15 Things to Do in London on May Bank Holiday Weekend

Early May bank holiday weekend is shaping up to be the best weekend of 2021 so far, with events – actual real life events – taking place! Most are outdoors, for those not too sure yet, but London Original Print Week has taken the plunge and organised a gallery tour across the capital

Lead image: Layton Williams performs at West End Musical Drive-In (photo courtesy West End Musical Drive-In)

1 La Terrazza & Aperol Spritzeria at Eataly London
From 29 April
A 42,000 sq ft haven of Italian food – the largest in the world – open in Broadgate on 29 April. Eataly – a fusion of EAT and ITALY – will first open the market and retail area, take-away eateries and brand-new alfresco dining concept, La Terrazza di Eataly. La Terrazza will offer an exclusive Italian menu of sharing dishes and host an Aperol Spritzeria, serving cocktails, wine, beer and a touch of la dolce vita in the city. The Eataly London market will offer over 5,000 quality Italian and local food products, including fresh produce from the butcher, fishmonger and cured meat and cheese counters, as well as more than 2,000 wine labels, making it London’s biggest Italian wine cellar. Indoor dining will launch from 20 May.
135 Bishopsgate, Spitalfields EC2M 3YD; eataly.co.uk

2 NGS Open Gardens, Muswell Hill
Open Sunday 2 May
Featured on Channel 4’s All Gardens Great and Small, 5 St Regis Close in Muswell Hill garden is a cornucopia of sensual delights. As well as an Oriental tea house overlooking a wildlife-friendly pond with carp, there’s a baroque temple, pagodas, a Raku-tiled mirrored wall concealing a plant nursery, a pottery and even a ‘Liberace terrace’ complete with candelabra. In terms of flora, you’ll find a beautiful weeping willow and abundant planting including neatly edged borders full of tulips and forget-me-nots, container plants, cotinus coggygria, wisteria and succulents. 2pm-6pm. Adults £4, kids free. Also open 20 June & 25 July.
5 St Regis Close, Alexandra Park Road, Muswell Hill N10 2DE; ngs.org.uk

3 Drive In Cinema at Alexandra Palace & Brent Cross
1-3 May
Rooftop Cinema’s Drive In Cinema is back at Alexandra Palace and on bank holiday weekend the drive-in stalwarts will be showing Black Panther (1 May, 5pm), Fight Club (1 May, 8.30pm) and three dog-friendly screenings on Sunday 2 May. There’s Scoob at 2pm, Ratatouille at 5pm and Isle of Dogs at 8.15pm. On bank holiday Monday it’s The Lion King at 3.15pm, 10 Things I Hate About You at 6pm and Minari at 8.45pm. Over at their Brent Cross site, it’s 80s weekend, with screenings of The Princess Bride (1 May, 5pm), Do the Right Thing (1 May, 8pm), An American Tail (2 May, 2pm), Back to the Future (2 May, 5pm) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (2 May, 8pm). On bank holiday Monday it’s The Avengers at 2.30pm, Clueless at 6pm and The Guardians of the Galaxy at 8.30pm.

4 Skylight Canalside featuring KERB, Wapping
1 May-7 August
Skylight Canalside featuring KERB launches this bank holiday weekend, running every Saturday throughout the summer until 7 August. The new collaboration offers some of London’s finest street food across the Grade I-listed warehouses and cobbled lanes of Tobacco Dock’s ground-level Quayside area. Located waterside beneath the two ‘pirate’ ships, the new addition to east London’s eating and drinking scene is a great alfresco setting for Covid-conscious catch-ups. Two new KERB food trucks will park up each month, with Neapolitan-style pizzas by Fundi and Italian-inspired burgers by Tongue and Cheek up first. Tables of six are available to book on Saturdays throughout the summer, until 7 August. Tables are £10 to secure for a two-hour-45-minute session, starting at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm.
Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane Entrance E1W 2SF; skylightlondon.com

5 Seven Dials Unplugged
1 May
Seven Dials Unplugged launched on 17 April for seven weeks of live music on Saturdays. Seven up-and-coming UK-based artists will play acoustic sets in the area’s iconic streets in an initiative to support performers heavily affected by COVID-19. Discover the pop-up performances in the West End village during select Saturdays between 2pm and 7pm up until 26 June. Performances will take place simultaneously in a number of different outdoor locations throughout the intertwined streets, encouraging music fans to move about rather than crowd around one performer. Each set will last 15 minutes. Timed road closures and additional outdoor seating for many restaurants and cafes mean that the iconic Seven Dials district will make a great alfresco destination this spring/summer.

6 London Original Print Week, various locations
1-8 May
London Original Print Week offers a Print Tour across London galleries and studio over the bank holiday and following week. In Mayfair and St James’s, you’ll find a Robert Rauschenberg show at Bastian Gallery, a Matisse exhibition at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, Georg Baselitz at Cristea Roberts, Lucy Sparrow at Lyndsey Ingram and mixed shows at Marlborough Graphics. Elsewhere, Paupers Press in Shoreditch is teaming up with Pratt Contemporary to hold an open studio showing the print presses in action; Advanced Graphics in Kennington welcome visitors to view Anthony Frost’s new prints; King’s Cross Pangolin London celebrates its new representation of the estate of St Ives artist Breon O’Casey; and Karsten Schubert in Soho is showing Bridget Riley and Alison Wilding.

7 Hackney Vegan Village
1-2 May
Hackney Vegan Village returns this bank holiday weekend in collaboration with Plant Based Events. Located at Bohemia Place Markets opposite Hackney Central station, you’ll find some of London’s top vegan street food and artisan traders in sustainably-made clothing, gifts and skincare, as well as craft beer, cocktails, gifts, music and more. Covid-19 health and safety measures in place, the themed bars are open for takeaway and the event is pet and family friendly. 11am-6pm. Entry is free but you’ll need to reserve a ticket (and a £2 donation is welcome).
Bohemia Place E8 1DU; bohemiaplacemarket.com

8 West End Musical Drive In, Enfield
1 May
West End Musical Drive In – West End stars, direct to your cars – takes place every Saturday this spring. The perfect pitstop on the roadmap out of lockdown, it’s a great experience for theatre fans, where you can sing and dance along with your favourite stage stars as they belt their way through the musical canon. Previous Drive In performers include Kerry Ellis, Rachel Tucker, John Owen-Jones and Layton Williams. Contact-free delivery services will be available for food and drink. Tickets from £65 per car. Doors open at 1.45pm. Starts at 2.30pm.
The Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road N18 3QQ; westendmusicaldrivein.co.uk

9 Jack & Beyond Pop-Up Shop, Notting Hill
24 April-9 May
Fulham creative cake shop and bakery Jack & Beyond has opened a pop-up shop in Notting Hill. The shop will sell the bakery’s full range of cakes, irresistibly gooey brownies and amazing macarons, as well as takeaway coffee, tea and other drinks. Jack & Beyond was founded in autumn 2019 by Fulop Gabor, who was previously manager of Konditor in Borough Market. Follow @jackandbeyond on Instagram for inspirational cakes, bakes and all the latest news.
127 Portobello Road, Notting Hill W11 2DY; jackandbeyond.com

10 The Silk Road: A Living History, King’s Cross
Until 16 June
The Silk Road: A Living History is an open-air photography exhibition by travel photographer Christopher Wilton-Steer. The exhibition documents Wilton-Steer’s journey along the historic trade route undertaken in 2019. Over a period of four months, he travelled 40,000km, traversing 16 countries by car, bus, train, ferry, horse and camel, from London’s King’s Cross London to Beijing. The exhibition’s linear design, around Granary Square, creates a physical route for the viewer offering them the chance to travel by proxy via more than 160 photographs capturing the places, people and cultures along the ancient trade route. Presented by The Aga Khan Foundation in partnership with King’s Cross.
Granary Square, King’s Cross N1; akf.org.uk

11 Russell Tovey’s Tour of King’s Cross
From 27 April

A tour of the rich cultural history of King’s Cross with actor and art aficionado Russell Tovey is not something we had anticipated doing this bank holiday weekend, but we’re certainly game! Alas, he won’t actually be there in person, but his 45-minute audio guide will take you from the smoky heart of Victorian industry and London’s underground clubbing heyday, to today’s contemporary, vibrant hotspot. In King’s Cross: Art + Culture Tour, Tovey takes you through the world-class art installations, famous architecture and rich cultural history of the area. Did you know, for example, that the warrior Queen Boudicca’s final battle with the legions of Rome, ending the resistance to Roman rule in Britain, supposedly took place at Battle Bridge Road in King’s Cross? Let Tovey tell you all about it… The free tour can be accessed via an online app.

12 The Return of London at The St Martin in the Fields Crypt Gallery
1 May-31 July
A brand new commemorative printed map has been created by the celebrated artist-cartographer Adam Dant to mark the 300th anniversary of the first foundation stone being laid at the Church of St Martin in the Fields. Unveiled for the first time at The St Martin in the Fields Crypt Gallery, The Novel Map of the Parish of St Martin in the Fields forms the exciting centrepiece for an exhibition of the artist’s lively depictions of London public spaces. The Return of London is also part a wider series of activities celebrating the ‘reanimation’ of the capital, with the church of St Martin in the Fields at it’s heart. Running daily from1-8 May, 12pm-5pm, then every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of The London Original Print Fair. Tickets are free and bookings can be made here.
Crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square WC2N 4JH; stmartin-in-the-fields.org

13 Afternoon Tea Takeaway from Fifty Seven Kitchen + Bar, East Dulwich
1-2 May
Fifty Seven Kitchen + Bar in East Dulwich, by award-winning caterer Suzanne James, is offering afternoon tea takeaways and boozy brunches to go this bank holiday weekend. The Bank Holiday Weekend Afternoon Tea, packed to the brim with hand made delights straight from James’s sustainable and organic-lead kitchen, is available on Saturday 1 May for collection only (from Suzanne James HQ at The Old Bakery, 11b Barry Road SE22 0HX between 9am-10am), priced £75 for two. You can also enjoy an alfresco Bottomless Brunch at Fifty Seven Kitchen + Bar (57 North Cross Road SE22 9ET), where you can enjoy 90 minutes of brunch dishes and bottomless prosecco cocktails blended with the juice of your choice (Sunday 2 May, 11.30am-1pm), priced £40pp.

14 Roof East, Stratford
From 12 April
London’s biggest outdoor playground – the 30,000sq ft Roof East in Stratford – is back for summer. Located atop a Stratford multi-storey car park (like all the best bars!), you can play bowls at the new East London Bowls Club, mini-golf on the new-look Birdies course and practice your swing in the Sluggers Batting Cages. The bar serves wine, craft beers, softies and specially crafted cocktails (it’s a great spot for sundowners), as well as street food from the vendors – Cheeky Burger and East Side Pizza (from 12 April) and Kolkati (opening in May). Throughout the summer, Roof East will announce even more games and events, including Rooftop Yoga and Rooftop Film Club from May. Walk-ins accepted but as capacity is limited you’re advised to book. Open until the end of September 2021 from Thurs-Sun (currently), then Tues-Sun from 17 May.
7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Road E15 1BB; roofeast.com

15 Never Forget Stephen Lawrence, Brixton Village
From 22 April
Never Forget Stephen Lawrence is a campaign and cultural programme shining a light on the life and legacy of Stephen Lawrence in partnership with Brixton Village, adidas and the south London charity Re:Sole. A large-scale exhibition, which launched on National Stephen Lawrence Day, has taken over Brixton Village to commemorate the anniversary of Stephen’s death. Running for a month, the exhibition takes the form of 29 flags installed across the market, featuring portraits of society champions that Stephen would have been inspired by. Among the portraits are Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon, Goldie, Maya Jama, Jermain Defoe and Speech Debelle. A short film will launch in full later this month, featuring Idris Elba, Ed Sheeran, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Ian Wright, Noel Clarke, Maya Jama, Beverley Knight, Anne-Marie and Alex Beresford. Plus, Re:Sole will be donating ultra-boost adidas trainers and further footwear to NHS staff at King’s College Hospital.