Singing, dancing, a parade and a pint or two - the Irish have always known how to party and celebrating St Patrick's Day in London is no exception. St Patrick’s Day in London is a chance for Irish London (and, of course, anyone and everyone who's Irish-at-heart) to hit the streets and show the city the true meaning of the word ‘craic’.
The official holiday lands annually on March 17 (a Saturday in 2018), but the main London celebrations usually take place a day later in Trafalgar Square on March 18.
There’ll be a lively parade of music, food and ceilidh dancing, plus plenty of things to do with the kids. If you can’t face the crowds, we've rounded up the best St Patrick’s Day happenings below. Or if you want more cultural inspiration, check our pick of the best London events in March. Get ready for a very green weekend.
When is St Patrick’s Day?
It’s always March 17, but in true Irish fashion, St Patrick’s Day sessions usually run throughout Paddy’s weekend. In 2018, it officially lands on Saturday 17 March 2018.
What is St. Patrick's Day?
The date supposedly marks the death of this guy called (yep, you guessed it!) St Patrick, who travelled to Ireland in the fifth century to convince Irish pagans that Christianity is where it’s at. Do you associate Ireland with shamrocks? That’s down to him too: the story goes that St Patrick used the three-leaved clover to describe the Holy Trinity to non-believers. Oh, and legend says he banished snakes from the country by chasing them into the sea. Best mull that last part over with a Guinness.
Where is the London St. Patrick's Day Parade?
London’s St Patrick’s Day parade lines the streets from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square and cheers on a stream of leprechaun floats, traditional musicians and squads of Irish dancers. The main stage at Trafalgar Square will be surrounded by a street food market and a ‘tea tent’, with a line-up of Irish bands. Basically it’s a big, rip-roaring one-day festival, only the pints are a shade of Gaelic green.
Sink a Guinness at an Irish pub
Lobos Meat & Tapas
Walk into Lobos Meat & Tapas and you’ll get a proper Spanish welcome. The maître d’ flung his arms out and literally shouted for joy as he ushered me to a table – and not because he needed the custom. The place was packed. With dark-red walls, low lighting and small plates whizzing out of a frenetic, semi-open kitchen, this new Soho branch of the Borough market original has got atmosphere. The food is just as seductive. Unsurprisingly, the speciality here is meat (lobos literally translates as ‘wolves’) and the focus is Iberico pig. First up was the zorza: a wonderfully oily, smoky mess of tender pork shoulder and crispy potatoes, topped with a fried egg and served in a small, brown earthenware dish. Even better were the creamy croquetas that followed, made with ham, chorizo and smoked bacon – a grand porky parcel. The pig-free plates are just as good. Juicy prawns came in an inch of bubbling chilli and garlic oil, perfect for dipping your patatas bravas in. A tip: order the green salad to balance out all those rich, fatty flavours. It might feel a tad boring but you’ll need it after all that oil. The only low point was some very pushy service, especially after all the love at the door. When asked for a recommendation, my waiter tried to strong-arm me into getting the most expensive plate on the menu – a sirloin for £32. When the rest of the food’s this good, though, you’ll forgive almost anything. Let’s put it down to the wolfish, Mediterranean hustle.