10 Diwali Celebrations To Light Up Your Social Calendar

Tamsin Salfrais Tamsin Salfrais - Staff Writer

diwali festival of light divas
Diwali – also known as the Festival of Light – is a five-day Hindu festival celebrated each year. For many, the celebrations honour the story from Hindu mythology, which symbolises good over evil, and light over darkness. Hindus also honour the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and god of good fortune and wisdom, Ganesh. Here in the capital, there are many celebrations that people of all faiths (or none at all) can get involved with.

Things to eat this Diwali

Nothing says ‘festive celebration’ like a feast with loved ones. A selection of London restaurants are hosting special Diwali meals and menus over the next few days, and in one case, over the next month.

1. Dishoom takeover at 93 Feet East, Brick Lane

diya diwaliThe famed Irani-Indian restaurant chain, Dishoom, is taking over 93 Feet East for one day only. Head down to the former brewery today (October 28) for a full schedule of activities, including family-friendly workshops, children’s dance classes led by dancers from Madhuriya, and story time with Vayu Naidu, who will retell the Diwali story of Rama, Sita and Hanuman. After nightfall, adults can enjoy an evening of spoken word, live music, DJ sets and live art installations, curated by Sweety Kapoor. Reserve your daytime spots and book your evening tickets here.

2. Mathura, Westminster

Diwali Mathura London restaurantNewly opened restaurant, Mathura, is offering a delightful Diwali feast throughout November. Located in the Grade II-listed Westminster Fire Station, the fine dining restaurant bases their menu on the flavours of India and nine of its surrounding countries, making for an authentic Diwali meal. Alongside a three-course menu is a host of cocktails also inspired by these areas; you can try a Sri Lanka-inspired coconut milk rum punch, an India-inspired cashew nut infused whisky, or one of their many others. Find out more here.

3. Brigadiers, Bank

Brigadiers Diwali restaurant
Diwali feasts will fill the tables at Brigadiers between November 1–6. With both meat and veggie options available, there are starters, mains and desserts, plus all the trimmings, like pappadums and chutneys, and Diwali petit fours. On Thursday, November 4, the venue will come (even more) alive with a night of live DJ sets, spinning Bollywood classics. Find out more here.

4. Trishna, Marylebone

Trishna restaurant DiwaliBetween November 1–7, dine by candlelight or under lanterns at Trishna in Marylebone. The restaurant’s head chef has created a divine six-course menu, which you can enjoy in the main restaurant, or in a private room (home to the wine cellar…) available for larger groups. On November 5 and 6, a live sitar player will set the mood with soulful tunes as you dine. Find out more here.

5. Cinnamon Kitchen, City of London

cinnamon kitchen restaurant DiwaliFancy a challenge amongst the celebrations? A 12-course (yes, 12-course!) festive meal awaits at Cinnamon Kitchen‘s City of London outpost. On November 2, expect a decadent menu of Tandoori rabbit tikka with soola spices, Kolkata-style king prawn biryani with pomegranate raita, and much much more. You’ll also receive a complementary drink on arrival. However, if 12 courses sounds a little excessive, you can opt for a more humble nine-course meal between November 2–7, which also comes complete with a complimentary cocktail. Find out more here.

6. BiBi, Mayfair

bibi mayfair restaurant Diwali
If you’re looking to splash the cash post-pay day, look no further than BiBi‘s Diwali duck sharing feast. Tuck into the likes of Confit Duck Leg Shammi Kebab, Duck Heart Ghutwas Kebab served in a milk bun, and Duck Crown with Awadhi brown sauce, available between November 4–6. This opulent eatery will set you back £95 for two people and 48-hour pre-booking is essential. Find out more here.

Things to drink this Diwali

7. Bandra Bhai, Fitzrovia

Bandra Bhai restaurant DiwaliOn October 29, celebrate Diwali at Bandra Bhai, with a special Macallan whisky cocktail menu, and moreish canapés created by chef Avinash Shashidhara, who hails from restaurant Pali Hill. The event kicks off at 8pm, and goes on ’til late; tickets will include a welcome cocktail and four signature canapés. Check it out here.

Things to do this Diwali

8. Museum of the Home, Hoxton

diya Diwali

A selection of free family-friendly events will be taking place across the weekend, October 30–31, at the Museum of the Home in Hoxton. You can expect storytelling sessions, diya and rangoli decorating, and dance workshops (on-the-day sign up required). Between 11am and 4pm, you’ll learn all about Diwali’s origins, and how the festival is celebrated today. Find out more here.

9. Ice World Festival and National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

British Antarctic Survey

Not only is Boaty McBoatface making an appearance in Greenwich for the Ice World Festival (more on that here), but on October 30, you can enjoy Diwali celebrations around the big boat itself, with live music and and even livelier dancing. Then, after the ship has set sail on October 31, you can head to the National Maritime Museum for a full schedule of activities, which include lantern making, a rangoli demonstration, and performances from Bhavan Gallery, Bollywood Co, and 4×4 Bhangra. At 4pm, meeting outside the Parkside Cafe, there will be a lantern parade through Greenwich Park. Find out more here.

10. Byron Park, Harrow

Fireworks cruiseLast, but not least, head over to Byron Park in Harrow on November 6 for an afternoon of food, drink and dance. Kids, or kids at heart, will love the fun fair rides available, while others can opt for face paints or henna tattoos. Once night falls, at around 7.45pm, there will be a 20-minute firework display to round off the revelry.


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