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How to Plan Outdoor Events in London

Outdoor Events in London

England’s capital is host to thousands of outdoor events each year; from winter ice-rinks and Christmas markets, to summer fetes and fairs, and year-round street clothing and food markets. Although the size of the capital can be overwhelming for small-scale event planners, there are hundreds of outdoor green spaces and squares perfect for a plethora of events. 

Popular locations for markets include South Bank, overlooking the Thames and home to the London Eye, Liverpool Street Market and Brick Lane Market, with many smaller street events popping up all across the city. Hosting an event near major London landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace will certainly increase accessibility, attraction and popularity. 

London’s events range from sports to music to food; the London Marathon, and the night-time MoonWalk are popular sporting events, with ice rinks popping up all over the city in the winter. Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is an extremely popular outdoor event throughout the Christmas period. Music festivals range from huge events like Wireless in Crystal Palace Park, and British Summer Time, to smaller scale music events of all genres.

Where should I start?

With a population of over 9 million, and spreading across 32 London Boroughs, event planning in London can be overwhelming. OnePlan helps make getting started much simpler. OnePlan’s accurate mapping system, using satellite, road maps and black and white mode, highlights any major attractions, as well as nearby Tube stations, helping to inform your choice of event location.

1. Picking a Venue

The first step in planning any successful event will be finding a venue that is suitable for your event needs. For outdoor events, important considerations include the location, accessibility, ambiance, local services, capacity, and the requirements for potential event planning permits. Your requirements will be dependent on the type of event, and size of crowds expected. For larger crowd based events, such as outdoor music events or markets, one of the many commons and parks in London would be a great location, such as Victoria Park, Kennington Park, or Clapham Common. Especially in the summer, hosting an event along the Thames is hugely popular; a vintage market on South Bank, or an open-water swim at the banks of Canary Wharf and the Royal Victoria Docks.

In London, you will find a plethora of squares dotted around the boroughs, perfect for smaller-scale markets and art fairs, from Chelsea and Kennington to the areas surrounding Covent Garden. Using OnePlan’s accurate mapping tools, you can clearly search your areas’ street and map view, to assess whether it is right for you. Our maps have 5 x accurate zoom and with 3D interactive maps on the way, you’ll be able to find a perfect event location. 

2. Crowd Management

It is important to create a crowd management plan, both during your event, and as event comers arrive and leave, especially when using public transport. OnePlan’s Arrival and Evacuation calculators are useful tools to help prepare for crowd arrival. The arrival model provides an estimated queue length and queue time for ticket checks and security screening operations. Planners need to provide:

  • Capacity of the operations; for example how many people do you expect to screen per 15 minutes or how many people will go through a ticket check in 15 minutes.
  • Arrivals by 15 minutes: this is an estimate of how many people you think will arrive per 15 minutes.
  • Start and end time

The model allows you to test various scenarios, including planning ahead for potential public transport delays or an increase in attendance, for events that may not be strictly ticketed. The Event Dashboard in OnePlan shows you an overview of all crowd management and measurement tools, so you can easily see your expected capacity and crowd area size, in either metres or feet.


Effective crowd management with also be essential for road events, including cycling races, marathons, and triathlons, especially since they are open to the public. By managing expected crowd entry flow at certain points of the event, both staff and attendee safety can be prioritised. This management important at start and finish lines, where large crowds will gather to cheer their friends, family, and other participants to the finish. OnePlan’s Measure Crowd Area tool calculates the safe capacity of any area, including allowing for any distancing restrictions necessary. For ticketed outdoor events, such as road races, this toll is invaluable in guiding necessary crowd barriers, and security staff on the event site.

3. Public Transport

Accessibility is essential for planning outdoor events, especially in such a bustling capital city. Luckily, the London Underground’s 270 stations make moving across the city quick and simple, and will likely be the preferred method of transport for your event goers, with tubes running every three to seven minutes. When creating an event plan, it will be useful to release advised travel guidance for your attendees, including the closest few tube stations, and where to find any line closures or updates. If your event is larger, we suggest contacting Transport for London to make them aware of any increased crowd flows.

"OnePlan is easy to learn and use, delivers professional looking plans and gives me advanced tools for event management."

Cheese and Chilli Festival logo

Simon Stewart

Cheese & Chilli Festival

4. Permissions and Permits

By British Law, any event in public space open to public articulation requires a TEN permit; a Temporary Events Notice. Especially for larger parks, you will not only require a booking licence, but a licence for:

  • selling alcohol
  • serving alcohol to members of a private club
  • providing entertainment, such as music, dancing or indoor sporting events
  • serving hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am

You must apply for a TEN at least 10 working days before your event; more information about bookings can be found on the website; with a £21 application fee.

Start using OnePlan for free today to deliver a spectacular outside event! London’s calling…

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