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43 perfect ways to spend the bank holiday weekend

By Stephanie Hartman

It's a bank holiday, baby! Below you'll find everything necessary to curate the best weekend ever, with events including craft markets in Brixton, beer festivals in Walthamstow and music and food fiestas in Brockwell Park. Have fun out there!

Things to do

V&A Friday Late: Neo Nipponica, V&A, TONIGHT, free. Celebrates the culture of Nippon – otherwise known as Japan - through the art, design, sounds and nuances of the nation. This event marks the recent refurbishment of the V&A’s Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art.

Bioblitz in Brompton Cemetery, Brompton Cemetery, Fri-Sat, free. A 24-hour hunt for plants, animals and fungi at Brompton Cemetery will tell us everything we need to know about which species are flourishing in London.

Brixton Beach Boulevard, Valentia Place, Fri-Sun, from £4. A big, bold new summer pop-up hits Brixton for 14 weekends of parties on a rooftop beach.

Punk 1976-78, British Library, Fri-Mon, free. Shakespeare has some new neighbours. The British Library’s exhibition on Big Willy has just been joined by a small, free show about punk music and culture in Britain. It’s hard to say who’s had the greater influence on how we live now.

Gorgeous Garden Party, Bernie Spain Gardens, Sat, free. Get involved with a free gardening drop-in session by sowing seeds in this south London community garden. Visitors will also be given a plant to take home and care for.

Tango at Borough Market, London Bridge, Sat, free. Step up and give tango a whirl at this fun and free workshop designed for those new to the style. The Three Crowns Square will act as the dancefloor, and will be taken over following the class by a group of pros for an evening of top-notch moving and shaking.

Crafty Fox Spring Market - Brixton, The Dogstar, Sat-Sun, free. The popular Crafty Fox’s Spring Market returns to Brixton with over 100 designers and crafters handpicked by guest curator Charlotte Abrahams.

Bike Shed London, Tobacco Dock, Sat-Sun, £15. Rev up and get down to the Tobacco Dock for two days dedicated to motorcycles and the new wave of custom bikes you may have seen cruising through the capital.

Sunday Papers Live, Cecil Sharp House, Sun, £35. A personification of our weekend reading material with talks, walks, workshops and armchairs. Sunday roasts will be available, but BYO slippers.

…or check out more events happening in London this weekend. 

Eating and drinking

Kerb does Alchemy, Southbank Centre Square, Fri-Mon, free. Macwari naan, Nepalese pizza, kheer and ice cream sandwiches in almond cookies, join dosas, puri and bhajis as Kerb's favourite London street food vendors tackle dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. 

Wild Card Brewery Beer Festival, Unit 7, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Fri-Mon, free. Over 30 beers to work your way through, carry-out delights from the Dough Bro Pizza, live music, DJs, charity raffle and entertainment for the bank holiday weekend.

London Wine Week, various locations, Fri-Sun, £10 wristband. Oenophiles rejoice, for London Wine Week is back with seven days of decanting vintages, decoding the wine list, and spitting left, right and centre.

Street Food and Craft Beer Festival, Alexandra Palace, Sat-Sun, free. Head up North London's biggest hill for this free festival at the 'People's Palace', which features live music and entertainment as well as heaps of food and drink. 

Route 37 Beer Festival, various locations, Sat-Mon, free. London Beer Lab, The King & Co and We Brought Beer are joining forces this bank holiday to run a craft beer trail along the 37 bus route between Clapham and Brixton.

Uptown Scrump You Up, The Snooty Fox, Sat-Mon, free. Fifteen or so scrumpies hit the bar at The Snooty Fox with live funk on the Saturday until 1am, live bands on the Sunday and BYOV (Bring Your Own Vinyl) on the Monday.

Mexican Feast, The Richmond, Sun, £25. Spend your Sunday stuffing your face with a set menu of tequila oyster shooters, agave glazed pork ribs, swordfish tostadas, hot smoked corn, alongside £6 frozen tamarind margaritas while sunning yourself on the new terrace.


…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.







Spencer Jones is The Herbert in Proper Job, Udderbelly, TONIGHT, £12.50-£21.50. Spencer Jones's joyous, props-based lunacy was a huge hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe, and deservedly so. It's an hour of daft, joyful mucking about.

Gary Delaney: There's Something About Gary, Leicester Square Theatre, TONIGHT, £16.50. Inventive, no-nonsense one-liner merchant Gary Delaney – as seen on 'Mock the Week' and 'Dave's One Night Stand' – is back on the road with 'There's Something About Gary', which plays the Leicester Square Theatre.

Austentatious – An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Leicester Square Theatre, Sun, £12.50, £10 concs. 

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.






Live music

Raw Power, The Dome, Fri-Sun, £15-£60. Raw Power festival is starting to become a regular fixture in the London calendar, returning to genteel Tufnell Park for three more days of loud psychedelic fun.

Gala, Brockwell Park, Sun, £25-£30. Eating out is the new going out for many a Londoner, so it’s no surprise that this new May bank holiday gathering in Brockwell Park is as much a food event as a music festival.

Fetty Wap, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Sun, £33.50. New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap’s ode to slinging drugs with his girlfriend was a strong ‘song of the summer 2015’ contender, followed by equally ubiquitous hits such as ‘679’ and ‘My Way’ (not a Sinatra cover). Catch him live in London tonight.

Hear No Evil, London Fields Brewery, Sun, £18.50 adv. Back for a third year, Hear No Evil is celebrating the bank holiday again with music, beer and comedy - and all proceeds going to the lovely people at Macmillan Cancer Support.

…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.


© Steve Gullick








Bugged Out: Hot Chip Takeover, XOYO, TONIGHT, £12.50. Alexis Taylor, Felix Martin, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke and friends turn XOYO into an eclectic disco mecca.

Jay Electronica, The Coronet, TONIGHT, £24.50. The slick MC from New Orleans arrives to drop some smooth tracks.

Drum 'n' Bass Boat Party, Tower Pier, Sat, £22.50. No prizes for guessing what this one's all about, but who needs prizes when you've got Kenny Ken & The Ragga Twins, Rerun, NME and more ripping up a party boat with fluid grooves and ballsy beats?

Bump and Hustle Music, CLF Art Cafe (The Bussey Building), Sat, £5-£12. Bump your way across the dancefloor to a selection of classic house cuts, prime funk, soul, rare groove and disco from various expert selectors including the likes of John Morales, Paul 'Trouble' Anderson, Phil Asher and more.

Jungle X Garage Splash, Brixton Jamm, Sat, £8-£10. Hard-hitting party crew Jungle Splash – who've been going strong for over two decades – throw some immense parties, always full of blitzing breaks and banging basslines.

Slide, Prince of Wales, Sun, adv £10-£20. The much-loved terrace party returns for a bank holiday bash. Specialising in funk, disco and party-primed house, these events are always popular with cool clubbers, who flock to catch the ever-impressive global DJ line-up do their thing against a Brixton skyline.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.


Love and Friendship






1994 All-Nighter, Prince Charles Cinema, Sat, £20. Take a trip 22 years back in time with the Prince Charles’s tribute to a vintage year for film. The choices range from the sublime (Quentin Tarantino’s thunderous portmanteau ‘Pulp Fiction’) to the wildly overrated (Luc Besson’s daft and creepy ‘Leon’).

Bechdel Test Fest: Nora Ephron’s Last Supper, Rio, Sun, £20 films, £40 films + food. Pay tribute to the much-missed queen of the romcom with two (ironically not that romantic) movies, plus a slap-up supper inspired by her work.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Stratford East Picturehouse, Sun, £7, £5 concs. A chance to catch this iconic adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel on the big screen.

Shakespeare on Screen: ‘10 Things I Hate About You’, BFI Southbank, Sun, £8.35–£11.75. ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ relocated to American suburbia may not sound a great idea. Julia Styles’s snooty riot grrrl as Kate/Katharina? Heath Ledger’s impoverished Jim Morrison clone as Patrick/Petruchio? But this is an unexpected classic, a study in female distemper that makes the original look mean-minded.

Or at the cinema...

Love & Friendship ★★★★☆ Deliciously arch American filmmaker Whit Stillman proves a perfect match for this adaptation of a lesser-known Jane Austen novel.

Alice Through the Looking Glass ★★★☆☆ Johnny Depp is freakier than ever in this follow-up to Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© Robert Workman






A View from Islington North, Arts Theatre, Fri-Sat, Mon, £10-£42. An inventive evening of political satire.

Sex Workers' Opera, Pleasance Theatre, Fri-Sun, £15, concs £10. Real sex workers perform in this eye-opening musical about their lives.

Stone Face, Finborough Theatre, Fri-Sun, £16 & £18, concs £14 & £16. A former child captive struggles to adapt to freedom in this new play from Eve Leigh.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






This week's best new art

Yayoi Kusama, Victoria Miro, Fri-Sat, free. The legendary Japanese dot dispenser has made new paintings, pumpkin sculptures and mirror rooms for this show. 

Dóra Maurer: 6 out of 5, White Cube Mason's Yard, Fri-Sat, free. Over the course of five decades, the Hungarian artist has established herself as one of the foremost figures of Eastern European conceptual art. 

Walter de Maria, Gagosian Britannia St, Fri-Sat, free. The American artist – who died in 2013 – remains one of the leading figures in minimalist and conceptual art. Remarkably, this is his first solo show in the UK, and will feature a number of drawings and sculptures from across his six-decade career.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win...VIP tickets to 'The Donkey Show' and one night's stay in a four-star hotel or dinner aboard the Good Ship Benefit

Grab...five courses and a glass of wine at Pho & Bun in Soho for 33% less

Book…these gigs while you still can

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