Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival

Things to do, Festivals Free
Pearly Kings and Queens
Adrian Scarbrough

It’s easy to spot a Pearly: they wear suits and hats covered in hundreds of shiny buttons! The origins of this 125-year-old tradition is rooted in charity, each Pearly King and Queen fundraise all year round. As September rolls around, it's time for Guildhall Yard to welcome the cockney masses for a shindig Dick van Dyke would give his right arm to muscle in on. The annual event features traditional English entertainment including maypole dancing, Morris dancers and a marching band – be prepared to declare your London pride by shouting along to 'Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner' – before embarking on a parade around the City of London to St Mary-le-Bow Church for the 3pm service. The event is free but harvest festival offerings (typically of non-perishable goods and toiletries) are welcome and will be donated to the Whitechapel Mission. If you fancy becoming a Pearly, you’ll have to marry into one of the original families, it’s a hereditary title, much like the Royal Family. The majority of traditional cockneys may have been priced out of London but events like this are a brilliant opportunity to enjoy a proper East End knees up.

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