London’s events calendar through any given year is dizzyingly frantic. With new shows arriving in the West End and any number of fresh pop-up attractions and one-off events, it can be tough to keep tabs on what’s going on in the UK capital.
However, there are events that tend to occur at the same time every year with a reliable frequency that you could set your watch to.
Here are some of the recurring events happening in London in 2017 that you should put in your diary.
First held in March 1981, the London Marathon has been staged across the capital every spring since, with more than 750,000 runners crossing the finishing line.
2017’s event will take place on Sunday 23 April. You’re too late to take part – the entry ballot closed in May – but there’s nothing stopping you from being one of the thousands of spectators lining the 26-mile route as it snakes through central London.
The races start early on with the starting gun for the elite wheelchair race firing at 8.55am, followed by the IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup (ambulatory) at 9am. The elite women begin running at 9.15am, while the elite men start at 10.00am, followed by the mass race.
If you want to get a glimpse of someone you know participating in the London Marathon, it’s worth heading to more open stretches of the route because you risk missing a loved one in very crowded areas.
Busy areas include Greenwich town centre and the Cutty Sark. As the ship is a beautiful backdrop for the race, crowds tend to head there, which can make spectating uncomfortable and overwhelm public transport in and around Greenwich. Another area to avoid is Tower Bridge and anywhere from mile 24 up to the finish in The Mall.
The race route finishes in St James Park, not far from the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel.
Wimbledon is the world’s oldest tennis tournament and widely regarded as the most prestigious.
With the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, it completes the quartet of Grand Slam tennis tournaments and remains the only one to still be played on grass.
The tournament itself usually takes place over two weeks from late June to early July, culminating with the ladies’ and mens’ singles final on the second Saturday and Sunday of July respectively.
However, in 2017, it will take place between Monday 3 July and Sunday 16 July to leave a three-week gap after the French Open, allowing the players more recovery time and a longer grass court season in the build-up to The Championships.
There are four ways to secure tickets for Wimbledon: the ballot, the queue, hospitality packages or through Ticketmaster – the only authorised online ticket seller for the tournament.
Lord Mayor’s Show
2017’s The Lord Mayor’s Show will take place on Saturday 11 November. The rest of the event will be very much the same as in previous years, with the Lord Mayor setting off on a flotilla at 8.30am from Westminster, arriving at Tower Bridge at 9.25am.
The world-famous procession, comprising around 7,000 people and 140 floats, sets off from Mansion House at 11.05am, pausing at Royal Courts where the Lord Mayor swears allegiance, before making its return by the Victoria Embankment at 1pm, finishing up not long after 2pm. Because the route is only two miles long, the three-mile procession is never actually fully formed.
A spectacular fireworks display over the River Thames at 5.15pm signals the end of the show and marks the beginning of a new mayoral year.
The Lord Mayor’s Show is widely regarded as one of London’s most vibrant occasions and is free to view along much of the route.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The world’s most prestigious flower show will be held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea from Friday 23rd to Monday 27th May in 2017.
It attracts 157,000 visitors each year, and would pull in more people if capacity wasn’t limited by the 11-acre showground.
Awards for the finest examples of global horticulture are spread over five categories: flora, hogg, knightian, lindley and grenfell. There are also 11 special awards including best show garden, best courtyard garden, best chic garden and best city garden.
Tickets are already on sale and you’d be advised to act ahead of the comprehensive price increase on April 10th.
This annual festival, first held in 1993, sees an established music artist pull together a lineup that includes their favourite or most respected acts of the day. Previous curators have included David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, John Peel, Yoko Ono and Morrissey.
At the time of writing, 2017’s curator hadn’t been revealed but tickets sell out fast and the best chance to secure entry is to become a member of the Southbank Centre, where the event is also held.
The Queen is one of few people to have two birthdays each year.
Her actual birthday is on April 21st (a Sunday in 2017), while her official birthday is usually on the second Saturday in June, which would be the 10th if it followed this rule again.
Official celebrations marking the Sovereign’s birthday have often been held on a day other than the actual birthday, particularly when the actual birthday has not been in the summer.
The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday. These include a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.
On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the Trooping the Colour parade which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade, as well as a public appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.