Unmissable bank holiday events in London
London's vibrant events calendar looks a little different this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, but there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy over the bank holiday. Here's our pick...
Get your dancing shoes ready
Europe's largest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, usually takes place over the August bank holiday. Although this year's carnival has been cancelled due to the current coronavirus outbreak, you can still join in with the online celebrations.
Be transported out of this world
Grab a deckchair or drive up to one of London's outdoor cinemas, and immerse yourself in plethora of movie genres.
Party to electronic hits
Explore London on the August bank holiday
The long weekend gives you even more time to discover your London, from hidden gems to lesser-known areas and iconic sights.
See the Thames in a new light
The Illuminated River art installation sees four of London’s bridges lit up at night. So grab your camera for that perfect #nofilter shot.
And don’t miss the exhibitions, events and workshops as part of the Totally Thames festival hosted across London and online until the end of September – there are usually a few installations in place by the August bank holiday weekend.
Visit the sights for less
Tick off those must-see attractions
Some of London’s top 10 attractions are closed at the moment due to the coronavirus outbreak, but you can still experience them from the comfort of your own home. Take a look at some of the virtual tours available including a peak into Buckingham Palace's regal Throne Room.
Refresh your wardrobe
Shop for designer threads in Oxford Street and Bond Street, beauty products in Covent Garden or retro style in Carnaby. Or seek out independent boutiques in elegant Jermyn Street, pretty South Molton Street and laid-back St Christopher’s Place.
Uncover a new area
Enjoy bank holiday days out in some of the city’s outer boroughs.
- In the east, Greenwich mixes maritime attractions with markets, stunning parks and historic sites.
- Go north to Brent, which hosts plenty of activities as the Mayor of London's Borough of Culture for 2020.
- Head west to Richmond for riverside walks, a sprawling park full of deer and charming pubs.
- In south London, Tooting fuses south Asian delicacies with markets full of bargains.
Venture into the great outdoors
As the world’s first National Park City, there are plenty of green spaces where you can indulge in some “me time”.
- Stumble upon hidden gardens in the City of London, such as Instagram hotspot St Dunstan in the East and secluded Barber Surgeons' Garden.
- Sprawl out and read a book in London’s parks, or keep a lookout for London's surprising wildlife like the pelicans in St James's Park.
- Enjoy drinks at one of London's rooftop bars, including under the colourful pergola at Bussey Rooftop Bar, Italian style at Selfridges' Alto by San Carlo or with an epic view of the city at Skylight.
- Take a shopping pit stop at tranquil spots in the West End, from Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, to community-run The Phoenix Garden near Seven Dials.
What to do on bank holiday for cool kids
It’s nearly the end of the school holidays, so make the most of the final days by creating memories to last a lifetime (or to brag about to your friends).
Get your teenage kicks
- Snorkel with sharks with a special VIP experience at SEA Life London. Reopening date to be confirmed.
- Get that perfect Instagram shot as you glide over London on the Emirates Air Line.
- Work as a team to solve clues in the Crystal Maze Live Experience.
- Hold your nerve as you cross Tower Bridge’s glass-bottomed walkway.
- Scale one of London’s most recognisable sights with the Up at The O2 climb.
- Take on a high-wire adventure at one of Go Ape’s fun-packed London courses.
- Hold onto your hat as you speed along the Thames on a thrilling RIB boat ride.
- Feel each of the twists and turns on a high-speed descent through The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit. Reopening date to be confirmed.
- Get the adrenaline pumping with more hair-raising experiences in London.
FOMO-inducing family activities
- Check out London's top attractions for kids.
- Emulate everyone’s favourite secret agent at the London Film Museum’s Bond in Motion exhibition, featuring the world’s largest collection of vehicles from the 007 films. Reopening date to be confirmed.
August bank holiday opening times
Many shops, restaurants and attractions have re-opened after the temporary closure in response to the current coronavirus outbreak. However, opening times may vary so check with the individual venues before you go.
Travel during August bank holiday
Due to the current coronavirus outbreak, the UK government has instructed that public transport must only be used for essential travel. If you do need to take public transport, you must wear a face covering and try to avoid peak times. Check the latest rail updates for any disruptions before you travel and make sure to plan your journey.
In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to explore London from home, including online classes, virtual tours and live webcams from London attractions. If you are already in London you can explore your local area by cycling or walking; but ensure you stay safe by following social distancing guidelines.
More bank holiday ideas
If you’re looking for “bank holiday events near me” and more things to do in London on bank holiday weekend, download the Visit London app.
Alternatively, discover what’s on in London by day, more August activities or browse our London events calendar for events throughout the year. Find more inspiration for weekends in London with our handy weekend guides.
If you can’t visit this time, learn when the next public holidays are in London.