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The best things to do in London over the May bank holiday weekend

One holiday done and the next. From exhibitions and beer crawls to London’s best parks and outdoor days, here’s our guide to what to do for the May Bank Holiday…

Photo: Rooftop Film Club

1 Enjoy the sun
As the sun shines throughout the long weekend, pack a picnic and relax in one of London’s many parks. the London Royal Parks (i.e. Hyde, Richmond, Bushy, St James’s and Greenwich Park plus Kensington Gardens, Brompton Cemetery and The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill) are always a treat, but there is also Victoria Park and Clissold Park within to the east, the charming Hampstead Heath and its swimming ponds to the north, and Brockwell Park and Crystal Palace to the south. Head to your usual favorite park or try a new park in a different part of town

2 Kyōsai: The Israel Goldman Collection at The RA, Piccadilly
This exhibition features the work – some of which has never been seen before – of 19th century Japanese painter Kawanabe Kyōsai. The exhibition – the first solo Kyōsai in the UK since 1993 – focuses largely on the art of sekiga, “spontaneous paintings”, produced at “calligraphy and painting evenings” (shogakai) which were often fueled by prodigious amounts of sake, and armed with that information, you can kind of see a drunken man’s mind on the canvas; his paintings are beautiful and comical, and also a bit crazy.
Date: until June
Time: 10am-6pm
Price: £17
Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

3 The Blackhorse Lane Beer Mile, Walthamstow
Roam the boozy Walthamstow Strip, tasting some of London’s best craft beers while listening to live bands and DJs and touring the brewery. Participating breweries and drinking places include TRomanian Social Club, Signature Brewing, Beerblefish Brewing, Exale Brewery, Wild Card Brewery and Hackney Brewery, which are all under 10 minutes of tripping each other. Entry is free and you can get your Blackhorse Beer Mile passport stamped and win a pint glass at the end. For southerners, Bermondsey Beer Mile is always good craic. Start at Maltby Street Market and see how far you’ll actually go.
When: Sunday, May 1
Time: Start at Truman Social Brewery; 1 Priestley Road, E17 6AL

4 Rooftop Cinema Club, Peckham
The Bussey Building rooftop cinema in Peckham opens this holiday, starting with True Romance with Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. Jurassic Park, West Side Story and Belfast, which will be subtitled and signed as part of hearing impaired week, will all be shown on the big screen throughout the weekend.
Date: April 29-May 2
Tickets: from £16.95
Address: Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST; Multi-storey car park 7 and 8 Stratford, Great Eastern Road E15 1BB

5 Drinking and eating outdoors, across London
More rooftops and outdoor sites appear in time for the holiday. The Culpeper, in Shoreditch is reopening its roof garden, which is a little green urban oasis amid the hubbub of east London. Rooftop party venue with stunning views of St Paul’s Madisontook his sprint time ques from the Amalfi Coast with lush foliage and lemon trees. Pergola Paddington turned into a beach-inspired Mexican party, with fire performers, dancers, live drums and DJs playing until late. Terrace of the Somerset House is also now open, and the iconic venue is a great spot for a sunset or two.

6 London Cabaret Club Pop Brunch, Bloomsbury
The London Cabaret Club is launching its monthly Pop Brunch this bank holiday Saturday, with barbecue-style dishes concocted by star chef Richard Galli. Fizz and mimosas are unlimited for an hour, so enjoy while watching a live show filled with 2000s bangers and floor fillers such as Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You and Bruno’s hit March, Uptown Funk.
When: Saturday April 30
Time: 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
Price: £49.50 for two courses
Address: Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square WC1B 4DA

7 Hampton Court Palace Tulip Festival at Hampton Court Palace, Molesey
See more than 120,000 flowers fill the courtyards and gardens of Hampton Court Palace during the UK’s largest tulip festival as you stroll through the palace gardens and immerse yourself in spectacular displays. This year’s event features more than 60 rare, historic and specialist varieties of the flower, inspired by the famous 17th century collection of Mary II at Hampton Court Palace.
When: April 12 to May 2
Time: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Price: £26.10/£13 adult/child; concession and group tickets available, members are free
Address: Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU

8 Yoga at Sky Garden, City
Led by yoga instructors from TruBe, Sky Garden Yoga is a dynamic one-hour vinyasa class suitable for all levels and abilities. Let the instructor guide you through your poses and stretches, and as a special holiday treat, follow your cat-cow with an after-class breakfast at Darwin Brasserie.
Time: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Cost: £25
Address: The Fenchurch Building, 1 Sky Garden Walk EC3M 8AF

9 Small is Beautiful: Miniature Art Exhibition, South Kensington
Small is Beautiful: Miniature Art Exhibition comes to South Kensington and showcases tiny art and photographic works by over 30 international artists. It is a deliciously quirky and playful exhibition in which visitors can immerse themselves in quirky universes of tiny proportions. Beware a sculpture of a mother and daughter small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil by Bosnian artist Jasenko Dordevic and London-based photographer Slinkachu‘s including one of a snake attacking a little girl and her mother made from a green shoelace in a puddle. As part of the race, there are creative workshops for children aged 7 to 12, so that they too can create large but mini works of art.
Time: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: £16/£13 adult/child
Address: 79-85 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW7 3LD

ten Shaping Masculinities: The Art of Men’s Fashion at the V&A, South Kensington
Celebrating the power, artistry and diversity of men’s clothing, this exhibition traces how men’s fashion has been shaped and reshaped over the centuries and how designers, tailors and artists (along with their clients and models) have built and played masculinity to deconstruct it and start anew. It features looks from Harris Reed, Gucci, Raf Simons, as well as paintings, photography, film and performance.
Date: current until November
Tickets: from £20
Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RLb

11 Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the V&A, South Kensington
Another V&A exhibition and collaboration with the National Trust, Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature explores the beloved author’s interest in the natural world. This is a fun and interactive exhibition that invites visitors to rediscover the achievements of Potter, from storyteller to naturalist and conservationist. The exhibit features over 240 personal items, including letters, manuscripts, sketches, coded diaries and family photographs.
Date: until January 2023
Cost: from £14
Address: Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL

12 Cat and Dog Exhibition and Spring Fair at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill
Learn more about your four-legged friends in this family-friendly interactive exhibit that offers a view of the world through the eyes of pets. This immersive exhibit explores the scientific, social and cultural role that cats and dogs play in our world and takes visitors on an exciting sensory journey, exploring what it is like to be a cat or a dog.
When: Until October 30
Price: £9.50/£5 adult/child; group tickets available
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ

13 Surrealism Beyond Borders at Tate Modern, South Bank
This exhibition showcases the vast international reach of the Surrealist movement, with works made over a period of 60 years, coming from 50 countries. It shows how Surrealism inspired and united artists from distant and diverse regions, and how the movement took root in various places at different times, providing artists with the freedom to challenge authority and imagine a new world. .
Date: until August 29
Cost: £18; concessions available
Address: Tate Modern, Bankside London SE1 9TG

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