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45 fun-filled things to do in London over the bank holiday weekend

By Stephanie Hartman

The last days of summer are upon us and it's imperative you Londoners spend the bank holiday achieving sky-high fun levels. The capital's got Notting Hill Carnival to navigate plus plenty of club nights, beer festivals, workshops and all night film screenings to party hop between. Make sure those Tuesday morning blues are worth it with our mega list below.

Things to do

Beehive Bank Holiday Weekend, The Beehive, Fri-Sun, free. Spend the bank holiday weekend in N17, making the most of the Beehive's garden and packed programme of fun. 

BatFest, Woodberry Wetlands, Fri-Sun, free-£32.14. Learn how we can better look after bats at this weekend of bat-themed photography, workshops, walks and even bat-handling.

Afrobeach Bank Holiday Beach Party, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Sat, £6.96–£16.52. Head to Beach East for a bank holiday bash complete with summertime drinks and dishes, giant games and beach huts to kick back in. 

IBikeLondon: Carnival Heats, various London locations, Sat, free. Cruise through the city on your bike with a bunch of fun cyclists on this free ride from Waterloo to Brixton. 

Wild Life Drawing, various venues, Sat-Sun, £20. This series of life-drawing classes is a right hoot. Instead of humans acting as models, participants are tasked with sketching a different live animal each time.

Île O, Theatre Square, Sun, free. Two clowns battle it out in a paddling pool. Expect acrobatics, songs, and plenty of splashing around from French circus outfit Compagnie Barolosolo.

Notting Hill Carnival, Notting Hill, Sun-Mon, free. Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street festival, is a vivid spectacle representing London's multicultural past and present. It's also a vital date in any party-lover's diary.

Macrame and Marbling Workshop, Central Parade, Mon, £47.48. Two on-trend activities come together in the course exploring the arts of macrame and marbling.

The Seasons, Lassco, Mon, £60/£80. Make the most of your bank holiday Monday and learn how to make a leather card holder with Charlie Borrow. Alternatively, get yourself to a special dinner at the venue hosted by David Carter of Smokestak with wine pairings from Bedales of Borough.

Etsy Pop-Up, John Lewis, all weekend, free. Find a hive of creativity atop John Lewis's roof top garden as online retailer Etsy take over the space for the bank holiday.

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



Eating and drinking

Just Ditch, Rumpus Room, TODAY. Feign an illness, clock off early and get yourself down to the Mondrian London's rooftop bar for some Friday afternoon fun. There will be DJs on the decks, cocktails to sip on, and views for miles.

Bottomless Brexit Brunch, Pop Brixton, Sat, £30. Still reeling after the UK's decision to leave the EU back in June? Eat your feelings at this Brexit themed brunch complete with an hour and a half of bottomless Pimms or prosecco to help drown your sorrows.

August Bank Holiday Cider Festival & Hog Roast, Water Poet, Sat-Mon. If you're not feeling up to heading west for the August bank holiday's main carnival, this festival celebrating all things cider is a much gentler excuse for daytime drinking. 

Tropicalia Weekender, MAP Maison, Sat-Mon, £12. A bank holiday weekender offering hearty plates of barbecue chicken and signature cocktails for east Londoners.

East Mediterranean Wines, Food and Frolics, Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Sun, £49 + booking fee. An evening of wine and food pairing hosted by the restaurant's owner James Walters, with help from master of wine, Sarah Abbot and wine writer, Michael Karam.

Taco Party, Sager + Wilde, Sun-Mon. Freddie Janssen from F.A.T and Lyle's hosts this taco takeover with a special seafood menu. Feast on blood clams, tuna, red snapper and shrimp served with fresh beetroot and corn tortillas, gorditas, tostadas and tortas.

The Priory Arms Bank Holiday Beer Festival, The Priory Arms, all weekend, £3.90-£6. This is an easy numbers game. Over 100 beers, 11 keg beers, 20 real ales, 6 real ciders, over 70 bottles, four days and one you.

Wild Card Brewery Bank Holiday Beer Festival, Wild Card Brewery, all weekend. Work your way through over 30 types of beer, and gorge on slices from DoughBro Pizza over the bank holiday weekend. Jazz, funk and soul will be playing out on Sat, there's an open mic night on Sun and a pub quiz on Mon.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.



Live music

Eagles Of Death Metal, The Forum (O2 Forum Kentish Town), TONIGHT, £20. This will undoubtedly be a storming gig from the two libidinously charged, maximum-rockin’ dudes behind EODM: Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes and Josh ‘Babyduck’ Homme (of Queens Of The Stone Age). 

Glass Animals, Rough Trade East, TONIGHT, free w/wristband. Hailing from Oxford, this experimental electronic pop outfit made a splash with their debut album 'Zaba' – full of lush, hazy pop curveballs layered with psychedelic synth-work and gentle electronic beats.

Big Wedding Weekend: The Wedding Party, Southbank Centre, Sat, free. The 15-piece Big Band Diamond Skyline Orchestra performs the best of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, and songs from the Swing Era followed by disco courtesy of DJ Anna Greenwood.

South West Four, Clapham Common, Sat-Sun, £55-£115. Clapham Common’s dance music festival attracts superstar DJs from across the globe.

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







Night Tales Bank Holiday Closing Party, 1-2 Hepscott Road, Fri-Sun, £3. Your last chance this summer to catch DJs, drinks and delicacies at Hackney Wick pop up.

Brixton Beach Boulevard Closing Weekend, Valentia Place, Fri-Sun, £3. The final three days at the rooftop beach before summer ends. Eat, drink and listen to DJs sets into the evening.

For The Love Of Garage - Carnival Special, Village Underground, Sat, adv £6-£15. A hotbed of choice garage cuts delivered by Artful Dodger, Pied Piper & MC Creed, DJ Cartier, Mike 'Ruff Cut' Lloyd, Noodles and DJ Trudos.

The South London Soul Train, CLF Art Cafe (The Bussey Building), Sat, £15, adv £5-£13. This monthly Peckham party promises 'no bass wobbles, only love, funk and soul'. Amen to that, we say.

Solo Danza Bank Holiday Party, Village Underground, Sun, adv £10-£20. The secretive, super-slick Solo Danza crew return for a Bank Holiday bash that's sure to spring many-a-grin from discerning clubbers.

The Jamm Carnival Clash, Brixton Jamm, Sun, £5-£20. Thankfully it's only a short stagger and wine from Carnival to this joyous afterparty. The raucous Gold Teeth DJs take control supported by All $tar$ and the About to Blow team to ensure a steady run of dancefloor-filling garage, grime and bashment.

Wray & Nephew x Boiler Room Carnival After Party, Paradise By Way of Kensal Green, Mon, £20. The Jamaican rum brand and online music broadcaster team up for an excellent after party. Get down after carnival to catch Grandmixxer, Neptizzle, Crazy Cousins and more.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.







The Road to ‘The Hateful Eight’, Prince Charles Cinema, Sat, £20. Say what you like about Quentin Tarantino’s bloody drama, but its inspirations were all rock solid: classic westerns, claustrophobic horror flicks and bloodthirsty thrillers. This all-night marathon will feature four of those antecedents, all leading up the movie itself, by which point you’ll probably be asleep.

Pedro Almodóvar season: ‘Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!’, BFI Southbank, Sat, £8.35–£11.75. The Spanish director’s darkly funny melodrama concentrates on the relationship between soft-porn actress Marina and the two men who try to control her.

Summer Series: ‘Adventureland’, House of Vans, Sat, free. It’s summer 1987, and James (Jesse Eisenberg) is all set for a character-building European adventure, until the shock revelation that his parents’ financial blunders have hoovered up all his travelling money.

£1 Cinema Club: ‘24 Hour Party People’ + club night, The Grand, Sun, £1. Watch Michael Winterbottom’s delinquent story of Factory Records, then boogie the night away to top-one-nice-one Madchester classics and jagged ’80s indie.

The Godfather Trilogy, Regent Street Cinema, Sun, £25, £22 concs. Yep, the whole damn saga, from ‘I love America…’ to Michael drifting off in his lawn chair.

Or at the cinema...

Julieta ★★★★☆ Pedro Almodóvar returns to female-focused filmmaking with a darker than usual drama.

War Dogs ★★★☆☆ Jonah Hill kills it as a stoner-turned-drug dealer in a dramedy based on two real-life two dudes who conned their way to US military contracts.

…or see all of the latest releases.


Marc Brenner






They Drink It In the Congo, Almeida Theatre, Fri-Sat, Mon, £10-£38. Adam Brace's second play is a madly ambitious satire about the West's relationship with the DRC.

Groundhog Day, Old Vic, Fri-Sat, Mon, £21-£90. Tim Minchin follows 'Matilda' with a musical version of the Bill Murray classic.

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, Shakespeare's Globe, Sun, £5-£45. Kneehigh's new show is a big, jazzy epic set in WWII.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






Last chance to see art exhibitions

Bas Jan Ader, Simon Lee, TODAY, free. Best to avoid Bas Jan Ader’s show if you’re feeling emotionally fragile. The seminal Dutch conceptual artist disappeared mysteriously in 1975 and left behind a body of just 35 works of art.

Yuri Pattison: User, Space, Chisenhale Gallery, Fri-Sun, free. In young London-based artist Yuri Pattison’s installation, the modern office is cast as a dystopian, derelict, steel-and-glass tomb. It’s like a future look back at how we spend our days, and it makes for grim but addictive viewing.

Dutch Flowers, National Gallery, all weekend, free. There are just 22 paintings, many of them tiny, in this free, one-room show. Gradually, the works get bigger and the arrangements less regimented. Instead of being set against dark backgrounds (all the better to see prized specimens), flowers are painted as if in doorways or on window ledges leading to the outside world.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... VIP tickets for BuggedOut! take over at Margate's Dreamland or a spectacular culinary adventure in Jamaica

Grab... tickets to The Handmade Fair 2016 presented by Kirstie Allsopp at The Green Hampton Court Palace and save up to 33%

Book… these gigs while you still can

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