How To Celebrate Day Of The Dead In London
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How To Celebrate Day Of The Dead In London

Día de los Muertos is back for 2023

Every year on 2 November, Mexico is taken over by a vibrant fiesta joyfully celebrating and remembering departed loved ones: Día de los Muertos, known in the anglophone world as Day of the Dead. It follows All Hallows Eve on 31 October (a traditional Christian holiday to remember the dead, aka Halloween), and All Saints Day on 1 November celebrating the Saints of the church. If you fancy getting in on the action on home turf, here’s how to celebrate Day of the Dead in London in 2023.

What Is Day Of The Dead?

Day of the Dead dates back thousands of years, deriving from the Aztec, Toltec and other Nahua people. They saw death as an integral, ever-present part of life, and believed mourning the dead to be disrespectful. Nowadays, the tradition is a blend of Mesoamerican ritual, European religion and Spanish culture. It’s based on the belief that, on the Day of the Dead, the border between the spirit world and the real world dissolves, meaning people can reunite with loved ones. It’s widely celebrated in Mexico, where parties and parades take place, and revellers don costumes, drink, dance and play music.

How To Celebrate Day Of The Dead In London

London’s Day Of The Dead Parade

Columbia Road’s annual Day of the Dead parade is back for 2023, featuring vibrant costumes, live music, Mexican food and drinks, dancers, a yoga session, and the parade’s inaugural skeleton bike ride.

 

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Details: From midday on Columbia Road (London E2 7RG). The skeleton bike ride begins at 11am from Arnold Circus, with hair and makeup at the Beauty Parlour (67 Columbia Road) from 10am. columbiaroad.info

Day Of The Dead Festival

Somers Gallery (formerly known as the UK Mexican Arts Society) will host a large Day of the Dead celebration on Saturday 28 October, featuring live music, a Mexican market, films and workshops, plus a special parade commencing at 4.30 pm.

 

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Details: 11 am–7.30 pm on Saturday 28 October 2023 at Somers Gallery (Ossulston Street, London NW1 1DF) between Euston and Kings Cross stations. See the full line up at somersgallery.com

100 Wardour Street’s Day Of The Dead Party

Legendary drinking, dining and dancing destination 100 Wardour Street is teaming up with tequila and mezcal brand, Casamigos this Day of the Dead, hosting a vibrant Mexican fiesta featuring hanging skulls, brightly lit candles and floral garlands, all paired with Mexican food and devilishly good, tequila-based cocktails. Each ticket includes a Casamigos margarita and a three-course Mexican dinner, featuring the likes of chicken taquitos, tuna tostada and BBQ sweet potato tacos. End with churros with cinnamon sugar and a chocolate dip for the perfect Mexican ending.

Day of the Dead at 100 Wardour Street

Details: 6 pm until late on 2 November 2023 at 100 Wardour Street (London W1F 0TN). Tickets are £35 and can be booked here.

Temper Shoreditch’s Día De Los Muertos Party

A special Día de los Muertos soiree will take over Temper Shoreditch in a belated celebration, featuring face painting, fortune telling, a DJ and an exclusive list of Cazcabel cocktails. Meanwhile, the menu will feature special Mexican dishes such as smoked chicken pozole and smoked pork belly frijoles from 30 October–4 November 2023.

Día De Los Muertos Party At Temper Shoreditch

Details: Friday 3 November 2023 at Temper Shoreditch (78 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3JL). Tickets are £20 per person and can be booked at temperrestaurant.com

Day Of The Dead Brunch

Feel transported to the land de los muertos at Gaucho City’s inaugural brunch, hosted in celebration of Day of the Dead. Enjoy a Casamigos tequila tipple and feast on a three-course South-American inspired menu, accompanied by a Mexican Mariachi band and Gaucho’s house DJ.

 

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Details: Saturday 28 October 2023 at Gaucho City (1 Bell Inn Yard, London EC3V 0BL). £50 per person alcohol free, or £70 per person with alcohol. Book at gauchorestaurants.com

Party At The Palm House

Victoria’s newly refurbished bar and restaurant The Palm House has teamed up with Tequila Rose to throw a party to celebrate Mexico’s famous holiday. Revellers are invited to immerse themselves in the lively and enchanting traditions by partying hard amid a kaleidoscope of patterns at every turn. Expect an archway of neon foliage welcoming guests into a wonderland of floral surrounding starring neon skulls, skeletons and cascading wreaths. Plus, complimentary skeleton face painting will take place, soundtracks by resident DJs all night long.

Palm House Victoria

Details: Thursday 2 November 2023 at The Palm House (150 Victoria St, London SW1E 5LB). Book in advance at palmhouselondon.co.uk to receive a complimentary glass of Tequila Rose upon arrival.

Camden Market

Camden Market is known for championing creativity, and it is welcoming a diverse range of festivities this season in celebration of both Halloween and Day of the Dead. There’s a giant sugar skull to see, plus actors moving throughout the quarter, creating an immersive experience as you shop. Plus, from 26–28 October, North Yard will come alive with a carnivalesque line up, alongside children’s entertainment hub will offer complementary face painting, balloon modellers and craft workshops. On Sunday 29 October, it’s all about Dia de los Muertos, with a special parade in partnership with Somers Gallery (formerly known as the UK Mexican Arts Society).

Day of the Dead at Camden Market

Details: 23 October–2 November 2023 at Camden Market (54-56 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AF).

Wahaca

Wahaca is getting a Day of the Dead makeover, with specially-created decorations handcrafted by talented Mexican artisans from Oaxaca, including calacas (the skeleton figurines traditionally displayed across Mexico during the celebrations), and papel picado altars reflecting traditional ofrendas. Feast on the seasonal special dish amongst all of the visual festivities: the four cheese and jalapeño empanada oozing with British-made ‘Halloumi’, mozzarella, Monterey Jack and feta. And raise a glass to the dearly departed with the Marmalade Mezcalita (Quiquiriqui Matatlán mezcal, zesty lime and a house-made guajillo chilli marmalade syrup), or a free shot of Gran Centenario tequila on 2 November for every diner.

 

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Details: The seasonal Empanada and Marmalade Mezcalita are available from 4 October–8 November 2023 across Wahaca’s venues. wahaca.co.uk

Party At Silverleaf

The Lost Explorer Mezcal will take over Pan Pacific London’s Silverleaf bar this Day of the Dead, providing an exciting colourful and musical evening featuring a live Mariachi band and DJ throughout the night. Meanwhile, taste The Lost Explorer Mezcal yourself through three drinks: the refreshing Cucumber Copal laced with Espadín; the woody Tobalá paired with a beer; and the herbaceous Salmiana served simply on the rocks with jalepeño.

Día de Muertos at Silverleaf

Details: 5 pm until later on 2 November 2023 at Silverleaf (3 Bishopsgate Plaza, 3rd Floor Devonshire House, London EC2M 4JX). Book your table at panpacific.com or walk-ins are also welcome.

Bluebird Chelsea

This King’s Road hotspot is joining in with the Dia de Muertos celebrations, partnering with Casamigos to infuse the lively spirit of Mexico into the restaurant, and welcome spooky season into the heart of Chelsea. Visit to see a breath-taking autumnal transformation of the terrace, adorned with traditional marigolds and captivating skull decorations, best enjoyed with a specially crafted Casamigos cocktail in hand.

Day of the Dead at Bluebird Chelsea

Details: Throughout October at Bluebird Chelsea (350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU). bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

Brunch At Side Hustle

Get in on caviar’s London renaissance at Side Hustle, where the Chicharrón y Caviar – a fried pork dish with Imperial Oscietra Caviar, avocado, jalapeno and yuzu – is ready and waiting. Or tuck into the other Latin American dishes, from Croquetas de Esquites to Pork Belly Al Pastor, ending with Dulce de Leche Pancakes with corn custard and tequila cream. Meanwhile, sip on classic Mexican cocktails such as the Paloma, Michelada or Seasonal Margarita – or non-alcoholic options like El Diablito and sweet Horchata.

 

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Details: Saturdays and Sundays 11 am–2 pm at Side Hustle (Old Police Station Entrance, 28 Bow St, London WC2E 7AW). Book your table at thenomadhotel.com