Guide to what’s on in London in May 2022
Find out what festivals, events and exhibitions are on in the capital this spring, including prices and transport options.
Spring is in full swing and the sunshine is really becoming a regular around town… thank goodness! This month, there’s only one bank holiday (2 May) as the later one has been bumped later to 2-3 June for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. There’s also half-term holidays for kids from 30 May – 3 June.
With the rising cost of living biting many families’ pockets, there are plenty of free and affordable festivals and events on around London this May, such as the Herne Hill Free Film Festival, Eid in the Square and Canalway Cavalcade.
Here’s a guide to the best events, festivals and exhibitions on in London this May.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
- 29 April – 1 May 2021 : Italian Sparkling Wine Festival
Taste over 60 types of Italian wine from over 15 wine specialists. Open 4pm-10pm. Tickets: £20-£30 (inc bespoke Eataly wine glass and limited-edition pouch). Eataly, 135 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3YD. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For tickets, visit the Eataly website.
- Now until 1 May 2022 : Marylebone Food Festival
Restaurants and cafes across Marylebone take part in a week-long foodie celebration. Featuring special festival menus, events and launch dinner hosted by Jay Rayner. At various venues in Marylebone Village, W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Marble Arch or Baker Street. For more information, visit the festival website.
- 1 May 2022 : Queen’s Yard Summer Party 2022
Festival spread out across Hackney Wick features the best of local art, culture, wellness, food and drink. At various venues across E9, including The Yard, Number 90, Lord Napier Star, Colour Factory and more. For listings and more information, visit the party’s website.
- 2 May 2022 : Beer and Bread Festival
Festival returns to the historic Brixton Windmill for the 5th year. Local businesses will be selling beer, ale, bread, pastries and bakes, while there will live music, craft workshops, children’s activities and meet-the-millers of the windmill. From 1pm-5pm. Free entry. Brixton Windmill, Windmill Gardens (west end of Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill), Brixton, SW2 5EU. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Windmill website. 🐻
- Now until 2 May 2022 : 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. Open 10am-5pm. Free. Little Venice, Maida Vale, W2. Nearest station: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the Inland Waterways Association website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on a previous year’s Cavalcade, click here. 🐻
- Now until 2 May 2022 : La Linea
The London Latin Music Festival returns at venues across the capital. Venues include Ritzy Picturehouse, Rich Mix, Union Chapel, Jazz Cafe and more. For more information, visit the Como No website.
- 5 – 8 May 2022 : Affordable Art Fair – Hampstead
An event giving people a chance to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There are over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale at more affordable prices. Open Thur 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Tickets from £11/£14. Hampstead Heath (Lower Fairground Site), East Heath Road, Hampstead, NW3 1TH. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.
- 5 May – 29 August 2022 : Our Time On Earth
An immersive exploration of radical ideas for the way we live on Earth. Open Sun-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Sat 10am-8pm. Tickets: £18. Curve, Barbican Centre, City of London, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Barbican Centre website.
- 7 May 2022 : Eid in the Square
Celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid and the end of Ramadan in Trafalgar Square, with traditional and contemporary entertainment, costumes, food stalls, workshops, sporting events, and tours. 12pm-6pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Embankment, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website. 🐻
- Now until 8 May 2022 : Van Gogh Self-Portraits
Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portraiture is explored in a new exhibition. Entry times from 10am-5.15pm. Tickets: Adults £16-£20, Under 18s free. The Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 0RN. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Temple. For tickets, visit the Courtauld Gallery website. 🐻
- Now until 8 May 2022 : Grand Designs Live
Find inspiration to improve or build your home with experts and top brands. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Standard advance £12-£15, Standard on-the-door – weekday £17, weekend £20. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s official website.
- 9 – 15 May 2022 : London Craft Week
A celebration of craftsmanship, featuring over 250 makers, designers, brands and galleries, with workshops, exhibitions, open studios, tastings, galleries and shops. At various venues across the capital. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.
- 10 – 20 May 2022 : Herne Hill Free Film Festival
The free film festival returns to Herne Hill for the ninth year in a mini edition. Films include Tron, Another Round, The Father and more. Venues include Prince Regent pub, Canopy Beer, Herne Hill Velodrome, Herne Hill Baptist Church and effraspace. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more details, visit the Free Film Festival website. 🐻
- 10 May – 24 July 2022 : Dreamachine
Go on an immersive experience of light and music to ‘explore the extraordinary potential of your mind’. Over 18s only. Ticket: Free (register online). Woolwich Public Market, Plumstead Road, Woolwich, SE18 7BZ. Nearest station: Woolwich Arsenal. For more information and booking, visit the Dreamachine website.
- 11 – 15 May 2022 : Photo London
Photography fair at Somerset House, featuring expanded exhibition spaces and the chance to experience a range of photographic practices. Tours and talks also available. Tickets: Adults from £29, Children under 13 free. Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information, visit the Somerset House website.
- 13 – 22 May 2022 : Dulwich Festival
After two years of a pared back festival due to Covid-19, the Dulwich Festival is back with a host of live events for its 29th year. With the theme of ‘Regeneration and Awakening’, there will be over 40 events, including live music, theatre, talks, fairs, local history, guided walks, workshops, street art walks, family events and more. At various locations in Dulwich Village, East Dulwich and West Dulwich, SE21 and SE22. Nearest stations: West Dulwich (12 mins from Victoria) and East Dulwich (13 mins from London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the Dulwich Festival website. 🐻
- 14 – 16 May 2022 : Art Car Boot Fair
Shop for art from 120 artists, as well as live painting, portrait-making, games, raffles, a bar and live performances. Open Sat 14 2pm-7pm, online only Sun and Mon. Tickets: £15 (free after 5pm). Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Art Car Boot Fair website.
- 15 May 2022 : Urban Village Fete
A contemporary twist on a traditional village fair featuring stalls, music, DJs, dance, art & design workshops and street food. From 11am-7pm. Free entry. Central Park, Greenwich Peninsula, Greenwich, SE10. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Greenwich Peninsula website. 🐻
- 19 – 22 May 2022 : Sci-Fi London Film Festival
The annual celebration of the sci-fi genre returns to east London, featuring premieres, talks and screenings. Stratford Picturehouse, Salway Road, Stratford, E15 1BX. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the Sci-London Film Festival website.
- 19 May – 25 September 2022 : Feminine Power – The Divine to the Demonic
A cross-cultural look at the influence of female spiritual beings from the world’s religions and faiths. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults from £12. British Museum, Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3DG. Nearest stations: Tottenham Court Road or Russell Square. For more information and booking, visit the British Museum’s website.
- 21 – 29 May 2022 : Chelsea Fringe 2022
The alternative garden festival is back for an 11th year, featuring workshops, trails, exhibitions, family activities and more. At various locations across the capital. For more information, visit the Chelsea Fringe festival website. 🐻
- 21 May 2022 – 5 March 2023 : When Flowers Dream
An exhibition from artist Tanya Schultz (Pip & Pop) featuring installations made from sugar, candy and assorted craft materials. Opening times vary depending on season. Tickets included with gardens entrance. Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Now until 22 May 2022 : The Art of Banksy
Exhibition of Banksy’s art made up of pieces from private collections (although not curated or authorized by the artist himself). Expect prints, canvasses, screen prints, sculptures and other unique works. Open Mon-Wed & Sun 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm. Tickets: £14.50-£29.50, under 6s free. 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LJ. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Art of Banksy website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition. 🐻
- 23 – 29 May 2022 : Belgravia in Bloom 2022
The neighbourhood of Belgravia has been taken over by a floral festival with displays and experiences throughout the boutiques and restaurants. At Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, Pimlico Road and Eccleston Yards. Nearest station: Knightsbridge, Sloane Square and Victoria. For more information, visit the Belgravia London website.
- 24 – 26 May 2022 : Clerkenwell Design Week
Independent design festival featuring workshops, presentations, product launches, showrooms, debates and even a design walk. Venues across Clerkenwell. Nearest stations: Barbican or Farringdon. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Design Week website.
- 24 – 28 May 2022 : 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. Open Tues-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-5.30pm. Most tickets sell out in advance, so buy ASAP. RHS members from £35.85, Public from £40.85. Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For tickets, visit the RHS website. 🐻
- 26 – 29 May 2022 : London Original Print Fair
View and buy prints of Old Masters, modern and contemporary art from over 40 galleries at the capital’s longest running art fair. Open Thu-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: £18 (conc £12). Somerset House, Strand, Aldwych, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the fair’s website.
- 27 – 29 May 2022 : London Comic Con
Pop culture show featuring chances to meet your favourite stars and buy memorabilia from your favourite shows and films. Open Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-5pm. Tickets: £17.50-£67, Children 10yrs and under free. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For tickets and more information, visit the MCM Comic Con website. 🐻
- 27 May – 4 June 2022 : Brockley Max
Nine-day community arts festival returns in-person to south-east London, featuring live music, dance, craft markets, poetry, art installations, film screenings, workshops, talks, interactive games and more. At venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Brockley Max website. 🐻
- Now until 31 May 2022 :Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY)
Check out 138 photographs of landscapes and people from around the world in an outdoor exhibition. Open 24/7. Free. Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the TPOTY website. 🐻
- Now until 5 June 2022 : Mexican Geniuses – A Frida and Diego Immersive Experience
An immersive, digital art show brings visitors into the paintings of Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Open Tues-Thur 10am-7pm, Fri & Sun 10am–8pm, Sat 10am-8.30pm. Tickets: Adults from £19.90. Retail Park, Unit 1 Canada Water, Surrey Quays Road, SE16 2XU. Nearest station: Surrey Quays. For more information and tickets, visit the Mexican Geniuses website. 🐻
- Now until 5 June 2022 : Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Witness the beauty and diversity of the natural world in this annual photography exhibition. Open Mon-Sun 11am-5.50pm. Tickets: Adults £15.50, Children £9.25. Natural History Museum, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM museum website.
- Now until 11 June 2022 : 20s People
A series of events and an exhibition marks the release of the 1921 Census of England and Wales. Including the immersive exhibition, The 1920s: Beyond the Roar, as well as exploring the archives, audio dramas, webinars and online talks. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, TW9 4DU. Nearest station: Kew. For more information, visit the National Archives website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.
- Now until 25 June 2022 : Van Gogh – The Immersive Experience
Step into the art of Vincent Van Gogh in this immersive experience exploring his greatest artworks. Open Mon, Wed & Thur: 10am-8pm, Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 9am-7pm. Tickets: Adults from £24.90, Children from £15.90. Commercial Street 106, 106 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, E1 6LZ. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street. For more information and booking, visit the Van Gogh Expo website. 🐻
- Now until 31 July 2022 : Underbelly Festival
Underbelly returns to London and sets up camp at two sites for its programme of entertainment. Featuring comedy, music, cabaret, circus and more. Tickets vary. At Earls Court, Empress Place, SW6 1TT, nearest station: Earls Court; and Cavendish Square, Marylebone, W1G 0PU. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Bond Street. For listings and tickets, visit the Underbelly website.
- Now until summer 2022 : Superblue London
AA Murakami, the artist duo behind Studio Swine, present a multi-sensory, immersive experience which explores the relationship between humans and nature. Open Tues-Thur: 10am-7pm, Fri-Sun: 10am-8pm. Tickets from £11-£13 (online), £13-£15 (walk-in). Superblue London, 6 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair. W1S 3ET. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Superblue website.
- Now until 28 August 2022 : Mulan Rouge
An immersive, foodie, theatrical mash-up of Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Overs 18s only. Dress Code: ‘A hot Paris night in the Mulan Rouge’. Times vary. Tickets: £45-£60. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.
- Now until 29 August 2022 : Football – Designing the Beautiful Game
Explore the stories of design from the world of football. Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm. Tickets from £16.80. Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, W8 6AG. Nearest stations: Earls Court, High Street Kensington or Holland Park. For booking, visit the Design Museum website.
- Now until 29 August 2022 : Surrealism Beyond Borders
Exhibition of surrealism artworks of over 50 years. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £18. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information, visit the Tate website.
- Now until 4 September 2022 : 150 Years of the Royal School of Needlework
Retrospective exhibition of one of the country’s oldest arts organisations. Open 11am-6pm. Tickets: £12.65. Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the museum website.
- Now until 4 September 2022 : Doctor Who – Time Fracture
Fans of the Time Lord will love this immersive, theatrical experience as you ‘travel’ back to 1940s Mayfair during the Blitz. Times vary (experience lasts 2hr 15mins). Age 8+. Tickets from £29.95. UNIT HQ, 1-8 Davies Mews, Mayfair, W1K 5AB. Nearest station: Bond Street. For booking, visit the Doctor Who: Time Fracture website. 🐻
- Now until 4 September 2022 : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
An immersive experience inspired by the classic story. Travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Overs 12 only. Times vary. Tickets: £40-£130. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the War of the World’s website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the show.
- Now until 11 September 2022 : Inspired!
Exhibition explores how visual artists have taken inspiration from the literary arts. Opening hours TBC. Tickets: £8. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s, Bank or Moorgate. For more information, visit the City of London.gov website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.
- Now until 25 September 2022 : Beatrix Potter – Drawn to Nature
Exhibition celebrating the life and works of author Beatrix Potter. Open 10am-5.15pm. Tickets: £14. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For tickets, visit the V&A website. 🐻
- Now until 26 October 2022 : Magnificent Maps of London
London Metropolitan Archives show off their historical map collection in a new exhibition. Featuring maps from the 16th century to present day. Open Mon-Thu 10am-4pm. Free entry. London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the City of London.gov.uk website.
- Now until July 2023 : Scenes in the Square
Check out bronze sculptures of iconic film characters around Leicester Square. Eight interactive characters, such as Laurel & Hardy to Wonder Woman will be placed in the square for four months. Free. Leicester Square, Westminster, WC2H 7DE. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Leicester Square website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the exhibition. 🐻