Girl holding the Irish flag on St Patrick's Day in Trafalgar Square
2016 St Patrick's Day celebration

London St Patrick’s Festival for families

28 February 2017

This year’s St Patrick’s Festival has gone extra-large, with three days of celebrations across London. If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, here’s our guide to the festival’s best family events.

On Saturday 18 March, the London St Patrick’s Festival will take over the famous Camden Market. From 10am - 4pm, there’s a free family festival in the North Yard. There’ll be loads of activities, games and workshops for kids, including face painting, t-shirt decorating and Irish dance lessons, naturally.

There’s also two family concert featuring legendary Irish folk/world music group Kila at 12pm and 2pm. They will be raising the roof with their upbeat take on Irish folk music complete with an interactive kids show. In the evening, MOXIE will take to the stage with a set that mixes traditional songs with modern jazz and world music. These concerts are free for under 12s and just £6 for adults - book your tickets for MOXIE here and for Kila here.

If you want to make a weekend of it, here’s what’s happening for families on Sunday 19 March. The St Patrick’s Parade is an incredible sight with everything from dance schools to marching bands and pageantry.

Master storytellers Macnas will be on hand to add an element of surprise. Here’s Crom, a 16 foot giant they brought to the parade last year! The parade leaves starts at noon, and weaves its way from Piccadilly for the St Patrick’s Festival finale in Trafalgar Square. Come and cheer it on.

If the kids have got itchy feet, there’s also a free family treasure trail, which takes 90 minutes if you’re up for it. Called Siofra’s Journey, it’s an Irish-themed treasure hunt around central London, about a mysterious child found wandering the streets of Dublin. 

She has a map, but needs help from Irish friends in London to navigate her way. By visiting the places on the map, finding the Irish connection and answering questions, you can help her find her way home.

Alternatively, if you fancy a sit down, head to Regent Street Cinema. There’ll be a free screening of the Oscar nominated animated film Song of the Sea (90 minutes) as part of the St Patrick's Irish Film Festival.

It tells the tale of Ben, a young Irish boy, and his little sister Saoirse, a girl who can turn into a seal. Afterwards there’s a free children’s shadow animation workshop for 8-11 year olds. There’s limited space at the workshop, so email info@irishfilmfestivalllondon.com if you want to book.