Things To Do This Bank Holiday Weekend In London: 4-6 May 2019

Things to do this weekend is sponsored by Wandsworth Arts Fringe.

All weekend

Boats moor up for the Canalway Cavalcade. Image: Shutterstock

CANALWAY CAVALCADE: A free waterways festival takes place around Little Venice this weekend. Boats gather for a pageant, decked in bunting, and on dry land the Canalway Cavalcade hosts stalls, live music and entertainment, Morris dancing, food and drink and more. Little Venice, free, just turn up, 4-6 May

COLOURSCAPE: Our media partner Wembley Park hosts Colourscape, a labyrinth of light and colour. Don a coloured cape (provided) and spend 30 minutes exploring a maze of colour, with musicians and dancers dotted about. Wembley Park, free, just turn up (you may be placed in a virtual queue, but you’re free to explore the area while you wait your turn), 4-6 May

WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY: It’s the final weekend of the 2019 Sony World Photography Award Exhibition, which showcases top-notch photos from all over the globe. More than 800 pictures including landscape, portraiture, wildlife and architectural photography are all on display. Somerset House, £14, book aheaduntil 6 May

LAST CHANCE: Also closing this weekend is Don McCullin at Tate Britain, a retrospective of the British photographer’s work. Shots on display include McCullin’s war photography in Northern Ireland, Vietnam and Syria, as well as scenes of poverty and working class life in the East End. Read our full 5* review. Tate Britain, £18, book aheaduntil 6 May

Colourscape comes to Wembley Park

PUBS: If you want nothing more than to kick back, pint in hand, and watch the world go by, take a look at our guide to the best pubs in London. You can search by area or facilities, and you might just find your new favourite boozer.

DAY TRIPS: If you want to escape London for a day (or longer), we can help. We’ve put together a map of London day trip ideas. From quaint villages to seaside resorts, and castles to model villages, it’s all in there.

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND: We’ve compiled a guide of things to do in London over any bank holiday weekend, whatever the weather. From little-known cultural gems to exploring the great outdoors, we’ve got plenty of ideas and inspiration.

Sponsor message

Wandsworth Arts Fringe turns ten

In need of some cultural nourishment? Wandsworth Arts Fringe will sort you out. The 17 day extravaganza brings an eclectic range of cabaret, comedy, theatre, dance classes, and family workshops to the leafy south-west London borough. And because the festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary, this year’s edition is extra special.

The fun kicks off on Friday 3 May with a spectacular launch performance in Shillington Park by Cirque Bijou. Expect fire jugglers, tightrope walkers, and a luminous umbrella dance, plus live music from the local World Heart Beat Music Academy. The festivities are totally free and there’s no need to book.

After that, there are over 150 arty events for you to get involved in from 3-19 May. Highlights include the world’s first drag troupe of kings and queens with Down Syndrome, a nostalgic 90s street dance class, and plenty of giggles courtesy of London’s rising comedy stars. Check out the full line-up and book your tickets here.

Saturday 4 May

Hear from author and journalist Bryony Gordon

DAWN CHORUS: One for those who consider themselves a ‘morning person’ — get yourself to Forest Hill for 5am to join ornithologist David Darrell-Lambert for a dawn chorus walk around Horniman Museum’s grounds. Hear the birds waking up for the day and learn how to identify different species by their sounds. Horniman Museum (Forest Hill), £8/£5, book ahead5am-7am

MERRIE MAY DAY: Traditional maypole dancing takes place on the front lawn of the Geffrye Museum to celebrate the arrival of spring. Food, drink and other stalls set up camp, and there are plenty of family-friendly activities. Geffrye Museum (Hoxton), free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

CRAFTY FOX: A specially curated selection of artists and makers sell their products at the Crafty Fox Market. Prints, leather goods, wooden items, ceramics, jewellery and other treasures are all on sale, and there are craft workshops to take part in if you’re feeling creative. Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm, 4-5 May

BRYONY GORDON: Journalist and author Bryony Gordon discusses her new book, You Got This, a guide to confidence for teenage girls. She shares the life lessons she wishes someone had taught her in a thought-provoking and esteem-boosting afternoon. Southbank Centre, £17.50, book ahead2.30pm

Watch a live podcast recording with Maisie Williams

BETHNAL GREEN: Join Footprints of London guide David Charnick for a wander around Bethnal Green, focusing on authors who have used the area as inspiration. Hear readings of work by Iain Sinclair, George Orwell, Alexander Baron and Arthur Morrison as you walk the streets that would have been familiar to the authors. Shoreditch High Street station, £12/£9, book ahead3pm-5pm

SCI-FI: 1981 film Outland is the focus at this month’s Silver Screen Science Fiction screening. It stars Sean Connery and is set in the future, when a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy. The screening is followed by a talk about the science behind the film. Royal Observatory (Greenwich), £12/£6, book ahead6.30pm-8.30pm

ARYA STARK: Maisie Williams — aka Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark — is the guest on one of two episodes of Fearne Cotton’s podcast, Happy Place, which is being recorded in front of a live audience today. Singer-songwriter James Bay is the other guest, discussing the highs and lows of the music industry. Troxy (Limehouse), £28, book ahead7pm

Sunday 5 May

Bag a bargain at the Vintage Kilo Sale

VINTAGE KILO: Revamp your wardrobe at this sale of vintage clothing, where items are sold by weight. Stock up on retro clothes, shoes and accessories dating from the 1970s to the present day, and once you’ve made your selections, have your items weighed and pay £15 per kilo. There’s no minimum weight/spend, so you could probably bag yourself something for as little as 50p. York Hall (Bethnal Green), buy tickets for super earlybird access, otherwise just turn up, £3/£1.50, 10am-4pm

CATHEDRAL OF SEWAGE: Go inside Joseph Bazalgette’s ‘cathedral of sewage’, Crossness Pumping Station. The open day is a chance to see inside the beautifully decorated sewage works and learn a bit more about the Victorian infrastructure — still in use today — from an exhibition. Crossness (Abbey Wood), £6/£2, just turn up, 10.30am-4pm

PLANT FAIR: Stock up on seeds, flowers, perennials and annuals at the Garden Museum’s plant sale, which hosts expert plant growers and specialist nurseries from all over the country, with plants suitable for tiny windowboxes or huge gardens. Garden Museum (Lambeth), £5, book ahead10.30am-5pm

MAY FAIR: Mayfair park Grosvenor Square hosts a May Fair (see what they did there?), free entry and open to all. There’s a British seaside theme, with helter skelters, fish and chips and coconut shys, plus plenty of other rides, live music and Morris dancing. Grosvenor Square, free entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm, 5-6 May

CAMDEN GHOSTSIGNS: Follow a trail of faded ghostsigns through Camden, hearing about the history of the areas as you go. Learn about businesses that have now closed, including warehouses, manufacturers, breweries, artists, chemists and furniture makers. Mornington Crescent, £12/£9, book ahead11am-12.30pm

DOG SHOW: Take your pooch along the All Dogs Matter dog show on Hampstead Heath and see if they can impress the judging panel. Categories include Cutest Pup, Best Child Handler and Golden Oldies. No dog? No problem — you’re welcome to watch, and there’s a fundraising cake stall with pooch-themed bakes. Parliament Hill (Hampstead Heath), £5 to enter your dog, just turn up, 11am-3.30pm

LIVE AT LUNCH: Never been to the Royal Opera House? Here’s your chance. Step inside for a free lunchtime performance by a Royal Opera House or guest performer. Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), free, just turn up, 1pm

COCKTAIL FESTIVAL: Get stuck into two hours of bottomless cocktails at the Margarita Rumble. Top cocktail bars and mixologists whip up their best margarita, with the public invited to sample them all and vote for a favourite. London Fields Arches, £35-£55, book ahead1pm-9.45pm (various sessions)

Monday 6 May

FILM FESTIVAL: The Right Now Film Festival begins today with a screening of New York documentary Crime & Punishment. Over six days, the festival focuses on documentaries about topics that are important right now, including power structures and inequalities across the world. Rio Cinema (Dalston), various prices, book ahead6-12 May

SOAP BOX DERBY: Alas, places to take part in the Telegraph Hill soap box derby are now full, but you can still turn up to watch teams race their home-built carts around the course. A combination of naive designs and top engineering can be seen, with each cart decorated on a different theme. Telegraph Hill (Brockley), free to watch, just turn up, from 12pm

LEATHER, LIMOS AND LUBRICATION: Get an insight into what the West End was like in the early 20th century, when Covent Garden was still a bustling fruit and veg market and Soho was still basically a village. On this guided walk, learn about the businesses that used to line the streets, from printers to billiards halls. Covent Garden station, £12/£9, book ahead2pm-4pm