Things To Do This Bank Holiday Weekend In London: 29 April-1 May 2023
Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Camden Market.
HISTORY FEST: Rupert Everett and Lucy Worsley are two of the guest speakers at HistFest 2023, two days of history talks at the British Library. Topics range from Oscar Wilde to Indigenous Americans to Agatha Christie. 29-30 April
CANALWAY CAVALCADE: If you go down to the canal over the May Day bank holiday, you're in for a big surprise. Dozens of canal boats moor up in Little Venice for the Canalway Cavalcade, a vibrant festival with live music, children's activities and boat-based fun. FREE, 29 April-1 May
EID CELEBRATIONS: Trafalgar Square is the setting for Eid in the Square, London's official Eid celebration to mark the end of Ramadan for the Muslim community. FREE, 29 April. Meanwhile, Westfield in Shepherd's Bush hosts London Eid, the largest Eid celebration in Europe, with Halal street food stalls, in-store activities, shopping stalls, live entertainment, and more. FREE ENTRY, 29 April-1 May
QUEER EAST: Asian LGBTQ+ film festival Queer East continues at venues across London. Highlights this weekend include the UK premiere of Filipino drama About Us But Not About Us, and All About My Mother, a programme of shorts about the mother figure in LGBTQ+ families. Until 30 April
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION: This is the final weekend of the Sony World Photography Awards 2023 exhibition at Somerset House, which showcases landscapes, portraits, action shots and more, snapped all over the globe. There was a bit of controversy over this year's awards when photographer Boris Eldagsen turned down his award after admitting he'd used AI, in a bid to raise awareness of issues surrounding AI in art. Until 1 May
APRIL EXHIBITIONS: As April draws to a close, all 10 of the top exhibitions recommended by our art critic are now open, ranging from the Pre-Raphaelites to Ai Weiwei, including the Sony World Photography Awards mentioned above. Check gallery and museum opening times before you travel, as they may vary from normal over the bank holiday weekend.
CORONATION AFTERNOON TEAS: It won't have escaped your notice that there's a coronation coming up, and plenty of restaurants and hotels are celebrating early with special regal-themed afternoon tea menus. If tucking into teeny crowns, orbs and sceptres appeals to you, get booking, as most places will likely be sold out for the coronation week itself.
BANK HOLIDAY: This weekend and next are both bank holidays, so probably worth bookmarking our guide to spending bank holiday weekend in London. We've covered walking tours, cycling routes, secret gardens, sporting endeavours, pubs, Sunday roasts, family-friendly activities, and plenty more.
BLUEBELLS: Out with the pink and in with the blue, as cherry blossom season gives way to bluebell season. The lilac hues usually crank up a notch towards the end of April and into May, as bluebell season takes hold. Here are the best places to find bluebells in and around London. You might even get lucky and spot some early wisteria too.
The final weekend of Camden Market's floral-themed spring festival
Last weekend, Hawley Wharf Spring Festival brought flower power aplenty to one of the prettiest bits of Camden. This weekend, it's back with more art and activities to celebrate the arrival of longer, brighter days.
Make a beeline for the bridges beside Waterside Halls to admire magnificent hanging floral displays by local florist Elle Shoel FlwrGrl. Then stop by the outdoor flower stalls where you can choose between fresh bouquets by Roka Brings Flowers or gorgeous dried blooms. There's even flower-themed food, in the form of Soho Creamery's orchid ice cream!
For liquid refreshments, there's Juice Junkiez freshly-squeezed juices and cocktails. Or you can head to 3 Locks Brewery for Fruhlingsfest fun, featuring a live brass band (this one must booked in advance). And if you've got kids, don't miss out on face painting at clothing shop Josiah Amari, or a ride on the carousel!
Hawley Wharf Spring Festival. Until 30 April. See the line up and book all your tickets here.
Saturday 29 April
LEYTONSTONE LOVES FILM: Barbican Cinema decamps to Good Shepherd Studios in Leytonstone, for a day of activities, workshops and film screenings. It's part of the Leytonstone Loves Film series of events, celebrating the cinema industry in the local area — it was Alfred Hitchcock's birthplace, so they know a thing or two about the big screen. FREE, 11am
FASHION MEETS MUSIC: Showcasing independent Black-owned brands, Fashion Meets Music launches its new store in Westfield Stratford City today, selling everything from fashion to books to home decor. From 12pm
SWEENEY TODD: Last chance to catch a new production of Sweeney Todd at Wilton's Music Hall. With an orchestra of 10, and music penned by British opera composers of the Victorian age, it tells the story of Fleet Street's infamous barber as it would have been performed originally, at the nearby Britannia Theatre in Hoxton. 2.30pm/7.30pm
STANLEY TUCCI: Actor and foodie Stanley Tucci makes a one-off appearance at the Royal Albert Hall, in an event raising money for food bank The Trussell Trust. With a special guest host (TBC) he discusses his career, recipes from his bestselling book Taste, and growing up in an Italian American family. 7.30pm
CATALAN POETRY: As part of the European Poetry Festival, head to Rich Mix for an evening of poetic performance by leading poets from the Catalan poetry scene, teaming up with British based counterparts in 'Camarade' pairs to perform new work. FREE, 7.30pm
FROM GOLD TO RIO: Why be the tribute act of one band, when you can be two? From Gold to Rio perform the hits of both Spandau ballet and Duran Duran at the Broadway Barking tonight — in short, this is the jackpot for Duranies Spandies! 8pm
00S VS 10S PARTY: Dance the night away to tunes from two specific decades, at the Club de Fromage 00s vs 10s party. Taking place at O2 Academy Islington, it's a cheesy club night playing songs by the likes of Britney, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, High School Musical, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Daft Punk, The Greatest Showman, One Direction, Dua Lipa — with singalongs, confetti cannons, and other entertainment thrown in. 10.30pm-3.30am
1991: If your tastes are a tad more retro, Call It A Year: 1991 at Hackney's MOTH Club might suit your mood — as the name suggests, they're spinning tracks from that one year only, feat. the likes of Madonna, the Manics, Blur and Kylie. 11pm
LOTR ALL NIGHTER: The Prince Charles Cinema hosts one of its legendary Lord of the Rings all-nighters, showing the extended editions of each of the films in the trilogy, back to back. If you make it all the way through, make sure you stick around for the survivors photo at the end. 11pm-11.15am
Sunday 30 April
BLACKHORSE BEER MILE: Frankly any Sunday is good for a spot of brewery hopping around the Blackhorse Beer Mile, but this one's extra special — it's the one-year anniversary of the official Beer Mile launch, and eight venues (including Renegade Urban Winery for the non-hopheads) are celebrating with tasting sessions, food, games and DJs. Check individual websites for opening times
GATHERING OF GEEZERS: This month's Sunday opening at Whitewebbs Museum in Enfield isn't a normal one. A 'Gathering of Geezers' is scheduled to take place in the grounds, with over 30 'hot rod' classic cars on display, and live music from Rockabilly Radio. The transport museum is open too — here's an idea of what to expect. 10am-4pm
VINTAGE KILO SALE: Refresh your wardrobe at the Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale, where you can shop for vintage clothes and accessories by weight. Head to Lambeth Town Hall to browse through up to nine tonnes of goods, then pay for your picks at a cost of £20 per kilo, no minimum (or maximum) spend. 10am-4pm
SOME LIKE IT HOT: For the final Cosy Comedy Club of the current run, Dugdale Arts Centre in Enfield screens 1959 classic caper, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe. Your ticket includes a hot drink and a bag of popcorn. 2pm
HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS: American exhibition basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters bounce their way into The O2 for a lively showcase of basketball skills, including plenty of jump shots, slam dunks and half-court hook shots. Door 6pm
SUNDAY CONCERT: It's the turn of the Medea Quartet to grace the stage at this week's Sunday Concert at Conway Hall — the longest-running series of chamber music concerts in Europe. The Medea Quartet formed in 2020, featuring Mira Marton (violin), Clara Mezzanatto (violin), Joanna Patrick (viola) and Ada Guarneri (cello), and today they perform works by Haydn, Britten and Mendelssohn. 6.30pm
WEST END DOES HOLLYWOOD: End your month on a lively note with West End Does: Hollywood at Cadogan Hall. Pretty much does what it says on the tin: performers from the West End stage (Come From Away, Six, Jesus Christ Superstar) tackling tunes from Hollywood films. 6.30pm
TEST MATCH SPECIAL: BBC Radio 5 cricket programme Text Match Special takes place live at Southbank Centre tonight — and it's an Ashes special. Presenter Jonathan 'Aggers' Agnew and Australia legend Glenn McGrath share stories, memories, and predictions ahead of the Ashes this summer, with a chance to ask them your questions too. 7.30pm
LOVE IN MIND: Tomorrow's Warriors, Chineke! Orchestra and the National Children's Orchestras of Great Britain are on the bill for Love in Mind at the Southbank Centre, the launch of a new trust supporting the mental wellbeing of young creatives. 7.30pm
Monday 1 May
DEPTFORD JACK: It wouldn't be a bank holiday in London without a bizarre tradition taking place somewhere. Enter the Deptford Jack in the Green, a traditional procession around the Deptford area which was revived by the Blackheath Morris Men in the 1980s. The central character is the Jack in the Green, a man covered in a frame of greenery. Starts and finishes at the Dog & Bell. FREE, 12pm-5.10pm
BLACK HISTORY WALK: Join Black History Walks for a guided tour around the St Paul's and Bank area of the City of London, seeking out parts which denote an African presence dating back centuries, and which show submerged links between racism, trade, religion, slavery and politics. Find out about Ancient African architecture, African influence on European romance, secret societies, world economics and the church, Black freedom fighters in 18th century London and more. 1pm-3pm
BEER AND BREAD FESTIVAL: Local craft breweries and artisan bakeries are jointly celebrated at Brixton Windmill's Beer and Bread Festival. The space around the windmill is taken over by food and drink stalls, a live music stage, craft workshops, games, and maypole dancing for children. 1pm-5pm
RYE LANE: Not yet seen recently-released (and highly-praised) romcom film Rye Lane? It's set in south London (Peckham, Brixton, South Bank), and tonight there's a chance to watch it from above the eponymous Peckham thoroughfare. Rooftop Film Club screens it at the Bussey Building, with deckchairs, wireless headphones, and a side of views across London. 8.30pm