As the weather warms up, so does London’s social calendar. Here’s 31 events to fill your diary with, from food festivals and vintage markets, to contemporary art exhibitions and pop-up parties
1 See contemporary art at Loughran Gallery, Motcomb Street
Motcomb Street’s newest gallery opened at the end of April, following a series of successful pop-ups around London and Edinburgh. Now in its permanent Belgravia venue, Loughran Gallery houses some of today’s most exciting contemporary artists. Throughout the month a visit to the gallery will bring you face-to-face with art by Chris Levine (best known for his portrait of The Queen in 2008), Dave White, Polly Morgan, Terry O’Neill and Tracey Emin, among others. Loughran Gallery is open Monday-Sunday.
20 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB; loughrangallery.co.uk
2 Notting Hill Mayfest, Notting Hill
Thirteen years in, the Notting Hill Mayfest is set to once again fill the area with its usual mix of arts, music, dance, theatre and lectures, talks and tours. Over 6 venues around Notting Hill the festival runs all month. A highlight for this year is the Silk Road evening on the 6 May, which will have Dr William Taylor present his recent three month journey on the Silk Road, which will outline the amazing things and people he came across on the way. There is plenty happening for the festival, so check out the website to get planning.
3 Psycle and brunch at Newman Street Tavern
Saturday and Sunday throughout May (and beyond)
Launching on Saturday 2 May in time for the Bank Holiday, Pyscle’s brunch club is designed to combine health and fitness with great food. Newman Street has worked with Psycle’s nutritionists to create two-course brunch menu packed with nourishing dishes, perfect for those who have just been on a ride with Psycle. Dishes such as soft-boiled eggs with asparagus soldiers and steak tartare with fried eggs and greens provide a healthy dose of protein and iron post-workout, while guests can top up on Vitamin D taking a table in the sunshine on Newman Street’s new street-side terrace. The two-course brunch club menu £15 per person for those who have already booked a class at Psycle, email email@example.com to book a table.
4 Big Easy May Day Party, Canary Wharf
On 1 May, Big Easy will celebrate the pre-opening of its third and biggest restaurant in Canary Wharf with a special May Day party. The party will be held next to where the new site will be at park level in the new and highly anticipated Norman Foster designed Cross Rail Place building. The party vibe will be in full swing thanks to sweeping views of the Canary Wharf skyline, food stalls serving Big Easy’s signature dishes, a bar pouring whiskies, wines, craft beers and slushies, and a soundtrack of live music from smashing house band The Big Easy All Stars. The May Day Party runs from 12pm-late.
5 Wandsworth Fringe Arts Festival, Wandsworth
1 – 17 May
On from 1 until 17 May, The Wandsworth Fringe Festival will take over the south west London borough. The line up and variety for 2015 is huge – expect a little bit of everything from the 70 events taking place in the fortnight. There will be pop-up performances, picnics, plays, comedy, cabaret, talks and tea parties. As part of the global network of Fringe Festivals, Wandsworth Fringe has emerged in the past few years as a vibrant community-focused festival that brings people together creatively.
6 Campos Viejo’s Streets of Spain, South Bank
1 – 4 May
Campo Viejo’s Streets of Spain returns to South Bank on 1 May, bringing with it a vibrant Spanish fiesta feel. Streets of Spain is split into three areas; there’s the Plaza Mayor with DJs and bands, food lovers can wander through a pop-up version of Barcelona’s famous la Boqueria market and taste the likes of paella and churros, while at Logroño, home of Campo Viejo, there will be blend-your-own wine master class.
7 The Modern Movement, Brockwell Lido, Brockwell
2 – 3 May
On the 2 and 3 May, Brockwell Lido in Herne Hill will host this festival of 20th Century design, now in its eighth year. The specially selected dealers and architects in attendance will be selling a range of stunning vintage furniture, objet d’art, jewellery and more, all against the backdrop of the art deco Lido Building.
8 Sunday Sessions at Source, Battersea
Source in Battersea will be holding a May bank holiday Sunday food and music sessions in its fantastic underground events space The Basement. The line up features fried chicken sandwiches, plenty of punches, martinis and negronis, and jazz and blues singer Haley Clibbery.
9 Christie’s Late, Christie’s South Kensington
Whether you’re an auction regular or just fancy a bit of a look, Christsie’s Lates at Christie’s South Kensignton will provide an insight into Asian Art on the 5 May. A range of talks on tea and Chinese art, demonstrations on caligraphy and musical performances by Janet Chao will entertain and inform throughout the night, and there will be drinks available. It kicks off at 6pm.
10 Andy Warhol at Andina Contemporary, Knightsbridge
6 May-15 June
Whether you have a spare £20k or not, you’ll be able to appreciate the genius that was Andy Warhol as his pop art pieces are exhibited at the Andipa Gallery in Knighsbridge from 6 May to 15 June. Among the iconic pieces for sale in the gallery are his works of Marilyn Manroe, Mick Jagger and the Campbell’s Soup Cans. Prices range from £20k-£250k, so call your bank manager first.
11 London Craft Week
6 – 10 May
London Craft Week is a new London initiative that celebrates the amazing array of craftsmen that we have in the city. The event, which runs from 6-10 May will showcase the creative skills by top brands across London. British candlemaker Rachel Vosper will be holding candle chandlery lessons on 7 May at her Belgravia store; LINLEY will be hosting a marquetry demonstration – a complex art form that is integral to the brand’s iconic pieces, and involves working with thin pieces of wood to create stunning effects – in Burlington Arcade; visitors can see how watches are made at Vacheron Constantin, and Odette Toilette will be making perfume at Fenwick Bond Street. The art, antiques and interiors experts on Pimlico Road will be getting involved collectively, including Soane’s rattan master craftsmen who will be travelling to London to demonstrate the rattan weave craft and the Ossowski family , who will host one of their prime craftsmen to showcase their water gilding skills in their shop window.
See the full programme of events at londoncraftweek.com
12 Celebration of Craftsmanship in Design, Brompton Design District
7 – 10 May
A big part of London Design week is taking place in Brompton Design District. To show off this hub, which is a destination for design, culture, fashion and food, the district is hosting a Celebration of Craftsmanship in Design featuring talks about techniques, skills and materials. Expect the likes of Squint, Skandium, The Conran Shop, B&B Italia, Cassina and Mint to be there, showing off what they do best.
13 African Fusion , Lacey Contemporary Gallery
Lavino Moda will present African Fusion – an artistic fashion show and ethnic African dance performance – at the Lacey Contemporary Gallery creative agency in May. With new collections from emerging African designers, dance and drumming performances and welcome drinks this is sure to be a great night of fashion and creativity.
14 DOGA at the London Pet Show
9 – 10 May
We have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a ‘Marmite’ fad, but like it or loathe it, DOGA – a sequence of yoga postures that incorporate canine massage, stretches, breathing and relaxation – is coming to London! To find out what it’s all about Dogamahny will be taking to the stage at the London Pet Show to demonstrate DOGA, talk about the benefits for you and your pet, and teach the top 5 DOGA postures.
15 Darkest Day film premiere, The Gate Cinema
This independent British action/adventure/zombie film took the talented team at BrightHelm Films six years to make will be premiered at The Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. Featuring plenty of up-and-coming talent, the film was self-funded, made on a micro-budget and shot in Brighton. Tickets are available online.
11 – 15 May
For a week of feasting and festivities Buenos Aires-style, take a visit to the inaugural Comilona Festival (11-15 May 2015), where the best of food and wine from one of the world’s most vibrant cities will be celebrated with true South American vibrancy. Nine of the best young Argentinian chefs will be the stars of the event, putting on talks, masterclasses and dinners that showcase their different interpretations of the cuisine. Restaurants hosting the festival include Zoilo on Duke Street, Casa Malevo and Abasto both on Connaught Street.
17 Barbershop fundraising concert, Clement James Centre, North Kensington
On 13 May, the Clement James Centre is taking the traditional Barbershop Quartet and turning it on its head for a night of fundraising. Expect songs from everyone from Rachmaninov to Cole Porter, along with an evening of drinks and canapés. The aim is to raise funds for this award winning project, which provides a variety of programmes to London’s most deprived areas. Programmes range from academic help for kids, to language and IT programmes. Tickets cost £30.
18 Museums at Night, various
13 – 16 May
This May London’s museums will open their doors after hours with plenty of special events, ranging from treasure trails to sleepovers. With plenty of museums taking part, such as The William Morris Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London Transport Museum and the Charles Dickens Museum, there is plenty of after-dark exploring to be done. See the website for more details.
19 Geneva’s Jet d’Eau. Exchange Square
Visitors to Exchange Square on 13 and 14 May will see a replica of Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau fountain installed and attached to a power bike. Hop on the bike and pedal like made to keep the water’s pressure up and be in with a chance to win amazing prizes. Those with the longest cycle times will be rewarded with the likes of a weekend away in Geneva. There will also be swiss wine and chocolate tastings going on across the two days. The bike will be at Exchange Square from 11am-8pm.
20 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
15 May -12 September
J.M. Barrie’s original stage play of Peter Pan will take centre stage as the opener to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2015 season. Running from 15 May-14 June, Artistic Director Timothy Sheader creates a Never Land where danger stalks dreams and adventure breeds mischief. Peter Pan will be followed by The Seagull (19 June-11 July), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (16 July-29 August), before Lord of the Flies closes the season from 3-12 September.
Regent’s Park, Inner Circle, Westminster NW1 4NU; openairtheatre.com
21 GOODjumble, Crofton Park, Lewisham
For a good dose of vintage and secondhand fashion without all the fuss, GOODjumble has you sorted. Not only are all clothes at the Lewisham vintage market washed, ironed and clearly marked with size and price, but they will also be accompanied by coffee and cake, good fitting rooms and free alterations.
22 The Last Word Festival, Roundhouse, Islington
Following the success of the inaugural The Last Word festival in 2013, the first spoken word festival of its kind in London, the Roundhouse announces the second event from 16-31 May. Highlights include Tongue Fu (pictured) on 28 May, a riotous experimental evening of literature and music.
For tickets, please call 0300 6789 222 or visit roundhouse.org.uk
23 May Design Series, ExCel Centre
May Design series is an interior design show aimed at those in the industry. Inspirational speakers such as Jo Malone and Abigail Ahern will take the stage during the event’s conference and seminar programme.
24 Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea
Every year the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are transformed into show gardens, inspirational small gardens and vibrant horticultural displays – and the world famous Chelsea Flower Show is back from 19-23 May. The show has become an important venue for watching emerging gardening trends, where new plants are launched and the popularity of older varieties are revived.
Royal Hospital Road SW3 4SR; 020 7881 5204; rhs.org.uk
25 Wine tasting dinner at Enoteca Turi
Tim Atkin, Master of Wine and journalist, will be hosting a dinner at Putney’s top Italian restaurant Enoteca Turi to introduce diners to two fantastic white wine regions in Italy, Friuli and Alto Adige. Guests will learn about the regions’ fascinating history, which includes being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the Unification of Italy. The wine tasting will explore the two terroirs, the distinctive styles of wine they produce and the perfect match they make for the complex cuisines of both regions. Tickets for the dinner and wine tasting cost £115 per person and the event starts at 7pm. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org
26 London Wine Week
18 – 24 May
As if you needed an excuse to celebrate the great drink, London Wine Week is back for its second year with a line up of pop-up tastings, masterclasses and self-guided wine tours around the city. £10 will get you a wristband and access to the bargains that include special deals on food pairings – everything from burgers to cheese selections will be matched with some great varieties at places such as the Hawksmoor in Spitalfields, or the Wright Brothers in Soho.
27 Horatio’s Garden, The Chelsea Gardener, Chelsea
As a celebration of their taking part in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, charity Horatio’s Garden will be hosting a fundraising reception at The Chelsea Gardener on 21 May. Cocktails and canapés will be served in Chelsea Gardener’s beautiful leafy surroundings and all the money raised on the night will go to the charity, which creates gardens for people with spinal injuries, providing spaces and programmes for creative and therapeutic activities.
28 Chocolate tasting, Alexeeva & Jones, Notting Hill
29 Greenwich Book Festival
22 – 24 May
Budding writers, literature fans and families alike will find something to educate and entertain them at this river-side festival. For three days, the inaugural Greenwich Book fair will put on talks, creative writing workshops, food and children’s events to festival-goers, with appearances from authors like Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist) and lecturers of the University of Greenwich.
30 Foodie’s Festival, Syon Park
23 – 25 May
If you consider yourself something of a foodie then you need to get yourself a ticket Foodies Festival at Syon Park. The west London park will see celebrity chefs, wine and beer tasting theatres, masterclasses and street food take over the area in a mammoth celebration of food and drink. There will be everything from lessons in oyster shucking to a class titled ‘How To Sniff Chocolate Like A Rockstar, and plenty of artisan produce to sample and take home.
31 Brockley Max, Brockley
26 May – 9 June
Brockley Max is a community-led arts festival held annually in south east London, and bringing with it a series of events that run from gigs, film, live street art, open studios and poetry to kids activities and cabaret from a New York-style pop-up piano bar, with the opening night kicking things off in style with an open-air concert for up to 400 people. Most of the 70+ events are free and take place in venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. Festival highlights include an open-air film night showcasing locally-made short films at the stone circle on Hilly Fields; the Brockley Brewery Beer Festival hosted by the Ladywell Tavern and the inaugural Brockley Street Art Festival, which runs in conjunction with Brockley Max.