Guide to what’s on in London in May 2015
Spring is in full swing, the nights are getting longer and the days are getting warmer. With two bank holidays, May is jam-packed with festivals and special events, with many outside so we can enjoy the spring weather. Here’s a guide to what is on in London this month.
For a guide to London’s open air cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 – 17 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 Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Alice In Wonderland, South African Voices and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. For more information, visit the Wandsworth Art Festival website.
- 1 – 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, Brockwell Lido, Prince Regent Pub and Rosendale School. Films include The Ladykillers, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Nearest train station: Herne Hill. For more information and screenings, visit the Herne Hill Free Festival website.
- 1 – 31 May : Notting Hill MayFest
A month-long festival in and around Notting Hill, featuring concerts, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, children’s events and a May Fair on 9 May. Various venues including St John’s Church, St Peter’s Church, 20th Century Theatre and the Gate Theatre. Ticket prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the MayFest website.
- 2 – 4 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 Inland Waterways Association.
- 2 – 4 May : Morden Hall Country Show
Country show in the grounds of Morden Hall, featuring jive pony equestrian acrobatics, terrier racing, Goat Show, birds of prey, Devilstick Peat children’s entertainment, historical re-enactment, ferret racing, arts, crafts, gifts and food marquees. Entrance: £7.50, concessions £6, Children age 5-16 £3, Under 5 free, family: £19 (2 adults and 2 children). £2 per car for the car park. Morden Hall Road, Morden, Surrey, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (tram). For more information, visit the Oakleigh Fairs website.
- 2 – 10 May : Grand Designs Live
Based on the Channel 4 TV series, the show features ideas and inspiration for your own grand design, including workshops, consultations and lectures. Tickets: Weekday £12, Weekend £15. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Grand Designs Live website.
- 3 May : Streetfest
One day celebration of street culture, featuring performance art, live urban music, film, dance, sport and fashion. Acts include Kutmah, James Massiah, MC Loyle Carner, Hannah Faith, Shamz Le Roc, So Fresh So Clean and Doctor’s Order Showcase. 1-11pm. Tickets start from £20. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping. For more information and tickets, visit the Streetfest website.
- Now until 3 May : New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival
A free 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. Films on show include Friday Night Fever, Paddington, Love & Basketball, Arthur Sleep and singalong Frozen. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website. For Metro Girl’s interview with one of the film-makers and trailer of one of the film’s being shown, click here.
- Now until 3 May : London Coffee Festival
A celebration of coffee for the capital’s caffeine lovers at the Old Truman Brewery, featuring food, music and – of course – coffee. Visitors will even have the chance to make perfect coffee at home from some top baristas. Tickets start from £11.50 (advance), £14.50 (on the door). The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the London Coffee Festival website.
- Now until 4 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 Wed and Thurs until 10pm. Tickets: £10, concessions £8. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit the Pick Me Up website.
- 5 May – 8 October : Victorian London In Photographs
Exhibition of archive shots of Victorian London on show at the London Metropolitan Archives. Free entry. Opening times: Mon and Sat 9.30am-4.45pm, Tues-Thurs 9.30am-7.30pm, Closed Fridays and Sundays. London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB. Nearest station: Farringdon. For more information, visit the City Of London website.
- 6 – 10 May : London Craft Week
An inaugural event celebrating craftsmanship, featuring workshops, exhibitions, open studios, galleries and shops. Various venues across the capital. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.
- 7 May – 27 September : London Wonderground
The London Wonderground Festival returns to the Southbank for a fourth 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. Headlining this year’s Wonderground is cabaret-meets-circus show Scotch & Soda. Open daily until 11pm. Free to get in, but tickets required for shows. Nearest station: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Wonderground website.
- 8 – 17 May : Dulwich Festival
This historic London suburb hosts its 22nd festival, featuring talks, gigs, dance, fairs, concerts, workshops, artists’ open houses and more across East and West Dulwich and Dulwich Village. Includes the Dulwich Festival Fair on 10 May. Nearest 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.
- Now until 10 May : Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition
Showcasing the winning and shortlisted photographs from this year’s awards. Tickets: £6.50-£8.50. 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.
- 13 – 16 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. For more information and listings, read the Culture24 website. Read Metro Girl’s blog on a previous Museum At Night event at the Horniman Museum here.
- 15 May : Mad Men – Friday Late @ Museum Of Brands
Late night adults-only opening of the Museum Of Brands, with Mad Men being the theme this month. Entrance includes free drink on arrival, themed cocktails, drinks and snacks, live entertainment featuring ’60s pop, rock and soul and a Time Tunnel trail around the Museum. Tickets: £10. Museum Of Brands, 2 Colville Mews, off Lonsdale Road, Notting Hill, W11 2AR. Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate. For more information and booking, visit the Museum Of Brands website.
- 15 – 16 May : Munch Latin & Caribbean Festival
A celebration of Latin and Caribbean culture, featuring street food, music and dance. Free. 12-9pm. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, More London, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the More London website.
- 15 – 17 May : FestivalAsia
A festival of all Asian culture, including music, dance, food, fashion, martial arts and more. Tickets: £12.50 in advance, £15 on the door. Open 2-10pm Fri 15, 10am-10pm Sat 16 and 10am-7pm on Sun 17. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping. For more information, visit the FestivalAsia website.
- 15 – 25 May : Alchemy Festival
A festival of music, dance, film and performance from India, the UK and South Asia, featuring Monica Ali, Meera Syal in conversation with Maya Jaggi, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Shreya Ghoshal. Prices range from free to £130. 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 a previous festival, click here.
- 15 – 31 May : London Burlesque Festival
The world’s finest burlesque performers gather in the capital for the two week festival at venues across the capital, including Bush Hall, Dingwalls and Conway Hall. Most tickets sold in advance, so buy from the website ASAP. For more information, visit the London Burlesque Festival website.
- Now until 17 May : Jamaican Hidden Histories
Exhibition celebrating the cultural and historical links between Britain and Jamaica. As well as photographs, films and artefacts, there will also be events taking place, including talks, screenings and workshops. Open 11am-6pm daily. Free entry. Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, Southbank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information, visit the Oxo Tower Wharf website.
- 17 May : London Symphony Orchestra concert in Trafalgar Square
The LSO and conductor Valery Gergiev perform a free concert in Trafalgar Square. Programme includes Shostakovich Festive Overture, Passacaglia and Burlesque from Violin Concerto No 1, arr Gareth Glyn March, Polka and Waltz from Jazz Suites and Symphony No 1. Bring something to sit on. Free. 6.30pm onwards. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the LSO website.
- 17 – 18 May : RAW – The Artisan Wine Fair
A celebration of the world’s wine talent, featuring over 150 growers of fine, natural, organic and biodynamic wine. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £30 per day (in advance), £40 on the door. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Raw Fair website.
- 18 – 24 May : London Wine Week
A week long celebration of wine from the same people behind London Cocktail Week. Featuring pop-ups, tastings, wine tours, masterclasses and other events. Buy a £10 wristband so you can take part in £5 wine taster flights and discounts and deals. For more information, visit the London Wine Week website.
- 19 – 21 May : Clerkenwell Design Week
Independent design festival featuring workshops, presentations, product launches, showrooms, debates and even a design walk. Temporary structures will also pop up, including Glaze, a multi-coloured pavilion by Cousins and Cousins and Verve on the cowshed entrance to the Farmiloe Building. Venues across Clerkenwell. Nearest station: Barbican or Farringdon. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Design Week website.
- 19 – 23 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.
- 23 – 25 May : Foodies Festival @ Syon Park
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 Aldo Zilli, Masterchef 2010 winner Dhruv Baker, Ping Coombes, Mickael Weiss, Adam Handling, Tommy Boland and more. Tickets start from £15. 11am-8pm. Syon Park, Brent Lea, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.
- 29 – 31 May : Embankment Summer Market
London’s first designer street market returns to the historic Embankment Gardens featuring 180 stalls, food, live music and giant jenga. Open Fri 12-7pm, Sat and Sun 11am-6pm. Victoria Embankment Gardens, Westminster, WC2N 6PB. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the City Showcase Markets website.
- 29 – 31 May : London Swing Festival
Sixth annual London Swing Festival. Once again we bringing together people from all over the world, a team of inspiring teachers and fabulous bands to some of London’s finest ballrooms for an annual celebration of Swing dance and Swing music in London. For more information, vist the London Swing Festival website.
- 29 May – 6 June : Brockley Street Art Festival
One week long celebration of street art, featuring local, national and international talent. Featuring activities for adults and children alike, including colouring competition, mural painting, live DJs and talks. Various venues around Brockley. For more information, visit the Brockley Street Art Festival website.
- 29 May – 7 June : Sci-Fi London Film Festival
The 15th annual celebration of the sci-fi genre, featuring premieres, talks and screenings. At BFI Southbank, Stratford Picturehouse and Brixton Ritzy. For more information, visit the Sci-London Film Festival website.
- 30 May : Open Streets London
The first ever Open Streets London sees Great Suffolk Street in Southwark closed off to traffic so people are free to walk and play. There will be various zones to visit, including Art (including live music and street performances), Bike, Dance, Discovery, Fitness, Kids and Relaxation. 11am-4pm. Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, SE1. Nearest station: Borough or Southwark. For more information, visit the Open Streets London website.
- 30 – 31 May and 5 – 7 June : Nine Elms Horticultural Spa & Apothecary Experience by Loop.pH
As part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival, relax in a temporary structure that is part greenhouse and part pneumatic bubble. Visitors are invited to ephemeral and futuristic tea ceremony, where your drink is ‘served through clouds of fragrant medicinal fog consumed through breathing and absorbed into the skin’. There will also be workshops. Free. 12-8pm. Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall, SW8 2DU. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Nine Elms London website.
- 31 May : The Magnum Pink and Black Party
Regent Street will close to vehicle traffic for a street party hosted by Magnum to celebrate the launch of their two ice creams Pink Raspberry and Black Espresso. With live music at one end of Regent Street and a catwalk show at the other, a host of stores will be taking part in special events, discounts and promotions. Venues such as Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen and Hotel Café Royal will serve themed cocktails, Karl Lagerfeld will host live DJs and have complimentary drinks, while H&M will have plenty of fun for children including face painting and balloon modelling. Free. 12-7pm. Regent Street, W1. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for further details.
- Now until 31 May : Shaun In The City Art Trail
Fifty 5ft tall sculptures of Shaun The Sheep will be cropping up around London for two months. High profile artists, designers and celebrities have customised the giant sculptures, which will be scattered across the capital, in locations such as Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Carnaby Street, St Paul’s Cathedral, Chinatown, The View from The Shard and The Tower of London. Free. For more information, visit the Shaun In The City website. For Metro Girl’s gallery on the Shaun In The City trail, click here.
- Now until 31 May : Inventing Impression
An exhibition chronicling the rise of Impressionism between 1865 and 1905 with the support of Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, including Monet, Renoir, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, and Edgar Degas. Tickets: £18 adults, under 12s free. National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the National Gallery website.
- Now until 28 June : Cuisson Pop-Up Afternoon Tea Parlour
Cuisson and Laurent Perrier have created a pop-up parlour in the Burlington Arcade for 11 weeks. Pastry chef extraordinaire Hideko Kawa will be creating delicious treats for a champagne afternoon tea. Tickets: £65 for Afternoon Tea for one including two glasses of champagne. 66-67 Burlington Arcade, Mayfair, W1J 0QJ. Nearest tube: Green Park. To book, visit the Time Out London website. To find out more, check out Metro Girl’s blog post.
- Now until 19 July : Udderbelly Festival
Udderbelly returns to the Southbank for a seventh 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.
- Now until 2 August : Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty
The first retrospective of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, from his MA graduate collection to his final, unfinished Autumn/Winter 2010 collection. Tickets: £17.60 adults, £16.50 OAPs, £9 students. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For tickets and more information, visit the V&A website.
- Now until 2 August : Time Run
A new live quest meets immersive theatre in a new twist on the ‘escape the room’ games. For groups of three to five people, you will join Edwardian inventor Luna Fox on a journey through time. Tickets: £24 (off-peak), £29 (peak). 9-15 Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8 3SB. Nearest station: London Fields. For booking, visit the Time Run website. Read Metro Girl’s post on Time Run for more information and to see the trailer.
- Now until 30 August : Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition
An exhibition of the annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year – the 50th year of the competition. Although entrance to the museum is free, this exhibition is ticketed. Adults: £12.60, Children & Concessions: £6.30. Open 10am-5.50pm daily. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.
- Now until 31 August : The Secret Garden pop-up restaurant and bar
Pop-up supremo Jimmy Garcia returns to Clapham with his culinary creations and cocktails in a new venue. Using ingrediants from the finest garden produce, the SG will offer tasting menus, Sunday roasts and table BBQs. 409 Clapham Road, Clapham North, SW9 9BT. Nearest station: Clapham North. For booking, visit Jimmy’s Pop Up website. Read Metro Girl’s post on The Secret Garden for the menu and more details.
- Now until further notice : Bond In Motion
An exhibition of over 50 James Bond vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommended. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.