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Events 2019: shows, dates and festivals for your diary

Bounce into the New Year with our 2019 social calendar. It promises to be an exciting 12 months with everything from the Chelsea Flower Show to Royal Ascot, but there are many more highlights to enjoy. Look out for the Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A or raise a glass at London Wine Week. Here are our top events in and near the capital.

January: London Art Fair 16-20 January at the Business Design Centre (

For modern and contemporary works of art, this is the place to go, whether you are browsing or buying. More than 100 galleries will be exhibiting high-quality pieces at the London Art Fair.

Also: discover some bargains in the January sales. Alternatively, enjoy a pantomime: Snow White runs until January 13 at the London Palladium (



February: Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens 9 February – 10 March (

Columbia is the focus of this year’s Orchid Festival. It’s one of the world’s most biodiverse countries and its dazzling fauna will brighten those winter days.

Also: London Fashion Week (15-19 February will attract many famous names, and the Classic Car Show (14-17 February offers some aspirational automobiles.



March: Christian Dior Exhibition at the V&A (from February to July

Trace the development and impact of this legendary designer and his enduring appeal at the V&A.

Also: treat mum to afternoon tea on Mother’s Day (31 March) at Brown’s Hotel

or celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17 March.



April: London Marathon 28 April

With more than 40,000 runners registered, this iconic race is full of excitement. Early risers can watch the sprinters and the joggers start off from Blackheath, east London where they can also see the hot air balloons tethering, or position themselves to support the runners en route. The finish is at The Mall in central London.

Also: watch the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race (7 April



May: Chelsea Flower Show 21-25 May  (

Everybody who is anybody goes to the Chelsea Flower Show. The BBC is there all week reporting on the designers, new trends and sharing top tips. The displays and gardens are sure to inspire you.

Also: Leonardo de Vinci: A Life in Drawing is on at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace (

Alternatively, raise a glass for London Wine Week from 13-19 May (



June: Open Garden Squares Weekend 8-9 June

Peek inside the hidden gardens at the heart of some of London’s most beautiful garden squares. They are usually only available to residents, so this is a chance not to miss.

Also: Visit Royal Ascot for the a fun day of horseracing (18-22 June and don’t miss The Motcomb Street Party (12 June



July: Wimbledon 1-14 July (

Join the Royals and celebrities on Centre Court to see the world’s top tennis stars battle it out. Strawberries and cream will be in abundance at this traditional British event.

Also: visit the RA Summer Exhibition (10 June – 12 August or A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (28 June – 27 July



August: ICC Cricket World Cup Final 14 July

England wouldn’t be England without the sound of leather on willow and ripples of applause. Take a hat – and an umbrella, so you are ready for whatever the great British weather brings.

Also: Notting Hill Carnival takes place from 24-26 August



September: Totally Thames Tall Ships Festival (1-30 September)

Learn about life on the ocean waves when sailing ships visit Greenwich.

Also: Open House London runs from 21-22 September ( If you enjoy architecture, take a sneak peek behind some of London’s most famous buildings.

Alternatively, Last Night at the Proms is on 14 September (



October: London Film Festival (10-21 October) (

Screenings, talks and red carpets are the signature of this annual event. See the latest and best movies, and dress to impress.

Also: London Cocktail Week runs from 4-13 October at some 300 bars, pop-ups and parties (



November: London to Brighton Rally (3 November)  (

This charming event gives you the chance to step back in time and see pre-1905 vehicles as they make the exhilarating journey to the south coast. The cars set out from Hyde Park at sunrise, but you can encounter them along the route. Those that arrive at Brighton seafront before 4.30pm receive a medal.

Also: The Lord Mayor’s Show is on 9 November (, while Bonfire Night is 5 November. Around that date, firework displays take place at many venues including Battersea Park, on the South Bank, at Blackheath and in Brockwell Park.



December: Christmas markets will get you in the festive spirit, with artisan gifts and mulled wine. Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is the biggest ( but many boroughs hold their own activities.

Also: Carol services at St Paul’s and other cathedrals, plus fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Thames Riverside is ticket only and sells out months before, but head to St Paul’s Cathedral or Southwark Bridge to see them for free.



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