To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
On St David's Day the Welsh are happy to sport their daffodils, St Andrew's Day is an official bank holiday in Scotland and Irish the world over celebrate St Patrick's Day. So why not celebrate St George's Day with gusto if you're English? Here are a few places where you can remember the knight who slayed the dragon.
The main focus of the festivities will take place in Trafalgar Square two days ahead of the official date of 23 April. The entire area will morph into a traditional English garden with raised beds and pop-up gardening installations and The London Wildlife Trust will be demonstrating drought resistant plants. There should be something for everybody, including live music and entertainment, horticultural talks, a garden treasure trail and face painting. This is a free event that will start at midday and finish at 6pm. For more information visit the Mayor of London website.
If you don't trust the weather you could spend time with your children inside at the Museum of Childhood between 11.30 and 16.00. There will be plenty on offer to amuse everybody, including storytelling, games, arts and crafts. A traditional St George's Day is promised for all.
Museum of Childhood Courtesy of the Museum of Childhood Website
The Royal Albert Hall will be presenting a special St George's Day Gala concert on 22 April featuring music by English composers. Among the traditional favourites to be performed will be 'Crown Imperial', 'The Lark Ascending', 'Zadok the Priest' and 'The Dam Busters'. There will also be readings from patriotic texts such as The St Crispin's Day speech from Shakespeare's Henry V. The event starts at 3pm and tickets cost between £14.00 and £49.50.
Barking and Dagenham will be flying the flag for east London with a whole range of events. There will be flag making, dragon slaying, arts and crafts workshops, quizzes, a wheelchair dance display and tea dancing. There is further detailed information available on their website.
Staying to the east, Redbridge will entertain you with a Punch and Judy Show, historical dancing, Caribbean steel band music, baroque dancing and a mobile hubcap dragon. Sorry I have no idea what that means, but I'm sure all will be revealed on their website.
If you are south of the river, there is no shortage of entertainment taking place in Southwark. Borough Market will be decorated to celebrate the festivities, Morris Dancers will be touring some of the local pubs, the Ballad of St George and the Dragon will be performed at Red Cross Gardens (gettit?) and those of a more religious persuasion can join in a guided tour of St George's RC Cathedral. There will also be a St George Festival Fun Day at St George the Martyr Church in Borough High Street.
Further north in Haringey you will be able to salute the flag as it is raised, and learn all about St George and the Dragon and will be able to make swords, dragon puppets and helmets.
My local celebrations in Harrow will again centre on Pinner High Street. The usual suspects will include St George on his horse (in the interests of equality the last few years have actually seen a St Georgina), the annual Pinner Wheelbarrow Race, Mummers and Morris Dancers, musical entertainment and a hog roast outside the Queen's Head pub. Come and say hello to me if you decide to come out this way.
Morris Dancers in Pinner - Picture Courtesy of pinnerlocal.co.uk