May we be blessed by sunny evenings, scorching bank holidays, and all the beer gardens a Londoner can handle. The reality might end up being slightly different, but that’s certainly what we’re crossing our fingers for in May 2023. It’s going to be a biiiiig month as we shake off the last of the chilly spring weather and slowly (hopefully) start to enjoy some warmer weather. So, without further ado, here are the 55 best things to do in London this May:
1. Head to the rooftops
May is that splendid time of year when rooftop bars, terraces, and al fresco dining and drinking make their return, en masse, to the capital. So, it’s basically the best time of the year. Among the rooftops that are back in action for May are The Lucky Club Camden, Lost in Brixton, Roof East, and plenty more.
Check out our guide to London’s best rooftop bars here.
2. Commemorate Star Wars Day at a fan exhibition unlike any other in the galaxy
May the Fourth be with you as you check out the incredible collection on display at The Fans Strike Back – a Star Wars fan exhibition. There’s hundreds of collectibles to marvel at, as well as official merchandise and the chance to get hands on with interactive photo ops and VR experiences. You will no longer be a mere padawan after a visit!
3. Catch the start of London’s festival season
Sure, April may see a sprinkling of festivals hitting London, but May is when things really start to kick into gear. Hit up these music festivals as the sun starts drenching the parks for ultimate music-fuelled early-summer vibes:
🎙️ An experimental new electronic festival, Between The Lines (May 13, 20-21), will hit London’s ICA Gallery to bring together avant-garde musicians and artists in celebration of the some of the most interesting music and art being made today.
🪕 Country and Americana fans in London definitely won’t want to miss the Highways Festival (May 20) at the Royal Albert Hall. The day will range from a country-for-kids morning session all the way through to a late-night after-party. Attendants will also be able to check out an exhibition of the Nashville Portraits by Jim McGuire.
✨ GALA (May 26, 27 & 28) returns to Peckham for the late May Bank Holiday. A mixture of live music and thumping DJ sets will encompass House, Jazz, Disco, Drum & Bass, Afrobeats, and more.
🎉 Left of field choices rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in music at Brixton’s Wide Awake (May 27). Catch us screaming along with Caroline Polachek – “des-I-re, I want to turn into you”.
🎶 It’s all about both the music and the food at Brixton’s Cross The Tracks (May 28) festival. Expect Grammy winners, street food, and craft beer at this ‘no-bad-vibes’ day out.
🥳 Reggae fans will get a chance to live it up at City Splash (May 29) with its stacked line-up of reggae-influenced acts and a host of Caribbean food stands and workshops.
Check out the rest of the year’s festivals in London and get ready for a summer of music.
4. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5 – duh)
Thanks to London’s plethora of Mexican, and Mexican-inspired, joints there are a few ways you can commemorate Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War. Whether you’re looking to grab tacos from your favourite spot, or some delicious cocktails, head to these places for a Cinco de Mayo party to remember.
🌮 Nosh on uber-authentic tacos at Corrochio’s, before heading next-door to Corrochio’s Cantina where they’re sure to be throwing a huge party for the occasion. (No details yet, but they’ve yet to miss a chance to celebrate!)
🍹 Sip on cocktails that merge Mexican agave spirits with Japanese influences at the seductive basement bar, Viajante87.
🤠 Head to Hacha, who are partnering with The Lost Explorer Mezcal for a Cinco de Mayo special that will be available all the way from April 25 to May 13. Across both their Dalston and Brixton locations they’ll be offering up Mezcal and Margarita flights as well as delicious paired Mexican dishes.
🎉 Party it up with El Pastor and Tequila Herradura at their Cinco de Mayo party in El Pastor Soho’s basement bar, Mezcaleria Colmillo. They’ll bring a short menu of tacos and a very special menu of cocktails designed just for the night to complement a night of house party vibes soundtracked by a DJ set from Seb Chew, featuring hip-hop, soul, and jungle. Head to their socials to find out more!
🍺 Head to South East London’s Brick Brewery for delicious craft beer, brewed on-site, and free tacos as they launch their new food vendor with a full-on Cinco De Mayo party. Taca Tacos will be dishing out a free taco to the first fifty people to arrive on the day as they kick off a taco-fuelled weekend of celebrations. Brick Brewery will also be launching a new South American-influenced sour beer, perfect for washing down the tacos!
🍹 Los Mochis are celebrating Cinco de Mayo for a full week, from May 2-8, with a special offering of soft shell crab tacos and tres leches cake – and, of course, plenty of margaritas!
Read our full Cinco de Mayo guide here.
5. Fill your boots with beer at the UK’s largest craft beer festival (May 5-6)
Brew//LDN is back again, bringing with them all the beer-y goodness they’re renowned for. It’s the UK’s largest and most diverse craft beer festival, with over 100 craft beers and drinks producers, live DJs, and street food. And you get access to all that for less than £30. And once you’re in, you’re looking at pints that cost less than a fiver each – a bargain in London! This year’s festival will see them bidding adieu to Printworks, which has been hosting the beery denizens year after year, in the face of the venue’s impending closure.
Act quick and grab your ticket before you miss out.
6. Ring in the King’s coronation (May 6)
Union Jacks are sprouting from virtually every surface in London as the capital braces for the coronation of the new King. To accompany the once-in-a-lifetime event, a host of themed afternoon teas, cocktails, special meals, and more have been announced. The best part? We get an extra Bank Holiday the following Monday, May 8, giving us plenty of time for festivities.
Check out our full run-down of royally good ways to celebrate.
7. Let your hair down at The Most Beautiful Party in the World (May 19)
BRESH has treated Londoners to four incredible sold out parties so far, and due to popular demand they’re coming back yet again for another night to remember. The incredible party has touched down in such party-hardy locales as Buenos Aires, Miami, New York, Ibiza, Barcelona, Madrid, and more. And now, it’s time for Londoners to show them how it’s done – yet again!
8. Settle in for a film at the UK Asian Film Festival (May 4 – 14)
The world’s longest-running South Asian film festival marks its 25th anniversary this year, and will run in venues across the UK, from London to Manchester and beyond. Over it’s 25-year history, the festival (formerly known as Tongues on Fire) has particularly championed South Asian female-centric cinema. This has extended to making sure they also celebrate the women working behind and in front of the camera. In London, festival-goers will be treated to UK and world premieres of hotly anticipated films from India and Pakistan, as well as lectures, workshops, live performances, art exhibitions, and more.
See the full festival programme here.
9. Chow down at a Neighbourhood pop up
Islington’s most interesting new restaurant, Neighbourhood, is shaking up the dining scene with a new take on what a restaurant can be. Instead of having a set menu, the Neighbourhood team invites an ever-rotating roster of the world’s best and most exciting chefs and cooks to serve up their own wares. This has include the likes of Ivan Orkin (of Ivan Ramen fame) with his mazemen (brothless ramen), Gizzi Erskine with her bottomless nugget event, and Insta-legendary desserts from Get Baked.
Throughout May, they’re hosting a series of one-off Beats and Eats pop ups that will find their kitchen, and the playlist, taken over by London’s favourite chefs. Here’s what they have in store for hungry diners (each priced at just £25pp):
🍩 BBQ Donut Party – From the Ashes (May 10): This nose-to-tail BBQ eatery has gone from strength to strength in past years, and they’ll be taking to Neighbourhood with a menu of savoury doughnuts and 80’s classics.
🥪 Bifana and Sangria Party – Ana Da Costa (May 17): One half of cult London hot sauce brand, Two Hot Asians, Ana Da Costa will pay tribute to her Portuguese origins with a night of bifanas (Poruguese pork sandwiches), sangria pitchers, and funk music.
🎶 Buffting Party – Bando Belly (May 31): Bando Belly will be celebrating London’s diversity with some of London’s best soul food and booming dancehall and reggae tracks.
10. Feast your eyes on florals at these flower shows
May is when London gets completely flooded by flora and fauna of all sorts as a plethora of flower shows and exhibitions land in the capital. Here are some of the can’t-miss flower displays around London in May:
🤩 Belgravia In Bloom returns from May 22 – 29, with a jaw-dropping ‘Into The Wild’ themed display. Among the sights are Neill Strain’s family of vibrant peacocks on Motcomb Street, and Moyses Stevens’ giant pandas and a jeep driven by monkeys and giraffes. All of this is enhanced and brought to life with multicolour florals for a dazzling spectacle.
💐 London’s largest free flower festival, Chelsea in Bloom is back from May 22 – 27, themed around ‘Flowers on Film.’ The streets of Chelsea will be transformed by floral displays that draw from cinematic characters and storylines, as well as the neighbourhood’s silver screen heritage.
🤩 The flower show of flower shows, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, will run from May 23 – 27 in 2023. The only ticketed inclusion on the list, the show is nonetheless well worth the cost of admission. After all, how many flower shows can boast international prestige and renown? And it’s a reputation well-deserved, with an absolutely mind-boggling number of thing to see, do, buy, and experience.
💐 The Chelsea Barracks Spring Fair will coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, transforming its gardens and outdoor public areas from May 24 – 27. Held in collaboration with House & Garden magazine, the event will treat visitors to delicious food and beverage, a market, and workshops and discussions.
11. Shake things up for World Cocktail Day (May 13)
It’s only the best possible excuse to check out some of London’s best cocktail bars. And in a city as cuckoo for cocktails as London, there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re after the prettiest bars with the prettiest cocktails, London has a plethora of suitable venues. Or if you like your venues with a bit of edge to them, check out our round-up of cool and quirky bars in London. Want to be left alone with your drink? Might we recommend one of London’s secret-est bars. Like we said, there’s plenty of choice to be had…
12. Or head to these special cocktail events throughout May
Because there’s no rule saying you can only drink cocktails on World Cocktail Day… So why not check out one of these special cocktail events and pop-ups?
🤫 One of London’s favourite speakeasy bars, the critically-acclaimed Oriole, sadly closed in January due to ongoing redevelopment work in the area. But fans will be elated to know they’ve returned with a pop-up residency at The Hoxton’s mezzanine Albie in Southwark. Expect similarly sophisticated and delicious cocktails with live music and a selection of small plates and snacks.
🍸 The award-winning Swift Soho will launch an all-new menu in May, with cocktails drawing from the romantic history of postcards and love letters.
🍒 Meanwhile, the team at Swift Borough have also launched a seasonal new menu. Theirs, however, draws inspiration from cherries, and will run through to the end of May.
🍹The World’s Best Bar according to The World’s 50 Best Bars list 2022, Barelona’s Paradiso, will take over The Donovan Bar on May 24. The special menu will feature the acclaimed bar’s extraordinary mixology skills to be enjoyed in the Mayfair bar’s iconic ambience.
💐 Hendrick’s Gin and Mr. Foggs’ are teaming up throughout Spring for Floral Festivities, with special Hendrick’s-utilizing cocktails across the Mr and Mrs Fogg’s venues (excluding Mr Fogg’s Pawnbrokers) until May 15.
13. Stuff your face with a lamb kebab pizza
Yard Sale are the stuff of young legend in London. They’re famed for their enormous pizzas, sometimes wacky toppings, and unexpected collaborations. And their latest pizza special combines all three as they collaborate with Instagram food aficionados, Taste Cadets, to produce a limited-edition pizza that nods to Allan ’Seapa’ Mustafa’s Kurdish heritage.
The Kurdish Slemani Special comes topped with a traditional, authentic Kurdish lamb kebab, blistered tomatoes, Kurdish smoked chilli flakes, sumac and parsley onions, fior de latte mozzarella and YSP’s signature tomato sauce. Sounds incredible, right? Additionally, a portion of proceeds from the pizzas will go towards the Kurdish Red Crescent’s Earthquake Fundraiser. The money will help to support those affected by the recent earthquakes across the region.
The limited edition pie will be available from all ten Yard Sale Pizza locations until May 16.
14. Catch the Eurovision final (May 13)
Sure, we may not be hosting it here in London – but you can bet there will be plenty of viewing parties in and around London. And coinciding as it does with World Cocktail Day, there’s sure to be a spirited atmosphere everywhere you go. Prepare yourself for a splendidly fun night out of dancing along to upbeat tunes, and maybe shedding a tear or two to the ballads.
15. Take a seat at London’s longest banqueting table
Come summer time, you’ll often find a delectable array of street food on offer outside the National Theatre, courtesy of KERB’s partnership with a variety of independent vendors. And this summer, they’ve got something very special in store. On Friday, May 12, they’ll unveil London’s longest banqueting table, which will stretch 70 metres with space for up to 200 hungry Londoners. KERB Presents: The Table will offer up a curated menu of eight of KERB’s finest independent street food traders. It’s the perfect place to grab a meal and a few drinks, in the warmer summer months.
16. Dazzle your taste-buds with a delirious, daring tasting menu
Climb aboard a luxury canal boat and take a seat at the chef’s table for this spectacular nine-course tasting experience. Dishes that are served at the Delirium Dining Club have been specifically designed to confuse and delight the senses in equal measure. It’s the perfect choice for daring diners and experimental eaters that are after a special meal that they won’t soon forget.
Be sure to grab a booking for one of their dining experiences here.
17. Get crafty for London Craft Week (May 8 – 14)
London Craft Week (LCW) returns for it’s 9th edition in 2023, with a programme of events and activities all across London. Experience range from behind-the-scenes tours of artist studios to special displays from local artists and creatives, as well as workshops for children and adults alike. With over 200 activities to choose from, you’re sure to find your next craft-y passion!
Our pick of the week’s events:
🥃 Attend a leather wallet-making workshop at leather smith Charlie Borrow’s workshop. Following the workshop, head downstairs to London’s most secretive, two-day-only Aberlour whisky speakeasy bar for a super exclusive whisky tasting.
But there’s also…
🧑🎨 A junior embossing workshop at Anya Hindmarch’s Bespoke Store
⌛ A discussion of endangered crafts
🧵 Clothing repair workshops teaching you to mend your own garments
🖼️ An exhibition of Vivienne Westwood corsetry
👜 A leather-working workshop from a master artisan where guests can design their own bespoke bag
💐 An ancestral flower plaiting workshop from the Mah Meri Tribe of Malaysia
🧑🎨 An exhibition of artists whose work focuses on the importance of physical touch and sensation
👃 An introduction to sustainable scents and perfume-making
💄 A chance to create a one-of-a-kind lipstick shade at a bespoke lipstick bar
and much, much more.
Find out more at the LCW website.
18. Try out a special international Michelin starred collaborative meal (May 11)
For one day only, Covent Garden restaurant Frenchie (whose French venue has a Michelin star) will host two of Paris’ best chefs for a truly special meal. The two founders of Michelin starred Parisian restaurant Septime, Bertrand Grébaut and Théophile Pourriat, will descend upon the London outpost to combine the approaches of the two restaurants. A surprise five course menu will cover the group’s focus on sustainability and seasonality with a veg-forward menu. Supplementary wine will feature selected favourites from the wine lists of both venues.
Profits from the one-off meal will be donated to Fonds de Dotation Merci. The charity funds agricultural projects in France, helps migrants to the country find work, and supports educational development in Madagascar.
Head to their socials to find out how to make your reservation. The five-course meal will cost £125, with the supplementary wine pairing costing an extra £95.
19. Toast to World Whisky Day (and whisky month) with… a brownie?
World Whisky Day (not to be confused with International Whiskey Day – note the ‘e’!) falls on the third Saturday in May each year. While we never need an excuse to have a sip of the water of life, we certainly don’t mind the occasion! And to celebrate, one of London’s most beloved bakeries, Lily Vanilli, have teamed up with iconic Scotch whisky brand, The Singleton, for a wonderful pairing. The two have partnered to create a salted caramel and walnut brownie, expertly made to complement the deliciously smooth, rich and nutty notes of The Singleton 12-Year Old Whisky. And from May 6 – June 3, Londoners can get their hands on the sweet treat and also receive a complimentary 5cl sample of the whisky. It’s the perfect after-dinner dram and dessert.
Grab the brownie and whisky sample from Lily Vanilli at The Courtyard, 18 Ezra Street, E2 7RH, or order online, from May 6.
20. Cheer your team to glory at the Women’s FA Cup Final (May 14)
Whether you’ve been following along the whole time, or are tuning in for the excitement of the final, the Women’s FA Cup Final is sure to be a belter of a match. Chelsea and Manchester United will be taking to the field at the legendary Wembley stadium, with the match kicking off at 2:30pm on May 14. Whether you’re heading to a local pub that’s showing the game, or you’ve netted tickets to catch the action in person, it’s set to be a thrilling face-off.
21. Get caught up in wisteria hysteria
May is bang on wisteria season, and sees the springtime flowers pivot from the bluebells and cherry blossoms to other pre-summer blooms. We can never get enough of the beautiful wisteria that crops up all over the city. They’re just so bloomin’ gorgeous!
For even more of London’s gorgeous floral displays, check out our flower guide, which details when and where to see the best of London’s blooms.
22. Head to London’s most anticipated new restaurant opening (May 12)
Trattoria Carlotta, the latest London opening from the lauded Big Mamma group, is finally landing in Marylebone on May 12. The restaurant group have so far delighted Londoners with the incredible success of venues such as Jacuzzi, Circolo Popolare, and more. And now, with their fifth restaurant, they’re promising an intimate trattoria affair. It’s set to be all sorts of cosy and lovely with family-style Neapolitan and Sicilian classics.
23. Check out some of London’s newest restaurants and bars
📖 Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Waterloo, in The Sidings, is Rosarium, which is set to open this May. Diners will step into a quintessentially English garden, where they’ll dine on elevated British dishes that have been given an added Wonderland twist. It’s a meal that will transport you back to childhood with storybook touches and performative and sense-heightening experiences.
🍝 Cantinetta Antinori is the first UK restaurant from a revered winemaking family. Naturally, the wine is going to be pretty good – but you can expect plenty of delicious Tuscan dishes too.
🤤 The April opening of the new Harvest, from chef and restaurateur Jesse Dunford Wood (Parlour, Six Portland Road), will offer all-day dining with the best British ingredients. A considerable vegetarian menu will complement the British coastal fish, and direct-from-farm meat offerings.
🍣 Enjoy a delicious, and far more affordable, omakase experience at Sushi on Jones. A 12-course tasting menu will run you just £48 (compared to the many hundreds that most omakase experiences cost) and you’ll be done in just 45 minutes. Quick, cheap, and delicious.
🍷 The recently opened Papi came about as the brain child of a wine merchant on one hand and a ground-breaking chef on the other. The zero-waste restaurant serves delicious small plates and has an incredible wine selection.
🍹 Hackney’s new Easy Eight has an enticing no-bullshit bravado to it with red lights, American macro lagers, filthy burgers served on paper plates, and surprising cocktails. It’s like turning up at a friend’s house, unannounced, and kicking back with a few drinks. They’ll serve you an espresso if you ask nicely, but it will come with a shot of grappa on the side.
🤤 Coco Canary Wharf is the third London opening from the Coco brand, continuing in their reputation for delicious sober decadence and incredibly Instagrammable interiors. Their Anatolian menu is complemented by a completely alcohol-free drinks list ranging from delicious cocktails, spirits, and wines – all without any booze for an intoxicatingly sober night out. Coco will open in Canary Wharf on May 8, with 20% off the menu for the first week.
🦞 Luxurious South of France vibes imbue the high end sharing plates at the newly opened Riviera in St James’s. From the team behind El Norte, Como Garden, and Zuaya, the pedigree is impressive and the menu looks delicious (pistachio millefeuille, anyone?).
🍕 Enjoy premium pizza and cocktails as PizzaLuxe returns with their al fresco pizza pop up in Covent Garden. Pizza and aperitivos on the Covent Garden piazza – we can’t think of much better!
🔥 London foodies will be more than familiar with Jimmy’s BBQ Pop-Up, and are sure to be thrilled that it’s finally back for some delicious riverbank dining. Jimmy’s back folks!
🍻 One of London’s biggest beer gardens can be found stretching between the Hungerford and Westminster Bridges. Between The Bridges (a no-nonsense name that we can appreciate) will keep you fed and watered with six different bars and eight street food vendors now that they’re back open for the summer season.
🎭 One of the most intriguing new openings is Lasdun, which promises to bring timeless brasserie style dishes to the National Theatre. Opening some time in May we know virtually nothing about what they have in store, but given the team behind The Marksman pub is responsible for the opening, we’re pretty damn excited.
🤩 What do you get when you combine a sunny central London terrace, Mediterranean food, and sangria brunches? The hot new CAVO, which has opened in the Outernet building. Head there for the food, stay for the jaw-dropping views.
🥩 Blacklock are celebrating the May 15 opening of their massive new Canary Wharf location with a big ol’ burger giveaway. On May 3, the first 150 people to turn up at 12pm will net themselves a free Blacklock Burger – a double beef and bone marrow burger with Ogleshield cheese, Montgomery Cheddar and onions caramelised in Vermouth.
🍺 The Five Points Courtyard, right outside the brewery, is officially re-opening for the summer with the announcement that they’re partnering with From The Ashes and anoosh to serve up smoky BBQ and Middle Eastern tacos. Beer, BBQ, and tacos — be still my beating heart!
24. Jump on-board a Bollywood Boat Party (May 13)
Fancy partying your way up and down the Thames while the best of Bollywood, Bhangra and more play all night long? Well then you definitely want to grab a ticket for the Bollywood Boat Party. They’ve got banging tunes, pub-price pints (cheaper than boat price dontcha know!), and stunning views of the city all night long.
25. Marvel at a mini floral exhibition in an iconic British phone box
Florals for spring? Ground-breaking – but we have to give the pioneering brand Laura Ashley credit for their 70 years of floral-filled products. And they’re giving Londoners a chance to look into their archives with a mini phone box exhibition of the brand’s extensive floral prints, sketches, furnishings, and products. The phone box itself will be wrapped in a specially relaunched Tulips print from the 90s, with a number of themed shelves inside, showing the brand’s history.
You can catch the mini exhibition on May 12-13 by heading to Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9JZ.
26. Have a swell day out at a free multi arts festival (May 14)
Greenwich Peninsula’s Urban Village Fete is back again for their seventh celebration of live performances, arts and crafts, food, markets, music and more. Live DJ sets will keep the atmosphere electric throughout the day and into the evening, and there will be plenty of food and drinks to keep you sated through the day. You could get inspired in the talks tent, get hands on with the Black Girl Knit Club, join an interactive pet performance, and plenty more. Find out everything they’ll have to offer on the day here.
27. Head to the Colours Carnival band launch (May 14)
Notting Hill Carnival mas band Colours Carnival, who have had a float in the iconic parade since 2015, will be offering a first look at their 2023 Notting Hill Carnival costumes at a fun-filled event. Soca music hit-makers Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons will keep the energy pumping with live performances of their up-beat tracks. The vibes will keep on rolling with performances also coming from The Voice UK semi-finalist Triniboi Joocie, and an array of other DJs and artistes. It’s set to be a night of frantic fun, live music, dazzling visuals, and plenty of rum!
28. Chow down on croquetas and crown a champion croqueta maker
Salt Yard has brought back their Croqueta Challenge, where London’s most innovative and exciting chefs get to present their own take on the Spanish snack. And you get to have a go at sampling the wares! Across the first two heats, on May 16 & 23, hungry diners can nab tickets to the event which secure them two drinks and a croqueta from each restaurant. Already confirmed restaurants include the likes of Bar Kroketa, Bibo at Mondrian Shoreditch, Cin Cin Fitzrovia, Ember Yard, and more. The winner will secure a £200 prize donation for a charity of their choice, and their croqueta will find its way on to the Salt Yard Menu for two weeks.
Find out more, and secure your croqueta-chomping place, here.
29. Stretch it out on top of the O2
You’ll be stretching (and almost touching) all the way up to the sky if you join this event. Up at the O2 is bringing back their sky-high yoga sessions to their world-famous roof this May to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Four extended climbing sessions (you’ve got to get up there after all!) are available across May 13-14, with all the proceeds being donated to charity.
Find out more and book your spot here.
30. Attend the Catwalk to a Cure (May 16)
Parkinson’s UK is bringing a star-studded fashion show to London, to raise money for pioneering research into Parkinson’s. The event will see models living with Parkinson’s taking to the runway, as well as unmissable live performances ranging from magic to music and more. It’s set to be a glitzy, glamorous affair for all involved, so make sure you don’t act too late and miss out on a ticket.
31. Save the bees by… drinking cocktails?
There’s an all new alcohol in town that’s looking to give Londoners a delightful buzz all while working towards saving the bees. Beesou is a new all-natural honey-wine based aperitif, and they’re popping up at the gorgeous The Nest at Treehouse Hotel London throughout May with a special cocktail menu. They’ll be serving up the Bee’groni with Prosecco in it (Beesou, Dry Vermouth, English Sparking Wine), the New Bees with New Knees (Sapling Gin, Beesou, Lemon, Honey, Vegan Egg White and Salt) and more. And while they’re there, they’re also installing wooden bee hotels on the terrace, providing a safe haven for solitary bees to sleep at night.
10% of all of Beesou’s profits go towards supporting the Bees for Development charity. The charity helps individuals in under-developed regions of the world become more self-sufficient through beekeeping.
The Beesou x The Nest at Treehouse Hotel London special cocktail menu will be available throughout May 2023.
32. Explore anxiety at this massive interactive artwork
Outernet is continuing to thrill and dazzle Londoners with its impressive programme of public art displays. From May 15-21, a special new artwork will be displayed in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week. Monolith, by artist Jack Dartford, aims to raise awareness around anxiety through a piece that directly reacts to its audience. The piece is made up of millions of digital particles, that make up the namesake ‘monolith.’ However, “as the room gets fuller the particles move in an increasingly frantic fashion. The colours of the piece rapidly change and the speed accelerates as the crowd grows bigger – simulating complete sensory overload akin to social anxiety along with an accompanying soundtrack.”
Monolith is the result of a collaboration between Outernet’s official charity, ADOT, suicide prevention organisation Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), and Jack Dartford.
33. Amble around these art exhibitions
EXHIBITIONS OPENING IN MAY
💙 Spiritual DNA: The Art of Tim Yip (May 3-4): SOAS Brunei Gallery – a screening and panel discussion are the main focus of this two-night event featuring Oscar-winning artist Tim Yip.
🖤 For the Love of the Lads (May 3-4): FLANNELS X basement – Corbin Shaw and CircleZeroEight explore masculinity in the UK today, through the eyes of the country’s youth, using imagery, film, and flags made using children’s drawings of their idea of ‘masculinity.’
❤️ Luxury and Power: Persia to Greece (Opens May 4): British Museum – explores the relationship between luxury and power in the Middle East and southeast Europe between 550-30 BC.
💜 The Power of She: A Tribute to Women in the Arts (Opens May 5): Bowman Sculpture – a presentation of some of the best women artists from the 18th and 19th century aims to shake up the male-dominated art world.
💚 Brynley Odu Davies: Artist Portraits (May 5-31): STUDIO WEST – over 200 portraits of emerging UK artists in a photo series that started during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
💛 Sabrine Bockler: Menagerie (Opens May 14): BEERS London (East Gallery) – disparate elements and unexpected details make up still lifes that puzzle and amuse at the same time.
💙 Olivia De Bona: Le Panache (Opens May 14): BEERS London (West Gallery) – carved and inlaid works made from wood transform daily life into poetry through the act of voyeurism and intimacy.
🤎 Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair (May 18 – 21): Saatchi Gallery – a display of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and more encompasses pieces from over 120 exhibitors from around the world.
💚 Jonathan Michael Ray: The Voice in the Shadow (Opens May 19): Bo Lee and Workman – the inaugural exhibition at this new gallery finds Michael Ray imbuing collected and assembled objects with a deep sense of time, place, myth, and fantasy.
💜 The Offbeat Sari (Opens May 19): Design Museum – this exhibition unravels the sari’s numerous forms, using it as a metaphor for the layered and complex definitions of India today.
🧡 Jiro Osuga: Departures (Opens May 19): Flowers Gallery Kingsland Road – Osuga transforms the gallery into an airport departure lounge with a continuous series of paintings covering the walls.
💚 The Polar Silk Road (Opens May 26): Natural History Museum – a photography series exploring the existing, potential, and unexpected impacts a new global trade route through the Arctic that is only available due to global warming.
EXHIBITIONS CLOSING IN MAY
💛 Enter Gallery Pop Up (Closes May 7): Truman Brewery – the Brighton-based gallery returns to London with another pop up of uniquely curated contemporary art.
❤️ Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons (Closes May 7): Hayward Gallery – dystopian landscapes, completely devoid of human life, surround visitors as they walk through this experiential exhibition.
💙 Beyond The Streets (Closes May 9): Saatchi Gallery – this street art exhibition takes over the entire Saatchi Gallery, transforming it into an urban art landscape.
🧡 Steve McQueen: Grenfell (Closes May 10): Serpentine Gallery – a harrowing film piece that is rightly angry and aggressively confronting.
💜 A Year in Art: Australia 1992 (Closes May 14): Tate Modern – explores the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ relationship with their lands, modern Australia, and the legacy of colonialism.
💚 Nature Morte (Closes May 14): Dalston Curve Garden – “still life photographs created from collected waste on the streets of East London during the height of the pandemic.”
🖤 DJ Fat Tony and OPAKE: Church Halls and Broken Biscuits (Closes May 20): Quantus Gallery – the different forms of addiction and recovery are explored by dropping in beloved familiar childhood characters.
💛 Magdalena Abakanowicz (Closes May 21): Tate Modern – these imposing cloth sculptures play with space and texture and simply have to be seen in person to understand their power.
🤎 Mohammed Sami: The Point 0 (Closes May 28): Camden Arts Centre – Sami’s first institutional exhibition draws on his experiences living under Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad, presenting abandoned interiors, claustrophobic cityscapes, and uncanny depictions of everyday objects.
Here’s our guide to the best art exhibitions to see through 2023.
34. Bust a gut at the UK’s first permanent LGBTQ+ comedy club
The Queer Comedy Club officially launches May 11, but they have got some shows taking place through April for those who can’t wait! It’s set to be a queer comedy destination presenting “stand-up comedy that is relevant, relatable, and, most importantly, rib-ticklingly funny, reflecting their own lives.” Comedians will range from established acts to up-and-coming comics. They’ll even offer up opportunities for newbies to the scene to try their hand at the craft. Many of the events are free to boot, making it as accessible as possible.
Head to the website to see what’s on and secure tickets to the shows.
35. Sleep out in London to support those experiencing homelessness (May 19)
In May, XLP are running their XLP City Sleep Out to raise funds that go towards helping them combat homelessness and the rising risk of youth homelessness in particular. Participants will take part in an overnight stay in the heart of the City of London – near Liverpool Steet. Participants are encouraged to seek out sponsorship for their participation, and will be treated to free food from Franco Manca and Hop Vietnamese Kitchen, an open air cinema, and live music. Those who don’t want to sleep overnight are still invited to come along, sponsor a sleeper, and enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
36. Escape the rush of the city with these ethereal candlelight concerts
Whether you’re planning a romantic night out, or simply want to treat yourself to music in dazzling surroundings, these candlelit concerts are sure to hit the mark. Live music from a string quartet bathed in the soft glow of candles? It’s a breathtaking experience.
🕯️ Candlelight: Swan Lake & More ft. Ballet (May 18)
🕯️ Candlelight: 100 Years of Warner Bros. (May 25)
Head here to see the rest of London’s candlelight concert offerings.
37. Wine not indulge with some bottomless wine?
OXBO Bankside is adding to their programme of bottomless brunches with an especially wine-derful dinner offering for Wednesday diners. Their ‘Wine Not Wednesday‘ events offer up a bottomless wine option that nets you 90 minutes of free-flowing wine for just £14. Add that to their two-course menu for just £25 and you’re looking at a pretty great Wednesday night out!
38. Head to the beer gardens for some pints in the sun
What’s the best way to enjoy the longer evenings and (hopefully) warmer weather? Heading to the pub, of course! What better way to while away the afternoons and evenings, after all, than a few drinks in the sunshine with a few mates? There’s nothing like it!
Check out our full pub beer garden guide here.
39. Celebrate Alphonso mango season
May is the month of the king of the mangoes, the Alphonso mango. Revered for its particular sweetness and rich flavour, when the mangoes ripen it’s a sign that summer has arrived. Michelin starred restaurant Jamavar, is celebrating Alphonso mango season with a flurry of new dishes to celebrate and champion the much-adored fruit. These range from savoury (Meen Manga Kuttinad, with halibut and raw mango cooked with fenugreek and Kerala spiced coconut milk) to sweet (mango tart with raw alphonso salsa and mango sorbet) to demonstrate the ingredient’s versatility.
To cap off the experience, Jamavar is also bringing an Indian summer to their restaurant with a mango grove-inspired terrace makeover. And, to complement your meal, Jamavar’s bar team are serving up mango-infused drinks. You’ll be in mango heaven with their freshly prepared Mango Lassi, or the alphonso inspired Carpe Diem cocktail, with vodka, mango, lemon juice, and a slice of caramelised mango.
40. Get hyped for a huge month of live music
Some huge global names are jostling for space this month as London offers up yet another jam-packed month of incredible gigs. Here are some of the top performances that you don’t want to miss out on.
🎸 Peter Doherty (May 5): Royal Albert Hall – the first solo tour in ten years from arguably the most (in)famous member of the Libertines, expect an acoustic folk-tinged journey through the recesses of Doherty’s mind.
🎸 Måneskin (May 8): The O2 – from Eurovision winners to O2 headliners, it’s been a wild ride for the exhilarating Italian rock n roll band.
🎤 Pusha T (May 17): Eventim Apollo – hot off a #1 album, Pusha T brings his enduring brand of ‘coke rap’ to London.
🎶 Blondie (May 18): The London Palladium – the OG punk icons will have you tapping your feet and dancing, ‘One Way or Another’.
🎛️ Four Tet (May 23-25): Alexandra Palace – complemented by 42,000+ immersive hanging lights courtesy of SQUIDSOUP, and presented in full surround sound, this is set to be an unforgettable experience.
🎸 The Proclaimers (May 28): New Wimbledon Theatre – how far would you walk to see this folk band play live? Say, 500 miles? 500 more?
🎵 Kyle Lionhart (May 28): Omeara – the singer/songwriter brings his Aussie charm and emotional vocals to London.
🎤 Beyoncé (May 29 & 30, June 1, 3, 4): Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – the chart-topping superstar is here for not one, not two, but five nights of stadium pop anthems.
🎙️ Sparks (May 29, 30): Royal Albert Hall – it’s not a stretch to suggest that contemporary pop music wouldn’t exist without this powerhouse duo that still pushes the boundaries of pop music.
Read our handy monthly gig guide here.
41. Reconnect with nature at Lab Tonica’s new “Beyond The Lab” workshops
Lab Tonica are running a series of workshops through the month of May designed to demonstrate the mood-boosting realm of herbs. These range from the Heart Health workshop (May 3), where guests will learn about “seasonal flowers and herbs that can be locally foraged and used to create remedies”, to the Sound and Scent workshop (May 15). The latter workshop invites guests to unwind with an “evening of restorative sound healing and plant therapy”.
Learn more, and grab your tickets, here.
42. Settle in for a show at one of London’s iconic theatres
💋 The Rocky Horror Show (Opens May 3): Peacock Theatre – the cult-classic musical is on tour for it’s 50th anniversary.
💘 Once On This Island (Opens May 10): Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – a musical Caribbean story of a love that inspired prejudice, and wagers between gods and mortals.
❤️🔥 Brokeback Mountain (Opens May 10): Soho Place – the lives of two cowboys change forever in this stirring adaptation of the film.
👻 2:22 A Ghost Story (Opens May 13): Apollo Theatre – the modern stage classic relocates to its fifth West End theatre for the summer.
⌛ Groundhog Day (Opens May 20): Old Vic – oh, the irony of a movie about re-living the same day over and over again, being performed on-stage over and over again.
🎶 Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Opens May 22): Cambridge Theatre – no two nights are the same as a cast of “Olivier-winning improvisers create a new, all-singing and all-dancing, original musical before your own eyes”.
🪞 The Shape Of Things (Opens May 24): Park Theatre – how much would you change yourself for someone you love?
❤️🩹 Blackout Songs (Ends May 6): Hampstead Theatre – two alcoholics relapse together and have to make a decision about whether they figure things out or have one final drink.
🎭 For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy (Ends May 7): Apollo Theatre – six young Black men meet for group therapy, where their imagination runs wild and the line between reality and fantasy blurs.
📜 War & Culture (Ends May 12): New Diorama Theatre – a show comprised of information uncovered thanks to “various freedom of information requests regarding government interference in cultural organisations and arts funding” – but, funny…
🎂 The Great British Bake Off Musical (Ends May 13): Noël Coward Theatre – the much loved baking competition show takes to the stage.
⚖️ To Kill A Mockingbird (Ends May 20): Gielgud Theatre – the adaptation of the Harper Lee novel starring Stranger Things’ Matthew Modine.
💰 Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical (End May 20): Garrick Theatre – the classic story of the infamous bank robbers, now with added songs!
🍌 ANIMAL (Ends May 20): Park Theatre – the story of a young, gay, disabled man navigating the need for around-the-clock care and a desire for casual sex.
🤔 Blanket Ban (Ends May 20): Southwark Playhouse Borough – an investigation of Malta’s draconian abortion laws amidst their otherwise progressive social justice reforms.
🥃 Peaky Blinders: The Rise (Ends May 27): The Camden Garrison – the immersive Peaky Blinders theatrical experience comes to an end.
Here’s our guide to the best London theatre shows to catch in 2023.
43. Grab some new kicks at Europe’s biggest trainer festival (May 20)
This is one for the sneakerheads who miss the good old days of browsing in person, not trawling through online auctions and resale listings. The Crepe City sneaker festival brings the UK’s top sneaker vendors and some of the rarest and most desirable pairs of trainers together under one roof. It’s the perfect place to grab your next pair of kicks – or six or seven. Tickets are selling out super quickly, so act fast to grab some of the last spots available!
44. Try out the newest offerings from London’s favourite venues
🦐 El Norte has launched a new springtime lunch menu where diners can enjoy two starters and a main for just £40. Alternatively, if you want to sample widely across the menu, their new tapas selection takes their most popular a la carte dishes and shrinks them down to sharing tapas portions – I’ll take one of everything in that case!
🔥 Yaatra’s new menu will take diners on a journey across the breadth of possibility that Indian cuisine has to offer. Executive Chef Amit Bagyal has been inspired by his travels across the highways and byways of his home country, and with this menu is able to give recognition to lesser-known dishes and territories.
🍷 The next stop is the Loire Valley at Maison François, as part of the restaurant and wine bar’s evolving Dimanche à la Maison François series. The new menu will delight diners with food that “captures the very essence of Spring”. There’s also an optional wine pairing for those wanting to explore the area’s bright, fresh flavours.
☀️ Californian-inspired rooftop restaurant Laurel’s On The Roof might not technically be a new opening but they have just launched their Sunday brunch menu. What better way to enjoy the sun and balmy late-spring weather than a rooftop, sun-drenched brunch?
45. Explore a disused train station that has been turned into an immersive art piece
The Old Waiting Room at Peckham Rye Station has lain disused for years. Once upon a time it was one of England’s largest hub for national travel, but the years have not been kind to it and the building closed went through various iterations before closing down in 1970. Now, it’s being given a new life with the installation of an impressive art piece from artist Sarah Sze. The intricate work, Artangel, will be open to the public from May 19 – September 17. Entry will be free, and the artwork will be open from Wednesday to Sunday.
46. Get STRONG at this new gym
Hot off the Australian wellness scene, STRONG Pilates is opening their first ever UK studio in Islington on May 18. The brand, founded by international cricketer John Hastings, serves up sessions that combine pilates, rowing, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) through specially made equipment.
Find out more, and book to be among the first in the UK to try it, at the STRONG website.
47. Head to the hills for the Herne Hill Free Film Festival
The Herne Hill Free Film Festival is a volunteer-led community festival, that actively displays and rewards local works as much as international hits. From May 3-27, various locations around Herne Hill will join in with screenings of new releases, beloved family favourites, short films and more. Oh, and the screenings are all free! There is also the 48 hour film challenge, where Herne Hill filmmakers are given “a line of dialogue, a prop, a Herne Hill location, and just 48 hours to create a 3-
minute short film that will leave the SE23 and SE25 postcodes seething with jealousy.” It’s a celebration of film, filmmaking, and community that’s sure to broaden the cinematic horizons of everyone involved.
See the full programme here.
48. Celebrate a culinary megastar with an indulgent tasting menu
Two Michelin starred restaurant Kitchen Table are set to wear their heart on their sleeve at an upcoming series of spectacular dinners. From May 10-13, chef-patron James Knappett will celebrate the extraordinary influence of Chef Rick Stein with 16-course tasting menus that will pay homage to Stein’s most famous dishes. The truly indulgent, once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t come cheap, however, with the meal costing £300, with a champagne or wine pairing available for an additional £285 or £190, respectively. If you’ve got the cash, head here to book.
49. Get some late-night shopping done at Brixton Village
May 4 will see the launch of Brixton Village’s new late-night shopping series, First Thursdays. On the first Thursday of each month, Brixton Village’s stalls will stay open late into the night to celebrate and nurture the South London community. The events will also see the Black Culture Market providing support and the chance for emerging entrepreneurs and black businesses to sell their products. And, of course, there will be plenty of food, drink, and tunes to accompany the late-night shopping sesh.
50. Bust a gut at a charity comedy show (May 22)
The Women and Children First charity is putting on a one-off comedy show with “a diverse range of scintillating stand-ups, Chortle award winners and brilliant breakthrough acts from around the globe.” The show, Cracking Comedy, will raise funds to support the charity in “helping women, children, mothers, and babies to survive and thrive in some of the world’s most rural, remote communities.” With Rhys James headlining the night, and other acts including the likes of Rosie Holt and Alasdair Beckett-King, it’s set to be a side-splitting night.
51. Listen up at the Podcast Show (May 24-25)
London’s celebration of podcasts is back for 2023, and noisier than ever. The Podcast Show will hit Islington’s Business Design Centre, giving fans the chance to brush shoulders with their favourite podcasters and hear from industry leaders and experts. Guests on the bill include Fearne Cotton, Nick Grimshaw, Nish Kumar, Roman Kemp, and more.
Accompanying the celebration of podcasts, are a series of live podcast recordings at various London venues in the week surrounding the Podcast Show. From May 22-28, podcast fans can listen to (and watch) a live podcast recording of the likes of The Girl’s Bathroom, Tape Notes Live with Adam Buxton! and more.
Find out more and grab your tickets here.
52. Take in a special presentation of Romeo + Juliet
It’s an inarguable truth that Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet is the greatest film Shakespeare adaptation. And Backyard Cinema is now giving Londoners the chance to see the film in a new light, with one of their brilliant productions. Over eight shows, from May 30 – June 4, a live choir will bring the music of the film to life before, during, and after the screening. The completely reimagined show, one of Backyard Cinema’s most popular productions, takes over Alexandra Palace with neon crosses, candle lit aisles, and giant stained glass windows featuring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Find out more, and grab your ticket, here.
53. Try out beekeeping
Love honey? Or ever fancied yourself a beekeeper? London’s St Ermin’s Hotel is giving Londoners the chance to get hands on with their collection of 350,000 Buckfast Bees with a series of interactive beekeeping workshops. Hosted by beekeeper, actress, and half of the ‘Queen Bees’ podcast duo, Esther Coles, the workshops will range across introductions to beekeeping, bee-friendly planting, and cocktail making. Each one also finishes off with either a cocktail experience or a special afternoon tea to keep the buzz going. The first beekeeping workshop will be the Meet and Drink with Our Bees experience, on May 13, with various other events throughout May and through the summer.
See a full list of the dates and experiences, and secure your place, here.
54. Celebrate Ally Pally’s 150th Birthday (May 27)
To mark 150 years since London institution Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally as we all affectionately know it) opened, there will be a big old knees up at the Palace and its surrounding 196 acres of greenery. They haven’t yet released all of the details yet, but for now revellers can expect live music, cinema screenings, a silent disco, a family rave, Palace tours, and plenty more. Knowing Ally Pally they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve to commemorate the occasion in a BIG way. And best of all, entry is free.
Head to the Ally Pally website to keep up to date as they release more details.
55. Keep exploring this mighty city
It’s impossible to list everything that goes on in London in just one article. Here are a few more things our writers have been shouting about that you don’t want to miss out on this May:
🖼️ 23 Of The Most Spellbinding Pieces Of Public Art To Check Out In London
🍖 The Fat Walrus Has One Of South London’s Best New Sunday Roasts
🐶 This Art Exhibition Is Dedicated Entirely To Portraits Of Very Good Dogs
🌮 London’s Only Taco Festival Is About To ‘Tacover’ A London Brewery
🐟 London’s First Ever Caviar Café And Deli Has Landed In South Kensington
😍 This South East London Sewage Station Is Surprisingly Beautiful
🖼️ A Huge New Mosaic Mural Will Slowly Be Built In London Over The Next Year
🍝 Al Dente Is A Small Slice of Italy in Fitzrovia Serves Authentic Italian Dishes
🕹️ Channel Your Competitive Spirit At This Shoreditch Gaming Bar
🫖 This Shoreditch Hotel Serves An Afternoon Tea That’s Straight Out Of A Story Book
👑 The Romantically Rustic Kensington Restaurant Named After Princess Margaret’s Alias
🌇 12 Breathtaking Spots To Watch Sunsets In London
🎉 Bar Gansa Serves Up Spanish Brunch and Bottomless Sangria Every Weekend
⛳ A Colourful And Free Minigolf Course Has Just Opened In Canary Wharf
🦜 You Can Now Fly Like A Bird At The 02
🍹 Rooftop Season Has Kicked Off With The Re-Opening Of This Stylish Margarita Bar
☀️ Let Luxe Dishes And Unrivalled Hospitality Transport You To Greece At This Soho Restaurant
🥒 The World’s First Ever Pickle Afternoon Tea Is Landing In London
🌮 This Mexican Restaurant Serves Up Tacos, Tequila, And Bottomless Frozen Margaritas
🍰 This Delightful Soho Tearoom Is London’s Oldest Patisserie
More things to do inspiration…
😁 200 Fantastic and FREE Things To Do In London
🚶♀️ 50 Of The Best Things To Do In London At Least Once In Your Life
🍽️ 50 Of The Best Restaurants In London To Wine And Dine At
Also published on Medium.