Caribbean parties, alfresco attractions, fun family fun... soak up the last of the summer vibes with this pick of what’s on during the bank holiday weekend in London.
Activities in London on the August bank holiday
Tick off those must-see attractions
Use the extra day off to check out many of London’s top attractions from your must-see list. There's the rare chance to explore and even picnic in Buckingham Palace gardens for the first time, with a special garden ticket!
The long weekend gives you even more time to discover your London, so why not pick up a sightseeing pass such as The London Pass, the London Explorer Pass or Merlin Attractions Pass, which give you access to multiple attractions.
Or spot the sights from the top deck on a bus tour, including a hop-on-hop-off tour allowing you to see as much or as little as you like. Alternatively, take to the river to discover key landmarks from a different angle on a boat tour.
Return to the theatre
Many of London's top theatre shows have returned to the West End stage following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Refresh your wardrobe
Shop for designer threads in London's top shopping destinations.
Head off the main thoroughfares to explore independent boutiques in stylish Jermyn Street, pretty South Molton Street and laid-back St Christopher’s Place. Or do it all under one roof at the capital's top shopping centres and department stores.
Venture into the great outdoors
As the world’s first National Park City, there are plenty of green spaces where you can indulge in some “me time”.
- Stumble upon hidden gardens in the City of London, such as Instagram hotspot St Dunstan in the East and secluded Barber Surgeons' Garden.
- Sprawl out and read a book in London’s parks, or keep a lookout for London's surprising wildlife, including the famous pelicans in St James's Park.
- Enjoy drinks at one of London's rooftop bars, chill out in beer gardens or indulge at alfresco restaurants.
- Take a shopping pit stop at tranquil spots in the West End, from Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, to community-run The Phoenix Garden near Seven Dials.
Immersive and adrenaline activities
- Step into the world of "The Doctor", as you attempt to save humanity in the immersive Doctor Who: Time Fracture experience.
- Explore the Coral Kingdom, or come face-to-tentacle with jellyfish at SEA Life London.
- Get that perfect Instagram shot as you glide over London on the Emirates Air Line.
- Work as a team to solve clues in the Crystal Maze Live Experience or become super sleuths with Sherlock: The Outdoor Game.
- Hold onto your hat as you speed along the Thames on a thrilling RIB boat ride with Thames Rockets or Thames RIB Experience.
- Test your nerves as you cross Tower Bridge’s glass-bottomed walkway, or book a special family tour.
- Scale some of London’s most recognisable sights with the thrilling Up at The O2 climb or the Dare Skywalk.
- Feel each of the twists and turns on a high-speed descent through The Slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit.
- Get the adrenaline pumping with more hair-raising experiences in London.
Unmissable bank holiday events in London
Get your dancing shoes ready
Europe's largest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival, takes place over the August bank holiday and brings infectious atmosphere to Notting Hill all weekend long. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's event will not be taking place on the streets of west London, but stay tuned for lots of carnival-themed activities.
The party vibes continue at Yam Carnival, which celebrates Black music, culture and food with a host of acts and activities to enjoy over the weekend.
Or head to Guildhall Yard, where Carnival City celebrates carnival culture and masquerade with food, music and more.
Enjoy an alfresco movie night
Grab a deckchair or drive in to one of London's outdoor cinemas, and immerse yourself in cult classics and new releases. Options over the weekend include Bohemian Rhapsody at Bar Elba, and The Greatest Showman Sing-along at Film & Food Fest in Beckenham Park.
Book a spot for a concert
Tune in to concerts this weekend, including the BBC Proms, which dedicates the weekend to Family Proms and French composers.
If you'd rather soak up the sun, check out free concerts at St Martin's Courtyard's Summer Stage throughout the weekend.
You can also enjoy tunes from buskers at train stations over the weekend, as National Rail teams up with Busk in London for special performances.
Run your heart out
August bank holiday opening times
Opening times may vary and many attractions and venues require advance booking. Check with the individual venues before you go.
More bank holiday ideas
If you’re looking for “bank holiday events near me” and more things to do in London on bank holiday weekend, download the Visit London app.
Alternatively, discover what’s on in London by day, more August activities or browse the London events calendar for key events. Find more inspiration for weekends in London with these handy weekend guides.
If you're not able to visit London this bank holiday, plan ahead for the next public holidays in London.