Things to do August Bank Holiday in London

Wondering what’s on in London this August bank holiday? From exhibitions and home BBQ-kits to things to do with children and places to eat, drink and be merry in, here’s our top pick…

Photo: Crazy Pizza

1 Do indoors: Gravity Southside, Wandsworth
Set over three floors, this newly opened indoor entertainment centre is rammed-packed with fun things to do – whatever the weather is doing. There’s a go-kart race track, a 14-lane bowling alley with augmented reality, a golf course that sees you putt against iconic New York sights, and an e-sports gaming arena which has the best games on the latest consoles. If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, There’s shuffleboard, a digital darts zone, old school arcade games and something called the electric gamebox which is a ‘hyper-immersive 60-minute adventure’ which will remain a mystery until you actually try it out. Rest your feet at one of the three bars – a sports bar, a New York-style cocktail bar and a Japanese street bar and noodle kitchen.
Sunday to Thursday 8.30am-11pm, Friday to Saturday 8.30-12.30; Wandsworth High St, SW18 4TF;

2 Do outdoors: Free outdoor cinema, Wembley Park
Watch a feel good movie – for free – with a backdrop of the impressive Wembley Stadium. Wembley Park’s Summer on Screen is back with a programme of blockbusters, Bollywood faves, cult-classics and of course family-friendly films. Yesterday, Paddington, and Happy Ending will screen across the bank holiday, Friday to Sunday respectively. Pack some popcorn, a rug, and a thermos of hot tea, and nestle into a deckchair and settle in for the evening. Deckchairs are on a first come first served basis, but if you miss out, don’t worry, you can still watch the film.
Running until September 5; screenings are not ticketed; opposite London Designer Outlet; times and films are subject to change, so check the website before setting off; Wembley Park, HA9 0FA;

3 See: Paula Rego at Tate Britain, Millbank
Born in Portugal in 1935 during the dictatorship of Salazar, Paula Rego was sent to school in Kent aged 16. Her socio-political artworks revolutionised the representation of women in art. This exhibition – UK’s largest and most comprehensive retrospect of Rego’s work – tells the story of her remarkable life and highlights the personal nature of much of her work. Featuring more than 100 pieces of art including collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, drawings and etchings, the show spans Rego’s early work from the 1950s to her richly layered, staged scenes from the 2000s.
On until October 24; open daily 10am-6pm; general admission £18, concessions available; Millbank, SW1P 4 RG;

4 For Big Kids: Crazy Bubbles Double Bottomless Brunch, Crazy Pizza, Marylebone
For a special August bank holiday treat, not only will Crazy Pizza’s bottomless brunch take place on Saturday, it will take place on a Sunday too. The party style brunch will see a bottomless champagne offering, pizzas and entertainment that might get you dancing – shot shows, traditional napkin waving performances and pizza spinning shows that sees discs of dough twirl through the air. The drinks on offer include unlimited champagne, house spirits and mixers, cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks. There’s also a cocktail list if you wish. To eat, choose from classic Italian starters – freshly baked focaccia, mozzarella salad with asparagus and truffle, and baby octopus with croutons. Then you’ve got to decide which thin crust pizza you want to get stuck into, and finish it off with a wedge of tiramisu or Crazy Cake.
Brunch is from 12pm-3pm for a set price of £100 pp, with drinks included; 7 Paddington St, London W1U 5QH;

5 For Little Kids: Tiny Tea afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea
There’s plenty of things to do with children in London this bank holiday, that are either free, low cost, or a bit of a treat. As a treat that won’t break the bank, Bluebird Chelsea is running an afternoon tea especially for children will mini scones, Malteser milkshakes, jammy dodgers and fussy-eater friendly sandwiches such as cheese, or ham, or cucumber. Parents can chose from a more adult menu such as smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, macrons, and strawberries and cream tarts. If, for whatever reason this afternoon tea doesn’t work for you, why not try one of these kid-friendly afternoon teas instead.
Available Thursday to Sunday until the end of August, 3pm-4.30pm for children aged 3-10 years old; £12 for the Tiny Tea and £26.50 for the grownup afternoon tea; 6 person limit on bookings; 350 King’s Road, SW3 5UU;

6 Eat: Sartoria, Mayfair
If you’re looking for a treat, the elegant Italian fine-dining restaurant Sartoria, with its low-lighting, linen and plush, leather chair glory, could be your ticket. Headed by Calabria native and esteemed chef patron Francesco Mazzei (who also opened Radici in Islington and Fiume in Battersea), the menu is a feast of Italian classics. Think perfectly-grilled octopus on a bed of pillowy creamed potatoes and smoked ricotta, or fregola pellets drenched in a thick, soupy seafood sauce and strips of taglionlini tangled up with Scottish lobster and Amalfi lemon – all served up with a dose of formal charm. There’s also two new menus on the go as well, in partnership with Ferrari Wines. One’s an elevated Saturday brunch menu and the other is a selection of small plates available through the week. Each menu has been paired to a Ferrari drop, should you be wondering what to drink. If you’re lucky with the weather, dine on the terrace, but for the full experience, feast inside.
Monday to Saturday 12pm-3pm, 5pm-10pm; £££; 20 Savile Row, Mayfair, W1S 3PR;

7 Drink: The Mulwray, Soho
It’s always a joy to find a bar tucked away up a flight of stairs off a back street isn’t it? The newly opened natural wine bar The Mulwray – a polished yet laidback den with a friendly vibe – is one such gem. Natural wines may not be to everybody’s taste – they come with varying degrees of funk, tang and fizz. However, if you’re into wines that are different, bold and unusual, or want to try something new, then this cosy place is for you. Although a wall of wines you don’t know can be daunting, don’t worry about it. The sommelier knows her stuff and is full of suggestions based on what you like and what you are not so keen on. Chose a recommendation or, until September the bar is offering a ‘flight’ of wines (available Tuesday to Friday 5.30pm-7pm), based on a Balearic sunset, which is a kind of wine slider of sorts. For £15 try three wines – a rose, orange and a light, chilled red that look the sunset part and taste pretty good. Pair it, or any of the wines, with a charcuterie or cheese board for a post-dinner night cap, work knock-off or as an afternoon treat (that could easily stretch into an evening event).
Tuesday to Wednesday 5.30pm-10.30pm, Thursday 5.30pm-11pm, Friday to Saturday 5pm-12am; ££; First Floor, The Blue Posts, 28 Rupert St, W1D 6DJ;

8 Party: All Points East Festival, Victoria Park
A favourite London day festival that most likely has one or two acts that you’re keen to see. Headliners include Jamie XX, Kano, Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club. West London songstress Arlo Parks, Radio 6’s Giles Peterson, Mary Anne Hobbs and Celeste, with her soulful tunes are also highlights not to be missed. For the techno heads and ravers amongst us, electronic dance music festival Field Day takes place on the Sunday. Make sure you’ve got your vaccination documentation or have taken a PCR or lateral flow test before putting on your party shoes.
Tickets are sold by the day and start from £65.40 and available through or here; read Covid FAQS here; Victoria Park, Grove Road, E9 7DE;

9 Stay at home: The Cinnamon Club at-home BBQ Kits
Planning on having a low key bank holiday? Fair enough. If you’re laying low for the long weekend but still want a bit of a treat, Indian fine-dining restaurant in Westminster, The Cinnamon Club, have created an at-home BBQ kit for home entertaining over the bank holiday. It includes two types of chaat, an assortment of marinated meats and seafood ready to be grilled, along with sides of lentils, aloo and and naans, as well as sticky ginger and toffee pudding for dessert – what a feast! Available for delivery from Friday, August 27, food can be kept in the fridge for up to two days – so that’s your Sunday BBQ sorted.
The 10-dish kit for four people is £140 including delivery; order here; The Cinnamon Club, the Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, Westminster, SW1P 3BU;

10 Escape London: Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
World Heritage Site and home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family, Blenheim Palace is a good daytrip out of London, or an equally good excuse to get away for the night, for families, couples or friends. There’s luxe picnics to have, artwork by the mighty Ai Wei Wei to see as well as exhibitions on Winston Churchill and Cecil Beaton to discover too. There’s also plenty of activities for children – from axe throwing (yep) to catching a mini train to an adventure playground and learning about hawks. Of course, you could just relax and enjoy the resplendent grounds and gardens.
Open 9.30am-5pm, last entry into the palace is at 4.30pm; tickets start from £18.50/£9 adult/child and visitors have the opportunity to convert their day ticket into a free annual pass; Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1UL;

11 Staycation London: London Zoo Lodges, The Regent’s Park
Waking up (and going to bed) with the cacophony of animals around you sounds like the stuff sweet dreams are made of. As does going on an after-hours tour of the world-class London Zoo. Explore, discover and learn about all the animals that call the zoo home, and then stay the night in one of nine wooden lodges inspired by homes traditional to Gujarati, India, also the native home to the zoo’s lions. Tickets include a drink on arrival, breakfast and dinner on your lodge veranda, free entry for two days to ZSL London Zoo with the option of using up one of those days at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, car parking and an exclusive after-hours tour. Oh, and of course the accommodation.
Prices start at £345 for two adults; The Regenet’s Park Outer Circle, NW1 4RY