It’s another bank holiday weekend here in the whole of the UK, so a lot of people who do ‘jobs’ will be looking to make the most of the time off work. Trips away to the countryside, coast and abroad such as short Paris breaks are popular, as is staying at home and doing DIY, house hunting, gardening etc. Here in the capital, there ought to be lots of alternative opportunities but sometimes it’s hard to get inspired so I’m going to start up a list. I’ll edit this later to add more things, and will of course be very grateful for any suggestions contributed by readers.
So here’s a list of at least 10 possible things to do in London on a Bank Holiday Weekend.
There are plenty of art galleries and sculpture installations to see in London, both permament displays and visiting exhibitions. Tate modern is a favourite but there are many other less well known gems.
If you ever take a flight on the London Eye, you’ll be surprised to see how green a city London is, with lots of parks and open spaces. Hampsted Heath and Kenwood House offer long walks amongst wildlife and more art. Primrose Hill is another location in the north of the city, with a fantastic view back over central London and an opportunity to enjoy Sunday lunch with live Jazz music at The Princess of Wales pub.
The Tate to Tate fast catamaran is the quickest way to get a feel for what a longer boat trip on the river Thames might be like, with a return trip on the boat from Westminster to Hampton Court taking up the best part of a day out. By night the riversides between Tower bridge and London Bridge and the Southbank are all worth exploring.
You can also depart from Greenwich with river trips into Central London or out to the Thames flood barrier. Back in Greenwich there are some fine walks up the hill, in the park or along the river bank. There’s also the National Maritime Museum, the grounds of the Naval College and a good selection of noodle bars and Vietnamese restaurants.
Choose one of the great pubs in the London Cider Pub Guide. You can always drink beer if you haven’t yet learned to appreciate real cider and perry.
London has the best selection of international cuisine in the World and traditional british cuisine is becoming popular again too. Two of my favourites are Japanese Habibi Sushi and South Indian (Masala Dosa)
Important local derby football matches are often played on bank holidays, but May is in the off season apart from the FA cup and FA trophy finals at Wembley.
Banger Racing is a cheap and cheerful form of motor sport which makes for a great family day out and there are often special events for bank holiday Mondays eg at Wimbledon or Arena Essex.
For top West End musicals or new fringe plays in theatre pubs, the full range is available in London and the suburbs. Some of the stars are on holiday this week which means last minute cheap theatre tickets might be available for otherwise sold out shows. If you’re visiting though, it’s better really to have booked one of the best value theatre breaks in London
Big enough to find solitude on a busy day, Kew Gardens is an all year round spectacle with the plantlife taking centre stage even when temporary art installations and photography exhibitions are first class. Visit the new alpine house now that it’s been populated with tiny wonders subsisting in cracks on the tufa rock.
Catch up on email from the Apple store, Regent Street or use your own laptop in the city with free wifi hotspots. Alternatively, stay at home and get the best out of your home broadband connection by using it all day long. Install that wireless router you bought but never got around to unpacking, or if you’re fed up with the service from your current ISP check out the web for better broadband deals
If it’s trendy goth clothing and techno punk disco ware that’s important then Camden Lock market is where all the young continentals go to grab the latest London scene paraphanalia. There’s also a good selection of street food stalls and a great walk along the canal to Little Venice.
Things to beware of on Bank Holidays
Public transport may be limited to a Sunday service, or worse because of planned engineering works in the London area. Check alternative routes such as the London Overground.
Some places will be more crowded than usual, while others are closed on a Bank Holiday.