Bartholomew Fair returns to the City of London

Bartholomew Fair returns to the City of London
Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral credit Graham Lacdao

The City is the birthplace of London, and we are lucky to have such an unrivalled history and heritage right on our doorsteps.

But did you know that our greatest historic fair was also London’s?

Dating back to the 12th century, Bartholomew Fair last took place in 1855. It was the outstanding event of its kind.

Held every summer for four days, thousands of visitors were wowed by spectacular entertainment. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring it back – and make it even better?

That is exactly what we are doing this summer as part of our Destination City programme, which sets out our vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

NOW READ: City of London set for a new landmark cultural event

We are reviving and reimagining Bartholomew Fair – with the centrepiece a spectacular vertical dance performance on St Paul’s Cathedral.

Bartholomew Fair will see over 30 free events, live performances, and unique spectacles in a contemporary reimagining of the capital’s greatest historic event.

It will run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 31 August to 16 September, right across the Square Mile.

Iconic locations include, Paternoster Square, Aldgate Square, Leadenhall Market, Broadgate, Smithfield Market and beyond.

Bartholomew Fair began as a cloth fair and quickly evolved into London’s pre-eminent carnival, entertaining visitors for over 700 years. It drew acts and crowds from all over the country and further afield.

Our revamp will bring a modern twist in a celebration of the Square Mile’s heritage and contemporary culture. Each week visitors will enjoy an array of exciting, unique entertainment, and live performances.

We are creating something that is truly extraordinary – a new landmark London cultural spectacular. With fantastic free fun for everyone, we are bringing the extraordinary story of the City to life, attracting audiences from across the capital and beyond.

A series of projection installations will take over several locations across the Square Mile, with striking visuals lighting up iconic City buildings and spaces each night.

We are proud to showcase the City of London to the globe, creating a thriving, seven-day-a-week destination for domestic and international visitors.

From the Barbican Centre and the Museum of London, to our world-class pubs, bars and restaurants, we are creating best-in-class leisure in the City.

These world-renowned cultural attractions are coupled with our role as the world’s leading international financial and professional services centre.

We recently launched the City of London’s first destination brand and dedicated website –

Our new distinctive identity showcases the best of the City’s tourist attractions to local, UK, and global visitors.

Bartholomew Fair marks a generational opportunity to write an exciting new chapter in the City’s extraordinary and compelling history. And we are inviting everyone who lives and works in the Square Mile to come and join us.

Chris Hayward is City of London Corporation’s Policy Chairman

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