BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: First things first: it’s a bank holiday weekend. If you’re lucky enough to have it off work, take a look at our guide to spending the bank holiday weekend in London, whatever the weather and whoever you’re with. Just make sure you check the transport situation — including major disruption at Euston and tube line closures — first.
DAY TRIPPING: If you’re looking to leave London entirely for the bank holiday weekend, we can help with that too. We’ve mapped day trip ideas near the capital, from seaside towns and beaches to niche museums and small towns worth a visit. Get exploring!
MARYLEBONE FOOD FESTIVAL: Celebrate culinary prowess at Marylebone Food Festival. Some events throughout the week have already sold out, but those still available this weekend include a Japanese cocktail masterclass and a wellbeing and sustainability masterclass, all trumpeting local restaurants, bars, cafes and food shops. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 26 April-1 May
BLACK-OWNED HACKNEY: Black-owned restaurant directory BlackEatsLDN & Bohemia Place Markets have teamed up for a series of markets championing Black-owned businesses in Hackney. Browse and buy from artisan traders and food and drink stalls. Bohemia Place (Hackney Central), suggested donation £2, book ahead,30 April-1 May
BEYOND THE ROAR: Meet the curators of the National Archives’ current Beyond The Roar exhibition, which celebrates the release of the 1921 census data. Hear from the team about some of the surprises which emerged from the data, and view objects including international peace treaties, textile samples and lonely hearts ads from the era. National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead, 30 April-1 May
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. Little Venice, free, just turn up, 30 April-2 May
PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL: Celebrate dance in all its forms at the V&A’s Performance Festival, which continues throughout this weekend with pop-up performances, a family workshop and more — have a browse. V&A (South Kensington), various prices, book ahead, until May 1
BETHNAL GREEN: Ogle a free photography exhibition depicting 24 Hours in Bethnal Green, as captured by photography students who spent a week in residence to capture life in the local community. Oxford House (Bethnal Green), free, just turn up, until May 13
LAST CHANCE EXHIBITIONS: We’re in the final couple of weeks of a few exhibitions — why not see them this weekend, before it’s too late? They include London: Port City at Museum of London Docklands (until 8 May); Fabergé at V&A (until 8 May); Van Gogh at Courtauld Gallery (until May 8); and Louise Bourgeois at Hayward Gallery (until May 15).
UNLEASH YOUR INNER ARTIST: Fancy exploring your creative side? Prime Pass art classes give you the chance to do so under the guidance of a pro artist in the most laid-back of settings: the pub! This weekend, it’s all happening at The Horatia in Holloway but classes come to a variety of bars and boozers across London, with a different theme every time — attend regularly, and you’ll build up a unique collection of masterpieces, created by your own fairhand. Various locations — this weekend at The Horatia (Holloway), £35, book ahead, every week in London (sponsor)
Saturday 30 April
PHOTOGRAPHING PROTEST: Four Corners has an exhibition of work by photographers documenting political struggle and social change in Britain from 1968 to today. In particular, it centers on the voices and perspectives of women and non-binary photographers — today is your last chance to see it. Four Corners (Bethnal Green), free, just turn up, until April 30
POP BRUNCH: Enjoy BBQ food courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Richard Gali, one hour of bottomless mimosas/bubbles and lashings of cabaret — all served up in an art deco ballroom. London Cabaret Club (Holborn), £19.50-£49.50, book ahead, 12pm-4pm
KING’S DAY: 27 April is a big deal in The Netherlands — it’s when the country celebrates the birthday of current ruler, King Willem-Alexander. London’s own Dutch Center celebrates the occasion today, with a free Koningsdag event, open to anyone and comprising of a flea market, traditional Dutch children’s games, a treasure hunt, food and drink, tours, and of course, a rendition of the Dutch national anthem. The Dutch Center (Liverpool Street), free entry, just turn up, 1pm-6pm
PEAKY BLINDERS: Mourning the end of Peaky Blinders? Sign up for this walking tour and visit some of the London locations which the real Sabini would have been familiar with. Visit some of the Italian gangster haunts in London’s Little Italy, and find out which parts of the TV series were fact, and which were fiction. Farringdon, £12/£9, book ahead, 2pm-4pm
ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY: Seen this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition yet? Tonight there’s a chance to admire the winning and shortlisted starry photos, as well as hearing a panel discussion between the judges and some of the photographers. National Maritime Museum (Greenwich), £12, book ahead, 6pm-8pm
COLORAMA: Regular short film evening Shorts on Tap is back with a selection of animations which are full of colour. The Colorama program features 14 different films, plus networking sessions and Q&A events. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £5, book ahead, 6.30pm-11pm
BOURGEOIS & MAURICE: It’s the final performance of musical comedy duo Bourgeois & Maurice’s current show, Pleasure Seekers, which sees them grapple to ditch cynicism via the medium of song and dance. Read our review. Soho Theatre, from £21, book ahead, 7.30pm
LONDON LATIN MUSIC FESTIVAL: London Latin Music Festival La Linea continues, and tonight there’s a live show from mystical band Malphino, plus a set by Mexican DJ Coco Maria. Well Seasoned Peckham, £12, book ahead, 8pm-1am
FROMAGE CLUB: Celebrate the last three decades of music at Club de Fromage, the super-cheesy pop music club night. Dance the night away to an eclectic mix of tunes from the likes of S Club, Madonna, Prince and Taylor Swift. O2 Academy Islington, from £7, book ahead, 10.30pm-3.30am
Sunday 1 May
LONDON IN MAY: New month, new start, and if you’re looking to sink your claws firmly into May, take a look at our guide to the best events in London this month. We’ve picked more than 60 events from hot new exhibitions to cultural festivals — have a browse and get planning.
BEER CRAWL: If you’ve not yet indulged in the hoppy pleasures of the Blackhorse Beer Mile, this is a good day to do so. Visit all six breweries — including Truman’s, Exale and Wild Card — in the locale, and collect a stamp at each one to nab a free pint glass. There’s also live music, brewery tours and street food. Blackhorse Beer Mile (Walthamstow), free, just turn up, from brewery opening times
OLD JEWISH QUARTER: Be led through London’s East End, and learn about everything from the art of Petticoat Lane spiel to Queen Vic’s fave PM, Disraeli, on this walking tour of an area of the city that many Jewish people have called home. Starts at Tower Hill station, £15, book ahead, 10.15am-12.30pm
THE ART OF PROTEST: The Stop Shopping Choir use a combination of speech and song to share their message at this week’s Sunday Assembly. The group was formed as a result of actor and playwright William Talen’s 1998 protest against over consumerism, in Times Square, New York. Conway Hall (Holborn) or online, free, book ahead, 11am-1pm
BAD INFLUENCE: Did you know London has its own version of the Cavern Club? Well it does, and this afternoon, “rocking blues goliaths’ Bad Influence are playing here for free. The Cavern (Raynes Park), free, just turn up, 3pm
FUNK SOUL MUSIC CRUISE: A vibe-laden voyage awaits aboard the Dutch Master party boat. This is Vessel No.9 — a chance to cruise past your favorite London landmarks while treating your eardrums to a nostalgic mix of 80s funk soul, R&B, electronic synth, and revival reggae. Your old school odyssey takes place across three levels, which include two bars and two open-air decks. Tower Millennium Pier (Tower Hill), £29, book ahead, 4pm-9pm (sponsor)
EIGHTH GRADE: Catch a screening of Bo Burnham’s 2018 debut feature-length film Eighth Grade, accompanied by a live performance of the score for the first time. It’s the story of 13-year-old Kayla navigating the trials and tribulations of teen life. Barbican Cinema, £13.50, book ahead, 5 pm
SHEWOLVES: Described as “somewhere between Booksmart, Little Miss Sunshine and Thelma & Louise”, Shewolves is a theater show telling the story of Priya and Lou, two 14 year old girls who set out to change the world and face challenges along the way. Age 12+. Poplar Union, £8-£12, book ahead, 7.30pm-8.30pm
DOWN TO MARGATE: No, not a late-night flit to the Kent coast, but a virtual tour of the seaside resort of Margate, led by Footprints of London guide Rob Smith. Find out about the town’s history, from its early days as a resort visited by Londoners in the 18th century, to its recent change in fortunes when the Turner Contemporary opened. Online event, £8 per person/£16 per group, book ahead, 8pm-9pm (and if that fires you up for a bank holiday Monday trip to the coast, we’ve got you covered).
Bank Holiday Monday 2 May
CHRISTIE AGATHA: Join a walking tour along the back streets between Notting Hill Gate and King’s Road, following in the footsteps of Agatha Christie. Learn about some of the places the murder mystery writer lived and worked as you pass them, and hear plenty of other facts about the area from tour guide Jane Parker. Notting Hill Gate, £20/£15, book ahead, 11am
BANK HOLIDAY CABARET: The Royal Vauxhall Tavern sees out the bank holiday in style with a special cabaret show. Enjoy a drink or two as ‘Haggis Queen’ Mary Mac and Miss Penny host an evening of laughs and songs. Royal Vauxhall Tavern, £10, book ahead, 4pm-11.30pm
MEZCAL MASTERCLASS: Sample mezcals distilled by The Lost Explorer, learn secrets of the agave-based spirit, and craft two cocktails with it — the Los Mochis Tommy’s Mezcalita and the Mezcal Pink Hot Paloma. Los Mochis (Notting Hill Gate), £40, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm
BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA: Singer, pianist and songwriter Joe Stilgoe teams up with the BBC Concert Orchestra for a show celebrating the magic of theatre. We’re promised a ‘carnival of theatrical experiences’ — sounds like it’ll get plenty of toes tapping. Barbican, £30-£75, book ahead, 8pm
THE PLAYLIST: Dance the night away to tunes from the 1970s-90s — whether you’re old enough to remember them from the first time round or not. Soulful anthems is the theme of tonight’s The Playlist, so expect to hear tunes from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Kirk Franklin and Luther Vandross. Colors Hoxton, £13, book ahead, 7pm
Looking for things to do on bank holiday Monday 2 May? Take a look at our guide to spending a bank holiday weekend in London.