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London Events

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There are so many London events all year round that visitors have more choice than they could ask for.

Visitors choosing London events can find plenty of regular goings-on that occur each year, drawing in thousands of people every time.

Indeed, it is London's activities, be it festivals, gigs or art fairs, that makes the city so popular and even more diverse.

People heading to the capital can find it easier to choose a place to stay if they set their hearts on an event going on in the local area.

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London events in January – Bring in the New Year!

What better way to bring in the New Year than celebrate on the South Bank.

New Year's Eve (Embankment; free entry) celebrations are focused on the river Thames and finish off with an impressive fireworks show. Beware however, while crowds may make a night for some of you, the streets are always packed and can be not to everyone's liking.

Families in particular will enjoy the New Year's Day Parade (Green Park; January 1st; 12pm-3pm; free entry). The event marks its 25th anniversary in 2011 and visitors will be able to see dancers and marching bands from all over the world take to London's streets to bring in the New Year with a bang.

Meanwhile, visitors have all month to grab a bargain as the winter sales come to an end. The Selfridges Winter Sale (Bond Street; 9.30am-9pm) offers some great bargains on six floors of designer clothes and accessories.

London events in February – Not all about Valentine's

February marks the global celebration of Chinese New Year (Trafalgar Square festival 12pm-6pm early February; free entry; plus other locations), which has a number of London events that bring together the capital's 80,000 Chinese population and visitors alike.

Visitors after a quirky London event can head to Brick Lane for The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race (Aldgate East; Telephone 020 7770 6100), where participants are sponsored to run with their flour concoctions for charity.

London events in March – Time for the Guinness

Every year London recognises women's role in filmmaking at the Birds Eye View Festival (Waterloo and Charing Cross; tickets vary) at BFI Southbank and the ICA. Just six per cent of film directors are women and their works are shown during International Women's Week.

March 17th marks St Patrick's Day and in London there are 900,000 Irish inhabitants, not to mention millions of other revellers who take part in events across the city.

Celebrations culminate with the St Patrick's Festival (Trafalgar Square; free entry) and parade, which fills the streets with music, dancing and plenty of Guinness.

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London events in April – Welcome to spring

For the best Easter London event around, head to the Royal Albert Hall on Good Friday, where the Royal Choral Society (Knightsbridge; 2.30pm; £15-35) has been performing Handel's Messiah on this day for 132 years.

Another long-time tradition is the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (Putney Bridge and along the Thames; 4.30pm; free entry), which dates back to 1829 and sees the old university rivals race for four-and-a quarter miles along the river.

The London Marathon (Greenwich to Green Park or Victoria; free entry) is also held this month and sees 30,000 brave athletes and charity fun-runners trek the 26.2 miles through the capital.

London events in May – Enjoy the summer sun!

Young things of London can head to the Camden Crawl (Camden; Various venues), held at the start of May each year. Over the weekend, around 40 venues in the area will host 200 live acts, from comedy to visual arts and live music.

Another, more chilled-out music London event is the Greenwich Beer and Jazz Festival (Cutty Sark; end of May; £15-20). Last year saw the Fun Lovin' Criminals and James Taylor Quartet play out to the crowds at the south-east London event. This is designed to be an all-day occasion, where you can hang out on the grass and drink while listening to the music.

London events in June – Join the tourism masses

Graduate fashion week (Earls Court; various dates in early June; £5) is a top London event for visitors seeking out the trend-setters of the future, which in the past has showcased the work of British designer Stella McCartney.

For a more touristy occasion, the Trooping the Colour (Victoria or Charing Cross; 11am; free entry) is held each June to mark the Queen's official birthday. In a tradition dating back to the 18th century, the Queen's Foot Guards parade along the Mall with the Horse Guards in an event that is watched by thousands on the streets leading up to Buckingham Palace.

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London events in July – The start of the festivals!

One of the biggest festivals in London is Gay Pride (Starts at Baker Street; free entry). Over one million people turn out every year for the march and the arts festivals that run around the main event. In 2012, London will host WorldPride, celebrating the capital's diverse residents on a global scale.

Sports fans will no longer be rained off from watching the Wimbledon Championships (June-July; Wimbledon; £25-£110) as Centre Court now has a multi-million pound roof. You can either buy tickets in advance or line up (or even camp out) at the crack of dawn to get hold of one.

London events in August – Drink cider until sunset!

The summer months bring in the colourful festivals, celebrating London's diverse blend of cultures. The Carnival del Pueblo (Oval; free entry) is a day for Latin American culture to stand out, attracting more than 100,000 visitors for dancing, music, food and parades at the largest Latin American festival in Europe.

For something a bit more home grown, the Great British Beer Festival (Earls Court; £8-10) takes place every August, hosting breweries from across the UK. In 2010, over 200,000 pints were sold at the festival.

London events in September – Bring in the autumn

To mark the end of summer, the London mayor hosts the Thames Festival (Westminster; free entry), a weekend of food, music and street theatre, with lots of activity on the river itself.

The mayor also gets involved this month in the Sky Ride (St James' Park; free entry), a cycling event for people of all abilities. The traffic is cleared for 15km for a stress-free and enjoyable bike ride, which attracts over 85,000 keen cyclists.

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London events in October – Go cultural

Once more, the art world leads London events in October, this time with the Affordable Art Fair (Battersea Park; 11am-6pm; £12). This event is a bit less high-brow and more, well, affordable, offering a relaxed feel to the festival.

October also marks the BFI London Film Festival (various locations; £7-£30), a fortnight of some of the world's best new films yet to be released. Anyone can buy a ticket, although they sell out fast. Watch out for a number of premieres and even celebrity spotting.

London events in November – Wrap up for fireworks

A real British–only festival is Guy Fawkes Night and anyone visiting in November must head to a London event hosting fireworks around the 5th of the month.

Alexandra Palace (Wood Green; from 4.30pm; £2) in particular puts on a great display with extra entertainment including an ice rink, but also worth a visit is Victoria Park (Mile End; from 2pm; free entry) in the East End.

On a different day of remembrance, thousands of spectators line the streets of Whitehall on the nearest Sunday to November 11th to commemorate the country's fallen soldiers. Remembrance Sunday (Westminster; before 11am; free entry) sees the Queen lay down a wreath at the Cenotaph followed by a moving two-minute silence.

London events in December – Mulled wine and roasted chestnuts

After a day of shopping, one of the best London events in December is to wrap up warm and go ice skating. Somerset House (Temple; Nov-Jan; £10.50-£13) has a long-standing tradition of having a seasonal outdoor rink.

Visitors wanting to pick up some Christmas dining tips can also head to the Taste of Christmas (Custom House; £19-22) event, with wine tastings and celebrity chefs showing off their best seasonal recipes.

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