This summer is all about celebrating the very best of London. 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.
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 Go City London Explorer Pass* or Big City Saver attraction passes, 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.
Only got the one day to explore the capital? Tick off the city's top sights with the Total London Experience.
Book a West End show
Immersive and adrenaline activities
Add even more excitement into the weekend with thrilling activities across the capital:
- 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.
- 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.
What to do on bank holiday for cool kids
It's nearly the end of the school holidays, so make the most of the final days by creating memories to last a lifetime (or to brag about to your friends).
- Laugh out loud at Shrek's Adventure! London, an indoor walk-and-ride attraction inspired by the hit Dreamworks film.
- Uncover the secrets of the night sky at a planetarium show at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
- Find out more about wildlife in London on special trails around the London Transport Museum or stop off at nature hubs on the South Ken Green Trail.
- Discover how tiny hatchlings become gigantic tortoises and meet an array of wildlife from around the world at ZSL London Zoo.
- Head to Cutty Sark Greenwich to hear stories of the ship's past brought to life by colourful characters and scale the rig to enjoy the view of the River Thames and London.
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.
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.
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.
Check back closer to the time for more exciting events.
Venture to the great outdoors
Enjoy an alfresco movie night
Grab a deckchair or drive into one of London's outdoor cinemas, and immerse yourself in cult classics and new releases.
Book a spot for a concert
Tune in to concerts, 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.
Explore London's top outdoor spaces
Make the most of the summer weather by heading to some of London's best outdoor spaces. Enjoy a cocktail on a rooftop overlooking some of the most bustling parts of the city, and as the world’s first National Park City, there are plenty of quiet 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.
- See the beautiful floral displays and impressive botanical installations at the world-famous Kew Gardens.
- Wander along the art trails, have a go at axe-throwing and take on a VR adventure at Wembley Park.
- 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.
Escape the crowds
These hidden gems are the perfect way to spend the bank holiday weekend if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.
- Venture to Hampstead Heath and visit Kenwood House. Marvel at the beautiful interiors and artworks before wandering the gardens on the Mac’s Kenwood Trail, perfect for curious kids and adults alike.
- Go on a Secret London Walking Tour, exploring the lesser-known spots across the city. From ancient pubs and old bookshops to what was once the world’s smallest police station.
- Visit London’s picturesque Little Venice, a canal area home to many waterside cafes, pubs and restaurants. Stroll along its pretty streets or hop on a boat up to Camden.
- See the city lit up in all its glory on a London by Night Open Top Bus Tour, spotting all of the city’s most memorable locations.
Take a day trip from London
Venture out of the city on a day trip to some of iconic sights close to the capital.
- Head to royal residence Windsor Castle to explore the impressive collection of historic treasures and beautiful surrounding grounds and gardens.
- Marvel at the mystery of Stonehenge on one of many day tours from London.
- Pair your visit to Windsor with a tour of Bath and Stonehenge for the ultimate day trip from London.
- Tick off multiple great sights in one day with a tour of Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, the White Cliffs of Dover and Greenwich plus a trip on the river Thames.
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.