Sound the long weekend klaxon! Spring is upon us and you know what that means – there's a bank holiday on the horizon. The early May bank holiday (Friday May 8 2020) is the most important for Londoners.
Yes, it’s one of two bank holidays this month, and this year it falls on Friday: we're celebrating Victory in Europe (VE) Day. 2020 marks the 75th year since the end of World War II. This means late hours for pubs, with closing time moved from 11pm to 1am on Friday night, as well as commemorative arts and cultural events at London institutions including the Imperial War Museum.
There are heaps happening across London, so where do you start making plans? Right here, that’s where. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to celebrating the weekend. Whatever you like to get up to in your spare time (well, within reason), we’ve got you covered with all the best new art exhibitions, new theatre shows, day trips and the best clubs in London.
And if you enjoyed this bank holiday, you're going to love what's coming up later this month... Tat's right, two bank holidays in one month. The late May bank holiday this year falls on Monday May 25. No excuses for not living your best life this month. You have many sweet, empty days to fill. Make them count.
The best bank holiday events in the city
London events in May
Prepare yourself for a marvellous May in London. Spring has officially sprung, the days are warming up and London’s parks are at their blooming best. Spend those sunny May days in London exploring the capital's great outdoors or sinking a drink (or two) on one of London's rooftop bars, which have just started to open. Be sure to make the most of not one, but two Bank Holidays in May, by checking out the city's new exhibitions and theatre shows. May in London is also the month of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London Craft Week, London Wine Week, the Hackney Half Marathon, Chelsea Fringe and Museums at Night. Here's our guide to the best events, parties, pop-ups and things to do in May 2020 in London. You're in for one sweet, sweet month. While your diary’s out, remember that it's never too early to start planning for June either. RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar
Unmissable spring events in London
Spring in London is finally on its way. The days are getting warmer and lighter, people are starting to smile occasionally and Londoners are beginning to inch away from cosy pub fires and venture into the great outdoors. Plus, the city is coming to life with events and activities from March through to May 2019. Whether you’re after the latest art exhibitions, new theatre shows, the best gigs, restaurant openings or other great things to do in London, our spring round-up will keep your social calendar as fresh as a daisy. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate London events calendar
Top 10 things to do this May bank holiday
May is the best month of the year in London. The parks are in bloom and people start to venture up to London’s rooftop bars again. Not only do we get longer days and (hopefully) warmer weather, but May brings with it not one but two bank holiday weekends. The first is already over, and if you’re not already booked up with a wedding for the second, then it’s time to make some plans. Check out our guide to the best events happening across London for the bank holiday falling on Sat May 23 - Mon May 25 2020. We have our fingers crossed for some nicer weather, but because we’ve learned to prepare for every eventuality, why not choose a back-up London pub or one of these cosy spots to hide from the rain? RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to the bank holiday in London
Top 25 spring events in London
The start of the year is often a bit dry, both booze-wise and event-wise, but London really comes to life when spring arrives. From March through to May, the city blooms with plenty of fun things to do, including new blockbuster art exhibitions, newcomers to the West End gang and a fresh line-up of London gigs. The capital is starting to warm up - here's 25 unmissable events springing up near you very soon.
City farms in London
Your animal sightings shouldn’t be just limited to the glimpse of foxes rummaging through your bins or a neighbour’s sour-looking cat. From Shoreditch to Surrey Quays, London actually has a surprising amount of city farms for you to visit. There are lazing llamas in Canary Wharf, energetic goats in Kentish Town or rare breed sheep off Holloway Road. A lot of the farms have hands-on activities and workshops – so if you’re in the mood to muck in and get your hands dirty, you can. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to see how the farms are run, get up close and personal with the cute creatures and learn how they’re kept happy.
The best day trips from London for animal lovers
Apart from Banksy’s graffiti rats, the odd urban fox and the food-thieving pigeons of Trafalgar Square, London’s not really famous for its wildlife. Sure, we’ve got the London Aquarium, the London Zoo and some cute city farms, but much more of the animal kingdom exists beyond the M25. With that in mind, we’ve collected some of the best day trips from London for animal lovers. Love all things great, small, exotic and fluffy? Here’s are the wildest attractions near London that are worth leaving your natural habitat for.
Winter is well and truly behind us, and as the temperature rises in London, people are turning their attention to the great outdoors. The capital’s cosy pubs and hidden bars have all served us well, but now we’re shedding the puffa jackets, donning our shades, and stepping outside. From beautiful rooftop restaurants and cute beer gardens, to alfresco cinemas and outdoor swimming pools, there’s something a little bit magic about being outdoors in the city. Venture a little further afield and you can blow out the cobwebs on bike trails, sandy beaches and even picturesque flower farms, all within easy reach of london. Don’t dally indoors - there’s some incredible outdoor experiences waiting to be had in London. Still can't decide where to spend the day?
London's best riverside pubs and bars
While it might not be the weather for basking at London's best rooftop bars or lounging in the best beer gardens, you can still do your inner-city supping with an alfresco feel. Just grab yourself a spot by the river with our guide to London's finest riverside pubs. As well as the very best Thames-side drinking spots, we also guide you through some first rate canalside pubs and bars fit for a pleasant autumnal day of drinking in the capital. The list below runs from west London to east London and takes in the Thames, the River Lea and the Regent’s Canal.