While Shrove Tuesday may have originated from the Christian tradition of fasting during the month of Lent, this festival of batter has now developed into a universal tradition. Races, special menus and culinary celebrations across London make us oh, so grateful that you don’t have to be religious – or French, for that matter – to indulge in a crepe or five on March 4 this year.
Start the day with some sure-fire gags at Victoria Tower Gardens where at 10am, the Houses of Parliament will take on members of the press in the ultimate showdown: the Parliamentary Pancake Race. What better way to see your local MP than desperately flipping a frying pan while dashing to outrun a horde of journalists?
Next head to Borough Market where teams will be raising money for the Paintings in Hospitals charity by competing in the Better Bankside Pancake Day Race, tossing pancakes while sprinting against opponents in five heats starting at midday for two hours. Phew.
If watching all that the action is enough to have you working up an appetite, rush to the Lamb Tavern at 1pm, where the Leadenhall Market Pancake Race – featuring teams comprised of businesses from the market and surrounding area – will offer its first hundred spectators a free lemon and sugar crepe. Sorted.
If you have kids in tow, head to Spitalfields Market to have a snap with Crepeaffaire’s giant ‘Crepeman’ mascot, then to tuck in while the shop extends opening hours in what’s probably their busiest day of the year.
Meanwhile, across the road at the Truman Brewery, the Alternative Arts Organisation will host the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race in aid of the London Air Ambulance. The whistle blows at 12.30pm, with optional fancy dress and a prize for the best-dressed team of relay racers.
Admirable outfits also promise to feature at the Poulters Company Pancake Race between representatives of the Guildhall livery companies (Guildhall Yard, 11:30am), and at Greenwich Market, where the pancake tossing rivalry will continue into the afternoon and there’ll be crepes on sale for hungry onlookers.
Find out more ways to celebrate Pancake Day in London.