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May Bank Holiday 2017 in London: Events and Things to Do

The first of the precious May Bank holidays is coming up. And, fortunately, there's plenty of things going on to help you spend that extra day off. Here's our guide to making the most of the May Day Bank Holiday in London (May 1st).  

Museums and exhibitions in London

Photo by Vic Frankowski

Adventures in Moominland

Extended due to popular demand, the Southbank Centre's Adventures in Moominland takes you on a journey to discover the world of Tove Jansson's iconic characters. Suitable for ages 7+, the exhibition forms part of the year long Nordic Matters Festival, and you can explore all sorts of Scandinavian things around the centre after the tour Website  


  Explore the treasures of the British Museum with an actual treasure hunt. THATMuse proved to be a massive hit at the Louvre and now it's over here. Throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, there'll be a variety of hunts going on, focusing on different aspects of the museum's amazing collection, and offering different levels of ability so intrepid explorers of all ages can join in. Website  

Sensational Butterflies

With summer on the horizon (even if it doesn't exactly feel like it at the moment), the Natural History Museum is once again inviting visitors to transport themselves to the tropics, with the return of their Sensational Butterflies exhibition. Based in the museum's grounds, the pop-up tropical butterfly house will be filled with exotic plants, and hundreds of colourful butterflies, ethically sourced from Central and South America, Africa and Asia. During the course of the exhibition's run, you'll be able to get up close to some truly inspirational insects, observing them emerge from their chrysalises, feed and interact with each other. Website  

Eating and drinking in London

German Bierfest London

Just want to spend the day relaxing and catching up with some mates over a few pints? Why not do it Bavarian style and head to Mile End Park, where Bierfest London will be bringing some of the flavour of Oktoberfest to the city (a few months early). In addition to the expected steins of delicious beer (including three varieties of handmade German brews), lederhosen and oompah music, the festival will also have a Sekt garden, devoted to the famous German sparkling wine. And if you've got the kids with you, check out the traditional German village alongside, with bratwurst, schnitzel and family-friendly activities to try. Website  

Galvin at HOP Bottomless Brunch

  A long, lazy, decadent and boozy brunch might be the best way to start the day (after all, calories don't count on holidays). And you could really go all out for less than you might think at the Galvin group's new "Pub Deluxe" in Spitalfields, Galvin at HOP. The pub's brunch options include buttermilk pancakes or avocado on toast for as little as £6.50, while you can go bottomless for an extra £10 - offering two hours of unlimited Prosecco, Bloody Mary's or fresh Pilsner Urquell. Website

Theatre, comedy and music

Underbelly Festival

The Udderbelly and London Wonderground festivals have been entertaining and delighting audiences for several years. And now they’re joining together to create a massive festival of cabaret and comedy – the Underbelly Festival. This Bank Holiday Monday, the festival will be staging the hit Edinburgh show, Comedy in the Dark. Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominee Tony Law will be performing his signature surrealistic stand-up, in the pitch black. And the Underbelly grounds also offers an international selection of food vendors, one of London’s longest outdoor bars and a round-the-clock festival atmosphere. Website  

Live at Zedel

    The perfect gift for Ed Balls Day, Brasserie Zedel's cabaret club will be hosting the man himself on the Bank Holiday, where he'll discuss his life in politics (and on Strictly). And, the night before, things will be rather more camp and colourful, with drag icon teaming up with Olivier-winning star of La Clique and La Soiree, Le Gateau Chocolat for A Night at the Musicals - a tortured love letter to musical theatre, including some very unique spins on numbers from Gypsy, Annie and the Lion King. Website  

Fear and Loathing at the ROXY exhibition

  Seven Dials in Covent Garden might be a pleasant place to shop, eat and drink these days, but it used to be rather more wild back in the mid-70s. During the heyday of punk, it was home to The ROXY, the only venue in the city dedicated to showcasing the daring sounds and fashions of the scene. The club's long since gone, but to celebrate its 40th anniversary , a plaque has been unveiled on at its former location at 41-43 Neal Street, while a few doors down at 35-37 there's a free exhibition of some of the famous photos taken at the club. Website

Essential May Day Bank Holiday 2017 information

For all the latest news and travel information, visit the Transport for London website. If you're planning on spending more than a day in London, then we have plenty of places to stay. Remember to check out the weather forecast. If the weather is on the warm side then check out our 50 things to do this summer suggestions. If it decides to pour however, well we've got that covered too - here are 28 things to do in London when it rains. If you want to see what else is going on visit our things to do in London this weekend page for bang-up-to-date events.