50 years of Pride: Be there for London’s Jubilee Gay Pride Celebrations

London Pride 2019 will be a historic and important moment for the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating 50 years since the first protest for equal rights in the gay community. The ground-breaking Stonewall Uprising in New York will be remembered with a joyous parade through the streets and the capital’s gay village, Soho, becoming a hub for parties and fun as London celebrates half a century of progression and unity.

The Parade

Visitors can witness history in this jubilee year Pride of London parade, happening 6 July. Starting in Portland Place and ending in Whitehall/Trafalgar Square, the parade will consist of over 300 floats and groups who will entertain the crowd with music, dancing and performances, many of which are kept secret until the day! The grand finale of this festival of celebration is a varied line-up of entertainment, including music and speeches in Trafalgar Square, which is free to attend.


Found in the heart of London’s gay village, with views of Old Compton Street, Ku Bar & Club is a great place for a cocktail during Pride. With rich golden interiors covering this 2-floor bar, Ku will have an extra special atmosphere during Pride festival.

Around since the early 1990s, Village Soho is a very well established gay-friendly venue. With an extensive cocktail menu and a late-night license, it will be right at the heart of the Gay Pride party.

A traditional style pub in Soho’s gay village, Comptons of Soho serves everything from real ale to punch bowls and shots, and has become a well-known gay bar in London. Being in the heart of Soho, crowds are sure to gather outside Comptons for a bustling street party along Old Compton Street!

Opening in 1979 and quickly becoming pivotal in the creation of London’s gay scene, nightclub and music venue, Heaven  has been host to many musical legends. From New Order’s first London show, to Nick Cave’s original punk band The Birthday Party and London’s sweetheart Adele, the lively shows at Heaven continue to impress music lovers to this day. It also holds regular club nights on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Known for serving some of the cheapest drinks in Soho to a soundtrack of gay anthems and the best of guilty-pleasure pop, G-A-Y Bar and G-A-Y Late are the places to be for a night of guaranteed fun! G-A-Y late is open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Blending elements of traditional British pub culture with a classic gay bar, Halfway to Heaven is located in Trafalgar Square, a few steps from where the Pride in London parade ends. Sure to be full of people celebrating, there is also a smaller ‘centre-stage’ bar downstairs, known for putting on cabaret acts, drag shows and karaoke.

Where to stay - Soho

With elegant suites and rooms, The London EDITION hotel offers a luxurious space just a stone’s throw from the Pride parties, while the hotel’s Lobby Bar and Punch Room offer sophisticated spots to enjoy wine and cocktails.

Modern, stylish and full of amazing artwork, Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel is a haven in the heart of central London. Boasting a drawing room, library, spa, 1950s style bowling alley imported from America, and even a cosy roof terrace bar, Ham Yard Hotel has a lot to offer its guests. Bowling is £20 per person for one hour.

Located in the centre of the gay village, Z Soho is a super-modern hotel with 85 rooms surrounding a central courtyard. Minutes away from Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations, the thriving LGBTQ+ community of London is right on their doorstep.

For ‘style on a budget’ hostel accommodation in the midst of all the Pride action, try SoHostel on Dean Street. Prices vary from a very cheap 18-bed mixed dormitory room and increase when fewer people are sharing.


What to wear

Although there is no dress code for Pride in London 2019, the majority of those in attendance – and especially those taking part in the parade – opt for bright and extravagant clothing, often reflecting the LGBTQ+ community’s rainbow flag.


Getting to London

Flights to London airports, as well as regular Eurostar services going from several European cities, are well served by transport links into central London. Tube stations close to Soho include Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.  

Ainda dá tempo para "Spice Up Your Life" com as Spice Girls na Grã-Bretanha este junho: Conheça as novas viagens com guias da Viaje Entre Iguais

Meghan & Harry’s Royal Babymoon Inspiration: Why London is the Perfect Pre-baby Holiday Destination

As everyone awaits news of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s new baby, the world is closely following how they spend the precious days before the birth. After a recent relaxing mini-break, the royal couple have successfully made ‘babymoons’ a new tradition; we explore what makes London the ultimate pre-baby getaway.

Non-alcoholic bars

Dealing exclusively in ultra-healthy food and alcohol-free drinks, Redemption Bar offers an alternative to London’s predominantly boozy social scene. Found in Shoreditch, Covent Garden and Notting Hill, highlights from the cocktail menu include the wonderfully tropical pious pina colada and the moreish Seedlip apple mojito.

Designed with eccentric British flare, Mark’s Bar lies hidden under HIX Soho, offering a selection of luxury alcohol-free cocktails, including a Shirley temple, Espresso Martino and their fresh Lime Rickey.

London’s original speakeasy, Nightjar offer three amazing ‘mocktails’, including a fantastic Seedgroni Sbagliato. Based in Shoreditch, this romantically lit bar promises ‘a slice of old school glamour’, with live jazz and an elegant menu of sharing plates and tapas.

Pregnant Yoga

Offering pregnant yoga for all levels, Triyoga helps ease pain, boost circulation and prepare the mind and body of the mother-to-be. Available in 5 studios across London, classes encourage a nurturing environment. A 1-class drop-in costs £17 but 5, 10 and 20 class passes are also available.

With a focus on mindfulness, gentle flexibility and strengthening the bond between mother and baby, Frame’s ‘Mumhood Pre-Natal Yoga’ offer low-impact pregnancy yoga classes in 6 locations across London, available as pay-as-you-go for £15 a class.

Spa treatments for pregnant ladies

The Connaught Hotel offers two ‘body nurturing’ treatments designed for pregnant clients, the nurture which last 90 minutes and uplift that lasts 45 minutes. Tailored to help with pregnancy-specific issues such as foot, back and leg pain, these treatments offer a relaxing boost. The Connaught also offers facials, manicures, pedicures and hair removal for when DIY becomes impossible. The Uplift treatment costs £120 and the longer Nurture treatment costs £190.

For a treatment that focuses on a full body exfoliation, using polish and a clay mask to benefit stretch marks, the Refine and Comfort Wrap from the Mandarin Oriental in London is the height of prenatal luxury. It also includes a facial and scalp massage and costs £195.

The Berkeley Mother-to-be-Treat package is a full day of ultimate spa bliss. Performed by a specially trained pregnancy masseur, the 55-minute massage is followed by a facial, manicure, pedicure and finished with a 2-course lunch and healthy fruit smoothie. Open to all expectant mothers in their second and third trimester, this experience costs £335.

Bump-Friendly Activities

Everyman cinemas offer a luxury experience, with large, inviting sofas and table service for drinks. There are various sites across London but the Kings Cross and Canary Wharf cinemas boast the highest comfort levels. Ticket prices vary depending on the location, with a premier adult ticket for Kings Cross priced at £17.80 and £18.25 at Canary Wharf.

The View from the Shard at London Bridge offers a viewing deck with some of the best views in London, available with minimal stair climbing. Home to London’s highest bar, it serves a range of alcohol-free cocktails, as well as ice cream and pastries. A standard ticket on the day is £32.

London Thames River Lunch Cruise offers a pregnancy-friendly way to explore London, see the sights of the capital and enjoy a 3-course lunch, from £39 pp. This leisurely 90-minute Thames cruise serve a 3-course meal whilst passing landmarks such as, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, and Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern.

The best night’s sleep in London

With strong royal connections since the Victorian era, the Royal Suite at Claridge’s has a bed fit for a Queen. Known for being one of the grandest and most spacious rooms in London, mums-to-be will get a full night of precious sleep, feeling like royalty.

Home to one of the most famous beds in London, the luxurious and richly decorated Portobello Hotel’s Room 16 has an 8-foot circular bed and roll-top bath, ideal for relaxing and stretching out achy legs.

For a silent night of guaranteed uninterrupted slumber and a sleep-inducing aromatherapy kit, Crowne Plaza offer a ‘Sleep Advantage’ programme where between 9pm and 10am any disturbance is out of the question. Rooms are available from £150 a night, with 30 hotels within 5 miles of London’s centre.

TASTE – April 2019

London – recently opened

Mirroring the spring season, Britain’s food offering is bursting with fresh, new experiences.

Nobu has welcomed the beauty of spring into their London Shoreditch hotel with the newly launched ‘Hanami’ terrace, inspired by Japan’s famous cherry-blossom season. As well as decking out the terrace with blossoming Sakura, Nobu are offering an exclusive cocktail menu, bespoke dishes and Hana Afternoon Tea, from April until June.  Also inspired by the tastes of Japan, Dinings SW3 is now offering monthly off-menu Omasake dinners, paired with exclusive sakes. An intimate group of only 12 can sit around Executive Chef Masaki Sugisaki’s sushi table and taste the authentic and completely bespoke menu, which differs each month.

London – opening soon

Opening in May on London’s culture-rich Portobello Road is Gold Notting Hill, a neighbourhood restaurant and late-night bar full of artistic creativity, set to encompass the bohemian atmosphere of west London. Spanning four floors, Gold will have a contemporary modern European menu offering high quality food cooked over open flame or in wood oven, and a bar with a select menu of carefully curated cocktails.

Also coming to Notting Hill this May is Suzi Tros, a relaxed, modern Greek restaurant from the couple who created Mazi. With a strong ethos of sustainability, and inspired by the cosy eateries of the owner’s hometown of Thessaloniki, Suzi Tros will serve small plates designed for sharing and offer cocktails made with Greek spirits in an intimate downstairs bar.

The queue-inducing Soho favourite Bao is set to open another of their Taiwanese steamed bun restaurants in Borough Market early in May, but this one comes with a new experience – a karaoke room, available to book from 27 May. Another addition to the Soho food and drink scene this spring is Martha’s, a retro-luxe eatery and bar serving all-American classics accompanied by live jazz and drag acts, which opens 15 April.

The Little Blue Door launches in May and promises the same mix of welcoming and cool, homely yet hipster as its predecessor, The Little Yellow Door. Expect everything from unforgettable late nights, bottomless brunches and ‘London’s Yummiest Roast’ in this ‘anything goes’ establishment, bookable via WhatsApp.

Manchester – recently opened

Located in Stockport’s Grade II listed Market Place building, The Produce Hall is a new addition to Manchester’s growing alternative eating scene. The original Market Place, dating back to the 1860s, which once housed traditional butchers and cheesemongers, now offers a range of comfort food dishes from almost a dozen diverse stalls.

Having progressed from pop-up to a permanent residence in Ancoats, The Hip Hop Chip Shop serves up a perfect portion of traditional chippy dinner but with a cooler-than-cool soundtrack. Bringing together their love of fried food and hip-hop, they offer dishes such as battered halloumi, Louisiana spiced crab cakes and ‘Feastie Boys’ battered fish fritters.

Adding to the restaurants and bars that have been popping up in the Ancoats area of Manchester, The Counter House is an informal, stylish eatery based in Cutting Room Square.  Taking inspiration from the laid-back cafés of Australia, The Counter House combines high quality fresh food from a Michelin star trained chef, in a stripped-back and highly ‘Instagrammable’ setting in Cutting Room Square . Offering both indulgent comfort food and healthy dishes, this all-day food spot is sure to be a great addition to a thriving part of Manchester.

Sheffield – recently opened

Kommune is the newest addition to Sheffield’s ever-growing independent food and drink scene. This vibrant new food hall brings together some of the Steel City’s best-loved hipster eats under one roof. Most notably, the New Zealand inspired Tamper Coffee, the vegan all-rainbow-everything Pom Kitchen and delicious baked goods from Kelham Island’s Depot Bakery.

The opening of ultra-modern all-day café Ambulo adds to the exciting changes in Sheffield city centre. From the people who turned a public toilet into the most stylish cocktail bar in Sheffield and Arctic Monkey’s drummer Matt Helders, expect all-day dining with a difference.

Upcoming events

Fantastic Food Festivals will be back at Blenheim Palace over the May Bank Holiday weekend this year, with an exciting line-up of food demonstrations from both local and celebrity chefs, fun food-based activities, 160 exhibitors and enticing tastings. The year’s theme is based around education and how food can impact our environment.

Accommodation Update - March

Whether you crave modern luxury accommodation or a calm country retreat, our round-up of Britain’s latest hotels has something to suit every need. Discover the locations that are new to the nation’s thriving sector, as well as those that are yet to open their doors.


Recently Refurbished

The Impeccable Pig, Sedgefield

To coincide with the Chinese Year of the Pig, the Impeccable Pig in Sedgefield, County Durham, has rebranded its set of 10 carefully crafted rooms. Situated in an old brick Coach House, each room is imaginatively named using piggy inspiration and guests can stay in The Dirty Pig, Three Little Pigs or Pigs Might Fly, taking advantage of 7-foot beds and Duck Island toiletries. Those opting to stay in Globe Trotter, Oinkers, Le Cochon D’or or Pigsty, as well as the premier suite, The Whole Hog, can also access a private hot tub.

Orestone Manor, Devon

Guests at the luxury boutique country hotel, Orestone Manor, can now enjoy a tipple in the new Brunel Bar and Lounge, which draws inspiration from the building’s rich history. The new area has custom features based on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous Royal Albert Bridge – in recognition of the fact that John Callcott Horsley produced the 18th century National Portrait Gallery painting of the great engineer at the site. The family-run manor, overlooking the coastal town of Maidencombe, has 14 beautifully decorated bedrooms and is home to a delightful restaurant offering fine dining from the hotel’s chef owners.

Aria Resorts – The Lakes Rookley

Following a major refurbishment, Aria Resorts opened The Lakes Rookley on the Isle of Wight in February, providing a superb selection of cottages, lake houses and caravan holiday homes. The family-friendly site in leafy parkland in the heart of the island features an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, alongside an impressive entertainment venue and a host of activities for children, including archery, laser tag and paddle boarding on selected dates.


Recently Opened

The Counting House and The Blackbird, London

London brewer and premium pub company Fuller, Smith and Turner has enhanced its room offering at two of its iconic pubs in the capital, meaning more than 800 rooms are now on offer across its estate. Located in the heart of the City, The Counting House now has 15 new rooms – a mix of doubles, twins and family rooms – in what was once the City University Club, a former gentleman’s club established in 1895. The Blackbird in Earl’s Court, now has 9 comfortable, boutique bedrooms of various sizes, and both pubs have an array of food and drink available.

Linthwaite House

Following a year-long refurbishment that saw Linthwaite House transformed into a spectacular country house hotel in 2018, 6 new rooms in buildings located in the hotel gardens have also opened their doors. The Lake Suites offer spacious open plan rooms, with king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms, as well as stunning views of Lake Windermere and the Lake District landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows. The 14 acres of grounds have been carefully re-worked by landscape artist Franchesca Watson, while the 30 elegant bedrooms were renovated by renowned designer Beverley Boswell as part of the main renovation of the 1901 building, part of the Leeu Collection.


Opening Soon

Minster Mill, the Cotswolds

Opening in March

Set in 65 acres of picturesque gardens and wildflower meadows, Minster Mill from Andrew Brownsword Hotels launches in March, offering exceptional luxury in the heart of the Cotswolds. Following a multi-million-pound refurbishment, the hotel in the Oxfordshire village of Minster Lovell is now home to 38 individually designed Scandi-style rooms, packed with contemporary fittings and unique furniture. The on-site Minster Mill restaurant will offer traditional and seasonal British food from 2017 Masterchef semi-finalist Tom Moody, while the hotel’s sister property, The Old Swan, is located across the road.

Tom’s Eco Lodge

Opening in May

Five luxury Geodesic Domes will open at multi-award winning Isle of Wight glamping site Tom’s Eco Lodge this May, offering exceptional panoramic views of the island’s rolling countryside. Sleeping up to 6 people, each open plan dome features a king size four poster bed, a small kitchenette and a cosy lounge for stargazing. Alongside separate private shower and toilet facilities, the site at Tapnell Farm also has an area for a BBQ and campfire.

Renaissance Club – The Villas

Opening in late May

Ahead of hosting the 2019 Scottish Open, two new luxurious villas will soon occupy a secluded corner of The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, providing top quality facilities overlooking the golf course’s 14th tee. With space for up to 28 guests across 14 bedrooms, the development also includes conference rooms and access to an array of beautiful surroundings. The additions build on the 24 luxurious lodging rooms that are already available at the club, which offers classic links golf on 300 picturesque acres along the Firth of Forth and cuisine prepared by Great Britain MasterChef Enrico Gusella.

Grantley Hall

Opening in Summer 2019

Set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, an expansive renovation of the Grade II listed Grantley Hall is due to be completed in the summer. The historic property, part of the Relais & Châteaux brand, will offer 47 exquisite rooms and suites, creating a luxury 5-star hotel and wellness retreat. Complete with an English Heritage listed Japanese garden and lake, 5 state-of-the-art spa treatment rooms as part of the Three Graces Spa and a pioneering ELITE executive gym, featuring innovative technology such as 3D body scanning and performance analysis, Cryotherapy chamber and an underwater treadmill. Acclaimed Michelin-star chef Shaun Rankin will run the 38-cover on-site fine dining restaurant, Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, featuring a menu packed with sustainably sourced foods from within the hotel grounds.

Discover Queen Victoria’s Britain

2019 marks 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria, a monarch whose reign defined an era and who oversaw a period of unparalleled industrial, cultural, scientific, political and military change in Britain. On the throne for more than 63 years at a time of great invention and innovation, the anniversary is being marked with events across Britain, and especially at locations with close ties to the monarch. This year is therefore a great chance to discover Queen Victoria’s Britain…


To mark the 200th anniversary, the Ballroom Exhibition at Balmoral Castle includes objects and portraits that detail Queen Victoria’s time at Balmoral. As the only room in the Castle available for viewing – the others are the reigning Queen’s private quarters – visitors can see a number of Victorian items that provide a glimpse into what life was like during the period. The City of Leeds Pipe Band will also perform on the Saturday closest to the anniversary, with the lead piper being a descendant of Queen Victoria’s first piper Angus Mackay.

When? 1 April – 31 July (The grounds, gardens, exhibitions, gift shop and café are open daily from 10am to 5pm). 25 May (Pipe Band between 12pm and 2pm)

Glasgow Museums Resource Centre 

Find out about life as a contemporary of Queen Victoria as part of a tour showcasing the parallel lives of a generation who were born in 1819 at the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. The Queen Victoria and her contemporaries at 200 tour will focus on objects connected to both Victoria and Price Albert, alongside novelist George Eliot, art and social critic John Ruskin, pioneer war photographer Roger Fenton and painters Gustave Courbet and William Powell Frith, among others. It will raise questions over generational identity and will explore the many ways of living in Victorian Britain.

When? 30 April (from 2.30pm)

Cliveden House

Once enjoyed by Queen Victoria as a relaxing destination for afternoon tea, the Spring Cottage at Cliveden House is one of two experiences on offer to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth. Guests can tuck into an afternoon tea, including the famous Victoria sponge cake that was named after the Queen herself, and an array of finger sandwiches and savoury treats, all accompanied by an aromatic Cliveden blend tea. Or retrace the footsteps of royalty with a stay at the Spring Cottage on the Banks of the River Thames, accompanied by a 45-minute Champagne river cruise.

When? 24-26 May (Afternoon tea, must be booked in advance) 20 May – 30 September 2019 (Spring Cottage Escape, must be booked in advance)

Kensington Palace

Queen Victoria’s birthplace will celebrate her bicentenary by altering the state rooms at Kensington Palace to reflect what life was like for the young princess growing up, alongside an incredible exhibition of her life. Historic Royal Palaces are creating an evocative and family-friendly display using an array of remarkable objects that relate to Victoria’s early years, including a scrapbook of mementos created by her German Governess Baroness Lehzen, which goes on public display for the first time. The palace’s Pigott Gallery will house an exhibition that delves into her later life and the legacy left behind, providing a unique insight into the private woman behind the public monarch. Featuring rare clothing from Victoria’s private wardrobe and other items that have previously remained out of the public eye, both the exhibition and the new walking route around the state rooms will open on the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

When? From 24 May (Entry to the exhibitions is included with standard entry to the palace)

Osborne, Isle of Wight

Renowned as Queen Victoria’s seaside retreat, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight will mark the bicentenary with a new trail around the unique collection found within the house and its gardens. The gifts received and exchanged by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert form the focal point of a new display too, highlighting their eclectic tastes and interests. Browse the opulent state rooms, as well as the pair’s bedroom and the royal nursery, before heading into the walled garden or wandering along Queen Victoria’s private beach. English Heritage is hosting The Great Victorian Show at Osborne House, celebrating the many inventions from the era and featuring a display of horsemanship and other entertainment including a traditional Punch and Judy show. Victoria’s Island Trail also includes 14 locations across the Isle of Wight that were popular with Queen Victoria and the royal family.

When? 28-30 May (The Great Victorian Show), Daily opening (Osborne House is open from 10am, and stays open for longer from 1 April)

Buckingham Palace

Discover how a young Queen Victoria transformed Buckingham Palace into a stunning working residence as part of a special exhibition to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth. Queen Victoria’s Palace focuses on how the Queen, with the support of Prince Albert, reformed the palace into a symbol of the British monarchy and a family home for 9 children.

When? 20 July – 29 September

Celebrate World Art Day with the UK's top literature and art festivals

Celebrated on 15 April each year, marking the birthday of influential artist Leonardo da Vinci, World Art Day promotes awareness of creative activities around the globe. But in Britain celebrations of the arts are not limited to just one day, as there are a wide array of enthralling literature and art festivals taking place throughout the year.


From March 2019, a year-long nationwide arts festival will celebrate refugees that escaped from Nazi Europe and their impact on British culture. Insiders/ Outsiders will feature exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, lectures, dance and theatre performances, walks and literary events all over Britain. It seeks to showcase the influence of artists, writers, architects, designers, actors, photographers, musicians, publishers, art historians, dealers and collectors, among many others, who have enriched Britain’s culture having fled Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, and initiated by art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, the festival recognises the deep, long-lasting and wide-ranging contributions that refugees have made, and continue to make, to society.

When? March 2019 – March 2020


Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival

Found within the picturesque grounds and house of Chiddingstone Castle in Kent, the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival is returning for a fourth year in 2019. Featuring a number of author events, talks, workshops and performances, the festival is carefully tailored to ensure there is something for people of all ages and interests. Alongside clay modelling workshops with Aardman Animations, who are marking 30 years of Wallace and Gromit, they’ll also be a chance to meet the illustrator of children’s classic Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, as well as life drawing and writing workshops for budding artists and writers.

When? 4-7 May

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival

Marking its 12th year in 2019 and welcoming celebrity speakers and best-selling authors, the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival has a varied mix of workshops, panel discussions and other events. A programme of educational events runs alongside the festival, developed to inspire school children with help from authors, poets and illustrators. The festival’s first Writer’s Day will provide guidance for anyone looking to get work published, and while there will be events for families throughout the week, 5 May will be solely dedicated to children’s activities.

When? 27 April – 5 May


Hay Festival Wales

The annual Hay Festival in Wales has progressed significantly across the last three decades and features a host of events set against a glorious countryside backdrop on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Bringing together readers and writers to share stories and ideas, including Nobel-Prize winners, novelists, historians, politicians and scientists, the festival explore the latest thinking and developments in the arts and sciences. Having welcomed key speakers including Bill Clinton, Jacqueline Wilson and Stephen Fry in the past, the line-up for 2019 includes 2018 Man Booker Prize Winner Anna Burns, author and journalist Leila Slimani, and comedian Jimmy Carr, among many others.

When? 23 May – 2 June


Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

A selection of the best international and UK crime fiction writers will venture to the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for the award-winning Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Held at Agatha Christie’s former haunt, the festival has achieved international acclaim for its celebration of crime writing and will welcome James Patterson, Jo Newsbo, Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin in 2019, alongside many other recognised crime fiction writers.

When? 18-21 July

Port Eliot Festival

Dubbed a celebration of ‘words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration, fun and all that is good in the world’, the Port Eliot Festival in the parish of St Germans in Cornwall welcomes an eclectic mix of authors and others from the world of art and literature. The Fashion Foundation site has a distinct focus on fashion and art, with workshops, talks and exhibitions all taking place within the Walled Garden at Port Eliot, while award-winning BBC Newsnight and election journalist Emily Maitlis and stand-up comedian Shappi Khorsandi are among those on the bill for the 2019 festival. A huge range of outdoor activities also take place within the grounds.

When? 25-28 July


Edinburgh International Book Festival

Welcoming around 1,000 authors to a specially created tented village in the centre of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival includes more than 900 events for people of all ages. Nobel and Booker prize-winners are among those to feature on past line-ups, alongside sportsmen and women, illustrators, philosophers, scientists, poets, comic creators, biographers, economists and musicians. A full programme of events of the festival is revealed in June.

When? 10-26 August


Curious Arts Festival

Relocating in 2019 from the surroundings of Pylewell Park in the New Forest to Pippingford Park in East Sussex, the Curious Arts Festival is a family-friendly arts and music festival that plays host to plenty of well-known authors, comedians and musicians. Expect talks on challenging topics, an extensive set of workshops and experiences, and an exceptional programme of events for children. Those with tickets to Curious Arts will also be able to access Byline Festival on the same weekend, a festival that promotes independent journalism and free speech.

When? 23-26 August

London Literary Festival

The London Literary Festival returns to London’s South Bank Centre for its 13th year in October, bringing together writers, journalists and creative thinkers for 11 days of readings, talks, poetry and performance. The Southbank Centre’s longest running festival, Poetry International, will kick-start proceedings, having been founded by former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes in 1967. Past speakers at the festival have included author Phillip Pullman, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy and actor Tom Hanks.

When? 17-27 October

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Established in 1949, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is the UK’s oldest festival of its type and welcomes more than 600 of the world’s writers, politicians, poets and actors to celebrate the written word. Around 500 events and workshops are packed into the 10-day festival, which also features Book It!, a series of events aimed specifically at families and young children.

When? 4-13 October

Top ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

Britain will be awash with green in mid-March as St Patrick’s Day celebrations sweep across the major cities. Marking the death of the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick, communities in Ireland and across the Irish diaspora come together to celebrate on 17 March – a Sunday in 2019 – with a host of colourful parades, exciting musical performances and a wealth of other events.


London marks St Patrick’s Day with an annual parade through the capital’s streets, featuring striking decorative floats, incredible marching bands and performances from Irish dancing schools and sports clubs. The 1.5-mile procession meanders its way from Piccadilly past some of London’s most iconic landmarks on its ways to Whitehall. As a celebration of London’s diversity and welcome, the theme for 2019’s parade is #LondonIsOpen.

The St Patrick’s Day Festival packs Trafalgar Square from midday and features performances from renowned Irish artists and special guests, alongside an abundance of craft stalls, delicious food and a family friendly area in Pall Mall offering themed workshops and activities.

When? 17 March (St Patrick’s Day Festival, 12pm – 6pm)


A stunning parade from the Irish World Heritage Centre to Albert Square is the focal point for the Manchester Irish Festival, which runs from the start of March and culminates on St Patrick’s Day. Featuring an array of floats and representation from each of the Irish counties, the Manchester Irish Festival Parade is one of many events held in the city. The Manchester Irish Festival Market takes pride of place in front of Manchester Town Hall, offering Irish foods, crafts and souvenirs in abundance, as well as children’s rides and entertainment.

The Castlefield Hotel is also hosting a St Patrick’s night whisky tasting and 3-course supper, featuring a delectable range of Irish themed food and a selection of fine Irish whisky.

When? 1-17 March (Manchester Irish Festival), 7-10 March (Manchester Irish Festival Market), 10 March (Manchester Irish Festival Parade), 15 March (Whisky Tasting)


A week-long festival in the build up to St Patrick’s Day celebrates diversity and multiculturalism in Birmingham. The launch night event, featuring traditional Irish music and dance, a delightful 4-course dinner and a performance from Birmingham Irish band Salt Creek gets proceedings underway, before the festival is completed with a spectacular parade around the Digbeth area of the city – taking place on St Patrick’s Day itself in 2019.

When? 9-17 March (9 March, launch night; 17 March, Parade at 12pm)


Join the Scots Music Group for Café Ceilidh to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, an afternoon session of songs, poems, music and stories that recognise the patron saint. The Cowgate St Patrick’s Festival is another cause for celebration, taking place over 3 days at 5 venues and performance spaces.

When? 19 March (Scots Music Group), 15-17 March (Cowgate St Patrick’s Festival)


Eye-catching floats and performers in magnificent costumes form just part of Belfast’s spectacular carnival parade as it weaves its way from Belfast City Hall to Writers Square. An open air concert in Custom House Square will follow, headlined by the Vengaboys and including an array of Irish artists showcasing traditional music, dance and song. St George’s Market will offer traditional Irish food and music, as well as plenty of handmade crafts.

When? 17 March (Carnival Parade, 12.30pm; Custom House Square, 1.15pm; St George’s Market, 10am – 4pm)


Paddy Fest will return to the heart of Newcastle city centre for St Patrick’s Day 2019, featuring 4 days of events and entertainment. Beginning with Let’s Play Darts, cheese festival Cheesetoon will follow on Friday with 25 stalls offering an array of cheesy concoctions. Saturday of Paddy Fest will feature authentic Irish bands and a handful of DJs, as well as screens showing the final matches of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament, before the event is rounded off with the biggest Bongo’s Bingo! to be held in the north-west of England, taking place in Times Square.

When? 14-17 March


Liverpool will march to the sound of drums, flutes and pipe bands on St Patrick’s Day, as the annual parade makes its way from the Old Irish Centre in Mount Pleasant into the centre of the city.

When? 17 March (12pm-3pm)


The Home of Saint Patrick Festival showcases Irish culture, song and dance, and recognises the leading role that St Patrick had in converting Ireland to Christianity many centuries ago. Both the Armagh Robinson Library and Armagh County Museum host an array of artefacts, manuscripts, collections and rare books that relate to the role of the city in early Christian Ireland. An abundance of cultural events take place throughout the festival period, including parades, lectures, concerts and church services.

When? 8-18 March

The best places for a caffeine hit in London

Brits drink an estimated 95 million cups of coffee every day and across London there are a host of exceptional coffee outlets that have perfected the fine art of creating the perfect brew. From using carefully selected seasonal coffee beans from around the world to roasting them in-house, expect speciality coffee experiences that get the senses tingling.

Celebrate all that’s great about coffee

The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane welcomes the London Coffee Festival in late March, bringing together a selection of the best baristas alongside ample opportunities for tastings, demonstrations and workshops. Live music will accompany the festival (28-31 March 2019), which also includes a Latte Art competition and an exciting Coffee Art Project featuring everything from paintings and drawings to film, sculpture and conceptual art.

Watch as baristas go head-to-head across a range of coffee creation disciplines to showcase their skills, in a bid to be crowned Coffee Master. You can also embark on a flavour challenge to test the senses or visit the Tasting Room to discover how coffee can be paired with chocolate, beer, wine and whisky.

Experience London’s coffee collection

Across the capital there are an abundance of specialist coffee houses, small independent cafés and roasters that can provide a much-needed caffeine hit.

Origin Coffee

Having sourced coffee from all over the world, Origin Coffee puts the focus on the unique and incredible stories that accompany every cup. Found occupying spots in Shoreditch, Hammersmith, Southwark and the British Library, a complex roasting process ensures that each cup delivers an abundance of tastes to swell the senses.


Tucked away on Kynaston Road in North London, Esters uses a few select trusted roasters to provide its coffee alongside a brunch menu based on local produce, seasonal fruit and vegetables and delicious baked goods.


Taking its inspiration from New Zealand and Australia, independent coffee café Kaffeine has two locations in Fitzrovia, one on Great Titchfield Street and the other on Eastcastle Street. Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2019, the coffee outlet runs fortnightly group art latte classes as well as one-on-ones with the lead barista for those who want to find out more about the art of coffee making.


Combining South American coffee beans with Australian coffee techniques, Abuelo offers a delightful speciality coffee experience in the heart of Covent Garden. Thanks to a partnership with Wogan Coffee Roasters, expect single origin, 100% Arabica beans that are roasted in Britain to be the mainstay of the coffee and cocktail menu. Ethically sourced, organic, farm to table meals can accompany the coffee offering, as the menu takes inspiration from Abuelo’s Australian and Argentinian owners.

Monmouth Coffee Company

With a focus on sustainable processes, the Monmouth Coffee Company sources and roasts coffee from small farms, estates and cooperatives, purchasing small batches from many countries across the world. Alongside sites in Covent Garden and Borough, they have a set of Loring roasters in Bermondsey, a hub of coffee production.

Press Coffee

Having arrived on London’s coffee scene in 2013, Press Coffee has expanded from its initial site on Fleet Street to take in locations on Chancery Lane, Saint Bride and a collaboration with Framestore, as well as more recent additions in Fulham Market Hall and Victoria Market Hall. Press sources and roasts coffee from the world’s most stirring coffee producing regions, and follows specific procedures to get the most out of any individual coffee, resulting in exceptional flavours.

Association Coffee

With a range of coffees that change by season, Association Coffee on Creechurch Lane has something new to experience on a constant basis, serving speciality coffee from London’s leading roasters. Expect guest espressos and single origin coffee, as well as a selection of teas, pastries and other baked goods. They also stock an array of home brewing equipment for those who want to take their love of coffee that step further.

Coleman Coffee Roasters

Serving up specialist coffees on Lower Marsh Street in Lambeth, Coleman Coffee Roasters uses a gas powered roaster originating from post-war Vienna. While predominantly a wholesaler, the shop opens on Saturday morning for taster sessions where visitors can try a selection of south American coffee beans.

The Watch House

The Watch House is a small rustic coffee shop in Bermondsey, set in the surroundings of an old Victorian building designed for men guarding the nearby St Mary Magdalene Church graveyard. Alongside Empire Blend and Single Origin Filter Coffee, the watch serves an array of monthly brews alongside plenty of delicious house-made food. Its other sites near Tower Bridge and Fetter Lane draw inspiration for their surroundings, serving a delightful concoction of coffees, cocktails and small dishes.

Waltham Forest – Capital of Culture

Named as the first ever London Borough of Culture, Waltham Forest is one the capital’s most diverse regions. The award from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will be a year-long celebration of creativity, character, diversity and culture, in recognition of the many different people that call the city home.

Located in the north-east of the capital, the London Borough of Waltham Forest consists of five main areas: Leyton, Leytonstone, Chingford, Higham’s Park and Walthamstow. It has a rich cultural heritage, as influential film director Alfred Hitchcock, musician Damon Albarn, contemporary artist Grayson Perry and textile artist William Morris all have close ties to the area. The origins of the iconic red Routemaster London buses can also be traced back to Walthamstow and the Associated Equipment Company based there, while Concorde designer Sir George Edwards grew up in Higham’s Park.

Across the Borough, residents, artists and creatives are collaborating to host events and spread messages around a key theme of Radicals, Makers and Fellowship. Proceedings got underway with an awe-inspiring 3-night festival of music, dance and street theatre in mid-January titled Welcome to the Forest, and there are plenty more events to come…

Africa Express: The Circus

Up to 100 artists from across Africa, Europe and Britain will join forces to create an exciting five-hour show in Leytonstone that celebrates diversity through music. Africa Express works to promote unity and collaboration while raising the profile of African music and culture.

When? 29 March (event currently sold out)

Atomic 50

The Blackhorse Workshop, renowned for being a centre for wood and metal working, is transforming a disused school building into a ghost factory that will detail Waltham Forest’s rich history of metalworking and manufacturing.  Working in collaboration with acclaimed visual performance artist Abigail Conway, Atomic 50: Time Travels in Tin will take young visitors on an immersive journey by radically reimagining the typical learning experience.

When? 1-30 April

Chingford May Day Fayre

Mark May Day with a celebration of the modern bicycle, designed by John Kemp Starley, who was born and raised in Walthamstow. The celebration of two-wheeled travel aims to see thousands of people forming a procession of bicycles through the urban woodlands to Chingford Plain, bordering Epping Forest.

When? 4 May

E17 Art Trail

Now in its 14th year, the E17 Art Trail was founded by Artillery, an arts development organisation focused on sharing artwork and creating neighbourhood projects and events. Taking place biennially across the Borough, a theme of Wonder for 2019 will see works from more than 7,500 artists, performers and residents placed in various different locations for visitors to view and interact with.

When? 1-16 June

Art Night

Art Night embraces a different part of London every year to create a free contemporary art festival. In 2019, to coincide with Waltham Forest being named Borough of Culture, the event will celebrate the distinct identity, culture and architecture of the region by bringing Walthamstow High Street – Europe’s longest outdoor market – to life out-of-hours through a series of exciting art commissions.

When? 22 June

Leytonstone Loves Film

Developed with the assistance of Barbican, in partnership with local residents and businesses, Leytonstone Loves Film will celebrate the region’s rich cinema history. As the birthplace of Hitchcock, the festival aims to inspire a new generation of film makers by screening local and international work, music and talks, while film-inspired workshops and activities will provide further entertainment.

When? 27-29 September

From Page to Pavement

Taking inspiration from Waltham-Forest-based artist-illustrator Benji Davies’ award-winning book, Grandad’s Island, From Page to Pavement will encourage thousands of residents to help animate spaces across the borough. With support from Artillery, the project wants to drive collaboration to help create intriguing and imaginative spaces.

When? October (dates to be confirmed)


Venture into Epping Forest to enjoy a theatrical concert where the branches of giant oak trees take centre stage. Sung from the canopies of mature trees, GIANT will see children performing poetry and music, and forms part of efforts from Arts and Gardens to connect children and adults alike with the great outdoors.

When? 18-19 October

Molecules on the Marshes

Internationally recognised local artist Zarah Hussain is set to illuminate the marshes by creating water molecules from recycled plastic and LED lights. Walk through the ever changing colours of the Molecules on the Marshes installation and explore the links that humans have with water and the natural world as part of a work that links science and spirituality.

When? October/November (dates to be confirmed)