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Cheese fest, a sausage party and a load of clowns: ten alternative London festivals

Written by
Katie McCabe

A pizza party, a clown fest and a tribute to the sandwich – just some of the unique celebrations to fill your diary this month.

Imperial Festival

Encounter flying robots or steer a remote-control car using only your eyes at Imperial College’s Kensington site which hosts the Imperial Festival. The annual two-day event is a chance to poke around the Imperial College laboratories, hear talks by leading scientists and take behind-the-scenes tours of Albertopolis aka Exhibition Road. Imperial College London. South Kensington. May 6-7. Free, booking required.

The London Cheese Project

If you camembert paying admission to get into a food festival, this could brie the gathering for you: a free-access weekend of fromage at Camden Market. Camden Market. Chalk Farm. May 6-7. Free.

Red Bastard

London Clown Festival

No red noses or squirting flowers here. This is a modern affair of anarchic cabaret and physical theatre including ‘socially conscious’ comedy clowning from Helen Duff and an appearance by Edinburgh Fringe favourite Red Bastard. Hornsey Town Hall Arts Centre. Finsbury Park then W7 bus. May 11-21. Prices vary.

Sandwich Fest

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the inaugural Sandwich Fest is officially happening. Eight gourmet sarnie vendors are set to take over the Space Gallery in Hackney for the day, and we’ve got our eye on the haggis toasties from Deeney’s. Not one for the gluten-free. Everyone else: crumb and get it. Space Gallery. London Fields Overground. May 20. £10.

Green Man presents Courtyard

The Brecon Beacons comes to King’s Cross for this Welsh beer and cider festival. There’ll be art installations, a silent disco and live bands on the bill, but sadly no PJ Harvey. Lewis Cubitt Square and Park. m King’s Cross. May 25-29. Get £6.60 tickets at 

London Pizza Festival


London Pizza Festival

Grab a slice of the action at this pizza party in Borough Market organised by ‘Where to Eat Pizza’ author Daniel Young. Watch six London pizzerias try to out-knead each other to be crowned best in the city. Years of Domino’s deliveries will serve as training for those who enter the pizza-eating marathon, proving there is a sport out there for us all. Borough Market. London Bridge. May 28. £28 incl drink and six quarter-pizzas.

London Sausage Festival

You read that right, a bona fide sausage fest is on its way to Notting Hill. Up to 2,000 people are expected to join for craft beer, live music and plenty of bangers. Portobello Road. m Ladbroke Grove. Aug 19-20. Price tbc.

Gin Festival

This summer gin bash will be awash with spirit- soaking food, mother’s ruin masterclasses and more juniper-infused drinks than your balloon glass can handle. Tobacco Dock. Wapping Overground. Aug 25-27. From £14.

Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion festival

The Brooklyn Brewery Mash presents… Beer Mansion

New York’s Brooklyn Brewery is taking its Mash Tour series to Dalston. Instead of hosting it in a bland business centre filled with ales, BB has created a ‘Beer Mansion’ where each room is designed around a specific craft brew. MC Motors. Dalston Kingsland Overground. May 12-13. £35.


Respect your elders, or better yet, get them to teach you their mad skills at this day of craft workshops run by ‘Grandmasters’ all over 70. Various venues in Spitalfields. Jun 18. Free; booking required.

Find more awesome things to do in May.

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