32+ Things to Do in London in April
This post covers things to do in London in April, including our top 10 list as well as free things to do, nighttime activities and family-friendly options, updated for 2018. For more ideas for any time of the year, read our master post on things to do in London.
- Top 10
- Free Things to Do
- Nighttime Activities
- Things to Do with Kids
- How’s the Weather
- Free Tours by Foot
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN APRIL
If you are considering visiting many top attractions, then you should consider a tourist discount card or a bus tour combo ticket. These tickets and bundles could save you some serious money, but it depends on several factors.
1 – Watch the London Marathon
Every year around 36,000 people sign up to run the 42.4km (26.2m) marathon through the streets of London, taking visitors over the River Thames, past the London Eye, along the Tower of London and finishing on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
Both seasoned professional runners take part, as well as members of the public who are wanting a challenge or a fit day out!
The route is long and Londoners and visitors are encouraged to line the streets to watch and cheer on the athletes as they race through town. Find out where you want to watch from their website.
2 – Celebrate St. George’s Day for FREE
St. George’s Day is a yearly celebration centered around the dragon-slaying patron saint of English, St. George. This day dedicated to him is considered England’s national day. The day itself is the 23rd of April but celebrations take place throughout the few days before and after.
The celebrations will take place in Trafalgar Square and guests can expect delicious, traditional English food, live music, artistic entertainments and maybe an appearance from a dragon or two! Look out for celebratory events taking places at restaurants, musical venues, and museums throughout the city.
When is it? This year the festivities will kick off in Trafalgar Square at noon on the 21st of April and will wrap up by 18:00.
Do I need a ticket and how much are they? No tickets are required and the event is free!
NOTE: There are also children-specific activities that you’ll find detailed below!
3 – Take a Tour!
Let’s face it: London isn’t known for brilliant weather. But this stereotype isn’t necessarily true! London has days of glorious sunshine, mild temperatures and pleasant breezes throughout the spring and summer. These picture-perfect days are ideal for joining us on one of our classic pay-what-you-like walking tours.
Consider beautiful Westminster, the historic City of London, a delicious Food Tour (pictured on the right), an evening Jack the Ripper or Ghost Tour, a trip through musical history on the Rock n’ Roll Tour, a walk through eclectic Camden Town, a magical Harry Potter Tour, or a vibrant East End Street Art Tour.
4 – Visit The Queen’s Mews
While Buckingham Palace itself isn’t open to the public until summer, The Royal Mews is open in April for all visitors.
What is the Mews? The mews is the finest collection of stables and carriages to be found anywhere in the world and a visit here gives guests a behind-the-scenes look into the travel arrangements of the royal family, and the horses that help them along their way! From stately golden coaches to glamorous carriages, the items on display here are truly one-of-a-kind.
How much are tickets? Tickets are £11.00 for adults / £6.40 for under 17’s / FREE for under 5.
NOTE: A family of two adults and three under 17’s can save with a family ticket of £28.40. If you are considering purchasing the London Pass, tickets to the Queen’s Mews are included for free.
Where can I book? HERE
What else can I do nearby?
A trip to the Royal Mews is perfectly accompanied by our Royal Westminster Tour! This Tour will give you all the gossip and history that has surrounded the royal family for generations, plus an opportunity to get the best view to watch the Changing of the Guard!
Get the stories of the people who built the coaches and lived in the palace before you visit to get a truly royal experience!
5 – Enjoy a Delicious Brew at the Coffee Festival
From the 12th to the 13th of April, London is host to the wonderful Coffee Festival – highlighting the best of London’s ‘coffee, food, music, and art.’ Learn about coffee, drink coffee, explore coffees you’d never find in your local grocery store. There’s something for everyone whether you’re a long-time coffee lover or if you’ve just begun to enjoy it!
Or, if you just want a straightforward cup of great coffee, consider visiting our friends at the Exmouth Coffee Company. This charming little cafe’ is the meeting point for our Street Art Tour which means you can pick up a delicious cup, and enjoy a fabulous tour whilst drinking it.
Maybe it’s coffee flavored chocolate you’re after? If so, join us on the East London Food Tour for a chance to taste some of the best chocolates in the city.
6 – Enjoy a Spring-Time Walk in a London Garden
London is one of the greenest cities in the world, dotting with dozens of beautiful green spaces, blooming gardens, and local wildlife.
Consider a visit to the stunning Princess Diana Memorial Garden at Kensington Palace, or Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in Regent’s Park, or Kew Gardens – home to the largest collection of living plants in the entire world.
Or enjoy a London park whilst on a tour with us! Our Royal Westminster Tour takes guests through Green Park and along the edges of the stunning St. James’s Park (home to the Queen’s pelicans!).
And our Royal Kensington Tour (family friendly) highlights the beautiful green spaces of Kensington Gardens.
7 – Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday at The Globe Theatre
This April marks the 454th birthday of William Shakespeare, and where better to celebrate than at the faithfully recreated version of his famous London theatre. The Globe Theatre summer season begins the week of Shakespeare’s birth (the exact date is unknown but we tend to commemorate on the 26th) with a set of performances of Hamlet.
In addition to watching a show, guests can explore the museum, watch a family-friendly storytelling session in the playhouse, or take a tour of the theatre.
If you are considering purchasing the London Pass, tickets for this tour are included for free.
TIP: For those on a tighter budget, standing tickets to performances can be bought for a vastly cheaper price than sitting tickets.
NOTE: Westminster Abbey is celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday, too! Check out our list of things to do at night below for more information.
8 – Watch a Football Match or Tour a Stadium
Football is Britain’s favorite sporting and attending a football match in London is truly a unique experience. London is home to many big teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Fulham, and they’re all playing home games this April!
- 1st April vs Tottenham
- 7th April vs West Ham
- 21st April vs Huddersfield
- You may find discount tickets here.
- 1st April vs Stoke City
- 7th April vs Southampton
- 21st April vs West Ham
- You may find discount tickets here.
- 14th April vs Man City
- 28th April vs Watford
- You may find discount tickets here.
- 3rd April vs Leeds United
- 10th April vs Reading
- 14th April vs Brentford
- 28th April vs Sunderland
- You may find discount tickets here.
Not interested in watching a match or your schedule doesn’t allow time for it? Consider embracing football-fever with a behind-the-scenes tour of some of London’s biggest stadiums – including Wembley.
9 – See Original Monet Works at the National Gallery
London’s National Gallery is a world-class museum throughout the entire year. But starting this April the Gallery is hosting a Monet & Architecture Exhibition.
This isn’t just any Exhibition however, this is the first time Monet’s career is being pieced together based just on the buildings he painted. More than 75 of Monet’s paintings featuring architecture from around the world are being brought together for the very first time.
When: 9th April to the 29th of July 2018
How to Book: Through their website here.
Ticket Prices: Adults – £18.00 / Concessions – £16.00
10 – Circus Fest
Circus Fest is back again for the 2018 season! Hosted at the Roundhouse in Camden, this is a celebration of the “future of circus.” This festival showcases the evolution of the circus, mixing large-scale, mind-blowing performances as well as intimate, abstract live art. The festival brings performers from all across the globe and is a truly unique event!
There are too many performances to list here so check their full schedule to find the show that piques your individual interest.
Below we list some of the free things to do in London in April. Of course, many things mentioned in other sections, such as celebrating St. George’s Day, enjoying a stroll in a park or taking one of our self-guided walking tours, are also free.
Take in an Easter service at St. Paul’s or Westminster Abbey
The holiest week in the church calendar begins on the 25th of March and this year Easter Day comes on the 1st of April. Churches all over London will be celebrating this day with special or extended church services – including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
Guests are welcome to attend these services for FREE which means you can get inside some of the biggest, most beautiful, historic churches in the world – on the biggest day of the religious year – without having to spend any money.
TIP: Arrive early, as there is limited seating and Easter Sunday brings in large crowds.
NOTE: It is possible to take in an Evensong service at both of these churches nearly every evening throughout the entire year! Check out our post on visiting these world-famous venues to take in the beautiful services.
If you are considering purchasing the London tourist discount pass, tourist entry to both cathedrals are included for free in most of them.
See the Changing of the Guard
Traditionally, April marks the start of the summer schedule for the Changing of the Guard! This means that the ceremony will begin taking place daily – rather than just 4 times a week. From April, it won’t matter how short your trip is, what else you’ve got scheduled in, or whatever dates you’re here, you’ll have a chance to see this world-famous ceremony!
And, honestly, no trip to London would be complete without a visit to see the Changing of the Guard! A real London tradition, this display of royal pomp and ceremony is one of the highlights of a visit to town.
Check out our post to get all the information you need to enjoy the ceremony.
TIP: Why not join our Royal Westminster Tour? This tour incorporates the Changing of the Guard and our guides will make sure you get the best view possible!
Hear the Queen’s Birthday Cannon
The 21st of April is Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and this year she will be turning 92! While the Queen has her public birthday in June and celebrates her real birthday privately, London still commemorates the date by holding gun salutes throughout the city.
There will be a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, followed by a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London – both of which you can go see and hear for yourself!
Celebrate Sikh Culture
The Vaisashki Festival takes place on the 28th of April this year in Trafalgar Square. This festival a celebration of Sikh culture and heritage featuring traditional food, dancing, music and more. Guests can also learn to tie a traditional turban and do unique martial arts.
The Age of Jazz in Britain Exhibition
This free exhibition at Two Temple Place in the historic Middle Temple, the Age of Jazz Exhibition explores 100 years of Jazz history. The exhibition “brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design, and wider society.” There are also activities for children! See what’s on HERE.
NOTE: Our Old City of London Tour begins right across the road at Temple Station so consider coming along with us after your visit!
Walk Along London’s Canals in Little Venice
Tucked away in the London neighborhood of Maida Vale, sits Little Venice, a beautiful blend of historic canals, charming architecture, and green spaces. April marks the beginning of London’s spring-time weather, making it a great time of year to visit. To make the most of this hidden gem, we’ve come up with a self-guided walking tour for you to enjoy.
The London Pass includes a free canal ride in Little Venice with the purchase of the pass.
London doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Check out these activities that take place at nighttime. Also, take note that the previous sections also includes some evening activities, such as performances at Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespearean plays at Westminster Abbey as well as football matches!
For more ideas on night activities any time of the year, be sure to read our definitive guide on things to do at night in London and or check out the top 10 video below.
Circus Fest runs events throughout the day – and then well into the night. This is a great way to experience something a little bit different while you’re in town. With performances of differing styles and tastes (including adults-only performances) nearly every night of the week in April, there’s something at Circus Fest for everybody. Here are a few examples of what you can expect…
- Breaking Point – An amazing showcase of artistry in a show focused entirely on the idea of tension – how far can something (or someone) be pushed before the inevitable snap? Think slack ropes, props and audience participation in this one-person performance.
- Relentless Unstoppable Human Machine – This is a story as told through trapeze, a moving staircase, huge sets and mechanical riggings. All this accompanied by a live score!
- No Show – An all-female group who lift the lid on circus performing and reveals what happens behind the scenes…
TIP: If you book 2 or more shows, you can get a 15% discount on your tickets!
Go to a Concert at the O2
London has a thriving music scene and musical acts from all across the globe all hope to perform at the iconic O2 arena. This April, the O2 is hosting some of the biggest names in the musical world. Depending on when you are in town, you’ll have the option of seeing acts like Sam Smith, Harry Styles, Nashville, En Vogue, The Vamps and Faith Evans.
TIP: Why not take a boat journey to or from the O2 on an MBNA Thames Clipper? A great alternative to a tube ride!
Celebrate Shakespeare at Westminster Abbey and the Globe Theatre
This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience! In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, Westminster Abbey will be hosting ‘Shakespeare Within the Abbey: All Places That The Eye of Heaven Visits.’
Costumed actors and actresses will be present throughout the Abbey, performing Shakespeare’s pieces of song, poetry, and prose. Guests move through the Abbey at their own pace, approaching the performers as they move along.
As mentioned above, the Globe Theatre is putting on performances of Hamlet every evening to celebrate the birthday of the Bard. A short walk from the end of our Harry Potter and City of London Tour means you can enjoy the show after enjoying our walk.
Have a Drink With a Good View
There’s no shortage of places to drink in London, and some of the bars serve delicious drinks as well as stunning views. We’ve put together a guide to some of our favorites which includes location, prices, and highlights!
TimeOut has also put together a list of their favorites so you really are spoiled for choice when it comes to seeing the lights of London after dark whilst enjoying a delectable drink!
Enjoy A Museum Late At Night
April marks the beginning of Museum Lates – a London-wide event that sees museums staying open beyond regular hours. There are three museums participating in April: The Tate Modern (Fridays and Saturdays), the National Gallery (Fridays) and the National Portrait Gallery (Thursdays and Fridays).
The National Portrait Gallery ‘Late Shift’ event includes pop up bars, lectures, and music. Find out what’s on here.
As listed above, the 21st of April brings St. George’s Day celebrations to London’s centre, Trafalgar Square. This is a real family-friendly event with stalls set up for face painting, game playing, and storytelling aimed at the younger members of your family!
Go on an Easter Egg Hunt
Aside from religious services that take place in town, there are fun and frivolous events, too, including ones for the whole family! This year, the National Trust is hosting Easter egg hunts for kids, sending youngsters on a hunt to find a giant chocolate egg. The Trust has three London locations for you to enjoy and go hunting.
Play Some Games
London will be hosting a Game Festival this year and it’s packed with activities for visitors of ALL ages. From testing out the latest technology to resurrecting popular games of years gone by and even a chance to create your own game, this city-wide festival has plenty to keep everybody entertained. Take a look at their calendar to see what’s on when you’re here.
Visit the Underbelly
The Underbelly Festival is back! A celebration of circus, comedy, art, and performance situated in the shadow of the London Eye on the Southbank. This is one of London’s best festivals and the performances that are scheduled will delight the entire family. They also have events specifically for children so check their schedule to see what looks good for your little ones.
The Natural History Museum is a great place to take the kids throughout the entire year but this April a truly unique exhibition is set to begin. Sensational Butterflies is an exhibition of butterflies from all across the globe. Visitors enter a tropical butterfly house and are surrounded by these beautiful creatures as they follow a jungle path throughout the butterfly habitat. Expect fun facts and interactive learning for the whole family.