Guide to what’s on in London in May 2014
Easter’s over and Spring is well and truly is full swing… and we can just smell summer just around the corner – hurrah! Of course, there are two bank holidays in May meaning even more time for fun.
For Metro Girl’s guide to open-air cinemas in London this summer, click here.
- 1 – 18 May : Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition
Showcasing the winning and shortlisted photographs from this year’s awards. Tickets: £7.50. Opening times: Sat-Mon 10am-6pm, Tues-Fri 10am-9pm. East Wing & West Wing Galleries, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Somerset House website.
- 1 – 31 May : Notting Hill MayFest
A month-long festival in and around Notting Hill, featuring concerts, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings and children’s events. Various venues including St John’s Church and the Gate Theatre. Ticket prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the MayFest website.
- 2 – 18 May : Wandsworth Arts Festival & Fringe
Two week festival in the borough of Wandsworth featuring theatre, dance, art, music, comedy, poetry, workshops, talks, markets and more. Highlights include a dad dancing Workshop, a fashion performance at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park and tours of the London Distillery Company. For more information, visit the Wandsworth Art Festival website.
- 2 – 31 May : Herne Hill Free Film Festival
Four week festival featuring free screenings in the Herne Hill area at various locations, including Railway Tavern, Herne Hill Velodrome, Prince Regent Pub and Steve’s Cafe. Nearest train station: Herne Hill. For more information and screenings, visit the Herne Hill Free Festival website.
- 3 – 5 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. 10am – 6pm. Nearest tube: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the the Inland Waterways Association.
- 4 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.
- 4 May : Streetfest
One day celebration of street culture, featuring performance art, live urban music, film, dance, sport and fashion. Acts include Goldie, Ms Dynamite, DJ Woody, Amplify Dot and more. 1-11pm. Tickets start from £18. Formans Fish Island, Hackney Wick, E3 2NT. Nearest overground: Hackney Wick. For more information and tickets, visit the Streetfest website.
- Now until 4 May : New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival
A film festival run and staffed by volunteers offering free screenings in venues around New Cross and Deptford. Classics will be screened alongside independent films by new and local talent. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website. Check out Metro Girl’s post on some of the highlights of this year’s festival.
- Now until 5 May : Pick Me Up
Graphic arts festival at Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries, showcasing and selling original graphic art, design and illustration. Daily 10am-6pm, late nights on Thursdays until 10pm. Tickets: £8, concessions £6. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Pick Me Up website.
- 7 May – 28 September : London Wonderground
The London Wonderground Festival returns to the Southbank for a third 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. For Metro Girl’s blog post on last year’s Wonderground, click here. Open all day until 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.
- 8 May – late July : Jimmy’s Underground Pop-Up Restaurant
Following last year’s successful venture, Jimmy’s Underground Pop-Up Restaurant is returning to Clapham on selected dates over the spring/summer. Two bespoke menus available, including ‘Burgers & Bordeaux’ and an ‘Ethically Sourced 5 Course Menu’. For more information, check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the pop-up.
- 9 – 18 May : Dulwich Festival
This historic London suburb hosts its 21st festival, featuring talks, gigs, dance, fairs, concerts, workshops, artists’ open houses and more across East and West Dulwich and Dulwich Village. Includes a fair on Goose Green on 11 May. Nearest rail stations: West Dulwich, East Dulwich or North Dulwich. For more information and tickets, visit the Dulwich Festival website. Read about Metro Girl’s visit in 2013 here.
- 11 May : Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival
Punch and Judy acts from across the country gather in Covent Garden for the annual May Fayre. Grand procession @ 11am, followed by shows and stalls from 12.30-5.30pm. Free. St Paul’s Church Garden, Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, go to the St Paul’s Church website.
- 11 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 PROKOFIEV Excerpts from Symphony No 1 (‘Classical’), PROKOFIEV arr GARETH GLYN Extracts from Lieutenant Kije, PROKOFIEV Romeo and Juliet. 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.
- 15 – 17 May : Museums At Night
Museums across the capital are opening their doors for some after-hours action, such as performances, lectures, balls and sleepovers, including the National Portrait Gallery, Florence Nightingale Museum, Brunel Museum and much more. Read Metro Girl’s blog on last year’s Museum At Night event at the Horniman Museum here. For more information and listings, read the Culture24 website.
- 15 – 26 May: Alchemy Festival
A festival of music, dance, film and performance from India, the UK and South Asia, featuring Anoushka Shankar, Shye Ben-Tzur, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Sukhwinder Singh, Soumik Datta, Naseeruddin Shah, Aditi Mangaldas, Susheela Raman and Gauri Sharma Tripathi. Prices range from free to £20. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website. For Metro Girl’s blog on last year’s festival, click here.
- 15 – 25 May : London Burlesque Festival
The world’s finest burlesque performers gather in the capital for the 10 day 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.
- 20 May : Onyx Brass @ More London
Brass band Onyx Brass are performing at The Scoop @ More London as part of their ‘Tour de Brass’ across the UK to celebrate their 21st anniversary. Free. 12.30-13.30. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, More London, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the More London website.
- 20 – 22 May : Clerkenwell Design Week
Independent design festival featuring workshops, presentations, product launches and debates across 60 showrooms. Venues across Clerkenwell. Nearest tube: Barbican or Farringdon. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Design Week website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on a special Mark Hix food and wine menu on offer during CDW, click here.
- 20 – 24 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 (£30-£58) sell out in advance, so buy ASAP. Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest tube: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the RHS website.
- 24 – 25 May : D-Day Family Weekender @ HMS Belfast
Two days of events to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the role HMS Belfast played. Children can receive a mission from an re-enactor, follow a trail around the ship, find out secret messages in morse code and listen to a live simulated firing of the ship’s 4-inch guns. There will also be workshops where children can make their own medals and design tattoo T-shirts. Tickets: Adults £15, Children under 16: Free. HMS Belfast, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2JH. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information, visit the HMS Belfast website.
- 24 – 26 May : Foodies Festival @ Marble Hill House
Enjoy fine food and drink, teach your kids to cook in the Children’s Cookery Theatre, listen to live music, tea dances, vintage kitchen market and watch chefs in action such as Natalie Coleman, Shelina Permalloo and Adam Handling. Tickets start from £15. 11am-8pm. Marble Hill House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 2NL. Nearest train station: St Margaret’s or Twickenham. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.
- 25 May : Soho Flea Market
Soho’s Dean Street will be closed to traffic for this one-day only market featuring stalls from artisans, artists, fashion designers and jewellery designers, while filmmakers will exhibit and sell their works directly to the public. 11am until 7pm. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the City Showcase Markets website.
- 26 May – 1 June : 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. Weekend day passes: £55. 47-49 Tanner Street, Bermondsey, SE1 3PL. Nearest tube: London Bridge or Bermondsey. For more information, visit the London Hoop Fest website.
- 30 May – 1 June : Foodies Festival @ Kenwood House
Enjoy fine food and drink, listen to live music, tea dances, vintage kitchen market and watch chefs in action such as Natalie Coleman, John Whaite, Tim Alllen, Kim Woodward and Adam Handling. Tickets starts from £12 – £15. 11am-8pm. Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR. Nearest tube: Hampstead or Highgate. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.
- Now until 1 June : Bailey’s Stardust @ National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition of 250 portraits by the acclaimed photographer Sir David Bailey of celebrities, politicians, designers, artists and people he has encountered on his travels. Tickets: £14.50 adults, £12 concessions. Advanced booking is highly recommended. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE. Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information and booking, visit the NPG website.
- Now until 1 June : United Visual Artists: Momentum
New art installation coming to The Curve at the Barbican. Unique Visual Artists have created ‘a carefully choreographed sequence of light, sound and movement, which responds to the unique space of the Curve’, featuring 12 pendulums which activate light and sound. Free admission. Be prepared for possible queues at peak times. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on the Momentum installation, click here.
- Now until 14 June : Both Sides Now @ National Theatre
Photographic exhibition of 1960s singer-songwriters living in Laurel Canyon and the new wave bands in downtown 1970s New York. Entrance: Free. Open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-11pm, Sundays 12-6pm. Lyttelton Exhibition Space, National Theatre, Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- Now until 13 July : Udderbelly Festival
Udderbelly returns to the Southbank for a sixth year, featuring three months of comedy, circus, cabaret and family shows at affordable prices (£10-£25.50) 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.
- Now until 17 August : The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier
Exhibition of work by the acclaimed designer, including his iconic conical brasserie worn by Madonna, costumes for Kylie Minogue’s tour and from Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. Tickets: £14.50, highly recommended to book in advance. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.
- 3 May until 7 September : Gorilla Circus – Flying Trapeze School
Gorilla Circus returns to Regent’s Park for its summer season so you can learn to trapeze. Beginners classes start from £27 for two hours. Booking must be done in advance. For more information and booking, check out the Gorilla Circus website. Metro Girl had a lesson in 2012 and had a really good time – read what happened here.
- Now until December : Bond In Motion
An exhibition of James Bond vehicles. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommend. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington St, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.