Diwali 2023: Five London events to celebrate the festival of lights

Dancers perform during the Diwali on the Square celebration, in Trafalgar Square, London. (Photo: Yui Mok)
Dancers perform during the Diwali on the Square celebration, in Trafalgar Square, London. (Photo: Yui Mok)

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists.

The five day festival falls during the Hindu lunar month Kartika, and takes place in the autumn between mid-October and mid-November in the Gregorian calendar.

This year Diwali starts on Sunday November 12.

We’ve rounded up five Diwali events where Londoners can celebrate the festival of lights.

Diwali on the Square 2023

Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN October 29 1pm to 7pm Free

Diwali on the Square will see hundreds of Londoners gather in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the festival of lights.

Visitors can expect an exciting lineup of music and dance, plus workshops, food, art and crafts for the whole family.

This year the event will feature the Diwali Queen who is part of ‘Kalasetu,’ a collaborative project between Subrang Arts and Kinetika.

Diwali at the National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, SE10 9NF Saturday November 11 11.30am to 5pm Free

Experience the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of Diwali at the National Maritime Museum.

Each year the Museum hosts a family-friendly celebration, featuring free live music, workshops, art displays, light shows and more.

This year’s theme is Shine Your Light: a chance "to celebrate the light within all of us, highlighting creativity, joy and well-being."

Skylines Diwali Boat Party

Westminster Millennium Pier, London Saturday November 11 (8pm to midnight) Tickets: £30

Dance the night away at Skyline’s Boat Parties Bollywood Boat Party on the Thames to celebrate Diwali Festival of Lights.

The best of Bollywood and Bhangra will be played on the night along with all genres of music. They will also be artists on the night playing drums as part of the celebrations.

Harrow Diwali Fireworks display

Byron Park, Byron Road, Harrow, HA3 7PJ Saturday November 4 12pm to 9pm Tickets: Adult £10 Child £8

Fireworks are always a big part of the celebrations, and this display in Harrow combines its Diwali festivities with Bonfire Night.

The fireworks kick off at around 7.45pm, but it’s an all-day shindig: gates open at midday (and entry is free before 3pm) with a choreographed Diwali dance team, a fun fair, face painting, henna hand art, and more.

Buy tickets online to get a discount, or turn up on the day to pay full price (remember it’s cash only on the gate).

Diwali Festival

Ealing Road, Wembley, HA0 4AY Sunday October 29 Free

Come celebrate Diwali in Wembley’s Ealing Road, also known as “Little India.” With the impressive Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir in the background it’s the perfect spot to celebrate the festival of lights.

Visitors can enjoy live singers, performers, DJs and dancers.

There will also be kids rides, face painting and an array of food stalls.