Diwali at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden
Diwali at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London Getty

The Indian festival of Diwali, also referred to as the 'Festival of Lights' by many, is quickly approaching on Wednesday 11 November. Diwali has significance to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in India, making it the most widely celebrated festival in the country. Diwali is believed to mark new beginnings and a renewal of commitment to family values. It also represents the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, with the word Diwali, or Deepavali, meaning 'a row of lamps'.

Indians now make up the UK's largest foreign population, ONS figures revealed in July and in 2013 Indians consisted of the largest-born foreign group in London. Bearing this is mind, it is no surprise that Diwali is celebrated in huge numbers around the capital – with many Indians and non-Indians alike participating in the festivities. IBTimes UK has rounded up everything you need to know about celebrating the festival in the capital.

Trafalgar Square: Pre-Diwali cultural show

Every year the Mayor of London and the Diwali in London Committee put on a Diwali celebration in Trafalgar Square. The celebration comes slightly early this year – a whole month in advance – but is sure to succeed at getting everyone into the festive spirit. This event has previously attracted more than 20,000 visitors.

The event is due to kick off with a children's parade arriving at the square to perform a traditional Indian dance on the steps of Trafalgar Square. The children will be followed by a series of performances from cultural groups based around the country, including the traditional Garba dance – famously performed at this time of year in India – as well as Indian folk dances and Bollywood dances. Towards the end of the evening there will be a puja (prayer ritual) to keep in tradition with Indian Diwali customs.

When: Sunday 11 October, 12.30pm until 9pm
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Price: Free event. More details here.

Harrow Fireworks Festival: Funfair, markets and a fireworks display

The Harrow Fireworks Festival is about more than just fireworks. This year they have an incredible range of events for everyone to enjoy, including a fun fair, world food arena, cultural entertainment, DJs, a Disney parade and a 20-minute firework display.

People are also invited to submit their applications to host their own stall at the event, with small businesses able to sell their products. Furthermore, the Harrow Fireworks Festival has expanded to also include a 'Commerces Marquee', which will be full of local and bigger organisations, giving people the chance to network while enjoying the Diwali celebrations.

When: Saturday 7 November, 12pm onwards
Where: Byron Park Harrow, Peel Road, London HA3 7QX
Price: Tickets start at £5, with family tickets available from £10. More details here.

Neasden Temple: The largest Diwali celebration in the country

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in North West London boasts the biggest Diwali celebration in the country with their puja (prayer ritual) and fireworks display. Also known as the Neasden Temple, it is known to be the biggest Hindu temple outside India and is visited by many Indians in London throughout the year.

The temple will host food stalls with hot snacks from 4pm onwards on Diwali day and a puja service will take place between 6pm and 7.30pm. Following the service, a fireworks display will commence in the nearby Gibbons Park. The temple tends to attract the highest numbers in terms of religious worshippers, with 35,000 having attended previous Diwali events.

The temple will also organise a special Diwali Day Bus Service to transport people between Neasden Station and the temple, operating roughly every 10 minutes, until the end of the fireworks display.

When: Wednesday 11 November, all day until 9pm
Where: 105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, London NW10 8LD
Price: Free event. More details here.

The National Gallery: Educational activities for children of all ages

For those with children, The National Gallery is hosting a fun day of activities that include musical storytelling, art workshops, and traditional Indian dancing – all for free. Places are limited, so be sure to turn up early to avoid disappointment.

When: Saturday 14 November, 10am onwards
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Details: Free event. More details here.