Summer’s preparing its warming hug, so put on your shades, grab your friends or family and plan ahead for the spring bank holiday weekend in London.
Many London attractions, shops and hospitality venues have reopened following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, but some remain closed.
As London gears up for the summer months, you can enjoy plenty of outdoor fun, including alfresco dining, open-air cinema and theatre, or Insta-worthy parks and gardens. See what else is happening over the bank holiday weekend a little nearer the time.
Tick off top London attractions
- Cause FOMO back home as you visit London’s top attractions.
- Pick up the Merlin London attractions pass, which gives plenty of options to see multiple attractions.
- Take in stunning views of Greenwich and the capital aboard the Emirates Air Line cable car.
- Board a sightseeing bus and hop on and off as you please or do the same along the Thames with City Cruises’ sightseeing pass. Alternatively, see the sights whizz by on a speedboat tour.
- Visit London's top museums, many of which are reopening in May.
Enjoy favourite family activities in London
- Kick off the May half-term by visiting London’s top family attractions, London Transport Museum and the Tower of London.
- Book well ahead to see wizarding wonders at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
- Relax at an afternoon or evening open-top bus tour of London, while enjoying a live West End performance on board. 28 May-27 Jun
- Older kids can enjoy adrenaline-fuelled fun, Insta-worthy locations and more with these 101 ideas for teenagers.
- Don't miss a chance to dine at The Queen’s House Dining Domes, after a day out exploring Greenwich. 7-31 May
- Show our planet some love by joining the Plastic-Free Hackney Monthly Litter Pick. 30 May
Plan fun bank holiday days out in London
- Head to Windsor Castle on a day trip from London, where you’ll spot where Harry and Meghan got married, marvel at world-class art and explore regal rooms.
- Enjoy all sorts of days out in London with our handy itineraries, covering shopping hotspots, foodie treats, family ideas and more.
Catch a film or a theatre show
- Find out why Everybody's Talking about Jamie at Apollo Theatre this bank holiday weekend.
- Become a “groundling” as you watch A Midsummer's Night Dream for £5 as part of Shakespeare’s Globe Summer Season.
- If the big screen is more your thing, head to an outdoor cinema for cult and classic films – some start in late May, so keep an eye out for listings.
- If you’d rather stay indoors, take your pick from London’s online plays.
- Find more outdoor entertainment in London with outdoor artworks and film-themed tours.
Watch more theatre in London.
Seek out alfresco dining in London
- Get those scotch eggs at the ready and dust off your rug for the first picnic of the year at one of the capital’s top picnic spots.
- Alfresco dining is a must, so grab an outside table and soak up the sun. Top hangouts include Heddon Street, Kingly Court, St Christopher’s Place and Covent Garden.
- Grab a pint or sip on cocktails at London's many beer gardens.
- Many of London’s rooftop bars have had their summer makeover by the bank holiday weekend. Sit back, sip on a cocktail or two, delve into street food and enjoy games and live entertainment.
- Bag a seat at the Southbank BBQ Club hosted by Jimmy's Pop Up, at the Southbank Centre.
- Couple great entertainment with outstanding food from a Master Chef finalist during The Murder Express dining experience on a luxury train.
Explore the great outdoors
- Visit west London's Kew Gardens, where an abundance of breathtaking plants, trees and flowers awaits.
- Learn about some of the Royal Parks' smallest inhabitants by embarking on one of the self-guided walking trails, available for free with the Go Jauntly app.
- Mingle with birds and bees in London’s gorgeous gardens. Hidden gardens such as St Dunstan in the East and Brown Hart Gardens offer the chance to relax in the city centre.
- Explore the city’s varied parks – time your visit for pelican feeding time in St James’s Park or smell the pretty roses in Hyde Park’s rose garden.
- Go for a walk in one of the many beautiful London areas outside the city centre. Check out historic attractions in Greenwich, laze by the duck pond in Barnes, marvel at Wimbledon’s windmill or wander along the canals in Little Venice.
- Take a dip in a swimming pool – whether natural pools in Hampstead Heath, or Instagrammable art deco lidos.
- Hire a Santander Cycle (just £2 per day) and explore London on two wheels. Cut through parks and along backstreets, or cycle along the Thames path for river views.
- Come nightfall, view the Illuminated River light display at some of London’s most iconic bridges.
Find more outdoor activities in London.
Pick up summer-ready items
- Discover late-spring deals or stock up on new-season threads at London’s top shopping hotspots.
- Explore one of the weekly markets in London, which sell everything from antiques and crafts, to music, designer clothes and vintage garments.
- Buy that someone special a bouquet from Columbia Road flower market on Sunday.
- Shop for quality fashion, homeware and more at London's department stores.
Shop till you drop with more London shopping ideas.
Late-May bank holiday events in London
- Three... Two... One... Bake! Challenge yourself to 90 minutes of whisking, mixing and laughing at The Big London Bake Off in Tooting.
- Learn how to make a lipstick or an adorable pottery dish at the Token Studio.
- See what's on at The Top Comedy Club. Word on the street says Jeff Innocent and Dane Baptiste will pay a visit.
- Enter an enchanting world at Fulham Palace, where Titania's Dream turns its grounds into an interactive, theatrical fairyland inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream. 20 May-6 Jun
- Take your pick from croquet, pétanque and table tennis with a side scoop of rooftop views at Skylight rooftop bar.
- Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Royal Festival Hall as it reopens over the bank holiday weekend with a series of concerts. From 28 May
- Join The Urban Rambler on a walking tour, where you'll explore the LGBT+ past of Vauxhall, and how it evolved since Edward II's rule in the 1300s. 29 May
- Clear your mind and bathe in the calming and comforting surroundings of Kew Gardens' woodlands, at a dedicated Forest Bathing session. 30 May
- Find more spring bank holiday events nearer the time, with this weekly guide to weekend events and activities.
- If you’re in London and looking for “bank holiday events near me”, download the Visit London app for on-the-go ideas.
Practical info for bank holiday Monday in London
Most attractions, shops and restaurants are open as usual during the bank holiday weekend, or open with amended times. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some may remain closed this weekend. Please check with the individual venue before visiting.
More bank holiday inspiration
For more bank holiday weekend ideas, find our top tips on things to do on a Saturday and Sunday in London. If you’re staying for longer, make sure to see what else is on during spring and summer, including key events in May and June.