Guide to what’s on in London in May 2013

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Learn how to trapeze at the Gorilla Circus flying trapeze school

So Spring just about sprung in April and here’s hoping we have finally put the cold behind us – until the end of the year of course. With two bank holidays, the nights getting lighter and the weather getting warmer, there’s even more going on in May with the summer season really kicking off. Here’s a list of just some of the stuff on in town this month. (Please check back,  I will be updating the listings throughout the month).

  • 4 – 5 May : London’s Brewing Festival

A beer festival by the London Brewers Alliance, bringing together 30 breweries serving over 100 beers. All includes live music, food and a kids’ area. Tickets start from £5. London Fields, The Railway Arches, 369-370 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB. Nearest rail station: London Fields. For more information and tickets, visit the London’s Brewing website.

  • 4 – 6 May : Canalway Cavalcade

A unique waterways and community festival at Little Venice. Features stalls, bands, kids’ activities, Morris dancers, a Real Ale bar, food and pageant of boats. Free. Nearest tube: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the the Inland Waterways Association.

  • 4 May until late September : Gorilla Circus – Flying Trapeze School

Gorilla Circus returns to Regent’s Park for its summer season. MOAMG went last year and had a really good time – read what happened here. Beginners classes start from £26 for two hours. Booking must be done in advance, which is available on the Gorilla Circus website.

  • 5 May : Vaisakhi Festival

Celebrate the Sikh New Year at this one day festival in Trafalgar Square. Includes , Bhangra and Punjabi dance, food and children’s activities. 12-6pm. Free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the London Authority website.

  • Now until 6 May : Sci-Fi-London Film Festival

Independent film festival showcasing the latest sci-fi films. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Sci-Fi London website.

  • 10 – 19 May : Dulwich Festival

This historic London suburb hosts its 20th festival, featuring talks, gigs, dance, fairs, concerts, workshops, artists’ open houses and more across East and West Dulwich and Dulwich Village. Read about MOAMG’s visit last year here. Includes a fair on Goose Green on 12 May. Nearest rail stations: West Dulwich, East Dulwich or North Dulwich. For more information and tickets, visit the Dulwich Festival website.

  • 10 – 19 May : London Burlesque Festival

The world’s finest burlesque performers gather in the capital for the week-long festival at venues across the capital, including Bush Hall, Madame Jo Jo’s and The Pavilion. Most tickets sold in advance, so buy from the website ASAP. For more information, visit the London Burlesque Festival website.

  • 10 May – 29 September : London Wonderground

The London Wonderground Festival returns to the Southbank for a second year – an entertainment extravaganza in Jubilee Gardens, near the foot of the London Eye and by the Southbank Centre. It includes cabaret, children’s show, comedy, burlesque and alfresco drinking. Open all day untill 11pm every night. Free to get in, but entry fee for shows. Nearest tube or train: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Wonderground website.

  • 11 MaySound Tracks Festival
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

London Wonderground returns to the Southbank for a second year

An inner-city music festival along the former East London Line – now London Overground. Features venues across Dalston, Hoxton, Rotherhithe, Canada Water and Peckham, including some gigs on the actual trains! Tickets range from single gigs or £15 wristbands allowing entry to all venues. For more information, visit the Sound Tracks Festival website.

  • 12 May : The World on Regent Street

London’s iconic shopping street is closed to vehicle traffic for the day. A carnival-style atmosphere, featuring performances and cuisine from across the world, including Argentina, China, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey. Wallace and Gromit will be representing Great Britain, as well as a hot air balloon floating over the street. Many of the stores will be offering special discounts or freebies. Free. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street website.

  • 12 May : Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival

An annual celebration of the art of puppetry on Mr Punch’s 347th birthday. Features puppet shows and workshops, folk music, maypole dancing and clowns in the garden of St Paul’s Church. Free. 10am-5pm. St Paul’s Churchyard, Bedford Street, WC2E 9ED. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Covent Garden website.

  • 16 May : Horniman Garden Party

As part of the Museums at Night weekender, the Horniman Museum in South London hosts a very special garden party. With an art installation from Randon International (who did the Rain Room), live Brazilian music, film screening, poetry, The Gin Garden and alternative tours of the museum. Admission: £3. Starts at 6pm. Nearest train and Overground station: Forest Hill. For more information, visit the Horniman Museum website.

  • 16 – 17 May : Kids Kensington Sleepover

Kensington Palace is hosting a sleepover to celebrate Princess Victoria’s birthday as part of the Museums at Night weekender. A night of ‘fun and frivolity’ and special activities before bedding down for the night in one of the palace rooms, with breakfast provided the next morning. Sleepover is for children aged between 7 and 11 years old and must include one adult for every five children. Tickets £55. For more information and booking, visit the Kensington Palace website.

  • 16 – 19 May : Whiteleys Goes Great Gatsby

To celebrate the opening of the Great Gatsby film, Whiteleys shopping centre are hosting four days of 1920s-themed events. Includes Charleston performances, swing dancing lessons, 1920s-inspired fashion shows, beauty boudoir, piano playing, photo booths and a speakeasy bar. Following the launch night on Thursday 16th, the event will be running from noon-5pm on Friday until Sunday. Whiteleys Shopping Centre, Queensway, W2 4YN. Nearest tube: Bayswater and Queensway. For more information, visit the Whiteleys website.

  • 17 May – 9 June : Chelsea Fringe at Battersea Power Station

As part of the city-wide Chelsea Fringe Festival, the newly opened temporary park at Battersea Power Station will host sculptures, interactive activities, markets and food stalls during weekends. Free. 188 Kirtling Street, SW8 5BN. Nearest rail station: Queenstown Road or Vauxhall. For more information and detailed opening hours, visit the Battersea Power Station website.

  • 18 May : Cockles & Mussels at Museum of London Docklands

As part of the Museums at Night weekend, take a mouth-watering journey through the history of British seafood with Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor. Features pop-up fish restaurants and contributions from Billingsgate Seafood School and Tubby Isaacs. Entertainment provided by the Mercury prize nominated artist Sam Lee and the Nest Collective. Tickets: £7 (£6 conc). 7-9.30pm. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest tube: West India Quay (DLR). For more information, visit the Museum of London website.

  • Now until 6 May : Light Show @ Hayward Gallery

An exhibition of sculptures and artworks which use light in a different way at the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank. Is proving hugely popular so recommend booking in advance. Tickets: £11 (inc £1.50 booking fee for non-members) Concessions £9. Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking, visit the Southbank Centre website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Light up your life: The Light Show is now extended until 6 May

  • 21 – 23 May : Clerkenwell Design Week

Independent design festival featuring workshops, presentations, product launches and debates across 60 showrooms. Venues across Clerkenwell. Restaurant chain Canteen will be hosting a vintage TFL mobile canteen in the main courtyard of the Farmiloe Building following the success of last year’s 1950s pop-up canteen at London Design Festival. Nearest tube: Barbican or Farringdon. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Design Week.

  • 21 – 25 May : RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The biggest event of the year for horticulturists. Full of stunning fantasy gardens and opportunities to buy your own plants and flowers. Most tickets (£25-£65) sell out in advance, so buy ASAP. Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest tube: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the RHS website.

  • 20 – 26 May : London Hoop Fest

A celebration of the humble hula hoop and all that can be done with it. Featuring a range of teachers hosting workshops for children and adults at all levels. Classes range from free to £15. Day passes: £55. Mile End Art Pavilion, Grove Road, E3 4QY. Nearest tube: Mile End. For more information, visit the London Hoop Fest website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is on at Tate Modern until the end of May

  • 27 May : London Symphony Orchestra concert in Trafalgar Square

The LSO and conductor Valery Gergiev perform a free concert in Trafalgar Square on Bank Holiday Monday. Programme includes Berlioz Overture: Le corsair, Berlioz arr Gareth Glynn Movements from Symphonie fantastique, and Berlioz Symphony fantastique. Last year’s concert attracted 10,000 people. Free. 6.30pm onwards. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the LSO website.

  • Now until 27 May : Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is the first full-scale retrospective of the pop art pioneer. The three-month long exhibition at the Tate Modern features 125 of his paintings and sculpture. Tickets £14. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest tube: Southwark, Blackfriars or St Paul’s. For booking and more information, visit the Tate Modern website.

  • Now until 27 May : Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style

Photography exhibition at the National Theatre of fashion photographer Norman Parkinson’s work. Covers all aspects of his long career, from the 1930s up until his death in 1990. Free. National Theatre, Upper Ground Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.

  • 31 May : Friday Late: White Nights @ Victoria & Albert Museum

Russian-style White Nights Festival for adults only at the V&A. An eclectic mix of contemporary music, art and performance. 6.30-10pm. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website.

  • Now until 14 July : Udderbelly Festival

Udderbelly returns to the Southbank for a fifth year, featuring three months of comedy, circus, cabaret and family shows at affordable prices in an inflatable upside down cow venue. Jubilee Gardens, off Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Udderbelly website.


To celebrate the release of The Great Gatsby this month, there’s also a host of 1920s-themed activities on this month. Read Go back to the roaring ’20s with these Great Gatsby-inspired days and night outs 

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About LondonMetroGirl

Media professional who was born, brought up and now works in London. My blog is a guide to London - what's on, festivals, history, restaurant reviews and attractions, as well as the odd travel piece. All images on my blog are © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl, unless otherwise specified. Do not use without seeking permission first.

Posted on 30 April 2013, in Activities, Festivals, Grub, London, Nightlife, Tourist Attractions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. What a great resource and list.

  2. Wow! I’ll be visiting many of these places! Thanks for the list 😀
    There’s also a Free Film Festival in Herne Hill, doing free out door screenings and such 😀

  1. Pingback: Guide to what’s on in London in April 2013 | Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

  2. Pingback: Museums At Night at the Horniman Museum: Gin, bossa nova and dance at a garden party | Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

  3. Pingback: Dulwich Festival 2013: Gallery of Dulwich Park Fair | Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

  4. Pingback: Go back to the roaring ’20s with these Great Gatsby-inspired days and nights out | Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

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