Things To Do In London This August Bank Holiday Weekend: 24-26 August 2019

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All weekend

It's Notting Hill Carnival weekend. Image: Shutterstock

BANK HOLIDAY: Make the most of the three-day weekend with our guide to spending the bank holiday in London. Before you make any plans in London or beyond, check out what's happening with public transport disruption and closures — there are big changes at King's Cross, and plenty to be aware of elsewhere.

FOOD MARKET: Fuel up with food and drink from the traders at Southbank Centre Food Market, an alfresco gathering of street food stalls covering cuisines from across the globe. Southbank Centre, free entry, just turn up, 23-26 August

THE MONSTER: The world’s largest inflatable obstacle course for adults pitches up for at Ally Pally, with 300m of bouncy fun. Book your time slot and take part in a Nerf battle as you tackle the course. Finish up with (slightly) calmer activities include drag queen karaoke, mega beer pong and a glitter wheel. Alexandra Palace, £20-£25, book ahead, 23-28 August

Tuck into all manner of dishes at Southbank Centre Food Market

FLEA MARKET: 20 vintage traders pitch up in east London for Hackney Flea Market, selling furniture, records, homewares, textiles, and other curiosities over two days. Abney Public Hall (Stoke Newington), free entry, just turn up, 24-25 August

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: It's Carnival weekend! The Caribbean themed celebration — Europe's biggest street festival — takes over vast swathes of Notting Hill for a lively weekend of parades, soundsystems, dancing, live music and general partying. Read our full guide before you go — and even if you're not attending the carnival itself, be aware of road closures and transport disruption in the area. Notting Hill, free, just turn up, 24-26 August

PEPPA PIG: Got a budding music fan in the family? Take them along to Peppa Pig: My First Concert for an informal and friendly intro to that side of things. See Daddy Pig and Mummy Pig learn how to conduct an orchestra, exploring all the different sounds that instruments make together. It's aimed at ages 2+, and is a relaxed performance, meaning it's OK if little ones fidget or make noise. Southbank Centre, £12-£20, book ahead, 24-26 August

The Monster obstacle course comes to Alexandra Palace

FOOD FESTIVAL: Visit Hampton Court Palace this weekend, and there’s the added bonus of a food festival. 100 artisan producers pitch stalls in the grounds of the Tudor palace, selling sausages, brownies, crepes, gin, cheese and much more, to eat on site or take home. Michel Roux Jr, Nadiya Hussain and Rhiannon Lambert cook up a storm in the demo kitchen, and there’s a soundtrack of live music all weekend. Hampton Court Palace, included in palace admission, booking recommended, 24-26 August

DARK MATTER: Last chance to see Science Gallery's excellent Dark Matter exhibition. Learn all about the elusive substance that makes up 95% of the universe, in a witty show that blends art and science perfectly. Video installations, phantom islands and a hoop of loudspeakers all feature. Science Gallery (London Bridge), free, just turn up, until 26 August

MANGA: Time's also running out to see British Museum's blockbuster Manga exhibition. Learn all about the Japanese art form, from its early beginnings to modern subgenres, in a show suited to Manga experts and newbies alike. Plenty of interactive elements too. British Museum, £19.50, book ahead, until 26 August

MAKING YOUR MARK: And finally, British Library's exhibition about the history of writing signs off this week. See very early examples of writing, and learn what it was first used for, witness how it's changed through the years, and ponder whether it has a future in the digital age. British Library, £14, book ahead, until 27 August

Saturday 24 August

Hampton Court Palace Food Festival begins today

EDGELANDS: Explore London's 'edgelands' on this guided walk, which looks at the area lying between town and country, as it would have been in the 19th century. Learn about the sidelined buildings, streets and spaces that exist in the shadows of the financial district on the outskirts of the City of London, including medieval suburbs, Victorian warehouses and 21st century additions. Trinity Square Gardens (Tower Hill), £12/£10, book ahead, 10.30am-12.30pm

SHAKE IT UP: Shoreditch celebrates the life and work of William Shakespeare — a former resident of the area — in a day of free events. Shakespearean yoga (no idea), sword fighting demos, history talks and drama workshops are all part of the fun. Various Shoreditch locations, free, book ahead, 11am-11pm

It's the final weekend of Dark Matter at Science Gallery London

LUXE SWAPS: This clothing and accessories swap boutique gives you chance to refresh your wardrobe and recycle your old togs. Take along two items that you want to get rid of, swap them for tokens, and pick up new garments. Additional tokens are available for £1, and there's a live DJ, wellness talks and masterclasses, and a food market too. Surrey Quays Leisure Park, £6, book ahead, 12pm-6pm (sponsor)

VICTORIAN VAUXHALL: Experience Vauxhall as it would have been in Victorian times at a one-day-only event. Enjoy circus acts, vintage games, a jazz band and other entertainment in the historic gardens. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, free entry, just turn up, 3pm-7pm

LGBTQI CLUB NIGHT: Southbank Centre hosts LGBTGI club night Tw*t Boutique for a one-night-only summer special outside by the river. Full line-up yet to be announced, but expect strictly adult content after 9pm. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 4pm

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS: 1991's Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands is shown for free on the large screen. Take a picnic rug along, and pick up some food and drink from nearby venues before settling down to watch the movie. Canada Square Park (Canary Wharf), free, just turn up, 7pm

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: I see a little silhouette of a man… yep, another screening of last year’s hit film Bohemian Rhapsody. This time, watch it on the riverside terrace at Watermans arts centre in Brentford — dress warm and bring a blanket, as it gets a bit chilly once the sun sets. Watermans (Brentford), £10/£9, book ahead, 8.30pm

Sunday 25 August

Green Rooms Market comes to Peckham

CAMDEN FRINGE: Month-long performing arts festival Camden Fringe wraps up today. Take a look at the final shows on the programme, spanning theatre, comedy and cabaret. Various locations and price, book ahead, until 25 August

SMITHFIELD STREET PARTY: A beastly adventure comes to Smithfield in the form of a street party. It's themed on the current Beasts of London exhibition at Museum of London (due to move to Smithfield in the next few years). Activities include dance workshops, aerial displays, performances, workshops, craft stalls, a dog show, funfair rides and more. Smithfield, free entry, just turn up, all day

CROSSNESS: Visit London's 'cathedral of sewage' on a family open day at Crossness Pumping Station. The beautifully ornate sewage works hosts an exhibition about its history, children's craft activities, and a chance to see one of the four engines, Prince Consort, in action. Crossness (Abbey Wood), £8/£2, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm

Learn about the bishops of Fulham Palace

BISHOPS DAY: Fulham Palace is the official residence of the Bishop of London, and has been for many centuries. At this family fun day, find out all about the bishops and have a go at making your own mitre (bishop’s headgear). Age 3+. Fulham Palace, free, just turn up, 11am-3pm

FREUDS IN HAMPSTEAD: Blue Badge Guide Rachel Kolsky leads a Jewish Museum walking tour around Hampstead, focusing on the Freud family. Hear about psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud — who escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna to start a new life in the area — his daughter Anna, and his architect son, Ernst. Hampstead, £15, book ahead, 11am

GREEN ROOMS MARKET: Pimp up your pad with a pot plant or two from the Green Rooms Market. Plant experts come together to sell plants and accessories, and offer advice on caring for them. Food and drinks are also available to buy. Peckham Springs, free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm

Take a tour of Bohemian Fitzrovia

BEER FESTIVAL: E17 Beer Festival offers a selection of modern cask beers from British breweries, served inside an old Victoria line tube carriage. Wines, beers and soft drinks are also available, and advance tickets get you a free drink (once you're in, tokens cost £10 for four). Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum, £5, book ahead, 12pm-8pm

BOHEMIAN FITZROVIA: Find out about the actors, musicians, artists and literary figures who have lived and worked in Fitzrovia in years gone by, on this guided walk. Stories of George Orwell and Dylan Thomas feature, and the walk ends with a gander inside the lovely Fitzrovia Chapel. Goodge Street station, £15, book ahead, 12.30pm-2pm

Queer Tango at Southbank Centre

SMITHFIELD MARKET: Join a Museum of London guide for a walk around the Smithfield area — the museum’s future home. Visit sights such as the Charterhouse and St Bartholomew the Great, discovering the Medieval and Tudor history as you go, including tidbits about the plague, bodysnatching and executions. Smithfield Market, £12.50/£10, book ahead, 2pm

QUEER TANGO: Southbank Centre hosts free, gender-blind Tango classes, aimed at anyone who's ever wanted to have a go — no experience or partner required. Learn the basic steps in a beginners' class, then spend the evening dancing under the stars to live bands and DJ sets. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, from 4pm

Bank holiday Monday 26 August

Mark National Dog Day at Flat Iron Square

ENVIRONMENTAL FAIR: 150 stalls pop up in Carshalton Park for the Environmental Fair. A farmers' market, food and drink, and health and wellbeing stalls all feature, with a focus on the eco-conscious. Plus there are three stages of live pop, rock, folk and jazz music. Games, circus workshops, an obstacle course, tombolas and face painting keep the kids entertained. Carshalton Park, £5/£3, just turn up, 10.30am-8pm

90S OUTDOOR CINEMA: Focus is on the 90s all day today, with screenings of classic films from the decade. Begin with family-friendly Jumanji, before moving on to Clueless, Romeo & Juliet, Pretty Woman and Pulp Fiction. Pick your film, and watch it in the courtyard of Morden Park House, which is transformed into an outdoor cinema, complete with food stalls. Morden Park House, £10/£7.50 per film, book ahead, 11am/1pm/3pm/5.30pm/8pm

QUACKY RACES: Hire a rubber duck and pit it against the others in a race down the river. Cheer your plucky ducky on from the sidelines — and bring a flag to wave if you're feeling very competitive. Morden Hall Park, £2 per duck, just turn up, 11am-3pm

House of Common comes to Clapham Common

DOG DAY: Flat Iron Square marks National Dog Day with loads of fun for pooches and their owners. Enter your dog into categories such as cutest pup, waggiest tail and top trickster, take part in dog games, try your luck at a raffle, and replenish your energy levels with separate menus for dogs and humans. Flat Iron Square (London Bridge), free entry (£5 entry for dog show), just turn up, 12pm-5pm

VEGAN DAY: Vegan food and drink takes centre stage at this Vegan Day Party to mark the end of summer. In addition to filling up on food, there's a chance to browse stalls selling vegan products, including health and wellbeing businesses. Brixton Jamm, £5, book ahead, 12pm-7pm

HOUSE OF COMMON: Once sold-out event South West Four steps aside, House of Common picks up the festival mantle on Clapham Common. Madness headline the one-day event, supported by Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley and a whole host of other performers. Clapham Common, £44.44, book ahead, 12pm-10pm