It might seem odd to choose to spend St Andrew’s Day in London, seeing how it’s such an important celebration of all things Scottish, but regardless of what you might have heard about Anglo-Scots relations over the years, the city still comes to life with lots of parties and events. So, while cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow would be ideal places to visit if your purpose is to celebrate St Andrew’s Day.
But, if your visit to San Domenico House Chelsea London coincides with it, you’ll still find plenty to do!
Here’s your guide to how to celebrate St Andrew’s Day in London:
What is St Andrew’s Day?
Taking place on the 30th November, St Andrew’s Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, making it also the country’s official national day. He’s also the patron saint of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and many other places, so there are also celebrations in those countries too. One thing to be aware of is that St Andrew’s Day isn’t as big as, say, St Patrick’s Day is for people from Ireland (and elsewhere), with one survey finding that 9 out of 10 Scots didn’t even know when what date or month it fell on.
However, it’s still a significant celebration in Scottish culture and has been a public holiday there since 2007 (with the holiday taking place on the following Monday if it falls on a weekend). St Andrew was the brother of St Peter and was the first disciple of Jesus Christ, and he was famously martyred by crucifixion in Achaea in modern-day Greece. The story goes that instead of being crucified on the same kind of cross as Jesus, he requested to have it done on an x-shaped cross instead as he wasn’t worthy.
This cross has become known as a St Andrew’s Cross or a saltire and is found on the Scottish flag of course. Various legends state that relics of his body were brought to Scotland at the town of St Andrews, which is why he has such a strong connection to the country.
St Andrew’s Day in London
There are lots of ways to celebrate St Andrew’s Day in London when you’re staying at 5 star hotels in Chelsea, even if it doesn’t have the same mass popularity as St Patrick’s Day. For example, on the morning of the day itself, you can take part in or watch a London Kilt Run, a 10k race that starts at a statue of Robert Burns on Savoy Place. If you’re worried about getting a kilt or what to wear underneath (traditionally, it should be nothing, of course, which maybe isn’t ideal for running) you don’t necessarily need to run in a kilt, but some kind of tartan accessory would be welcomed.
You do certainly need some Highland dress though for the St Andrew’s Day Ball at the Porchester Hall, Notting Hill, where there will be reeling (Scottish folk dance) aplenty. If you want to celebrate in a more relaxed manner, BrewDog Clerkenwell will be running a special St Andrew’s Day promotion with guest Scottish beers and a free pint to anyone wearing a kilt. So maybe you SHOULD wear one after all…