feast of St George

    Mon Apr 21. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN

    Two days before 23 April (the doughty knight's actual feast day), Trafalgar Square will host one helluva St George’s Day celebration. Final details are still being firmed up, but last year's day of traditional English feasting and frolics, croquet, live music and entertainers means our expectations for 2014 are high. Last year also saw free tastings, street-food stalls and high-class cookery demos taking place, but jesters jingled, jugglers jiggled and shadow puppets set about their silent craft too. Oh, and incontrovertibly, there will be Morris dancing.

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  • Canalway Cavalcade

    Sat May 3 – Mon May 5. Little Venice, between Blomfield Rd, Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent, W9 2PB

    Canalway Cavalcade, a colourful gathering of canal boats organised by volunteers from Inland Waterways Association, is a properly English affair, complete with real ale, morris dancers and lots of traditional activities for children. This floating shindig has taken place in Little Venice every year since 1983 and sees around 130 boats moored along the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Blomfield Road, Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent. Old friends catch up, old rivals deck their vessels to the nines to take part in the after-dark pageant of illuminated boats on the Sunday, and there are bands, boat trips, stalls and refreshments for landlubbers to enjoy over the three days.

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  • Streetfest

    Sun May 4. A secret east London location

    This festival of street culture is set to add some serious colour to the early May bank holiday weekend. Hosted in a yet-to-be-announced east London location, Streetfest is a celebration of performance art, music, urban athletes, street dance, film, fashion and sport. Suitable for the whole family, there'll be demonstrations by graffiti writers including the London-based Inkie and London-born Remi Rough, and a B-girl dance competition led by all-women hip hop festival bSupreme.

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  • Museums at Night

    Thu May 15 – Sat May 17. Various London locations

    If the mention of a trip to the museum makes you think of stuffy exhibitions and school trips, well think again. Museums at Night, a series of after-hours events at some of the capital's biggest museums and quirky attractions, offers Londoners some seriously special one-off experiences. Past years' activities have included discovering Handel House by candlelight, swinging 'til you drop at a 60s night and watching sci-fi movies under the stars. Expect similarly big, bold and darn right bonkers events to take place as part of 2014's festival.

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  • London Pet Show

    Sat May 18 – Sun May 18. Earls Court, Warwick Rd, SW5 9TA

    This annual fur-filled show is doubling in size for 2014 and moving to Earls Court One for a weekend of barking, jumping, stroking and shopping. The fair is aimed at both pet owners and anyone looking for advice on taking the pet plunge. Divided into different zones, the Discover Dogs zone and Cat zone allow visitors to meet owners and breeders, and get advice on animal care and training. More adventurous pet perusers can go wandering into the dedicated Ponies, Small Furries, and Aquatics & Exotics zones if they so wish. With everything from chinchillas to royal pythons, micro pigs to birds of prey, there's got to be a pet to suit just about everyone. And – with show-jumping rabbits, duck-herding displays, back-chatting parrots and the chance to meet meerkats – there's no shortage of entertainment.

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London Coffee Festival

Fri Apr 4 – Sun Apr 6. 15 Hanbury Street, Old Truman Brewery, E1 6QR.

Returning for another year, the London Coffee Festival is the UK’s largest coffee and artisan food event. A celebration of London's vibrant coffee culture, the festival showcases the best in gourmet coffee, speciality tea and artisan food, features demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music and hosts a huge range of talks and discussions that will educate even the keenest of bean lovers. Head to Old Truman Brewery this April to learn about the various ways of making and brewing coffee at home, plus explore the newly-added fashion, design and foodie area.

Read more about London Coffee Festival


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