You may know it as Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, but here in Britain we call it Pancake Day. Origins of the tradition began when Christians needed to clean out their pantries, using up all the sugar, eggs, and other goodies before fasting began with Lent on Ash Wednesday. Today we devour as many pancakes as possible in one day and we (bizarrely) race them around in a frying pan. Legend has it that a housewife making pancakes back in the 15th century heard a ‘shriving’ bell signaling the start of the holiday and ran to the church with her frying pan. This year Pancake Day falls on March 8th.
See our list of London’s most exciting pancake races and where to feast on a nice hearty short stack:
London Pancake Races
The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race
Old Truman Brewery
Spitalfields E1 6QL
The most well known and lively of the London pancake races,
costumed teams of 4 sprint along Dray Walk near Brick Lane flipping in their finery.
Better Bankside’s Annual Charity Pancake Day Race
Montague Close SE1 9DA
Surrounding businesses take part to support the Paintings in Hospitals charity,
the winner must have at least 1/3 of a pancake remaining when crossing the finish line.
Pancakes on sale at the race.
Parliamentary Pancake Race
Victoria Tower Gardens
Millbank SW1P 3JA
For over a decade members of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Press
compete for the best tosser prize, racing behind the Houses of Parliament.
Proceeds support Rehab charity.
10:10 practice, 10: 20 start
Inter-Livery Pancake Race
Gresham Street EC2V 5AE
Teams from various livery companies race one another in official
attire and raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charity.
Arrive early for delicious pancakes and hot drinks.
Best Pancakes and crêpes in London
Zilli Fish – Challenge chef Aldo Zilli to a pancake flipping contest and win a free lunch for two. Competitors beware, Aldo is the Guinness Book of World Record holder for the most pancakes flipped in one minute. Can you beat 117?
For posh cakes in Sloane Square we recommend The Botanist. Their blueberry pancakes are to die for and on March 8th they will be showcasing their decadent crêpe selection from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm.
‘Pimp Your Pancake’ at Giraffe locations across London. £5.95 will get you 3 pancakes with 4 toppings, that’s a deal in London.
More top choices for pancakes and crêpes:
Be sure to share your favorite place for pancakes in London below.
feature image: The Knowles Gallery / flickr