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Things to do on August bank holiday weekend 2021 in London

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Notting Hill Carnival © iStock/lovemax. Image courtesy of iStock.
August bank holiday weekend in London means a whole three days to let your hair down with seasonal fun, exploring and family activities.


Caribbean parties, alfresco attractions, fun family fun... soak up the last of the summer vibes with this pick of what’s on during the bank holiday weekend in London. 

Activities in London on the August bank holiday

Tick off those must-see attractions

Use the extra day off to check out many of London’s top attractions from your must-see list. There's the rare chance to explore and even picnic in Buckingham Palace gardens for the first time, with a special garden ticket!

The long weekend gives you even more time to discover your London, so why not pick up a sightseeing pass such as The London Pass, the London Explorer Pass or Merlin Attractions Pass, which give you access to multiple attractions.

Or spot the sights from the top deck on a bus tour, including a hop-on-hop-off tour allowing you to see as much or as little as you like. Alternatively, take to the river to discover key landmarks from a different angle on a boat tour.

Return to the theatre

Four dancers leap across the stage in lion costumes in The Lion King.

Many of London's top theatre shows have returned to the West End stage following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Enjoy family favourites such as The Lion King and Mary Poppins, sing along to ABBA hits at Mamma Mia! The Musical or see new shows such as Back to the Future: The Musical and Hairspray.

Find more London theatre

Refresh your wardrobe

Shop for designer threads in London's top shopping destinations.

Wander along Oxford Street and Regent Street for big name brands, explore Bond Street's upscale boutiques, try out beauty products in Covent Garden or find retro style in Carnaby.

Head off the main thoroughfares to explore independent boutiques in stylish Jermyn Street, pretty South Molton Street and laid-back St Christopher’s Place. Or do it all under one roof at the capital's top shopping centres and department stores.

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”.

Find more things to do in London.

Immersive and adrenaline activities

A woman and man walk down the side of The O2, hanging onto a rope and wearing harnesses, during the Up at The O2 experience.

What to do on bank holiday for cool kids

A lady and three children draw on a white wall, which already has a lot of drawings on it.

It’s nearly the end of the school holidays, so make the most of the final days with these family-focused events and activities over the weekend.

Discover more of the top family attractions for kids or find more things to do with teenagers in London.

Unmissable bank holiday events in London

Get your dancing shoes ready

A lady, dressed in a carnival headdress and clothing, dances as red ticker tape fills the air.

Europe's largest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, takes place over the August bank holiday and brings infectious atmosphere to Notting Hill all weekend long. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's event will not be taking place on the streets of west London, but stay tuned for lots of carnival-themed activities.

The party vibes continue at Yam Carnival, which celebrates Black music, culture and food with a host of acts and activities to enjoy over the weekend.

Or head to Guildhall Yard, where Carnival City celebrates carnival culture and masquerade with food, music and more.

Enjoy an alfresco movie night

Grab a deckchair or drive in to one of London's outdoor cinemas, and immerse yourself in cult classics and new releases. Options over the weekend include Bohemian Rhapsody at Bar Elba, and The Greatest Showman Sing-along at Film & Food Fest in Beckenham Park.

Book a spot for a concert

Tune in to concerts this weekend, including the BBC Proms, which dedicates the weekend to Family Proms and French composers.

If you'd rather soak up the sun, check out free concerts at St Martin's Courtyard's Summer Stage throughout the weekend.

You can also enjoy tunes from buskers at train stations over the weekend, as National Rail teams up with Busk in London for special performances.

Run your heart out

Sign up for the Spitfire 10K! Lace up your trainers and join the annual run for a chance to win the highly sought after Spitfire 10K medal, which is held at the Royal Air Force Museum and virtually.

Find more London events.

August bank holiday opening times

Opening times may vary and many attractions and venues require advance booking. Check with the individual venues before you go.

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 the London events calendar for key events. Find more inspiration for weekends in London with these handy weekend guides.

If you're not able to visit London this bank holiday, plan ahead for the next public holidays in London.

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