Like pancakes? Then London is definitely the place for you on Tuesday 13 February this year. This is the date of one the UK’s oldest celebrations – Shrove Tuesday, sometimes described as Pancake Day.
The exact date of this festival changes every year. Although it takes place on a Tuesday, the exact date varies depending on when Easter is being celebrated. Shrove Tuesday has always been a time of celebration, reflecting the days when people took part in a Lenten fast during the weeks prior to Easter. Certain foods such as eggs could not be eaten during this time, so a tradition grew up in which the day before Lent started was a day of feasting, using up all those foods. Pancakes were the perfect way to use up large quantities of eggs. Check out City Booker to book your stay and be a part of this event.
In the UK, people don’t just eat pancakes but race with them on Pancake Day! And it is not just a matter of running with the pancakes in a container - they have to be in a frying pan and be tossed up in the air and turned while running. Not all the pancakes manage to be caught again, creating a lot of laughter. These are not small pancakes either, but large ones covering the entire base of a frying pan.
Two main races are run in London both of which now raise large sums of money for charity.
Head for the Westminster Tower Gardens near the Houses of Parliament for the Parliamentary Pancake Race. This is where members of the House of Lords, House of Commons and the members of the Press (Journalists and editors who are based in the Houses of Parliament) battle for supremacy. Various teams take part and it is always a lot of fun.
Fancy taking part yourself in a pancake race? The Spitalfields races are perfect for you. These races are held in the East of London at the Old Truman Brewery. Anyone can join in and have a go on the day, as long as you pay a donation to the specified charity. It is not an easy course to run because the route is along cobbled streets which are quite hard on the feet, as well as making it hard to keep your balance and the pancake in the air while running. Participating teams often wear fancy dress. The overall winner of the day is presented with an engraved frying pan. The place of this event isn’t too far away from short let serviced apartments Central London.
Equally important on this – or any other day – is to try out some of the best pancakes in London. Demand is always high in cafes and restaurants on Pancake Day when chefs often experiment with innovative fillings. Good places to try are My Old Dutch which has branches in Holborn, Kensington and Chelsea, the Wolseley in Piccadilly and Crème de la Crepe in Covent Garden.