May royally spoils us with two bank holidays – here are a boatload of excellent ways to celebrate the Spring bank holiday.
Right you lot, it’s the last bank holiday until August, so you better make the best of it. With temperatures hovering around the 20°C throughout the weekend, it’s a solid if unspectacular forecast, although the rain looks likely to stay away. And handily, we’ve got some ideas for you to make the Spring bank holiday a good ‘un!
Until September, Kew Gardens are promising to dazzle visitors with a display of ‘the brightest colours ever’. The exhibition, titled Naturally Brilliant Colour, showcases kaleidoscopic patterns of the brightest colours around, inspired by patterns in nature. Read more about what to expect here.
A long-overdue summer of drinking festivals is around the corner, and the folks behind Camden Oktoberfest are ready to kick off the season. Taking over Camden’s Electric Ballroom for six whole weeks, Springfest offers Bavarian vibes, plenty of beer & cider from world-class breweries, and of course all the Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Veganwurst, and fries you can fit. Prost! Find your tickets here.
A 24-hour bottomless brunch is precisely the thing we never knew we needed until we got a taste of 3am pancakes and prosecco. Polo Bar offers a smashing bottomless brunch literally all day, every day, with free-flowing prosecco and bottomless beer. For just £30 per person, guests can enjoy a full breakfast dish, PLUS a portion of the restaurant’s famous pancakes to share. Read more here.
There’s nothing like a good axe-throwing session to release a bit of that built-up tension. The ultimate stress relief activity is now available to angry urbanites in a safe environment — don’t try this at home — thanks to Whistle Punks, and it’s a satisfyingly primaeval alternative to darts and archery. Get your tickets here.
Covent Garden is just as excited about the return of indoor dining as we are, so they’ve decided to throw a rosé festival in honour of lockdown easing. The festival is in town until June 6, serving up every variation of rosé you can picture, plus many other cool surprises and pop-ups. Check it out here.
Pop on your silent disco headset and listen to the best show tunes while exploring the West End’s many theatres. Your guide will give you all the intel, with plenty of fun, dancing, and singing added in between. Find your tickets here.
Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has brought another thought-provoking, immersive display back over to The Strand art gallery, taking attendees through a maze of strobe lighting tunnels, large speaker sculptures, and a new and improved Test Pattern experience. The exhibition is in town until August 1, and you can find more info here.
The Rock Orchestra by Candlelight is a glorious mashup of candlelight ambience, and the pounding, head-banging metal hits of the last 30 years. Taking place at The Clapham Grand on May 30, The Rock Orchestra will deliver a programme of hits by Metallica, Iron Maiden, Blink 182, Led Zeppelin, and Linkin Park, to name only a few. Grab your tickets for the unforgettable concert here.
The Royal Opera House has made a grand return to the stage, welcoming audiences back to its opulent halls for a series of in-person performances from both the The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. See more here.
Now in place at the V&A Museum is a major exhibition dedicated to Alice in Wonderland (actually, the biggest ever!). Spanning art, film, performance, fashion, and photography, the exhibition traces 150 years of cultural impact since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published, and promises “an immersive and mind-bending journey down the rabbit hole”. The exhibition will run until the end of December, so you’ll have plenty of time to visit. Read all about it here.
Luke Jerram has brought his huge, illuminated 3D model of our planet back to Greenwich’s mesmerising Painted Hall, having already mesmerised visitors last summer. Gaia invites us to appreciate our incredible world in a whole new light, and is here until July 1. Whilst the dedicated Friday evening tickets have now sold out, you can pick up a general access ticket to The Painted Hall, and you’ll be able to see Gaia in all its glory!
As far as weekend plans go, an afternoon tea simply never goes amiss. Sit down in a beautiful restaurant for a lovely cuppa, some pastries and finger sandwiches, and a glass of bubbly if you fancy celebrating the extra day off. We’ve rounded up 18 of London’s best afternoon teas you should try here.
Shakespeare’s Globe has made a wonderful comeback for socially-distanced performances, though that famous tradition of standing in the Yard is gone for the time being, and the venue’s capacity has reduced from 1,500 to 500. Still, you can finally watch a live performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream again, which will be worth it either way. Read more here.
Tai Pan Alley takes inspiration from the back markets of Bangkok, both in the energy of the setting and the great-tasting three-course brunch provided. Add in bottomless Cosmopolitans, Prosecco or Langkawi Island Iced Teas, and you’re set for a memorable day. Find tickets here.
A display of JMW Turner’s maritime watercolours and prints has opened at the artist’s former residence in Twickenham, granting visitors a personal look into his life and artwork. Turner’s English Coasts showcases the artist’s groundbreaking work on English marine and coastal subjects, from when he was living in his Sandycoombe Road residence between 1813-26. You can visit until September 5, and read more here.
To kick off the long weekend, everybody’s favourite rooftop paradise Bar Elba is inviting you to join the Supper Club crowd. Enjoy an hour of unlimited prosecco, beer, porn star or espresso martinis, and a yummy burger from their Happy Patty menu. Friday night plans = sorted! Secure your tickets here.
Walthamstow’s iconic God’s Own Junkyard has taken over the Victorian Leadenhall Market with a number of illuminated installations as part of a brand new, immersive art exhibition running until the end of July. Highlights of the exhibition, called Electric City, will include actual signs from movies such as Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Batman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many others. Read more here.
This drinks masterclass will teach you how to make your very own rum, so you can level up your self-made piña coladas with true craftmanship and love. Islington cocktail bar Laki Kane is running rum-making classes, teaching you the fine art of distilling and bottling rum, along with a history lesson and cocktails. Pick up your tickets here.
London’s biggest beer garden will set up in the heart of the South Bank from May 27, boasting over 4000 square feet of drinking space. Between The Bridges will be home to three bars, a food and theatrical space filled with mini golf and Tejo, plus another stage which will host some of the best music and drag acts in town. Find more info here.
This brunch show absolutely glitters with all things Gaga – and it’s hosted by a number of incredible drag queens who definitely live for the applause. Taking place at Bar Salsa! Temple, the event is set to add a little something special to your afternoon, with a 4-hour party, a 2-course brunch, and 1.5 hours of bottomless bubbles or mimosas on the agenda. Grab your tickets here.
After a delayed reopening following our last lockdown, London’s Sky Garden has finally reopened to the public. The viewing gallery on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie offers panoramic views of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass windows in a foliage-filled atrium. You’ll also find some bars and restaurants for a chance to enjoy a sky-high sunset cocktail. Read more here.
The team behind the Clapham wine bar WC, which is nestled inside a smartly-renovated bog next to Clapham Common station, has opened a sister bar in Bloomsbury, codenamed WC Bloomsbury. Standing for ‘Wine & Charcuterie’ as much as it does ‘Water Closet’, the cosy wine bar is one of London’s quirkiest date spots, serving wine, cocktails, small plates, and sharing boards. Check it out here.
This Spring bank holiday, Barrio is throwing its usual Sunday sesh with a bangin’ brunch featuring burgers and churros, plus bottomless Bloody Marys, prosecco, mimosas and Sol. The afternoon will be accompanied by Latin beats, tropical soul, disco, and party anthems, so you know it’s going to be a party. Find tickets to the brunch here.
The highly anticipated Friends comeback titled Friends: The Reunion is finally set to hit screens in the UK on May 27. If you miss the Thursday evening broadcast at 8pm on Sky One, you can still watch it on demand on Sky and NOW TV over the long weekend. Read more here.
While you’re out and about this weekend, here’s where you can spot the city’s wisteria in full bloom.
Also published on Medium.