When you hear the word “Oktoberfest”, what are the first things that come to mind? Lederhosen, sauerkraut, litres of beer, the chicken dance and a hearty meal of German wurst should be some of the first to flit to mind, and the Bavarian-themed flair should follow. It originated in 1810 in Bavaria to celebrate the marriage between King Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Now in 2019, the festivities don’t exactly hold any matrimonial significance but they sure are one heck of a celebration. It has spread far and wide, to cities all across the world, with no exception for the buzzing city of London which attracts over 50 000 people annually.
So here is what you should do: book yourself into a Shaftesbury Suite in London Marble Arch this October and get ready to celebrate the start of Autumn with a foaming Weiss in one hand and a warm pretzel in the other. Here is everything you can expect from 2019’s Oktoberfest in London.
The event is split into three events, stretching from the beginning of October until mid-September. The events are broken down into Millwall Park in Canary Wharf, Halloween Oktoberfest Special in Olympia London West Kensington, and the event in Central London. Their dates are as follows:
Millwall Park: 3-6 & 10-13 October
Halloween Oktoberfest Special: 24-26 October
Central London: 15-16 September
Tickets sell out quickly as this is such a fun and eclectic time in the capital. There are a number of different tickets you can buy. It is free for basic standing admission, while other tickets throw in beers and snacks, whereas VIP tickets will include much more. Excitingly, this year Thursday and Sunday tickets are free of charge.
To peruse the list of options, head to the websites below for more information:
Millwall Park: http://www.london-oktoberfest.co.uk/tickets_millwall.html
Halloween Oktoberfest Special: http://www.london-oktoberfest.co.uk/tickets_tottenham.html
Central London: http://www.london-oktoberfest.co.uk/tickets_central.html
The tickets sell out – so get booking ASAP! If you need some help with the process, do not hesitate to ask your hotel’s concierge to give you a hand. It is also important to keep in mind that a lot of tickets have specified areas and seats on them, meaning that if you want to sit with people you know, you should book as a group. Though the organisers can sometimes accommodate you via email, it is easier to make sure you are sat together from the start.
Nobody wants to be the only person in Dirndl and Lederhosen at an event, and nobody wants to be the only person in jeans and a t-shirt amidst a sea of plaited-pigtail-wearing Fräulein. But you can rest assured knowing that dressing up never goes badly at Oktoberfest, and people take London’s events very seriously when it comes to dressing up.
Don’t worry if you didn’t think to pack lederhosen when you decided to jet off to London’s Shaftesbury Hotels this October/September, because you jetted off to one of the world’s shopping capitals and you are bound to find something suitable before the event!
Here are a few costume shops – easily reached from Shaftesbury Suites in London Marble Arch – that might be able to help, which you might want to b-line to sooner rather than later:
Escapade: 45-46 Chalk Farm Rd, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8AJ
020 7485 7384
Angels Fancy Dress: 119 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8AE
020 7836 5678
Mad World Fancy Dress Hire: 69-85 Tabernacle St, Singer St, Old Street, London EC2A 4BD
020 7253 1003
In the unlikely situation where you are not able to find anything, there is a costume store and gift shop at the event that charges £29 per outfit, as well as selling miscellaneous items such as flags, wigs and moustaches – the foundations of a good fancy dress outfit, right?
Food and drinks
If there is only one thing you do not even slightly need to worry about, it is whether to eat dinner in the hotel before you go out or not. Though the hotel’s restaurant is superb and well worth a visit during your stay, there will be so much exciting, authentic Bavarian food at stalls within Oktoberfest that you are going to want to arrive hungry.
Note: You cannot take your own food and drinks into the venues, but trust us when we say you won’t want anything except what they are offering.
The beer at Oktoberfest is arguably one of the most enriching and historic parts of the festivities, though on the surface it just seems like a great reason to party. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that there were once actually some stringent rules on the beer that can be served at Oktoberfest. As per the law from the German Brewers Federation, which was established as far back as 1487 and referred to as Reinheitsgebot (translated: “purity law”), all beer must be made from malted barley, yeast, hops and water only. Nowadays, though, though this beer is available, you will be able to find deviations (such as gluten-free beer, thus not made with barley!) It is recommended that you try something new – maybe a tent-crawl is in order so that you can try out a bit of everything before deciding what you like?
The Oktoberfest events are 18+ except for on Sundays when children are welcome to attend the event with their parents. Not only is there a Sunday-lunch on, proffering delicious Bavarian delicacies, but there are also a number of family-orientated experiences that celebrate Bavarian culture.
Don’t fret about anything – the events are incredibly well organised. Card payments are accepted everywhere, cloakrooms are available and the music is pumping.
There is only one thing left to do and that is to start researching our Central London hotels’ special offers so that you can be in London (and save money!) during this festive time of year and celebrate like the Bavarians!
The beer has travelled in crates from Bavaria itself for the occasion and is ready to start flowing this Oktoberfest!