Bank holiday in London

Make the most of the long weekend with our guide to the May bank holiday 2021 in London.

Time Out
Photograph: Time Out

Right now, we’re crawling towards the May Bank Holiday (Saturday May 1 - Monday May 3 2021), and hoping for even the tiniest sliver of sunshine to greet us on arrival. The Bank Holiday weekend dates don’t quite line up of the long-anticipated reopening of the major London galleries or indoor dining, but thanks to the ingenuity of London’s event organisers and indie business owners, there’s still plenty of things to do and see across the three-day weekend, and we’re doing it all OUTSIDE. 

We can meet in groups of six to order food straight to the park for an extremely lazy Sunday, find a decent patch of green for a barbecue or go full tourist and rent a little boat (who doesn’t love boats?). And now that a little bit of time has passed since the reintroduction of outdoor drinking and dining on April 12, it’s actually possible to book a table.

Beer gardens, however, are a different story. Boozy picnic tables have been booked up all over the city months in advance. Thankfully, the pint gods have smiled upon us. A select number of London pubs have decided to forego booking and allow for walk-ins instead. That means you can turn up at opening time for a chance at a seat in an actual beer garden this May Bank Holiday weekend. Here’s to clinking pints in the rain, warmed by the glow of your own spontaneity. 

The best things to do this May Bank Holiday

10 genuinely great ways to spend this weekend
Things to do

10 genuinely great ways to spend this weekend

We’ve never been so happy to have plans

London’s prettiest walks
Things to do

London’s prettiest walks

Fancy stretching your legs and exploring the city at the same time? 

Places to eat dinner outdoors
Restaurants

Places to eat dinner outdoors

The unbeatable combination of fresh air and fancy food

Pubs that you don’t need to book
Bars and pubs

Pubs that you don’t need to book

Organising ahead is for suckers

Get a culture fix over the May bank holiday

Outdoor cinema in London
Film

Outdoor cinema in London

It’s open season for movie lovers in London

London art galleries that are open to visitors right now
News

London art galleries that are open to visitors right now

See scores of shows at small independent galleries   

Book a table at Brixton Courtyard
News

Book a table at Brixton Courtyard

The Courtyard has a great line-up of DJs and parties for spring

Digital museum and gallery tours
News

Digital museum and gallery tours

Life without art and museums is just a whole lot of Netflix 

Films to watch this bank holiday

The 30 best movies to watch on Netflix UK
Film

The 30 best movies to watch on Netflix UK

Have you yet to watch the stress fest that is ‘Uncut Gems’?

Great films to watch on Disney+
Film

Great films to watch on Disney+

It’s not all ‘Frozen’

Find the latest releases to stream
Film

Find the latest releases to stream

Make time for the Oscar-nominated ‘Sound of Metal’

Choose from 28 music documentaries on Doc’n Roll TV
News

Choose from 28 music documentaries on Doc’n Roll TV

Learn about the psychedelic music of funk icon Betty Davis

Bank holiday eating in London

The absolute best restaurants in London - back open again
Restaurants

The absolute best restaurants in London - back open again

Guess who’s back? 

London’s best outdoor dining
Restaurants

London’s best outdoor dining

Forecast says sun? Wine and dine alfresco

Bank holiday drinking in London

London’s best rooftop bars now taking bookings
Bars and pubs

London’s best rooftop bars now taking bookings

Get a taste of the high life

London’s best beer gardens
Bars and pubs

London’s best beer gardens

This way for socially-distanced drinking