History, art and culture
Matthew Pearson

St David’s Day in London: What’s On

St David’s Day is the feast day of Saint David, patron saint of Wales. It’s been celebrated on March 1, the presumed date of David’s death in 589 AD, since his canonisation in the 12th century. Today, the day and surrounding weeks serve as a time to celebrate Wales, Welshness and the Welsh, inside Wales and across the UK. So how can you celebrate St David’s Day in London? Well, with Wales Week bringing a wealth of Welsh-themed events to London between 22nd February and 8th March 2020, there’s plenty to do. From official events to pop-ups, there’s a varied set of ways to celebrate St David’s Day in London, including...

  • A concert by The Welsh Guards
  • A Welsh history walk around the City of London
  • Some great St David's Day foodie tips
  • And much, much more

The Band of The Welsh Guards in The Guards’ Chapel

See The Band of The Welsh Guards in their annual concert celebrating St David’s Day in London. Get swept away on a musical journey celebrating Wales’s patron saint as the esteemed Welsh Guards section of The Queen’s Household Division fill The Guards’ Chapel in the Wellington Barracks with sound. It’s free to enter, but you need to register to get in. Be sure to get there early to get the best seats! Friday 6th March 2020, 18.30 - 20.00. The Guards’ Chapel, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ. For more information and to book, head HERE. [caption id="attachment_6369" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


St David's Day Concert in Aid of The Passage

Hear the wonderful tones and timbres and harmonies of the London Welsh Male Voice Choir at a special St David’s Day concert. Held at the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, the concert celebrates Welsh music and popular classical tunes through this most Welsh of choral setups. The evening, hosted by broadcaster, writer and political adviser Guto Harri, is held in aid of The Passage’s homelessness services. You can pay for general admission to the concert, which starts at 19.00. Alternatively, you can choose to add on a ticket for the pre-concert reception from 17.30. Drinks and canapés are served as you await the beginning of the concert. Friday 28th February 2020, 19.00 - 21.30. Methodist Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH. For more information and to book, head HERE.

Annual St David’s Day Walk with Caroline James

Now in its 17th year, the Annual St David’s Day Walk takes you on a tour of Welsh history in London. It’s the ideal way to celebrate St David’s Day in London, learning about the contributions made to the city by famous Welsh residents and groups, including Sir Hugh Myddelton, Royal Jeweller under King James I, and various 18th Century Welsh societies. The walk starts at 11am, with all guests asked to meet outside The Blackfriar Pub on Queen Victoria Street. From there, you’ll pass through the famous streets of this storied area, picking up fascinating facts and interesting tales about Welsh culture and heritage in the capital. The walk ends at Bank Junction and lasts approximately two hours. Handily, the tour takes place on two consecutive Saturdays, the 29th February and 7th March 2020. Saturday 29th February and Saturday 7th March 2020, 11.00 at The Blackfriar Pub, 174 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4EG. For more information and to book, head HERE. [caption id="attachment_6370" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash[/caption]

Welsh Whiskey Masterclass and Food Pairing

Celebrate St David’s Day in London with five whiskeys from the Penderyn distillery and food pairings to match. It’s a Welsh-themed whiskey tasting, with all five tipples award-winning creations of the Penderyn distillery, Wales’s oldest whiskey producer. Hosted by Forbes whisky writer and World Whisky Awards judge Felipe Schrieberg, the evening event will teach you techniques to train your nose and palate. Schrieberg will also take you through the fascinating history of Welsh whisky and the Penderyn distillery. The food pairings mix the classical with the creative. Signature whisky Welsh rarebit. Cheese and leek sausage bits. Cawl, in both traditional and veggie versions. The menu comes courtesy of The Ingredientist, a catering company who run the kitchen at Milroy’s, England’s largest whisky bar. Put simply, they know what they’re doing. Half price early bird tickets are on sale now. Tuesday 25th February, Wednesday 26th February, Tuesday 10th March and Wednesday 11th March 2020, 19.00-21.00. Factory Coffee, 96A Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TX. For more information and to book, head HERE. [caption id="attachment_6371" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


Novello & Son

A new play by Welsh writer Arnold Evans, Novello & Son will be performed twice at the London Welsh Centre on 25th February 2020. The piece focuses on Clara Novello Davies, mother of Ivor Novello, famed Welsh songwriter, composer, dramatist and actor. An eccentric and proud character, Clara was a musical star in her own right, a leading light of Welsh choral singing as a choir mistress, teacher and singer. But her son’s fame came to eclipse hers, as he became a star of silent movies and the West End stage. The play finds Clara struggling with her son’s newfound superstardom, their relationship and her own place in Welsh musical history. Expect performances of Ivor’s best loved tunes, lashings of humour and poignant moments that interrogate the relationship between mother and son. Two performances on Tuesday 25th February 2020, 13.00 matinee and 19.30 evening performance. The London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Grays Inn Rd, London WC1X 8UE. For more info and to book, head HERE.

Annual St David’s Day Celebration at Guildhall

The longest-running event celebrating St David’s Day in London. Each year since 1904, the Welsh community in London has held a St. David’s Day dinner. This year’s takes place on Wednesday 26th February 2020 at Guildhall in the City of London. Hosted by Huw Edwards, with speakers including poet Mereid Hopwood-Bard and former Labour government minister Lord Davies of Abersoch. The champagne reception starts at 18.15, with dinner in the Great Hall from 19.15. Music comes from choir, Only Boys Aloud. Guildhall, Basinghall St, City of London, London EC2V 7HH. For more information and ticket enquiries, head HERE.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

They always make something to celebrate St David’s Day at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Well, they do something to celebrate all British patron saint days, and plenty of other special events besides. And if you thought that such celebratory creativity might be a push for most bakeries and patisseries, you probably need introducing to Dominique Ansel. He’s the guy who came up with the cronut. You know, the super calorific croissant-donut hybrid that everyone was talking about, regardless of whether they’d tried it or not. Yep, that guy. And here at Dominique Ansel Bakery in London, they do a welsh rarebit croissant every year to celebrate St David’s Day. It is as decadent as you’d expect from one of the most daring minds in contemporary baking. Dominique Ansel Bakery, 17-21 Elizabeth St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9RP.

A Double Dose of Chef Bryn Williams1. St David's Day Breakfast

Welsh celebrity chef Bryn Williams is putting on two events to celebrate St David’s Day in London. First off, there’s the St David’s Day Breakfast, held at Bryn Williams at Somerset House. Williams and his team will be serving a range of delectable Welsh breakfast canapes, including leek and potato soup, deep fried oysters, black pudding and apple, Welsh rarebit and sausage rolls. The event starts at 9.30, so there’ll be freshly-brewed coffee, fruit juices and teas. The event ends at 11.30, so there’ll be a selection of Welsh sparkling wines and beers brought out as soon as it’s appropriate. The St David’s Day Breakfast takes place on Friday 28th February 2020, 09.30-11.30 at Bryn Williams at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. To find out more and book, head HERE.

2. St David's Day Sunday Lunch

Next up, Williams’ popular Primrose Hill restaurant, Odette will be offering a special St David’s Day Sunday lunch on March 1st. The celebratory meal features three courses for £40, with plenty of choices to make for each of the three stages. For starters, there’s a Welsh beef tartare with mushroom ketchup and rosemary cracker, up against, among others, leek and potato soup with a slow cooked egg and warm Caerphilly scone. In the mains, choose from Cornish turbot, shin of beef and cockles with sea herbs (a Great British Menu Winner in 2006); roast beef with all the trimmings; and a white onion risotto with pickled trompette mushies and pecorino for the veggie people or the veggie-inclined. The cheese and dessert course is pretty astounding too. Bara brith panna cotta served with a warm Welsh cake, a blackberry souffle and Welsh rarebit are all vying for your attention. The St David’s Day Sunday Lunch takes place on Sunday 1st March 2020 at Odette’s Restaurant, 130 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XL. For more information and to book, head HERE. [caption id="attachment_6374" align="alignnone" width="1000"]


Watch Some Rugby

Rugby is a big deal in Wales. Is it Wales’s national sport? Some might contest that it’s football these days. But whatever, it’s still a big deal. Can’t people like both? Surely you can have two national sports? Can’t we all get on all the time? It’s the Six Nations, so two big Wales rugby games are taking place around St David’s Day. First off, you’ve got Wales vs France on Saturday 22nd February. Then you’ve got England vs Wales on Saturday 7th March. Get along to your local, or find a packed out sports bar or Welsh supporters event. They’re a bit before and after the day itself. But there are few more appropriate and enjoyable ways of celebrating St David’s Day in London than singing a few songs and watching the big guys in red. [caption id="attachment_6376" align="alignnone" width="1000"]

walesonline.co.uk[/caption] So, that's it for our St David's Day in London. As ever, if you have anything to add, let us know in the comments below. For information on how you can see London's best attractions with one pass, click the button below.

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