Although the weather may still be quite cold, the first signs of spring appear in March. It’s a good month to visit Kew Gardens, or any of London’s other top gardens, as the lawns are covered in purple and white crocuses. March in the capital brings with it a warmer tide of events. There’s plently of celebrations to throw yourself into. Here’s our pick of the best events and happenings to keep you happy during the month of March.
1. UCI Track Cycling World Championships 2016
See the best cyclists in the world as they converge on London to prove their speed, strength and tactical superiority in a series of races and time trials during the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Lee Valley VeloPark.
Watch on as the best in the world compete in the Sprint, Keirin, Scratch Race, Points Race, Madison, Individual Pursuit, Team Sprint, Team Pursuit, Omnium and Time Trials.
Date: From 2 March 2016 to 6 March 2016
World Book Day, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, is marked in over 100 countries. In the UK, all primary school children and certain secondary and preschools receive a £1 book token which can be exchanged for one of eight specially-produced World Book Day books, or used to receive a £1 discount on any book or audio book. In 2016 the titles include ‘Kipper’s Visitor’, Roald Dahl’s ‘The Great Mouse Plot’, David Baddiel’s ‘The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked’ and James Dawson’s ‘Spot the Difference’.
Date: Thursday March 3 2016
3. St Patrick’s Day in London 2016
Every year there is a St Patrick’s Day Parade in London, which is arranged on the Sunday closest to 17 March. It features spectacular pageantry, wonderful floats, marching bands from across the UK, sports clubs and Irish dancing schools. The London St Patrick’s Day Parade makes its way down Piccadilly, on a 1.5 mile route, passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including The Ritz, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall. This year the parade takes place on 13 March.
Date: From 13 March 2016 to 17 March 2016
Ticketing Information: Free
4. Botticelli Reimagined
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Florentine painter of exquisite mythological scenes (including that sad-eyed Venus being born from a sea shell), as well as graceful pictures of the Madonna and Child and countless flattering portraits of his Medici paymasters, was immensely popular in his lifetime. He’s also rare among early renaissance artists in that his work continues to achieve pop-cultural fame into the twenty-first century – via Dolce & Gabbana, Gaga and many others. Bringing together the biggest haul of Botticellis we’ve seen in London for decades, the V&A’s spring 2016 blockbuster is a chance to marvel at the strange, otherworldly beauty of the master, while looking at his influence, not just on art, but on film, photography, fashion and design. Included are works by René Magritte, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.
Date: Saturday March 5 2016 – Sunday July 3 2016
Ticketing Information: £15
5. Rowing: Head of the River Race
The Head of the River Race is one of the London’s longest running sporting traditions.
Every spring, 400 crews from around the globe take to the waters of London’s famous river Thames to compete in this historic boating event.
The race was started in 1926 by Cambridge and Tideway oarsman Steve Fairbairn. It was conceived as a way for crews to practice long rows during winter, in preparation for the summer regatta.
The annual event now sees hundreds of boats, each manned by eight men, row over the 4.25 mile (6.8km) championship course from Mortlake to Putney. The race sees crews from all over the world competing, from Australia to Austria.
It is customary for the previous year’s winner to start first. They are followed at 10-second intervals by other crews in finishing order and finally, the new entries start in alphabetical order.
The event is a great way for Londoners and visitors alike to celebrate the start of spring as they cheer on teams along London’s picturesque river Thames.
Don’t forget to pack your Pimm’s and arrive early to grab a good viewing spot!
Date: 19 March 2016
Ticketing Information: Free
6. Easter Weekend in London 2016
Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts and special Easter holiday offers… It must be Easter in London!
Keep your whole family entertained over the Easter holidays with a host of special events in London. And remember, Easter’s not just for kids; there are lots of Easter treats for grown-ups in London too!
Look out for special Easter events and activities for kids at London attractions, including fun family activities with a historic theme, religious services, fluffy ducklings and Easter egg hunts. Grown-ups can look forward to Easter treats including chocolate afternoon teas, Easter concerts and Easter packages at London hotels.
Good Friday and Easter Monday are both public holidays. Most attractions are open over Easter, but check with the individual attraction in advance. Shops are closed on Easter Sunday, except small shops which may open for a few hours. Public transport may be reduced so plan your journey in advance.
Date: From 25 March 2016 to 28 March 2016
7. Rowing: BNY Mellon Boat Race and Newton Women’s Boat Race
The BNY Mellon Boat Race and Newton Women’s Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities on the Thames are part of a packed London sports calendar.
Come and join the fun on the banks of the Thames between Putney and Mortlake and cheer on the rowers.
As one of the few free sporting spectacles in London, The Boat Race creates a festival atmosphere on the banks of the River Thames. Up to 250,000 people flock to the river each year to join in the celebrations and watch the Oxford and Cambridge University crews as they race over the famous four-and-a-quarter mile course.
You can find a place to watch on either side of the river along the full length of the course, but particular areas to note are:
Putney Bridge, Putney Embankment and Bishop’s Park (at the start)
Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC (best for the first mile)
Hammersmith and Barnes (mid-course)
Duke’s Meadows and Chiswick Bridge (at the finish)
Date: 27 March 2016
Ticketing Information: Free