Things To Do

Jason Allen 24/05/24

Your Bumper Bank Holiday Weekend Guide

London Bank Holiday Weekend Guide | 25th – 27th May 2024

There are four more bank holidays left this year, and two of them are Christmas Day & Boxing Day – so let’s make this one count.

And count it most certainly shall, right up to 21, which is the number of great events we have lined up for your delectation, including some tortilla slap fights in a brewery; a screening of the best Indie movie of all time; a couple of al fresco banquets in the countryside; some comedy aboard an ancient tea clipper; a good ol’ sandwich-off; a lineup of old school fairground games in the country’s largest beer hall; and a chance to see the world though ultraviolet eyes

The Best Things To Do On SATURDAY 25th May

1) Wingjam | It’s where wings take flight

Wingjam – terrible spread, excellent festival. In case it wasn’t obvious from the name alone, it’s a celebration of chicken wings in all their flavoursome glory, including everything from classic Buffalo & Korean wings, to smokey honey, sticky toffee, ‘insanely spicy’ and tequila wings too. And they’re all priced at £1.25 – £ 1.50. But the best bit? That would be the hot wings competition, in which competitors will have their faces melted with wings that could double as warcrimes.

Details: 24th – 26th May | Peckham Arches | £18.50+

2) Birds: Brilliant & Bizarre | Swooping into The Natural History Museum

Just when you thought the Natural History Museum only did dinosaurs, they come out with this new exhibition all about …the descendants of dinosaurs. Yes our feathered friends, in all their alluring majesty are the focus of this showcase, and you’ll get to feel a hummingbird’s heartbeat, see the world through UV-vision eyes, and hear some utterly unique chirp-based music.

Details: 24th May – 5th January 2025 | The Waterhouse Gallery, Natural History Museum | £16.50

3) Dunkirk spirit at the Docks | Little boats, big impact

Of the 850 privately owned boats that took part in the Dunkirk evacuation, 200 were sunk by the enemy, and over the years hundreds more have been decommissioned, lost, or scuttled. So this weekend, St Katharine Docks will host the biggest collection of the original Little Boats that’s been seen in years, inviting in any and all survivors from around the nation.

Details: 24th – 27th May | St Katharine Docks, E1W 1LA | Free

4) Chelsea In Bloom | The best flower show in Chelsea

Hot take alert: The best Chelsea flower show is not The Chelsea Flower Show. It’s Chelsea In Bloom, which happens to be both hugely impressive, and hugely free, too. This year’s theme is ‘floral feasts’, so take a stroll around the neighbourhood, and see the banquet of colours…

Details: 20th – 26th May | Across Chelsea | Free

5) Campfire Cocktails At Midnight Apothecary | Firepits, marshmallows & cocktails

Everyone’s favourite bar-on-a-museum-rooftop, The Midnight Apothecary, is back. You’ll start your evening in their charming fairylit urban garden, complete with salvaged garden furniture, firepits, and thriving vegetable and herb patches, and if you fancy you can take a tour of the Brunel Tunnel shaft too…

Details: 24th & 25th May | The Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, London, SE16 4LF | £8

6) The Tacover | Tacos, tastings & tortilla slap fights

The Tacover is, at least according to the show runners, the largest taco festival in the UK. And considering that they specialise in tortilla slap fights, viper taco challenges (which involves a hot sauce that tastes like the surface of the sun), and no-hands eating contests… we’re not inclined to argue with them. Plus, the tacos are price-caped at just £4, and it all takes place in a brewery. What’s not to love?

Details25th & 26th May | Signature Brew Blackhorse Road | Free, get tickets here

7) Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder | It doesn’t take a detective to figure out that it’ll be quite good

After sell out runs in Manchester, Bristol & Edinburgh, our fair capital is about to get treated to a comedy musical with some glowing reviews, and a premise that doubles as a title. Kathy & Stella Solve A Murder involves a pair of true crime podcasters (who’s names you’ll never guess) that go about doing a little sleuthing of their own…

Details: 25th May – 14th September | Ambassadors’s Theatre | £20+

8) Food Season at The British Library | Food for thought & vice versa

Like consuming literature? Michel Roux, Angela Hartnett, Ravinder Bhogal, Madhur Jaffrey, Jeremy Lee, and more will be speaking at the British Library’s Food season, starting this weekend. Ticket can be, ahem, booked now.

Details: 25th & 26th May, 3rd June | The British Library | £5+

9) Feast on Cloud 9 | Dinner in a hot air balloon, anyone?

Sure, some quirky dining experiences just sound like a load of hot air. But this is no puff piece: Feast on Cloud 9 genuinely delivers on all fronts. Because aside from the fact that you’ll be seated in the comfort of your very own hot air balloon, the elegant nine-course menu you’ll be feasting on is impressive in its own right, too.

Of course, you won’t actually be going into the air at any point – that would make the waiters’ jobs particularly taxing, for one thing – but that’s by the by when you’re moored up in the stunning grounds of a 5* hotel, overlooking a tranquil water feature, and surrounded by a dozen other gently glowing balloons…

Details: 25th May – 1st September | The Grove, Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG | £125pp

10) Indiana Jones & The Raiders Of The Lost Ark | See an Indie movie

The Royal Albert Hall has dug up an ancient, priceless relic from the sands of time – Indiana Jones & The Raiders Of The Lost Ark. And it’ll be showing it to the world with a live orchestra this weekend in what might be the best possible screening of the film ever…

Details: 25th & 26th | Royal Albert Hall | £28+

11) Nick Waplington: ‘Living Room’ | Final day

Nick Waplington is a bit like an anti-Martin Parr. He’s a photographer who captures raw, unfiltered snapshots of British life in the ’90s, only he manages to bring out the beauty in its blend of gritty intimacy and chaotic colour. It may feel like a you’re engaging in voyeuristic poverty tourism on the way in, but you’ll feel strangely, pleasantly nostalgic on the way out. It ends this weekend, and it’s completely free, so it’s worth dropping in…

Details: Until 25th May | Hamiltons Gallery | Free

12) Wild Feasts at Oxmoor Farm | Alfresco banquets in the countryside

Wild Feasts At Oxmoor Farm

There’s a good reason that the Wild Feasts at Oxmoor Farm sound so ridiculously idyllic: it’s because they are.

You’ll find them on a hidden slice of Buckinghamshire countryside just 30 miles out of town, in a part of the Chiltern Hills where the farm itself sits cradled by ancient woodland and a patchwork of open fields. And on that rustic canvas, the owners have stretched a series of long banquet-style tables under an airy canopy of canvas tenting, along with some flame-powered grills.

That’s where the Wild Feasts are held, bringing in 10 genuinely brilliant, big-name chefs from this weekend until the end of the year. Those chefs will be cooking up sharing-style banquets for just two nights each, making it a strictly limited and intimate affair – and Nudge Members are getting 50% off tickets (with more tickets released soon).

Details: 25th May – December 8th | Oxmoor Farm | Great Missenden HP16 9RD

Things to do on SUNDAY 26th May

13) Greenwich Dog Show | Woof? Woof woof.

You know how normal dog shows have suuuuper boring prizes like “Best in Show”? Well, not this one. At the Greenwich Dog Show you’ll get prizes like ‘waggiest tail’, ‘prettiest bitch’, ‘scruffiest dog’, ‘best celebrity lookalike’ and more. (And yes, also Best in Show). But there’ll be a street food market, an afternoon tea, an on-site pub, and more too.

Details: 26th May | Old Royal Naval College, SE10 9NN | Free (£5 to enter the competition)

14) Cutty Sark Comedy | Boatloads of fun

Whoever first suggested a Victorian-era tea clipper as a good venue for comedy was probably just being Sark-astic. But, here we are, and the lineup actually looks pretty decent – you’ll get to see three up-and-comers, including Helen Bauer (as seen on Live At The Apollo), Sam Coade (a regular at The Comedy Store), and Micky Overman who apparently has a laughable 40+ million views online.

Details: 26th May | Inside The Cutty Sark, King William Walk, SE10 9HT | £18

15) Batman at The Barbican | Brutal justice, Brutalist setting

It’s been 35 years since Micheal Keaton first swooped onto the big screen in Tim Burton’s Batman, and to commemorate the occasion the Barbican is going to show the film in its grand main hall, with a live orchestra conducted by James Olmstead (his Broadway credits are insane) playing the now-iconic score by Danny Elfman. Guests are encouraged to dress up and fight crime.

Details: 26th May | The Barbican Centre | £30+

16) Chelsea Physic Garden Supperclubs | Dinner in London’s oldest botanical garden

The Chelsea Physic Garden has been around for the past 300 years, and only in the last couple has it come into its own with a series of supperclubs taking advantage of all the goodness they grow there. You’ll get a welcome drink & a three course supper as the sun sets in London’s oldest botanical garden. They’re taking place throughout the summer, but  it all kicks off this Saturday with a Spanish feast…

Details: From 26th May | The Physic Garden Café, Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS | £70+

Things to do on MONDAY 27th May

17) Rogue Sarnies vs Dinner For One Hundred | A good ol’ sandwich-off

Rogue Sarnies and Dinner For One Hundred both do wood-fired sandwiches of some description or another – so naturally they decided to throw down and see who is the better of the two. This Monday, they’ll both be lining themselves up on the banks of Regent’s Canal (at OMBRA) complete with wines from Plonk, cocktails from the bar manager at Sune, and music from Merchant Records.

Details: 27th May | OMBRA | £10

18) The Big Penny Summer Fete | This is how they roll up, roll up

Big Penny Social

Everyone’s favourite record-size UK beer hall, Big Penny Social, is throwing a summer fete this Bank Holiday Monday. That means classic fairground games like hook-a-duck, the high striker, the wire buzzer, and the basketball toss – all in the performance-enhancing confines of a brewery.

Details: 27th May | Big Penny Social | £3

19) Foodies Festival | Food & music, together at last

The Foodies Festival is back, and it’s brought one of its typically impressive lineups with it. Snag a ticket, and you can get bites from the likes of Michelin Star winner Atul Kochhar, MasterChef: The Professionals winner Alex Webb, and MasterChef the complete amateurs winner Dhruv Baker, then listen to live music from Blue & Sister Sledge. We know. Blue!

Details: 25th-27th May | Syon Park | £21+

20) World Press Photo Awards | Final day

The World Press Photo Exhibition is, perhaps ironically, not a very snappy name – but the images themselves are amazing. After this weekend, it’ll embark on a global tour taking in 60+ cities, and roughly 4 million visitors. But as of right now, you’ll find it in a rather flash (pun intended) gallery space in the fancy Borough Yards development, nestled right in the heart of Borough Market.

Details: Ends 27th May | Borough Yards | £12  (NOTE: apparently, due to huge demand, the organisers have extended the show until June 16th. Huzzah!)

21) Frank Auerbach: ‘The Charcoal Heads’ | Final day

The charcoal heads

Frank Auerbach escaped to England from Germany during WW2 after his parents were sent to a concentration camp, so it’s understandable that his work isn’t particularly bubbly and bright. Over the years, however, has has managed to channel that despair into something truly beautiful – assembled together as a group for the first time, his Charcoal Heads are works of survival & courage, and some of the sitters have their own artworks displayed next to their portraits here, too. It ends this Monday, so catch it while you can…

Details: Until 27th May | The Courtauld Gallery | £14

Fancy escaping the capital? Check out our newly-refreshed pick of amazing day trips from London