There are always loads of great things happening in London, and this month is no exception. There are two Bank Holidays in May, as well as the half-term school holiday, and as the weather’s getting slightly less chilly (some of the time at least) it’s a good time to explore the capital. Here’s my pick of the best things to do in London this May. Check back each month for my latest roundup – and do send me any tips which you think should be included.
London Craft Week
London Craft Week is an annual event which showcases outstanding craftsmanship through a varied programme which features hidden workshops and unknown makers as well as famous studios and luxury brands. This year London Craft Week runs from 3rd-7th May, and includes some family activities, such as the Science Museum’s Making Robots event.
Cost: Varies according to event.
National Pet Show
The National Pet Show is on at London’s Excel from 6th–7th May. There are hundreds of different animals to see there, as well as animal action displays, animal handling areas and educational talks. Visitors to the show can meet animal experts and vets for pet advice.
Cost: Adults from £19.26, children from £13.91, under-6s free.
Museums at Night
Museums at Night is an annual UK-wide festival which aims to encourage visitors into museums, galleries and heritage sites by putting on special evening events. This year the festival is running from 17th-20th May. Some of the events are good for kids – check out the Museums at Night website to see what’s on offer where you live.
Cost: Depends on activity.
Alchemy is an annual festival which celebrates the relationship between the UK and the Indian subcontinent. The festival is at the Southbank Centre from 19th–29th May and features a vibrant array of performances, workshops and exhibitions, as well as a delicious food market. Alchemy includes family-friendly events such as Pram Jam Dance & Music sessions for under-fives, a Bollywood Shakedown dance afternoon for all ages, and the White Butterflies art installation.
Cost: Depends on activity.
London History Day
Historic England’s first ever London History Day is happening on 31st May, the date that Big Ben first started keeping time in 1859. 40 of the city’s museums and galleries are hosting special events and displays for London History Day, and there are family workshops on offer.
Cost: Varies according to event.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
I’ve visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour three times and would definitely go back, as there always seems to be more to see. The latest addition to the tour is the Forbidden Forest, which opened in March. Visitors to the new Forbidden Forest area can see some of its creatures and learn about the craftsmanship which went into creating them. You can read about our most recent visit to the studios in my post Warner Bros Studio Tour: the making of Harry Potter.
Cost: From £33.
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition
STAR WARS™ Identities: The Exhibition is at The O2 until 3rd September. If you visit the exhibition you can follow the journeys of Luke and Anakin Skywalker through some 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films. There’s also an interactive identity quest, and some interesting scientific content to help you to explore the forces which shape us as individuals.
Cost: Adults from £20.00, children from £10.00, under-fives free.
Science Museum: Robots
The Robots exhibition at London’s Science Museum tells the story of humanoid robots, and of what it means to be human. The exhibition is set in five different periods and places, and features a unique collection of more than 100 robots, fifteen of which are working models. Robots is running until September 3rd.
Cost: Adults £15, children £13. Entrance to the main museum is free.
The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes
Artist Nathan Sawaya has recreated a range of DC superheroes using around two million LEGO bricks. Sawaya’s previous touring exhibition, The Art of the Brick, was seen by millions of people across the world. There are more than 120 pieces in The Art of the Brick: DC Super Heroes exhibition, including a life-size Batmobile. The characters are on display in a purpose-built tent by the London Eye until September 4th.
Cost: Adults £16.50, children (4 – 16) £11.00, under-fours: free.
Natural History Museum
Would your kids enjoy a sleepover at London’s Natural History Museum? Dino Snores For Kids gives seven to 11 year-olds, with accompanying adults, the chance to camp out in one of the museum’s galleries and take part in some fun activities. This experience is available on selected dates, and you have to book in advance.
The Sensational Butterflies exhibition is back at the museum until until September 17th. The exhibition is housed in a tropical butterfly house at the front of the iconic building. Inside the exhibition you can walk amongst free-flying tropical butterflies and moths. There are also interactive displays and games where you can learn more about these creatures.
Cost: Entry to the Natural History Museum is free. Entry to Sensational Butterflies costs £5.85 per person, under-threes are free. Dino Snores For Kids costs £120 for one child with one adult.
Alice in Wonderland
You can explore Wonderland and search for Alice at The Vaults arts space below Waterloo Station until 23rd September. Alice’s Adventures Underground is suitable for ages 11+ while Adventures in Wonderland is designed for children who are five years old or more. Both are critically acclaimed immersive story experiences in which you decide where to go.
Cost: From £31.50.
Robot Zoo at the Horniman
You can meet some amazing robotic animals at the Horniman Museum’s Robot Zoo until 29th October. The robots have been created from everyday machines and gadgets to show how the anatomy of real animals works. Exhibits include a squid with 18-foot tentacles and a robotic rhino, and there are interactive games and challenges to try out too.
Cost: Adults from £7, children from £4, under-threes free.
The popular Udderbelly and Wonderground festivals are combining this year to form the new Underbelly Festival at the Southbank. The live entertainment festival is running until 30th September, and offers a fantastic programme of live comedy, circus, cabaret and family entertainment, as well as street food stalls and outdoor bars.
Cost: Varies according to show.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for accommodation in the capital, check out my post Family-friendly places to stay in London.
More on London
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Over to you
What would you like me to include in next month’s roundup? Do share your London tips and recommendations.