Things To Do This Bank Holiday Weekend In London: 25-27 May 2024

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All weekend

Two women ordering from a hatch in the side of a pastel blue food truck.
Foodies Festival is at Syon Park all weekend

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: It's a three-day weekend for many, so take a look at our guide to spending a bank holiday weekend in London, and get planning to make the most of it.

PHOTO INDEPENDENT: American fine art aerial photographer Donn Delson is one of seven LA-
based photographers showing work at Photo Independent's exhibition, Visions Unbound: A Photographic Journey Through American Eyes at Cromwell Place until Sunday. 21-26 May

MCM COMIC CON: Dust off your cape — MCM Comic Con is back at ExCeL London. Highlights include guest stars such as Ted Lasso actors Cristo Fernandez and Billy Harris, sword combat demonstrations, Korean calligraphy workshops, Nerd Bingo, plus a programme of talks and more. 24-26 May

A photograph of Princess Diana wearing a tiara, behind a floral arrangement.
Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition opens in east London. Credit: Anwar Hussein

DUNKIRK AT THE DOCKS: Wapping's St Katharine Docks hosts the Dunkirk at the Docks classic boat festival, with a number of the vessels which were involved in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation mooring up for the weekend. Admire the boats (many prettily dressed in bunting), learn more about the part they played in the second world war, chat to owners, and maybe even step aboard one or two. FREE, 24-26 May

BIRDS: BRILLIANT AND BIZARRE: The next big exhibition at the Natural History Museum takes flight, giving us a closer look at the only surviving dinosaurs. Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre delves into the world of birds, looking at how different species have evolved to survive, and how the way we live is affecting them. 24 May-26 January

FOODIES FESTIVAL: Head to Syon Park for Foodies Festival, a three-day celebration of all things edible (and quaffable), with a generous side of live music. Sister Sledge, Blue and Symphonic Ibiza are among the performers, with live demos by celebrity chefs, street food and artisan markets, kids' cookery sessions, pop-up bars and more. 25-27 May

A bird of paradise mounted on a perch
Be among the first to see Birds: Brilliant and Bizarre. Images © Trustees of the Natural History Museum

PRINCESS DIANA: New exhibition Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition opens at Dockside Vaults in St Katharine Docks. Royal photographers Anwar Hussein and his sons Samir and Zak share their photographs of Diana and her family, paired with first-hand accounts of the stories behind each moment, told via an audio guide. 25 May-September

WEST LONDON IN BLOOM: No ticket for the Chelsea Flower Show? No problem — two other (free!) floral festivals take place in the area simultaneously. Chelsea in Bloom (until 26 May) and Belgravia in Bloom (until 27 May) both see large-scale installations such as sculpture, arches and scenes, made entirely from flowers installed in public spaces, shops, restaurants and the like. They're free to visit and close enough that you can tick off both in one day if you're willing to put some steps.

HALF TERM: For most London schools, May half term begins this weekend. Take a look at our guide to half term events in London, spanning family-friendly exhibitions and theatre shows, and some free things to do too.

Saturday 25 May

A hand holding up a Crystal Palace branded beer glass in front of a football pitch
Crystal Palace Beer Festival takes place at Selhurst Park

THE TACOVER: Apparently London's only taco festival, The Tacover comes to Signature Brew in Walthamstow. Held in association with the Mexican embassy, the foodie event champions authentic Mexican owned brands from across the UK, with 30 taco vendors (including vegan and Halal options) present at four sessions across two days. 25-26 May

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW: The Royal Hospital Chelsea is taken over by all manner of flora for the Chelsea Flower Show, a highlight of the gardening calendar, which wraps up today. See cutting-edge garden design, discover new plants and trends, and take home a wheelbarrow of flowers/tools/inspiration — particularly on this final day, when the plants from the display gardens are sold off. 8am-5.30pm

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The King's Festival of Artificial Intelligence brings together a range of experts to cover the latest developments in AI via talks, panel discussions, films, demos and workshops. Today there's a Family Zone, designed for children aged 4-12, covering topics including using AI to drive cars, and building a robot using recycled materials. FREE, 11am-4pm

Small ships decorated with bunting at St Katharine Docks
Dunkirk at the Docks takes place all weekend. Image: St Katharine Docks

WIDE AWAKE: Young Fathers, Slowdive, King Lizard and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are among dozens of acts taking to the stage in Brockwell Park for Wide Awake - a one-day festival of indie/electro/alternative sounds. 12pm-10.30pm

CRYSTAL PALACE BEER FESTIVAL: Kicking off the celebrations to mark 100 years of football at Selhurst Park, the Crystal Palace Beer Festival is back with 100 different beers and live entertainment. Sample a huge variety of beers from your free, limited edition beer glass alongside several food options, while you enjoy live entertainment, or watch the FA Cup final on large screens around the stadium. 12.30pm

TEA-QUILA: Mr Fogg's Residence in Mayfair launches a new Mexican-themed Tea-Quila Party event. Enjoy two Patrón Tequila cocktails and sippers, bottomless savoury empanadas, live entertainment and a DJ across three hours, including Mexican burlesque acts. 1pm

SOAPBOX SCIENCE: Soapbox Science is an initiative promoting women and non-binary scientists and the work they do. Their events are a chance to chat to real scientists, including at South Bank (near the OXO Tower) today. 12 scientists from several disciplines take to their soapbox to share their research, and get the public excited about science — from cancer research to conservation. FREE, 1pm-4pm

A scientist giving a talk to a small group of people beneath a tree
Get the lowdown on the latest research at Soapbox Science © ZSL

FAMILY CONCERT: Wigmore Hall offers a family concert, aimed at 3-7 year olds and their families. It's an interactive event, with singalongs to well-known stories such as the Three Little Pigs and the Grand Old Duke of York. 2pm

FAMILY RAVE: Big Fish Little Fish hold one of their legendary family raves, in the Horniman Museum's gardens. There's a flower power theme, and DJs Aphrodite and Aston Harvey play club classics while craft activities, face painting, hula-hooping and the like keep everyone entertained. 2pm-6pm

FA CUP FINAL: It's FA Cup Final day, with Manchester City taking on Manchester United at Wembley. No ticket to the match? No problem — bag yourself a seat at one of London's best pubs and bars for watching football. Just be aware they'll likely be very busy today, so you'll need to get there early for a good spot. K/O 3pm

FROMAGE DAYTIME PARTY: Pop night Club de Fromage hosts a daytime party, strictly for over-30s. Head to The Scala for an afternoon of pop, rock, disco and indie tunes and a few dance tracks, along with balloons, confetti and everything else you get at a usual Club de Fromage party. 3pm-7pm

THE GAME CHANGER: Harlequins Rugby Club's women's team takes on the Bristol Bears in an event known as the Game Changer in Twickenham. It's a family-friendly event, with entertainment and activities to help you make the most of it, including games, mascots, face painting and food and drink stalls. K/O 3.05pm

ANCIENT ECOSYSTEMS: Palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday is at the Royal Institution to give a talk about ancient ecosystems through time. Hear about the mammoth steppe of Ice Age Alaska, the rainforests of Eocene Antarctica, and the terrain of Ediacaran Australia, as told through fossil discoveries. 7pm-8.30pm

INDIANA JONES: Watch 1981 action film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark on a large screen at the Royal Albert Hall, while the London Symphony Orchestra plays John Williams' accompanying score live. 7.30pm (repeated tomorrow)

Sunday 26 May

Cyclists riding through traffic-free streets in London
Cycle traffic-free streets on the FreeCycle. Image: Jed Leicester for London Marathon Events

RIDE LONDON: This year's RideLondon is routed through Essex once again, beginning at Victoria Embankment and heading out to Braintree, before returning to the finish line at Tower Bridge. Be aware of road closures across the capital and beyond today. Simultaneously, the FreeCycle takes place, when Londoners are invited to ride around the streets while they're free of traffic — it's family-friendly, and open to riders of all abilities. FREE, from 10am

STRAWBERRY HILL TOUR: Strawberry Hill librarian and guide Carole Tucker offers a tour of the garden. Begin with a private view of two nature-themed paintings by Dutch artist, Jan van Huysum, before visiting the garden to see how the estate's architect Horace Walpole combined architecture, sculpture, poetry and painting. 10.30am-12pm

GREENWICH DOG SHOW: For the second time, the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College host the Greenwich Dog Show. All dogs are welcome, with categories such as best rescue dog, best celebrity lookalike, best trick and waggiest tail to compete in. There's a food market and stalls selling dog-centric items too. 11am-4.30pm

VINTAGE FURNITURE MARKET: The Vintage Furniture & Flea Market is at Leadenhall Market, the first in a series of pop-up shopping events taking place at the venue this summer. Browse furniture from the mid-century onwards, alongside fashion from the 1920s-2010s. 12pm-5pm

80S BRUNCH: Spandau Ballet/Eastenders star Martin Kemp plays a headline DJ set at The Fable's Back to the '80s brunch. The City venue serves a two-course brunch while Kemp plays synth-pop tunes and rock ballads. Dishes include fried chicken and waffle, shakshuka flatbread, and fish and chips. 12pm-5pm

Martin Kemp
Martin Kemp headlines at The Fable

CUTTY SARK COMEDY: Helen Bauer headlines Cutty Sark Comedy, a night of laughs taking place in the lower hold of the tea clipper which is drydocked in Greenwich. Also performing are Sam Coade and Micky Overman. 6.30pm-8.30pm

RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS: Bagpipe band the Red Hot Chilli Pipers take to the stage at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea as part of their 20th anniversary world tour, performing a selection of well-known cover hits including Thunderstruck, Everybody Dance Now, Fix You, Chasing Cars, Don’t Stop Believin' and We Will Rock You. 6.30pm

BATMAN CONCERT: Barbican marks the 35th anniversary of the 1989 film Batman with a special screening, accompanied by a live orchestra performing the score. 7pm

BRENT'S BEST BUILDINGS: Footprints of London guide Rob Smith offers a virtual tour around Brent's best buildings. From the comfort of your own home, get an insight into the architecture of the borough, from Metroland style houses to art deco blocks, the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill, Sudbury Town Station, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, and the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple. 8pm-9pm

LORD OF THE RINGS: One for night owls: stay up through the night to watch the Lords of the Rings film trilogy at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square. Extended editions of all three films are shown, taking you through to mid-morning on bank holiday Monday. Age 16+. 11pm-11am

Bank holiday Monday 27 May

Two dogs sitting on grass
The Greenwich Dog Show takes place on Sunday. Photo: Ed Simmons

SUMMER FETE: Classic fairground games including pinball, hook a duck, and basketball hoops all pitch up at Big Penny Social in Walthamstow for its summer fete, a family-friendly event. 11am-7pm

NEW MUSIC ALL DAYER: For the bargain price of £2.50, you can get entry to the Putney Half Moon's all dayer of new music, featuring boxfresh singer-songwriters, bands, poets, performance artists and more. Acts include City Lake, The Rhodes and The Zeratones. From 2.30pm

ZUMBA: It's Zumba night at the Bedford in Balham. Lose yourself in the rhythms of cumbia, salsa, flamenco, disco, reggaeton and more with instructor Papi. And if you've got a thirst on? Well you're in a pub! 6.45pm-7.30pm

MI CASA: South African musical trio Mi Casa take to the stage at Fabric for a gig of their house and soulful pop music, interwoven with storytelling featuring real-life stories. 7pm-10.30pm

KINGDOM CHOIR: British gospel group The Kingdom Choir — who performed at the Royal wedding in 2018 — celebrate three decades in the music business with a 30th anniversary concert at Barbican, conducted by founder Karen Gibson. 7.30pm

KING GONG: Monthly open mic night King Gong takes place at the Comedy Store, with 30 up-and-coming comedians each given a spot on the stage, and challenged to stay there for five minutes in the face of often brutal feedback from the audience. Three people in the crowd are randomly assigned as judges, and each given a red card — when all three red cards are raised, it's game over. 8pm