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75 glorious things happening in London this May

By Stephanie Hartman

This month sees the return of the House of Peroni, complete with cocktail classes, pasta-making workshops and a floating negroni bar on the canal. Elsewhere in town there’s a brand new music festival popping up on Peckham Rye, Covent Garden will be hosting its annual dose of puppet shows and old-fashioned fun, and the best street food markets will begin their tasty summer sessions. Make May your best month yet with our 75 spectacular suggestions below.


May 4: The Rise, Fall and Rise of Vinyl Records Peter Saville is joined by chair, Coleen 'Cosmo' Murphy, Sean Bidder (Vinyl Factory) and Adrian Shaughnessy for a panel discussion exploring the visual history and influence that vinyl album cover design has had on popular culture.

May 5: Carnaby Style Night More than 100 of Carnaby’s shops, restaurants and bars team up for this evening of fashion and free stuff.

May 6: American Graffiti An interactive evening of performance hosted by Vox Vanguard production company. Guests will be transported to New York City during the roaring '20s with the help of impressive visual displays and sound from a singer and even a chamber orchestra.

May 6-8: Not On The High Street: Open Door To celebrate their tenth birthday, are throwing a bash IRL. The three-day event will see the online retailer popping up in east London with over 100 of their sellers showcasing wares including prints, art, home furnishings and accessories.

May 7: Boring Conference You know when 'toilet roll quality control codes' is a title for a talk that it might just be part of the Boring Conference. Other confirmed talks include 'East German traffic lights' and simply 'bricks'.

May 7-8: Imperial Festival Imperial College London is inviting us all in to find out more about their research and work, and providing hundreds of scientists for us to quiz about it, with their annual festival of science and engineering. 

May 8: Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival The annual Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival brings together Punch and Judy professors from around the country for a day of jolly old-fashioned fun.

May 10: The Man Who Branded London: Edward Johnston Talk Series To celebrate the 'Johnston' letterform, the London Transport Museum are hosting a series of talks exploring how great design can affect the experience of travelling.

May 12: magCulture Meets...Francesco Franchi To mark the launch of his latest book 'The Intelligent Lifestyle Magazine', award-winning art director Francesco Franchi talks tonight about the publication which explores editorial concepts and branding elements.

May 12-Aug 31: Junkyard Golf Manchester's junkyard course visits the Big Smoke for three months this summer in a pop-up at the Old Truman Brewery.  

May 15: Urban Village Fete A contemporary take on the traditional English outdoor party featuring heaps of local design, food and fun.

May 15: Streatham Common Kite Day Get untangling your most colourful airborne toys for the eighteenth annual Streatham Common Kite Day which will fill the skies of south London with fun once more this May.

May 19: Muggle Movies The latest immersive cinema experience brings together 'The Boy Who Lived' with the food he consumed during his first adventures in the wizarding world. 

May 19- July 1: The House of Peroni Back in east London for another year of eating, drinking and entertaining, The House of Peroni is offering up an 'Amare l'Italia' meaning 'for the love of Italy' themed residency.

May 20-22: Spin – The Cycling Festival This city-focused bike show is a dream for those who commute using pedal power. Leading cycle and lifestyle brands and start-ups will exhibit the modern world's most useful and beautiful bicycle-related gadgets and clothing.

May 21-22: Bamboo Bike Workshop These two-day workshops teach participants how to make their very own bike frames using bamboo.

May 22: Day Retreat Kind Yoga Studio A mix of pilates, vinyasa yoga, yin and meditation to calm the body and soul. Expect fresh scents, twinkling candles, and the chance to switch off and focus on breathing techniques.

May 24-28: Chelsea Flower Show Over 500 exhibitors will already be making plans and tending to their most prized plants in preparation for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now.   

May 27-29: MCM London Comic Con A firm fixture on every fanboy's annual calendar, London Comic Con is the UK's biggest modern pop culture convention.


May 5-8: Nanna's Soft Launch To celebrate their extended opening hours, Nanna's are offering 50 percent off food for a limited time. The menu from Daniella Maiorano, formerly of Sager + Wilde features small plates, cured meats and tasty cheeses.

From May 6: Street Feast New for 2016 are some modern classics of the food stall scene; Hawaiian-inspired sushi bowls from Poke, fiery chicken from White Men Can't Jerk and juicy hunks of beef from Stakehaus.

From May 6: Model Market The south London iteration of Street Feast is back for another summer of booze, fun and excellent street food.

May 7-8: Royal Arsenal Street Food Market Heaps of street food vendors including The Mac Factory, The Jerk Joint, Picadilly Whip, Hey Dahl, Cantina El Burrito and more pack into the Royal Arsenal market to sell their wares over the weekend.

May 8: Tottenham Green Market Following a popular trial stint last year, the Tottenham Green Market gang are now pitching up permanently, offering north Londoners tasty grub and family entertainment every Sunday.

May 9: Last Libations Imagine you're about to die, grisly I know, but what would your last cocktail be? A new drinking series asks that very question to cocktail aficionados who will offer up four cocktails to tempt you into the afterlife.

May 12-Aug 13: Little Nan's Rio Bar Another Little Nan pop-up venture, this time hidden away in the basement of the Rio Cinema. Tickets include bottomless teapots of signature cocktails and unlimited pic 'n' mix and popcorn.

May 14-15: Clissold Park Food and Drink Festival This foodie fest returns to Stoke Newington for three days of British and international street food, craft beers and ales, children's activities and a busy live music stage.

May 15-16: RAW – The Artisan Wine Fair This artisan wine fair pours back into the capital for a fifth year running, proving that organic wine is not a short-lived trend.

May 17-21: Zurich Meets London Whether you're after a melt-in-the-mouth biscuit, gingerbread stuffed with almond cream or handmade pralines, all Zurich's best snacks are on the table at this festival.

May 18-21: Gravlax London A Scandinavian inspired pop-up championing the process of curing salmon, first used by fishermen in the middle ages to create delicious dishes.

May 21-22: Comida Fest A new Latin American street food market showcasing the likes of Jama Cubana, Marlon's Kitchen, London Locomotive Smoke, Gusacaca and more.

May 23-29: London Wine Week Oenophiles rejoice, for London Wine Week is with seven days of decanting vintages, decoding the wine list, and spitting left, right and centre.

May 28-30: Foodies Festival Food-lovers can tuck into a range of masterclasses, talks and tastings at these three-day festivals which celebrate their eleventh anniversary in 2016.

Christine And The Queens© Jeff Hahn


May 3: Christine And The Queens Héloïse Letissier’s synthpop project takes in dramatic songcraft, stark visual presentation and awe-inspiring dance moves.

May 7-9: Yann Tiersen Enormously talented Breton composer and multi-instrumentalist Tiersen is best known for his crisp piano balladry and woozy accordion waltzes, especially those written for the multi-million-selling 'Amelie' soundtrack.

May 13: Iggy Pop Bowie may be gone, but thank the gods we’ve still got Iggy. 

May 13-15: Peckham Rye Music Festival The first line-up for this new festival in Peckham includes Radio 1 DJ Benji B, top producer Leif and Kassem Mosse collaborating live with Mix Mup.

May 17: Rising Stars Discover the stars of tomorrow at one of our specially curated gigs. Taking place at iconic music venues around London, our Rising Stars events showcase some of the best new artists in the capital.

May 18-20: Father John Misty Sardonic singer-songwriter Josh Tillman performs as Father John Misty, supporting his superb LP ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ (a Time Out Album of the Week).  

May 21: Fluffer Pit Parties: The Black Lips Mighty US garage rock crew The Black Lips headline a Pit Parties all-dayer, with bands and DJs from 2pm till 2am.

May 26: Shura The on-trend and hotly tipped young R&B singer from Manchester plays tonight at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire.

May 27-29: Raw Power 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.

May 28: ESG Punk-funk legends do their stripped-down thing.

May 29: Fetty Wap New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap’s ode to slinging drugs with his girlfriend was a strong ‘song of the summer’ contender, followed by equally ubiquitous hits such as ‘679’ and ‘My Way’ (not a Sinatra cover). Catch him live in London tonight.

May 29: Gala Chefs, restaurants, bars and breweries from all points south of the river will be serving up the goodies, with DJs and live acts including Nightmares On Wax and Norman Jay MBE.


May 7: Burning Down The House This new east London night aims to give Dalston’s nightlife scene a kick up the arse with the best songs of the ’80s (from Grace Jones and David Bowie to The Smiths and Pixies) plus a side-portion of disco, funk and glam.

May 7-28: Tiga Non Stop After stonking residencies by Eats Everything, Skream, The 2 Bears and others, XOYO has bagged dapper Canadian disco king Tiga as its latest 12-week headliner.

From May 8: Party People A free daytime party in Hackney Wick happening every Sunday, all summer long. 

May 13: Massaoke Previously known as Friday I’m In Love, this popular singalong club night allows punters to belt out their favourite indie and pop anthems en masse.

May 20: Simian Mobile Disco Colourful techno duo Simian Mobile Disco are always a safe bet for a storming live show. Get your tickets quick: this outing in support of their new album 'Whorl' will sell out faster than Harry Styles ruins Dalston.

May 21: Debbie A night of female-fronted rock, pop and indie for queers, girls, freaks and geeks: all-girl rock, pop and indie music from Blondie to The Breeders to The Bangles to Beyonce.

May 27: Bugged Out: Hot Chip Takeover Alexis Taylor, Felix Martin, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke and friends turn XOYO into an eclectic disco mecca.

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival


May 4-5: Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival A new festival that whips together 36 films about making. The two-day programme is a real mix, from Star Wars shadow puppetry to a stone letter cutting documentary with a raft of animations, satire and surrealism in between.

May 6: Time Out Loves… Spies: ‘The Spy Who Came In From the Cold’ + ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ To celebrate the release of a new film of John le Carré’s novel ‘Our Kind of Traitor’,Time Out is hosting a spy weekend dedicated to one of the finest living British authors, and the world of espionage he so brilliantly explores in his writing.

May 6: I Wish U Heaven: A Film & Music Tribute to Prince To be completely fair, Prince’s movie career was never as – how shall we put this? – artistically successful as his musical one, but luckily he left behind two cracking big-screen outings, and they’re both showing along with DJs, cocktails and live performances.

May 9: Rooftop Film Club: ‘Blade Runner’ The kings of outdoor cinema return this week with a packed programme at four locations on rooftops across the city.

May 13-14: The 'Top Gun' Weekender at the Geffrye Museum Rooftop Film Club have teamed up with Time Out to bring you two exclusive screenings for everyone's favourite Tom Cruise film, 'Top Gun'.

New releases

May 18: X-Men: Apocalypse They're back. The rebooted X-Men (Fassbender and McAvoy, not McKellen/Stewart) take on the original mutant, prehistoric blue mean Apocalypse.

May 20: Sing Street The man behind 'Once' delivers another foot-tapping, heart-strumming Irish musical tale – this time about a boy dreaming of pop stardom in 1980s Dublin.

May 27: Love & Friendship Deliciously arch American filmmaker Whit Stillman proves a perfect match for this adaptation of a lesser-known Jane Austen novel.

Johann Persson


May 3- Sep 11: A Midsummer Night's Dream Emma Rice tackles Shakespeare's magical comedy for her first show in charge of the Globe.

May 12-July 2: Blue/Orange A white doctor clashes with a black patient in this revival of Joe Penhall's seminal satire.

May 12-Aug 13: Romeo and Juliet Richard Madde, Lily James and Derek Jacobi star in Shakespeare's love tragedy directed by Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford as part of his West End season.

May 13- Jun 12: Running Wild Epic family theatre adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book about a boy and his elephant.

May 14-Jun 18: Monster Raving Loony James Graham pretty much seals his place as British theatre's premier political historian with the London transfer of his anarchic play about notorious eccentric/irritant/hero Screaming Lord and his Monster Raving Loony Party.

May 17-21: A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play For the Nation The RSC's deputy artistic director Erica Whyman takes on this intensely ambitious project to mark the 400th year of the anniversary of Shakespeare's death. 

May 17-21: Ophelias Zimmer The great auteur director Katie Mitchell returns to the Royal Court with this exploration of Shakespeare's character Ophelia, shorn of the context of 'Hamlet'. 

May 17-Jun 4: The Joke An Englishman, and Irishman, and a Scotsman...You might think you know how this ends, but alternative comedian Will Adamsdale's exploration of humour is anything but predictable. 

May 18- Aug 31: The Threepenny Opera Hotshot playwright Simon Stephens has penned a new translation of this grimy musical classic.

Until Jun 4: Lawrence After Arabia A new play about TS Lawrence's attempts to lead a quiet life after his great adventures in the desert. 

Mona Hatoum: 'Light Sentence', 1992. © Mona Hatoum. Photo: Philippe Migeat Courtesy: Centre Pompidou, Paris


May 4-Aug 21: Mona Hatoum Mona Hatoum made a name for herself in the 1980s with performances including a gruelling hour-long barefoot trudge through the streets of Brixton with DM boots attached to her ankles.

May 11-Sep 25: Painting with Light The Tate focuses on its stellar collection of Pre-Raphaelite art (again!) with a show that brings out the big guns of the movement, such as John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and their Aesthetic Movement and British Impressionist chums including Whistler.

May 18-Oct 16: Jeff Koons: Now Having opened his Newport Street Gallery with work by the respected by relatively unknown John Hoyland, Damien Hirst is following up with a real biggie – Jeff Koons.

May 19-22: Photo London After the huge success of last year’s Photo London, the photography-dedicated fair returns to Somerset House for a second instalment that promises to be bigger and better than the inaugural showcase.

May 27-Sep 4: Found Cornelia Parker has lined up a stellar cast of artists and designers to contribute to this show, which is based on the history of the Foundling Hospital.



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