Explore London

Things to Do in London Over May Bank Holiday

A long weekend looms: hurrah! As ever, venues in the capital are making the most of the break with a roster of special events and activities. Here’s our pick of the best things to do in London over the early May bank holiday.

Little Venice

May Bank Holiday Festivals

Stepney City Farm’s May Day Festival. Make friends with the furry inhabitants of this special urban farm at their annual May Day Festival. Once you’ve had your fill of animal watching, you can take a turn around the Maypole, do some barn dancing, check out the local food and drink stalls, and even try your hand at sheep shearing.

The Canalway Calvacade. Enjoy London’s version of Venice – literally named ‘Little Venice’ – in full glory this May Bank Holiday weekend. The waterways of Little Venice will be thrumming with boats decked in bunting, ready to participate in a pageant; for those onlookers on dry land, there are also food stalls, Morris dancing, and live music. Entrance is free.

The May Fair. The green surroundings of Mayfair’s attractive Grosvenor Square will be transformed into a British beach scene this weekend for their aptly named ‘May Fair’. Visitors to this free event can expect Maypole dancing, arts and crafts, delicious fish and chips, and nostalgic beach huts.

Street food

Markets

Street Feast: Model Market. This atmospheric food market returns to Lewisham for a three-day festival over the May Bank Holiday, complete with an epic line-up that is sure to excite any food fan. The once-abandoned 1950s market will be transformed into a ‘European capital of vibes’ with nine micro-diners, four bars, live music and more. Acclaimed chefs like James Cochran will be in residence – as will a number of DJs – to tempt your tastebuds and please your ears into the early hours.

Crafty Fox. Dubbed ‘one of London’s best markets’ by TimeOut, the Crafty Fox team’s aim is to shake up traditional craft fairs by showcasing emerging designers and artists at various locations across London. This May Bank Holiday, the market can be found at Mercato Metropolitano on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can browse a carefully curated collection of prints, ceramics, jewellery and more, or take part in one of the excellent craft workshops.

A door in a wall

Experiences

Dead Man’s Hand. For the best in immersive experiences, look no further than A Door In A Wall. Their new game, Dead Man’s Hand, opens in London on 4th May 2019: an exciting treasure hunt which will turn participants into amateur detectives as they try to solve the murder of gambler Jack Spade. The quest starts in The Castle in Farringdon – which will play host to Dead Man’s Hand’s illicit gambling den – and continues into the streets of the city. Booking ahead is essential.

Margarita Rumble. Is it a bottomless cocktail experience? Is it a competition? Who cares! Taking place at London Fields this weekend, the Margarita Rumble is a two-hour event that pits top bartenders and mixologists against each other in a race to concoct the best margarita. The public are invited to sample their creations and vote for the winner.

Soap Box Derby, Telegraph Hill. If you’ve never been to a soap box derby, now is your chance – it’s an event like no other! Amateur drivers are invited to construct a vehicle (traditionally from wooden ‘soap’ or apple crates and rollerskate wheels, though more modern materials are used now) and race the cart around a course. Expect a combination of beautiful and more rustic designs and some nail-biting moments as participants compete to reach the finish line first. It’s not all about fast driving, though: there are a variety of different prizes handed out on the day, so it’s worth paying close attention to all the carts that pass by.

A Booming Bank Holiday. Immerse yourself in history this weekend at Waltham Abbey as the Royal Gunpowder Mills commemorate 300 years of explosive discovery. There are a wide range of activities on offer – from cannon and musket firing demonstrations to tours with real Cold War rocket scientists to WW2 themed street parties – making this an enjoyable, educational day out for the whole family.