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London events in May

Get ready for a marvellous month with our selection of the best events, exhibitions and things to do in May 2019 in London
Swans, Kensington Gardens, London, May 2017
Richard/ Flickr
By Time Out London Things To Do |
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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 NightHere's our guide to the best events, parties, pop-ups and things to do in May 2019 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

The best May events in London

1
The Great Hampstead Bark Off 2017
Things to do

The Great Hampstead Bark Off

icon-location-pin Hampstead Heath, Dartmouth Park
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With a dog-themed Bark Off Bake Sale, a dog show, and prizes awarded in categories like ‘cutest pup’, 'golden oldies' and ‘best rescue’, this is one for the doggone animal obsessed. 

2
Things to do, Festivals

London Craft Week

icon-location-pin Various London venues, London
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This week-long festival celebrates craftsmen beavering away in all in all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies across London. Get stuck into behind-the-scenes demonstrations, hands-on craft workshops, talks, interviews and discussions with fascinating craftspeople. 

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3
Tickets_museumsatnight_royalobservatory_2010press_CREDIT_National Maritime Museum, London .jpg
© National Maritime Museum, London
Things to do, Festivals

Museums at Night

icon-location-pin Various London venues, London
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Stuff the usual opening hours and hang out at your favourite cultural institutions after dark at the May edition of Museums at Night. 

4
london wine week
Bars and pubs

London Wine Week

icon-location-pin Various London venues, London
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Oenophiles rejoice: London Wine Week returns for 2019 with seven days of grapey goings on all across town and this year its free to pick up your digital pass giving you access to exclusive £5 wine flights ‘sip and snack’ pairings at over 125 participating bars. 

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5
Camera
Art

‘Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr’

icon-location-pin National Portrait Gallery, Leicester Square
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This major exhibition brings together the photographer's megahit works with some of his newest snaps, including ones that have never been publically on show before.

6
Louis-Léopold Boilly 'A Carnival on the Boulevard du Crime' (1832) © The Ramsbury Manor Foundation Photo © courtesy the Trustees
Art

‘Boilly: Scenes of Parisian Life’

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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Louis Léopold-Boilly first found fame painting 'intimate' scenes. But, when the French Revolution hit, Boilly came out of the boudoir and into the streets. His large-scale scenes of life in the French capital are at the heart of this free exhibition. 

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7
Camera
Art

‘Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver’

icon-location-pin National Portrait Gallery, Leicester Square
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Get ruff and ready for this exquisite collection of miniatures from the Tudor and Jacobean eras. The super-detailed artworks by Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver take gallery-goers back to a time when owning these teeny tiny pictures was part of a complex system of love, friendship, patronage and more. 

8
Things to do, Festivals

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

icon-location-pin London Gate, Chelsea
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Over 500 exhibitors are tending to their most prized plants for the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now.  

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9
Wicked, Apollo Victoria
© Matt Crockett
Theatre, West End

‘Wicked’

icon-location-pin Apollo Victoria, Victoria
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After its 2006 opening at Apollo Victoria, Oz prequel 'Wicked' continues to fill this massive theatre, but this stylish and bombastic musical still delivers, sailing over its patchy score thanks to a gravity-defying performance from its current leading lady Rachel Tucker. 

Time Out says
10
Things to do, Festivals

Chelsea Fringe

icon-location-pin Various London locations, London
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This nine-day festival encompasses a huge selection of horticultural events which are largely volunteer-run and free. 

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11
'Dido' at Unicorn Theatre
Theatre, Musicals

‘Dido’

icon-location-pin Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge
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Marking an end to Purni Morell's stint at the helm of Unicorn Theatre, this ambitious work is a new opera for teenagers and adults. It's a new story with a mother-daughter relationship at its heart. 

12
Joaquín Sorolla 'The Pink Robe (La bata rosa)' (1916) © Museo Sorolla, Madrid
Art

‘Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light’

icon-location-pin National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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The name Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida doesn't regularly trip off the tongues of London art fans. But that just makes this exhibition more worth a visit. His numerous landscapes, seascapes, garden and bathing scenes are classical in subject and style, but you can also spot similarities in Sorolla's practices with the (then) new-fangled French impressionist movement. 

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13
© Estate of Otto Dix 2018
Art

‘Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919 - 1933’

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, South Bank
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The term 'magic realism' is commonly used to describe the stories written by South American authors including Borges and Márquez. This exhibition remembers that the term was actually invented by German artist Franz Roh, who coined it as a name for the art created in his home country following the emotionally fraught German Expressionist movement.

Find great things to do all year round

Whispering Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral
© Matt Biddulph
Things to do

101 things to do in London

London is a treasure trove of brilliant days out and activities worth boasting about. Find great new ways to fill your free time with this list of our favourite things to do in the capital.

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