It's springtime in London Town. Whether you're racing to find treasure or to reach a finish line, all around the city people will be out and about celebrating the arrival of a new season and warm weather so you should be too. Check out our list of what to do this month below.
Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, with all the different Easter events being held, there's something for everybody.
If you are religious, then even on a vacation trip you'll be able to find a church holding Easter service. Take your pick from London's many churches and cathedrals - Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and Southwark Cathedral are all there for you. Trafalgar Square also holds a free performance of The Passion of Christ on Good Friday.
With nature in bloom, it'd be wrong not to visit places like London's nature reserves, parks, and zoos. See Spring's influence come to fruition as you walk or partake in one of the Easter events being held. Each reserve and zoo curate their Easter activities differently, so be sure to check the website closer to the date.
Easter egg and treasure hunts are among the most popular events in London during Easter for all ages. Whether you're 5, 15, or 45, there's just something about scouring around for hidden items that brings out joy and puts a smile on people's faces. English Heritage sites like Hampton Court Palace hold various treasure hunts on their grounds while famous chocolatier Cadbury supplies hundreds of National Trust sites like Osterley Park with chocolate eggs for everyone to find.
For the chocolate lovers that don't want to search for their treats, you can visit one of London's chocolate shops to satisfy your sweet tooth. L'Artisan du Chocolat is artsy as chocolate can get, with both packaging and product made and decorated creatively. Here, you can get a traditional chocolate egg or spring for something new, like passionfruit mini eggs.
The London marathon is held around April of each year, making up one of the top six world marathons in the World Marathon Majors. It was cofounded by former Olympic champion Chris Brasher and athlete John Disley in 1981. Once upon a time, in a pub over several pints of beer, a running club gathered and spoke about the New York City Marathon. Some ran in it, some did not, but all loved talking about its exhilarating atmosphere.
Brasher and Disley entered the marathon as a result and found it to be everything they'd heard and more. They wondered if London could pull off an event of such magnitude and the rest is history.
Over the years, a total of over a million runners have ran and completed the marathon. In 2018 alone, over 40,000 people made it to the finish line, making it the biggest race in the marathon's history. The race spans 42 km from Blackheath to Westminster, with three different starting points and one mile markers along the way. It finishes near St. James' Palace.
If you're feeling particularly physically fit, you can try your hand at running in the marathon yourself. There's a ballot system that allows both U.K. residents as well as overseas visitors to enter and a random drawing will select the participants. You'll submit your ballot during the specified time and date and notifications of selection will be sent out a few months later. If selected, you'll have to pay £80.
If you just want to spectate for free, then make sure to show up a few hours early to get a good spot by the barricades. The race usually begins around 10 am but exact times are posted on the website closer to the date. Stand by one of the starting points to see the hopefuls begin the race or wait along The Mall to see the tired, yet triumphant smiles as the runners cross the finish line.
OXFORD CAMBRIDGE BOAT RACE
Rowing is one of the most popular sports amongst the likes of Oxford and Cambridge University students, so it's no surprise that there's an annual race between the two rival schools' boat clubs. Its origins date back to 1829, when the first men's competition was held and has been annually since 1856. The first women's competition was in 1927 and began its annuality in 1964. Also named The Cancer Research UK Boat Race for its sponsorship, the side by side rowing competition takes place along a 6.8 km course on the River Thames, between Putney and Mortlake.
You can grab a spot along the Thames to watch the race but some of the best places to catch the blue boats in action are at the start by Putney Bridge and the finish line by Duke's Meadow and Chiswick Bridge. The Putney Embankment provides a great, long view of the river so you'll be able to see in both directions. There's even fan parks set up by staff with television screens in case you don't want to stand by the water or can't get a spot. Not able to make it outside? The BBC will be broadcasting it live so you can watch it from the comfort of your accommodation.
THE GOAT RACE
Prefer animals to people? Try the Goat Race instead. One goat representing Oxford and another goat representing Cambridge vie for first place in a lighthearted, fun-filled race held at the Spitalfields City Farm on the same day as the universities' Boat Race.
It takes place from around noon to until about 6 pm. The actual race itself will start midday whenever the goats trot off, but the farm will host other kinds of entertainment like live music, food, drinks, games, and arts and crafts stalls. You can even place a bet on your pick for the horned, four-legged winner if you feel so inclined.
To get in, you'll need to buy tickets but all proceeds go to the farm. It's £15.00 for an adult ticket and kids go free.