Whether you’re a local with an extra day off work or a visitor, take some time to be with family, visit somewhere you have always wanted to or make the most out of the extra special events being held across London this Bank Holiday weekend!
Harry Potter’s Wizarding World
Journey through memories captured during years of magical filmmaking in a display of iconic behind-the-scenes images, never before seen in one place, at the brand new Photographic Exhibition. Housing iconic production photographs, go behind-the-scenes of key moments in the film series, from Harry’s first day at Hogwarts through to the Battle of Hogwarts. A must-visit for any Harry Potter fan. And of course, walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter and explore the wonders of the Wizarding World at the world-famous Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.
It’s your last chance to grab your zoo passport and embark on a world tour. Exploring remarkable species and their habitats across the globe all within London Zoo. As well as discovering thousands of wonderful zoo animals, learn about ZSL’s global conservation work and celebrate world cultures with pop-up activities, experiences and food stalls across the zoo. Youngsters will love getting their zoo passports stamped as they enter each zone, available until 31 Aug.
Sit beneath heritage trees within the picture-perfect grounds at Kew Gardens and take in a show. Throughout the weekend, Wind in the Willows will be performed on stage at 10.30am or 2pm (Sun 10.30am only). A rollicking yet gentle adventure with best friends Ratty, Mole, Badger, Otter and, of course, the arrogant, vain and hilarious Toad. A favourite of children everywhere, this is interactive theatre at its very best. Planning an evening visit? At 8pm on Saturday and Sunday, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be brought to life in uniquely botanical, dream-like woodland surroundings. There’s magic in the air and a night of mayhem in store, thanks to this beguiling comedy of enchantment and transformation with feuding fairies, eloping lovers and a hapless troupe of actors.
If you’re looking for spectacular views across the capital, you probably already know The Shard is a cut above the rest. Now the stunning sights continue inside too. The View from The Shard has been transformed for Avant Garden, a totally floral affair. Enjoy a themed cocktail while you take in the sights, sounds and even the scents in this botanical haven 300 metres up in the clouds. Expert mixologists have combined summery fragrances and floral flavours to create a range of cocktails to delight your senses.
Open Air Cinema Screenings
Outdoor cinema screens pop up around the capital throughout summer and this may be one of the last weekends to enjoy them. From 26-29 Aug, enjoy a red carpet experience with a selection of matinee and evening screenings in Trafalgar Square: Rocks, Skyfall, a Mary Poppins sing-along, Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV), Paddington 2 and Bend It Like Beckham. Rooftop Bottomless Cinema at Bar Elba will be showing Notting Hill, Mamma Mia!, Moulin Rouge and Sex and the City from Fri-Sun. Tickets include 90 minutes of unlimited wine, beer or bubbles, popcorn and a bag of sweets. The Cinema in the Arches in Battersea has multiple showings planned: The Greatest Showman, True Romance, Star Wars: A New Hope, Jaws, Bohemian Rhapsody and Knives Out. You can also watch the theatre performance of Midsummer’s Night Dream while you’re here. The IQL Summer Screen is back in Stratford too. Watch Spies in Disguise, Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), Trolls World Tour, Wall-E and even the Tokyo Paralympics. South London also has a few screens on offer with Pop Up Screens in Hither Green and the Film & Food Fest in Beckenham Place Park.
West End Wonders
The West End is buzzing again as curtains are rising on popular shows just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend! Mamma Mia! The Musical brings a bit of Greek glamour to the stage from 25 Aug. This is the world-famous story of a mother, her daughter and three possible fathers told via foot-tapping tunes by the Swedish supergroup ABBA. Enjoy family favourites such as The Lion King and Mary Poppins, or see new shows such as Back to the Future: The Musical and Hairspray.
Put your boardgame talents to the test at the new Monopoly: Lifesized. Everything you love about the classic game can now be found on a life-size board providing a bigger and better 4D experience. Travel around the board led by one of the game pieces and when you land on a property, complete challenges such as staging a heist in Mayfair or solving a murder mystery to acquire it. After you’ve won the game, continue the fun at the themed bar and restaurant, The Top Hat, for some signature cocktails and a small-plates menu.
London’s free, annual outdoor performing arts festival is back from 27 Aug. Expect street art, installations and performances. ‘Borealis’ is a laser show which aims to recreate the Northern Lights over Greenwich and Woolwich. Events take place across the borough, from the beautiful historic setting of the Old Royal Naval College to Woolwich’s General Gordon Square and Royal Arsenal Riverside. The outdoor public spaces of Canary Wharf, City of London, Royal Docks, and Tower Hamlets also get a look in.
Expect fun and affordable live entertainment in the Spiegeltent and great outdoor bars and street food. Cabaret, circus, comedy and live podcasts await at Cavendish Square. Meanwhile, vintage fair rides, sports activities and a bandstand have popped up at London Wonderground in Earl’s Court. Both locations also feature street food traders and bars. On until 26 Sep.
Head to the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, home of Henry VIII, from 28-30 Aug. Feast on delicious street food, sip on cocktails and pick up tasty treats from a hand-picked selection of artisan producers. Plus explore the gardens and maze, enjoy live music, kids’ entertainment and more. It’s the perfect day out this summer.
Experience one of the greatest painters of all time in a multi-sensory way. Walk into a world of the artist’s most famous paintings, brought to life by projections, sounds and smells. This is a world-class exhibition. A must-see before it closes on 26 Sep.
Last call! It’s your last chance to catch The Tempest (Fri 27 and Sun 29 Aug) or As You Like It (Sun 29 Aug) in the mesmerising Globe Theatre; both close Sun 29 Aug. Fancy a surprise? Well, Audience Choice does what it says on the tin: the audience chooses which Shakespearean play is performed. Book your tickets for the show on Saturday 28 Aug. Also on are Twelfth Night (Fri 27, Sat 28 Aug) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mon 30 Aug).
All Points East festival takes over Victoria Park across the Bank Holiday weekend (27-30 Aug) with performances from London Grammar, Jorja Smith, Celeste, Jamie XX, Tom Misch, Foals and more. At Clapham Common on Saturday 28 Aug, celebrate Black music, culture and food at Yam Carnival, Afro Nation’s new festival of afrobeat, reggaeton, R&B, hip hop and dancehall. With loads of activities, Caribbean and Latin street food available and performances from Davido, Kehlani, Koffee, Ms Banks and more.
An extra-long weekend calls for celebrations! Whether you want to start your day with a fiesta at a Mexican bottomless brunch, soak in some spectacular views at a rooftop bar or are looking for somewhere to party the night away, there is something for everyone across the capital.
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