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This weekend provides a great opportunity to see multicultural London at its best, as Russian and Irish celebrations take over Trafalgar Square on successive days. You can also perfect your craft skills at Olympia, say happy birthday to HMS Belfast or catch a gay or lesbian film at the BFI.
The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia
Discover the reasons why crafts have become so popular at the Knitting and Stitching Show, which celebrates all things textile. Anyone with an interest in making their own clothes, gifts or other items will love the extensive range of stalls, which sell everything you need to perfect your creations. There are also helpful workshops, daily fashion shows and the chance to meet renowned designers and authors. Adult tickets are £15. 14-17 Mar
Maslenitsa Russian Festival in Trafalgar Square
Enjoy a lively celebration of Russian culture in Trafalgar Square this weekend, as the Maslenitsa festival celebrates the end of winter. Families can enjoy live music, dance and theatre performances, as well as a special marquee for children. Stalls will dotted around the square, selling everything from traditional handicrafts to Russian culinary specialties such as blini. The event starts at 1.30pm and entry is free. 16 Mar
HMS Belfast’s 75th Birthday Bash
Launched in 1938 on St Patrick’s Day, HMS Belfast was the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy for many years. You can explore her rich history and pay tribute to her distinguished past at this special birthday celebration, at which you can meet veterans, see simulated gun firing and take part in a range of special family activities. Admission to the celebration is included in the ticket price, which costs £14.50 for adults. 16-17 Mar
St Patrick’s Day, Various Venues
Join in the fun as London turns green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and most Irish pubs and restaurants around the capital will host special events and menus in honour of the occasion. A highlight of the day will be the St Patrick’s Day parade, which sets off from Green Park towards Whitehall at 12pm and contains a colourful variety of floats and participants – don’t miss the giant inflatable dragon designed by Keith Payne, who has worked with renowned rock groups such as the Rolling Stones. There is also a lively St Patrick’s Day celebration in Trafalgar Square, which features traditional Irish entertainment, a comedy tent and a food market. 17 Mar
The 27th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at BFI Southbank
This year’s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival has a bigger programme than ever before, featuring a diverse selection of films divided into ‘hearts’ ‘bodies’ and ‘minds’ categories. You can watch feature films, shorts, documentaries and archive classics, as well as attend special club nights at weekends. Many films are being premiered at the festival, which kicks off with a gala showing of ‘I Am Divine’ on Friday night. See the festival website for full programme details and ticket prices. 14-24 Mar