25 Things to Do in London this May Bank Holiday Weekend

Hurrah for the late May bank holiday weekend! Running from 25-27 May 2019, there’s plenty to do, from Chelsea Flower Show and Belgravia in Bloom to the Depop’s sustainable fashion market in Hackney and Jam on the Rye in Peckham

Lead image: Feria de Londres

1 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
21-25 May
The iconic Chelsea Flower Show returns with more than 100 thrilling floral displays. The Great Pavilion, a 12,000 sq ft marquee big enough to park 500 London buses, will again be the jewel in the Chelsea Flower Show crown, featuring the very best from the world’s finest nurseries, growers and florists. This year there will also be a whole host of specially designed gardens including the RHS Back to Nature Garden, co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, and Facebook’s first garden at the show called Beyond The Screen, which will celebrate people who have used Facebook to meet and connect with others.
London Gate, Royal Hospital Road, Royal Hospital Chelsea SW3 4SR; rhs.org.uk

2 Belgravia in Bloom
20-25 May
Belgravia in Bloom returns for its fourth year to transform Belgravia with a series of floral installations, unique displays and special events. Coinciding with The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Belgravia’s theme is the ‘The Language of Flowers,’ which invites visitors to discover the secret meaning behind every flower as they explore over 50 vibrant installations. Some highlights include Eccleston Yards holding creative workshops from floral illustration to herbal tea blending as well as Halkin Arcade, off Motcomb Street, hosting the Mood Gardens to improve mood and relieve stress.

3 Vegan Nights, Shoreditch
23 May
Thursdays are the new Fridays and Bank Holidays are the perfect excuse to start your weekend early. Vegan Nights returns to 93 Feet East in Shoreditch on Thursday 23 May, bringing the best of the UK’s vegan scene together with more than 40 street-food traders as well as an exciting DJ line up and new alfresco areas. Pets are more than welcome, so head down to The Truman Brewery for some delicious food, summer vibes and some serious dog spotting. Tickets cost £10.
150 Brick Lane, Shoreditch E1 6QL; vegannights.uk

4 Tender Touches at AMP Gallery, Peckham
17 May-30 June
Open Space has launched a temporary ‘art cafe’ cafe in Peckham where everything – from the food to the furniture and tableware – is both a functional object and an artwork. Even the food is a work of art, with a regularly changing seasonal menu created by Inês Neto dos Santos, a London-based Portuguese artist and co-curator of the exhibition, who is known for her food-based practice, using what we eat as a medium of artistic expression and social commentary. Taking place at AMP Gallery in Peckham, the exhibition and cafe will be open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10am-6pm. Go forth and Instagram your lunch free of judgement!
1 Acorn Parade, Peckham SE15 2TZ; openspacecontemporary.com

5 All Points East, Victoria Park
24 May-2 June
All Points East takes place over two weekends in Victoria Park. Run by AEG Presents, the event features some of the most exciting names in music. Taking to the stage on weekend one are The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Primal Scream (24 May), The Strokes, Interpol, Johnny Mar (25 May), Christine and the Queens, James Blake and Metronomy (26 May). On weekend two, it’s Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, Nothing But Thieves (31 May), Mumford & Sons, Dizzee Rascal, The Vaccines (1 June), Bon Iver, Mad Demarco and First Aid Kit (2 June). Plus, on Bank Holiday Monday (27 May), the JägerHaus, located between the north and east stages, presents Soho Radio Live during All Points East’s free midweek In The Neighbourhood programme. Florian Beuren, Jägermeister’s UK Brand Ambassador, will also lead cocktail ‘meisterclasses’ at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm.
Grove Road, Bethnal Green E3 5TB; allpointseastfestival.com

6 Amélie The Musical, New Wimbledon Theatre
22-25 May
Based on the Oscar-winning film, this new adaptation follows the story of Amélie, a shy young woman who improvises extraordinary acts of kindness to those around her. The new UK tour is a musical reimagining of the much-loved tale which was first staged in California in 2015. This marks its first outing on UK soil and will star Strictly Come Dancing favourite and television actor Danny Mac as Nino Quincampoix alongside French-Canadian stage and screen star Audrey Brisson as Amélie Poulain.
New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1QG; atgtickets.com

7 MCM Comic Con, ExCeL London
25-26 May
MCM London Comic Con will be returning to ExCeL London on 24-26 May to celebrate all things great and geeky, covering everything from movies, comics and videogames to anime, manga and cosplay. As well as hosting hundreds of exhibitors and retailers, the show features a Comic Village and Author Corner packed with ultra-talented artists and writers. Plenty stars of the screen will also be there including Sebastian Stan, who is known for playing Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Stranger Things star David Harbour.
Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Docks E16 1XL; mcmexpostore.com

8 Jam on the Rye, Peckham
27 May
KERB’s Jam on the Rye returns to Peckham with a celebration of sound system culture and London’s best street food, as well as a headline set by world renowned superstar Kelis – her first UK festival performance of 2019. The queen of R’n’B will perform hits such as Milkshake, Trick Me and Millionaire in a show of carnival-esque proportions. You can also expect a mix of reggae, afrobeat and new wave jazz across three stages, with appearances by Jazzie B and Omar alongside a street food line up featuring Bleecker Burger, Yum Bun and Only Jerkin’. Like all KERB events, this one’s for everyone from Baby Boomers to boom-boxers. Tickets from £30.
Strakers Road, Peckham SE15 3UA; kerbfood.com/jamonrye

9 Dulwich Opera Company presents Epic Moments, an Opera Gala concert
25 May

Dulwich Opera Company makes its debut at the newly opened Vaughan Williams Auditorium at James Allen’s Girls School, Dulwich, this weekend. The gala evening, which marks Dulwich Opera Company’s 5th anniversary, will feature arias and ensembles by Verdi, Puccini and Tchaikovsky. Young professional singers Loretta Hopkins (soprano), Phillipa Thomas (mezzo-soprano) and Borja Gómez-Ferrer (tenor) will be accompanied by the Dulwich Opera Company Chamber Orchestra, conducted by David Fletcher. Advance tickets from £23 (under 16s £10). 7.30pm.
Vaughan Williams Auditorium, JAGS, 144 East Dulwich Grove SE22 8TE; dulwichoperacompany.org.uk

10 Swing Dance Sunday at Cahoots, Soho
26 May
Cahoots, Soho’s underground 1940s-inspired cocktail bar, is throwing a knees-up this bank holiday Sunday. From 5pm-7pm you can take part in swing dance lessons before the doors open to everyone from 7pm for a DJ set with Auntie Maureen (complete with her gramophone) and a performance by pro swing dancers. Later, the Hotsie Totsies from across the pond will perform classic songs at 8.30pm, and throughout the evening, Belvedere ‘Espresso yourself on the dance floor’ Martinis will be served to keep everyone energised. If you get a little peckish, you can also order a selection of quintessentially British fare such as toasties and sausage rolls. Tickets are £20 for dance lessons and the after party. From 7pm, entry is £10 on the door.
13 Kingly Court, Carnaby W1B 5PW; cahoots-london.com

11 MARTINI Fiero Waterfront Pop Up, Paddington
22 May-21 June
The Fiero Waterfront pop-up is MARTINI’s genius way of launching it new summer aperitivo, MARTINI Fiero – a leisurely cruise to Little Venice and back on a vintage Riva yacht, with an aperitivo picnic and MARTINI Fiero & Tonics. On the bustling waterfront, you can enjoy MARTINI Fiero & Tonics alongside an exclusive menu created by Italian streetfood maestros Pasta e Basta, featuring authentic dishes like n’duja calabrese crostini, creamy burrata pugliese and cured meat platters, or opt for the cruise experience. The waterfront pop-up is open on selected dates from 22 May-21 June, 12pm-9pm. The MARTINI Fiero Riva yacht will be available for walk up and pre-bookings on 22-24 May, 31 May, and 7, 14 & 21 June. Groups of four can book ahead by emailing martini@teamwass.com
Merchant Square, Paddington Basin W2; martini.com

12 Feria de Londres, South Bank
24-26 May
Feria de Londres brings its famous Andalusian carnival spirit to the South Bank for the third year running. Colourful ‘casetas’ will be popping up in the aptly named Bernie Spain Gardens, serving up delicious Spanish tapas, refreshing cocktails, tasting workshops, Flamenco dance shows, family activities and live music. Inspired by Andalusia’s traditional spring fairs, Flamboyant dancers from London’s best flamenco schools will lead Sevillana dance lessons and flamenco rhythm workshops, while children can enjoy activities like face painting, fan making and kids flamenco dance lessons.
South Bank SE1 9PH; feriadelondres.com

13 Collective Cinema, Blackheath
25 May
Collective Cinema, the pop-up venture screening films at the atmospheric St Margaret’s Church near Blackheath, returns for its second season with a screening of The Artist this bank holiday weekend. The 2011 multi-Oscar winning tribute to silent cinema, featuring Ludovic Bource’s award-winning musical score, is a contemporary classic. Enjoy a short introductory talk on the film and its critical success before the screening. This event is part of Hither Green Festival 2019. Drinks and snacks from local businesses including Brockley Brewery, Proper Corn and Doisy & Dam chocolates are available to buy. Doors 7.30pm, film 8pm. Standard seats £7, premium seats £10 (kids half price).
Lee Terrace, Lewisham SE13 5DL; collectivecinema.co.uk

14 Meals on Reels presents Withnail and I at The Signal Pub, Forest Hill
24 May
Meals on Reels is presenting a multi-sensory edible cinematic experience at The Signal Pub in Forest Hill this bank holiday weekend, with an unmissable screening of cult classic Withnail and I. The pub’s private Control Room will set the scene with elements of Withnail’s shambolic kitchen and Monty’s old country house, where you’ll eat and drink your way through the desperation and adventure of Withnail and Marwood. You’ll dine on 10 small plates from mini Marwood fried egg sandwiches to mini saveloy and chips, a starter-sized roast dinner and the drug dealer’s infamous Camberwell Carrot. You’ll also knocking back plenty of drinks, reflecting the drunken exploits of the film’s stars, Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann. Tickets from £20. Vegan menu available. Film starts at 7pm.
7 Devonshire Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HE; designmynight.com

15 The Mare Street Ridgeview Garden Takeover, Hackney
25-27 May
Celebrate English Wine Week with an exciting partnership between Ridgeview and Mare St Market. The Ridgeview team will be popping up on Mare St Market’s buzzy east London outdoor terrace, pouring their award-winning English sparkling wines from midday until 7pm. Throughout the weekend, you’ll be able to buy a glass of Ridgeview’s best-loves wines each offered with a specially paired dish from the newly-opened BBQ for £20. Dishes will include a pair of scallops grilled in the shell with Ridgeview Fitzrovia NV; grilled halloumi flatbread paired with Ridgeview Bloomsbury NV; and braised goat masala flatbread paired with Ridgeview Blanc de Noirs 2014. The food and wines will also be available to order independently.
117 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RU; marestreetmarket.com

16 FOOD: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A, South Kensington
18 May-20 October
The V&A’s new exhibition FOOD: Bigger than the Plate explores current experiments at every stage of the food system, from compost to table. The exhibition brings together the politics and pleasure of food to ask how the collective choices we make can lead to a more sustainable and delicious food future. Do check out Selfmade, a gastronomic experiment showcasing five cheeses cultured from human bacteria – a Cheshire cheese made using Alex James’s bacteria, Comté made using Heston Blumenthal’s bacteria, mozzarella made using Professor Green’s bacteria, Stilton made using Ruby Tandoh’s bacteria, and Cheddar made using Suggs’ bacteria. Selfmade is one of over 70 contemporary projects in FOOD: Bigger than the Plate that explore innovation in sustainability. Tickets £17.
Cromwell Road SW7 2RL; vam.ac.uk

17 Depop Market London: A Celebration of the UK Resale Community
25-27 May
Depop, the online social marketplace, is launching a pop-up market of 50 handpicked sellers this bank holiday weekend to give you the chance to shop the app in real life. The three-day pop-up market at Hackney’s own Bohemia Place Markets will offer specially curated rare and one-of-a-kind pre-loved fashion pieces, while Hackney-based online radio station NTS brings the music. You can also take your pick from 10 vegan street food traders. It’s a chance to meet sellers, soak up good vibes and bring home some unique – and more sustainable – fashion. PayPal Here card readers mean you can make cash-free transactions throughout the market. 11am-7pm. Admission free.
Bohemia Place, Hackney E8 1DU; bohemiaplacemarket.com 

18 Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself at Ovalhouse, Kennington
Until 25 May
Bella Heesom’s show Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself will be having its first full length run at London’s Ovalhouse this month. The synopsis of the show says that brain and clitoris will spar for power in a new comic exploration of female sexuality. Already being developed for TV by the producers behind Killing Eve, the show is sure to be an exciting one.
Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval SE11 5SW; ovalhouse.com

19 Dorsett Discoveries: Sony World Photography 2019 exhibition, Dorsett Shepherds Bush
Until 26 May
Dorsett Hospitality International, one of Asia’s fastest-growing international hotel groups, has partnered with the Sony World Photography Awards to create an exclusive exhibition featuring award-winning images carefully curated by Dorsett Hotels. The exhibition, opening at Dorsett Shepherds Bush on 9 May, will showcase 15 award-winning images from the Sony World Photography Awards’ Open competition and National Awards programme. The full 2019 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition closed on 6 May, so this is a great chance to catch a glimpse of the world’s top photography talent if you missed it first time round.
58 Shepherd’s Bush Green, White City W12 8QE; dorsetthotels.com/SWPA

20 West London Galleries Bus Tour
25 May
The West London Galleries Bus takes to the road again this Saturday 25 May for a tour of the vibrant art scene in and around Portobello, Kensington and White City. Hosted by The Galleries Association of West London, the free tour of 10 shows is accompanied by live music on the bus from Portobello Radio, and you can hop on and off at any of the five stops. Entry to the exhibitions on the tour is free of charge, with the exception of Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum. The bus will return to each gallery stop every hour, so there’ll always be another bus to take you on. For a route map and bus locations, see onthebus69.com. To register see eventbrite.co.uk. 1pm-4pm.
Meet at the corner of Portobello Road & Oxford Gardens or The Muse Gallery, 269 Portobello Road W11 1LR; thegalleriesassociation.co.uk

21 South Indian Cultural Open Day at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
25 May
Head to the Great Map at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich for a free drop-in event showcasing south Indian culture. Discover the colourful cultural heritage of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam – traditional south Indian dance forms – alongside make-up demonstrations, costume displays and a series of short performances. The event, running 11am-3.30pm, is free, but from 1.30pm-2.30pm in the Lecture Theatre, there’s also a paid-for short talk, a solo Bharatanatyam dance performance, a Kia Kotti Kali dance ritual and a Kathakali performance of Poothana Moksham, which tells the popular Hindu story of the salvation of a demoness (adults £5, under 16s £3).
Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk

22 The Animal Ball Art Show by Elephant Family, Mayfair 
23-31 May
The Animal Ball Art Show is a fundraising exhibition for Elephant Family, the conservation charity mitigating human-wildlife conflict in Asia founded by Mark Shand. To date, over 150 projects have been funded, including restored migratory routes and the stamping out of illegal trades. The nine-day exhibition will showcase 27 pieces of artwork, from photographs to sculptures, by some of the most notable names in contemporary art including Subodh Gupta, Tracey Emin, Joana Vasconceles, Nick Brandt, Philip Colbert and Rob and Nick Carter. The artwork is available to buy on Paddle8 and, throughout the exhibition, tickets will be available to buy for the famous Animal Ball hosted by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on 13 June at Clarence House. Open 10am-6pm.
9 Cork Street Galleries, Mayfair W1S 3LP; paddle8.com

23 The Departure Lounge, Lewisham Shopping Centre
Until 7 June
The Departure Lounge is a taboo-busting pop-up installation that uses the metaphor of travel together with medical science and personal stories to explore what it means to have a ‘good death’. Situated in a busy shopping centre in Lewisham – chosen because it is the birthplace of the hospice movement – the enticing and positive space aims to empower people to talk more openly about our inevitable last journey. In 2017, there were 49,412 deaths in London and 498,882 in England as a whole, meaning that approximately 1 in 10 deaths in the country were in the capital that year.
Molesworth Street, Lewisham SE13 7HB; departure-lounge.org

24 Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner! at Galerie Prints, Wimbledon
Until 16 June
Maybe It’s Because I’m A Londoner!, in collaboration with AKG Archives, Getty Images Archive London & Mirror Group Archives, is a breathtaking new photographic exhibition at Wimbledon’s Galerie Prints. With Brexit drawing closer we must ask ourselves, who we are as Britons? And as Londoners? Featuring 64 archival images showing the changing face – and faces – of London from the 1920s to present day, this exhibition offers a rare insight into what has always made this city so great – diversity, contrasts, resilience, passion and fashion. Admission £5. Print prices start from £205.
152 Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park SW19 8AQ; galerieprints.com

25 Aqua nueva x Sorolla: An Edible Art Menu
Until 7 July
Spanish restaurant aqua nueva, located just off Oxford Street, is partnering with The National Gallery and its newest exhibition Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light, to bring the reverend painter’s vivid artworks to life in food form. Highlights of the menu – listed on a specially designed artist’s ‘palette’ menu card – include Young Fisherman, Valencia, 1904 (an edible net containing its ‘catch’ of grilled mackerel, anchovies and roasted peppers), Sewing the Sail, 1896 (a dessert designed to look like a summer garden, incorporating seasonal fruit sorbet, sweet jelly and fresh fruit, topped with a strawberry meringue), and Maria Painting at El Prado, 1907 (a white chocolate and passionfruit bavaroise accompanied by a selection of bright edible ‘paint’ that you use to create your own designs).
5th Floor, 240 Regent Street (entrance 30 Argyll Street) W1B 3BR; aquanueva.co.uk