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Top 10 things to do this August bank holiday

Staying at home is just not an option this August bank holiday weekend...

© David Tett

Forget about work, shift yourself from the sofa and make the most of the long weekend. Plan your August bank holiday to the minute with our round-up of the very best events taking place in the capital from Saturday August 29 to Monday August 31 2015

CHECK THIS OUT: The best events in London this August

The best things to do this bank holiday


Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea

Find out whether life really is better down where it's wetter in this exhibition of images and information collected during the three-year long Catlin Seaview Survey of coral reefs. More than 250 specimens from the Natural History Museum's collections will also be on show, including coral collected by Darwin on the HMS Beagle. A live coral reef and a virtual dive will give visitors a thorough view of these natural underwater masterpieces.

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Natural History Museum Thursday August 6 2015 - Sunday September 13 2015

Serpentine Galleries Pavilion

The task of transforming the lawn outside the Serpentine Gallery with a multi-purpose temporary Pavilion falls to the Spanish architectural duo SelgasCano. Their use of new technologies combined with nature conscious concepts will no doubt take inspiration from the gallery’s park location for the commission’s fifteenth anniversary.

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Serpentine Gallery Tuesday August 4 2015 - Saturday October 17 2015 Free

Mind Sports Olympiad

There are, it seems, myriad ways of proving your prowess – and winning gold, silver or bronze medals – that don’t involve getting sweaty. This annual festival of the mind will feature sedentary tournaments in more than 60 board games. Classics such as chess, draughts, Scrabble and Monopoly all feature alongside more recent hits such as Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. Card games, an amateur poker world championship, a general knowledge quiz, and even a Tetris tournament are also on the schedule. Register in advance for your chosen tournaments at the Mind Sports Olympiad event page to get on board. 

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JW3 Sunday August 23 2015 - Monday August 31 2015

South West Four

Clapham Common’s dance music explosion returns for another weekend of classic club-flavoured festival business, overflowing with anthems and arms in the air. If you're longing for super-club sounds but can't afford Ibiza and are loath to spend the last days of summer in a dark, sweaty room, head to SW4 for your fix of big-room house, EDM, electro, techno and trance, as well as other genres creeping in from all angles. 

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Clapham Common Saturday August 29 2015 - Sunday August 30 2015

Notting Hill Carnival

Since Notting Hill Carnival debuted in 1964, the event has undoubtedly grown and morphed, attracting ever more revellers with its spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands as well as a series of soundsystems for alfresco dancing. You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade together with Caribbean food stalls serving up jerk chicken and fried plantain. The more family-friendly Sunday is the best day to take children to the Carnival, with the main parade on Monday normally winding a path from Great Western Road, along Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove to Ladbroke Grove.

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Notting Hill Sunday August 30 2015 - Monday August 31 2015 Free

Spices at Kew

The summer's events at Kew are themed around the spice trade and the focus of activities is plants that were at one time literally worth their weight in gold. Visitors will be ferried around the gardens in rickshaw-inspired contraptions to discover why saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and how turmeric is used to dye ceremonial robes. They'll be able to create their own spice and to learn about the medicinal power of cloves. Spiced delicacies will also be available from street food vans, a pop-up bread kitchen and in the garden's Orangery and Pavilion restaurants.

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Kew Gardens Until Saturday September 12 2015

The Line

London's new sculpture trail will lead walkers along three miles of waterways including London's Royal Docks and along the River Lea, and showcase work from the likes of Damien Hirst, Martin Creed and Eduardo Paolozzi. Born from a crowdfunding campaign, the project proposal raised over £140,000 in less than eight weeks to bring existing work out of warehouses and into the public eye. The ten works installed this year will be on loan to The Line for two years, with new pieces introduced each year.

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Various London locations Until Thursday December 31 2015 Free

Barbara Hepworth

The last time there was a major retrospective of Barbara Hepworth’s work in London, the First Lady of British modernism attended herself (we’re hoping she wore her fabulous fur coat). That was in 1968. Forty-odd years later, Tate Britain’s summer 2015 show looks to reassess the reputation of this sculptor of famously holey forms who, thanks in part to her beautifully preserved studio in St Ives, is forever associated with Cornwall, where she lived from 1939 until her death in 1975. This show includes carvings and sculptures in wood, stone and bronze, along with drawings, collages, textiles and experimental photogram works.

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Tate Britain Until Sunday October 25 2015

Star Wars at Madame Tussauds

Star Wars fans rejoice! This major new attraction at Madame Tussauds boasts 16 life-like characters and 11 expertly finished sets from the iconic films. The experience takes over two new floors at the Baker Street site and visitors can immerse themselves within sets that range from Yoda's swamp, to the red-hot lava spewing Mustafar where Anakin turns to the dark side. Life-like wax characters on display include armoured Stormtroppers, Luke Skywalker as he battles Darth Vader on the Death Star, Obi-Wan Kenobi, a captive Princess Leia and Jabba the Hutt in his Throne Room plus many more.

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Madame Tussauds Until Thursday December 31 2015

Hidden City – The Enchanted Mirror

Once upon a time, in a city that hides countless mysteries and hidden surprises, a selection of intrepid Londoners were invited to take part in a quest through the streets of South Kensington. An evil witch sought out the sharp-minded, the competitive and the adventurous to solve a series of clues, leading the teams into majestic venues and along secret shortcuts in an attempt to discover who was truly the wisest of them all. If you feel bold enough to gather your most trusted companions and to take on the witch’s challenge now is your chance, for masters of the clue-solving treasure trail Hidden City have resurrected it. 

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V&A Until Sunday September 13 2015

Looking for more bank holiday ideas?

Bank holiday in London

If laying in bed with a boxset was your initial bank holiday plan, scrap it – there's too much going on to stay indoors.

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By: Time Out London editors



Its great to have a celebration and music but can any one listen to one music from the other?

i have noticed its very unorganised with music being blasted left and right. surely how can you appreciate any of the music and does any one know the roots of this. Can it be placed in a park like other civilised gatherings in the year 2014. im very suprised it still is such a mess with smoke of nasty smelling food and people walking around like they have lost a dog.


Aaah.... Carnival?