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notting hill carnival
Photograph: David Tett

Top ten things to do this August bank holiday

There’s still plenty to do on August bank holiday weekend...

By Time Out London Things To Do
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Make the most out of the last – and longest – weekend in August (Saturday August 29 - Monday August 31 2020). Bank Holidays may not feel quite the same in this new normal world, but thanks to the ingenuity and sheer grit from London creatives and event organisers there’s still plenty of things to do and see. Now lockdown’s eased, why not jump into a London lido or snooze in a big old London park. Or, join one of the many events still taking place this year, like the virtual Notting Hill Carnival, Greenwich Docklands International Festival - south London’s annual celebration of outdoor theatre, or have a mosey around The British Museum, which is open again after being closed for its longest period in history. You’ve gained this extra day off, after all, so make it count. 

Check out our top ten ways to let loose from Friday to Monday. Find more great bank holiday weekend ideas here

RECOMMENDED: Our full guide to the bank holiday in London

The best things to do this bank holiday

Notting hill carnival
Notting hill carnival
Photograph: Collin Hills

Notting Hill Carnival Access All Areas

Music

London’s biggest party is becoming London’s biggest online party. Grab a Red Stripe, crank your speakers and tune in for three days of virtual Carnival vibes, streamed across four channels. There’ll be personal memories from the street party’s pioneers, live-streamed DJ sets from King Tubby’s and Rampage, and steel-pan band performances. Plus, Spotify has a whole microsite dedicated to the weekend, so you’ll never be stuck for a Carnival playlist.

Photograph: Stephen Wright
Photograph: Stephen Wright
Photograph: Stephen Wright

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

News Theatre & Performance

It’s outside, it’s free and it’s not cancelled! London’s biggest celebration of outdoor theatre is still going ahead this year and filling Greenwich with colourful performances for 16 days from Friday. Look out for circus acts, dance performances and large-scale installations from Bernadine Evaristo, Luke Jerram and many others.

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Queer House Party
Queer House Party
Photograph: Queer House Party

Queer House Party

Things to do

Get the three-day weekend off to the best start by joining south London DJs Harry Gay, Wacha and Passer for another of their LGBTQ+ parties streamed live from their living room to yours on Friday night. While they provide the beats, drag king Louis Cyfer, drag queen Ebony Rose Dark, goth ‘drag ghoul’ Mynxie and Nineties-inspired drag artist Kripple Kween will be serving up some sweet performances. QHP are dedicated to making their events as accessible as possible so it will also have audio descriptions, captions and a BSL interpreter. 

British Museum
British Museum
© Chris Waywell

The British Museum

News City Life

The British Museum, one of the greatest hauls of cultural treasures in the world, is finally open again. For now, just the ground and lower-ground floors are open, with a one-way guided route that is a BM greatest hits: Ancient Egypt, the Athenian Parthenon friezes, Assyria (some of it, anyway – not the lion hunts, sadly), the Africa galleries, the Americas and then out on to Montague Place. There’s also a 2011 work by Grayson Perry, ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’, on display. The museum is open Saturday and Sunday this weekend, entry is by pre-booked ticket only.

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Summer Showtime on The Coaling Jetty
Summer Showtime on The Coaling Jetty
Photograph: Charlie Round-Turner

Battersea Power Station Outdoor Cinema

News Film

Battersea Power Station’s adjacent Grade II*-listed Coaling Jetty – no doubt the site of the odd Fab Four fag break in its time – is playing host to a run of open-air movie screenings. Hosted by the team behind the nearby Archlight Cinema, you can catch ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Joker’ on Saturday and ‘Frozen’ and ‘A Star is Born’ on Sunday all against a pretty stunning backdrop. 

Kings Place Culture Clinic
Kings Place Culture Clinic
Photograph: Monika S. Jakubowska/Kings Place

Kings Place Culture Clinic

News Music

Concerts and social distancing do not go hand in hand, but Kings Place arts centre in King’s Cross has come up with an answer: tiny gigs. Its free Culture Clinic lets musicians chat to a very small audience (a maximum of six people from the same social bubble are allowed into each performance) about how they’ve felt during the pandemic, and then create a 15-minute performance reflecting their experience. This Saturday you can still book a place to see violinists Rakhi and Simmy Singh, and violinist Thomas Gould in a unique bespoke performance. 

 

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DistDancing
DistDancing
Photograph: Andrej Uspenski/ @dancersdairy

DistDancing

News Theatre & Performance

While many of London’s great stages remain closed, DistDancing, is taking its shows outside putting on a series of alfresco performances alongside the canal in Hackney from members of the Royal Ballet. Every weekend dancers perform a 20-minute show on a pontoon in front of waterside arts venue Hoxton Docks, with an audience watching from the towpath opposite. Dances range from classical ballet to aerial acrobatics. Plus, it’s free to watch. This weekend’s show will take place on Sunday at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.  

 

Brixton Courtyard
Brixton Courtyard
Photograph: Brixton Courtyard

Brixton Courtyard

News Drinking

South London music venue Brixton Jamm has renovated its outdoor space with spaced-out booths and picnic benches. It’s embracing the spirit of Carnival this Bank Holiday. On Saturday afternoon hear sounds from London-based party collective RITUAL and a special set from musical heavyweight Mark Knight in the evening. On Sunday, legends Channel One will soundtrack a special carnival weekend BBQ session. They’re back on Monday along with Mad Professor for more reggae, exclusive dubplates, uplifting steppas and meaty treats. 

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Fruit picking
Fruit picking
Photograph: Parkside Farm

Pick your own fruit and veg

Things to do

Spend a day out on a pick-your-own farm in (or near) London this back holiday weekend. Whether you want to pluck summer-ripe berries, leafy greens and root veg or gather autumnal apples, pumpkins and squashes, these farms all have acres of PYO fields to keep you busy. Strawberries are getting harder to find, but there’s still plenty of apples and blackberries to fill your punnet. Remember, always call your chosen farm ahead of your visit to check what’s ripe for picking. 

Make the most of the three-day weekend

Mayfield Lavender Farm, 2015
© Joyce Dela Paz

The best day trips from London

Things to do

Now lockdown is easing a little we can ditch the city for a (little) bit with one of these great day trips, covering everything from beaches and wild swimming to quaint country pubs.

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