St George’s Day is 23 April (events between 18 and 26 April)

April 18, 2009toApril 26, 2009
April 11, 2011toApril 22, 2011

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The English will be flying the flag for St George’s Day on 23 April, and there will be seasonal shenanigans all over the country to mark the occasion.

About St George
St George is the patron saint of England. His name is most commonly associated with the legend of St George and the Dragon.

In the mythical tale, George obtains glory by slaying a dragon that is terrorising the countryside and is about to eat a beautiful princess. George survives the ordeal by invoking the sign of the cross.

As a mark of their gratitude, the local citizens all convert to Christianity and seek to copy George’s chivalrous, princess-saving behaviour.

The story is loosely based on a real-life George who was born around 280AD and grew up to become a Christian soldier of the Roman Empire.

The myth of St George and the Dragon in England was known prior to the Norman conquest in 1066. But the idea of George as the nation’s patron saint probably caught on around William Shakespeare’s time.

In Shakespeare’s play Henry V, the English troops are rallied with the cry “God for Harry, England and St George!” Other popular English literature since has also mentioned St George.

The St George’s Cross flag of England features a red cross on a white background. It forms part of Great Britain’s Union Jack flag, along with the Scottish St Andrew’s Cross and Irish St Patrick’s Cross.

Events and Activities

Festival of St George, Covent Garden, London
See traditional English theatre, dance and music, including folk and morris dancing, military music and 1950s lindy hop and jive. There’s even Punch and Judy for younger audiences.
Further information: 020 7983 4000
20 April – 10.45am-5pm

Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, London
The theatre’s annual open day has a St George’s Day theme and boasts free performances and activities.
Further information: 020 7983 4000
23 April – 12-5pm (last entry 4.30pm)

Festival of English Food, Trafalgar Square, London
Borough Market comes to central London for this St George’s Day taste-fest. Sample delights from countless food stalls or drop by for the food-inspired cabaret and street theatre.
Further information: 020 7983 4000
23 April – 12-7.30pm

The Globe Theatre Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, London
On St George’s Day itself, the arrival of a floating theatre will mark the birthday of Shakespeare and a new season at the Globe.
Further information: 020 7983 4000
23 April – 6-7pm

The V&A Museum of Childhood
Come along and celebrate with Morris men and women as they perform a traditional maypole dance.   Meanwhile, your kids will be entertained by a live Punch and Judy show and can make their own Green Man and dragon masks to take home.

Carlisle Castle
The National Trust and Enjoy England are hosting many St George’s Day events at locations across the country, including Lindisfarne Priory, Northumberland, Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, Beeston Castle, Cheshire, Carlisle Castle, Cumbria, Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, and the 1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey & Battlefield.
19-20 April

Wrest Park Gardens, Silsoe, Bedfordshire
The family fun at this English Heritage property includes horseback displays, traditional games, a Victorian gymkhana, falconry, fire-eating, a children’s theatre, sideshows and a craft market.
10am-6pm
Further information: 01525 860152
19 April

St George’s flag Wadhurst Town Centre, East Sussex
Enjoy a live brass band, traditional English fare, birds of prey and medieval dress.
Further information: 01892 783224

Salisbury Cathedral Salisbury Town Centre, Wiltshire
The fun starts in the Market Square with performers and entertainers and continues with music and theatre. There’ll be jugglers, stilt walkers, face painting, a hog roast and more. You’ll find children’s amusements in The Maltings and a dragon in the Old George Mall. A free guided walk starts at 2pm from the Tourist Information Centre in Fish Row.
Further information: 01722 334956
23 April – 11am-4pm

St George’s Day Children’s Parade, Brighton, Sussex
This charity event sees youngsters in themed dress marching from Hove Town Hall to George Street, before a celebration with live music and theatre.
26-27 April – 4pm