Diwali in the square

How to celebrate Diwali in London

20 September 2022

If you’re getting together with family or friends for Diwali, we’ve got plenty of ideas to help you plan the perfect celebration. Discover the best things to do in London in the lead-up to Diwali and during the five days of festivities, including family-friendly activities, music events, fireworks displays and the best restaurants in the capital for an authentic Diwali feast.

What is Diwali?

Diwali, also known as Divali or Deepavali, is a festival of light. It is one of the most important celebrations for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, focusing on the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

In the days leading up to Diwali, people decorate their homes or workplaces with oil lamps and colourful artworks known as rangolis. During the festival, people wear their finest clothes, feast with their families, exchange gifts, reflect on their spirituality and light fireworks.

When is Diwali?

The festival usually lasts five days and occurs during the Hindu lunisolar month of Kartika, which falls around mid-October and mid-November. Diwali Festival takes place on 24-27 October 2022.

Things to do for Diwali in London

Diverse and cultured, London is one of the best places to celebrate Diwali in England. Looking for some inspiration? These are some of our top picks for the festival happening across the capital.

Diwali on the Square

Diwali in the square

diwaliinlondon.com

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

If you’re searching for free things to do in London this Diwali, then plan a day at Diwali on the Square. It’s one of the largest celebrations of Diwali in the capital, so you won’t want to miss this free, all-day event. Held at Trafalgar Square on 9 October 2022, you can expect music, dance, fireworks, craft workshops, food, yoga and meditation. Visiting with the kids? Families can enjoy lots of fun children's activities throughout the day.

Price range: free

How to get there: Trafalgar Square is an 18-minute walk from London Waterloo. Alternatively, take the tube northbound on the Bakerloo or Northern line to Charing Cross.

Diwali at the National Maritime Museum

Diwali national maritime museum

rmg.co.uk/whats-on/national-maritime-museum/diwali

Romney Road, London SE10 9NF

This immersive Diwali event features music and live performances, craft workshops, art exhibitions and more, making it the perfect way to celebrate the festival with the whole family. Visitors can also learn more about maritime history and the connections between London’s docks and India at the museum.

Price range: free

How to get there: Take the Jubilee line eastbound from London Waterloo to Canary Wharf. Then, head to Heron Quays and take the DLR southbound to Cutty Sark. The National Maritime Museum is a six-minute walk away.

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

londonmandir.baps.org

Pramukh Swami Road, Neasden, London NW10 8HW

During Diwali, visit this stunning Hindu temple in Neasden, one of London’s hidden gems. The impressive architecture and manicured gardens make this a peaceful oasis to reflect and relax, or book one of their two-hour guided tours to get the most from your visit.

Price range: free

How to get there: From London Waterloo, take the westbound Jubilee line to Neasden, then walk 19 minutes to the temple.

Diwali at Wembley Park

Diwali Wembley Park

wembleypark.com/diwali

Celebrate Diwali at Wembley Park on 1 October 2022 with a range of free, family-friendly events. Enjoy dance and musical performances from groups in the Brent community, including BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. There will also be a beautiful lantern parade to emphasise Diwali’s main message: the triumph of light over darkness. Visitors can also enjoy a range of food and drink options from various vendors around Wembley Park.

Price range: free

How to get there: Take the Jubilee line westbound from London Waterloo to Wembley Park.

Diwali Firework Display, Harrow

diwalifireworksdisplay.co.uk

Byron Park, Harrow, HA3 7PN

Fireworks are an integral part of Diwali celebrations, so you won’t want to miss this spectacular display at Byron Park in Harrow on 5 November 2022. With a fun fair, kids entertainment show, face-painting, dance performances and street food vendors, this is bound to be a fun-filled day or evening out for the whole family.

Price range: £

How to get there: From London Waterloo, take the Bakerloo line northbound to Harrow & Wealdstone. Byron Park is a nine-minute walk away.

Best restaurants for Diwali in London

What better way to celebrate Diwali than with a delicious meal at some of London’s best and most authentic Indian restaurants? Discover our top picks across the capital, with options to suit all tastes and budgets.

Bengal Village, Shoreditch

Bengal Village

bengalvillage.com

75 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Brick Lane has long been known for its many Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants, and Bengal Village is one of the best in the area. Serving a vast range of authentic curries, street food favourites, tandoori and biryani dishes, this laid-back restaurant is the perfect place for a Diwali family gathering.

Price range: £

How to get there: At London Waterloo, take the westbound Jubilee line to Westminster, then change for the eastbound Circle and District line to Aldgate East. Bengal Village is an eight-minute walk away.

Booma, Brixton

booma-brixton.co.uk

244 Brixton Road, London SW9 6AH

What better pairing than delicious Indian food and a cold, refreshing beer? At Booma, they’ve combined the two so you can enjoy Indian street food dishes, curries and more, alongside an impressive selection of craft beer. But if you’d prefer a glass of wine, a cocktail, or a non-alcoholic drink, you’ll find plenty of options available.

Price range: £

How to get there: Take the Victoria line southbound from Vauxhall to Stockwell, then walk 12 minutes to Booma.

Dishoom, Covent Garden

Dishoom Covent Garden

dishoom.com

12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB

Enjoy authentic Indian street food inspired by the Bombay café culture of the early twentieth century at Dishoom Covent Garden. From tikka dishes cooked on the open-air grill to classic curries and delicious sides, the menu caters for all tastes and dietary requirements, including dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Price range: ££

How to get there: From London Waterloo, take the Bakerloo or Northern line northbound to Charing Cross. Dishoom Covent Garden is an eight-minute walk away. If you fancy a scenic walk across the river instead, you can get to the restaurant from Waterloo in 24 minutes.

Veeraswamy, Regent Street

veeraswamy.com

99-101 Regent Street, London W1B 4RS

Veeraswamy is London’s oldest Indian restaurant, founded in 1926, making this a special place to celebrate Diwali. Overlooking Regent Street, this is the perfect place to stop and enjoy a meal with family or friends during the festivities. The menu is based on traditional cuisine with a modern twist, including street food favourites like Raj Kachori, tikka dishes, curries and sharing platters.

Price range: £££

How to get there: Take the Bakerloo line northbound from London Waterloo to Piccadilly Circus, then it’s a two-minute stroll to the restaurant.

BiBi, Mayfair

bibirestaurants.com

42 North Audley Street, London W1K 6ZP

This Mayfair restaurant serves contemporary Indian cuisine using British produce and spices from across the Indian subcontinent. They are known for their chaat and grilled dishes, which always incorporate unique, seasonal flavours. The small and cosy atmosphere makes this the ideal place for a family gathering during Diwali.

Price range: £££

How to get there: Take the eastbound Jubilee line to Bond Street from London Waterloo, then walk eight minutes to the restaurant.

Trishna, Marylebone

Diwali Trishna

trishnalondon.com

15-17 Blandford Street, London W1U 3DG

Located in Marylebone village, Trishna is a Michelin-starred restaurant serving contemporary Indian cuisine with optional wine pairings. From biryanis to curries, tandoori dishes and plenty of vegetarian options, there’s something to suit every taste here. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere, visit this restaurant to celebrate Diwali in style.

Price range: £££

How to get there: At London Waterloo, take the Jubilee line eastbound to Bond Street, then it’s a nine-minute walk to Trishna.

Looking for more unique things to do in the capital? Our London bucket list travel guide includes a range of ideas to help you plan your next day out. Once you’re set on where to go next, book your train tickets in advance and find the right ticket type for travelling on our network. Don’t forget to check whether you’re eligible for Railcards and discounts, as you could save even more on your journey! Visit SWR Rewards and find discounts at some of the top things do to in London, exclusively available to SWR customers.