Five of the Best London May Bank Holiday Ideas

While we still may not be seeing any signs of the so-called summer approaching, we do have the very first bank holiday of the month to look forward to. Which, is why we’ve rounded up our pick of London May Bank Holiday ideas, come rain or shine...


Queen of Hoxton Film Screening

Commencing the outdoor film screenings season over in East London is the Queen of Hoxton, which, from the ground floor with its window etchings and graffiti and long benches to drink at, to the games room with its vintage pinball machine, is a very cool venue indeed. However, it’s up to the rooftop we’ll be heading this Bank Holiday Sunday to kick back with friends and a couple of drinks to watch the brilliant Cinema Paradiso. There’ll be wireless headphones for crystal-clear sound and you’ll be safe in the knowledge you can completely relax without any of the back-to-work blues. Sounds perfect to us.


1-5 Curtain Road, City of London, Greater London, EC2A 3JX; tel: 0207 998 7717. Find out more here:

Brighton Festival

Seeing as we’ve got a full three days off, we’re thinking of hopping on a train down to Brighton to make the most of the Brighton Festival, which kicks off its month-long string of events on Saturday May 5th. There's a bit of something for everyone, from cinematic discussions, to book talks and lectures on Antarctica from Caroline Lucas, to a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron. Vanessa Redgrave will be opening the proceedings with an interview about her life and work, and once you’ve been to one event we guarantee you’ll be hooked. Luckily you’ve got the whole of May to keep going back, with the festival culminating with a series of micro-talks from the brilliant School of Life lecturers.


12a Pavilion Buildings, Castle Square, Brighton BN1 1EE; tel: 01273 709 709. Find out more here:

Picasso Prints

If you’re looking for a bit of a cultural fix this May Bank Holiday, then it may be worth a trip to the British Museum. Thanks to a City Fund Manager who donated a million pounds to the museum, they've acquired a full set of unseen Picasso prints. And what a selection of prints they are: a collection of drawings and etchings kept as a visual diary in a critical period in the artist's career between 1930 and 1937. The suite also includes etchings of Picasso’s 17-year-old muse Marie-Therese Walter and is said to be the only complete set of work held by a museum in the UK. Needless to say, it’s well worth checking out.

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG; tel: 020 7323 8990.

Brockwell Lido Design Fair

If pottering around the markets to furnish your flat is on your agenda this May Bank Holiday, then you should certainly check out the quirky-cool design fair down at Brockwell Lido. Taking place on Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th, the 1930s pool provides the perfect setting for the huge range of vintage wares that are on offer. Whichever decade you’re searching for they’ve got it - from 20s objects d'art and glass clocks, to 50s Spanish lamps, designs from 60s Denmark right through to retro 70s-style textiles. Best of all, you get to browse the perfectly curated furnishings for just a pound.

Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 OPA; tel: 0207 274 3088.

The Camden Crawl

If you find yourself wondering where everyone is going this bank holiday, then they’ve probably headed over to the Camden Crawl. The big weekend kicks off on Friday 4th May at 5pm in KOKO with six live acts and leads nicely into a full two days of partying and live music (including Glasvegas, The Cribs and The Futureheads). If that’s not enough then there’s comedy, storytelling, fringe theatre and independent film screenings. All our favourite Camden pubs are getting involved, with talk of a bit of a karaoke. Lucky we’ve got the Monday off to recover, then...

Find out more here:

Like our pick of London May Bank Holiday ideas, but looking for something a little more nocturnal? Check out our favourite hotel bars in London and speakeasies in London.

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