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Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Victorian Vauxhall

Alternative ways to spend the August bank holiday

Work that three-day weekend for all it’s worth with these unusual events in London

By Katie McCabe

It’s almost here, that last gasp of the season: the August bank holiday. And none of us are quite ready to sip the bittersweet dregs of the summer wine. On the bright side, it’s the most banging bank holiday in the calendar, thanks to the Notting Hill Carnival, our biggest outdoor party and – we don’t say this enough – the second biggest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro.

If you’re not up for playing mas on the Central line, there are bucketloads of offbeat ways to spend your three days of freedom. Just make those sweet 72 hours count with our alt August bank holiday guide.

RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to the bank holiday in London.

Alternative August bank holiday events

1. Gorilla Flying Circus Trapeze School

If you harbour daredevil aspirations or think the swallow is your animal alter-ego, book a session at this outdoor flying trapeze school that sets up camp in Regent’s Park. In just two hours you’ll go from doing simple tricks on the low bar to performing high-flying backwards somersaults like a pro-swinger. Regent’s Park. Tube: St John’s Wood. Until Sep 8. £30. Find out more here


2. Pick-your-own sunflowers

Things to do Walks and tours

Get neck-deep in heliotropic heaven among fields full of golden sunflowers, which are at their peak between August and September. Just a stone’s throw from the city, these farms let you pick a bouquet of your own. Remember, always check ahead to make sure the crops are fresh before you visit.


3. White Water Rafting

Sport and fitness Stadiums Waltham Cross

Start your bank holiday by thundering through the chlorine-y rapids of the white-water slalom centre in Lee Valley. The centre was built for the 2012 Olympics, but as long as you can survive a ‘swim test’ in the whirlpool, you don’t need any experience to brave these angry waters. Still, it’s a challenging run, so choose your raft-mates wisely.

More things to do this bank holiday?


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