Things to do in London in May 2020

Head outdoors to explore London in May, join cultural celebrations and marvel at vibrant flower shows across the city.
A woman looking at the colourful flowers during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show has turned virtual in 2020. Credits: Georgi Mabee. Image courtesy of the Press Office.

The UK government has advised against all non-essential travel and instructed that people remain at home. 

Public transport must only be used for essential journeys. If you need to make an essential journey, it is advised that you walk or cycle where possible. 

Events have been cancelled, and attractions, restaurants, pubs, theatres, public spaces and other venues have temporarily closed. 

A nationwide ban has also been placed on public gatherings of more than two people.

Check the latest UK government information and travel advice for London.

  • Schools take a week-long half-term holiday in May. Choose from piles of family-friendly activities put on by top attractions this week.

  • Make plans for the two public holidays (bank holidays) in May with special events taking place over the long weekends.

  • Unmissable annual events include the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the FA Cup finals.  

In May, spring is well under way with warm weather and some delightful sunshine, but you may still need a light coat and a brolly, in case of a light drizzle.

Schools across the UK usually break up for a half-term holiday at the end of May, bringing a packed programme of family-friendly events at some of London’s top attractions.

There are also two public holidays (bank holidays) this month: the Early May Bank Holiday and the Spring Bank Holiday. So, keep an eye out for what’s on in London in May to make the most of the extended weekends.

Many London events in May have been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus. However, you can still find lots of exciting events to enjoy from home with our Virtually London guide, which is crammed full of live performances, virtual tours and online shows to enjoy without moving an inch!

Virtual events this May

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, some May events have moved online this year. You can enjoy all of these from the comfort of your own home.

Find a flavour of what's usually on in May below. Make sure to check the individual event for confirmation of this year's edition or plan ahead for next year.

What's on in London in May?

  • Celebrate the heritage of the capital with events, activities and exhibitions on London History Day
  • Meet artists, engineers and designers during London Craft Week, which usually takes place in April or May. This year's event will take place in September and October.
  • Check out world-class photography from across the globe at Somerset House's Photo London each May. This year's event will now take place in autumn.
  • Join the Eid Festival celebrations in Trafalgar Square every May, featuring family activities and street food from around the world. This year's event has been cancelled.
  • Tate Modern is officially entering its 20s and invites you to join the celebrations this month. Keep an eye out for online activities with our Virtually London guide.

Outdoor events in May

  • Watch a play in the sun as some of London's biggest open-air theatre summer seasons usually kick off this month, including Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe. These events have been cancelled for 2020.
  • Admire the floral displays of the surrounding streets for Chelsea in Bloom or stop by Covent Garden to be wowed by Covent Garden in Bloom and the striking floral displays of Fleurs De Villes.These events have been cancelled in 2020.
  • Take dining to new heights with London in the Sky, the ultimate experience for foodies and adrenaline junkies. This experience is currently closed.
  • For a music festival in London in May, make an appearance at All Points East at Victoria Park. This year's event has been cancelled.
  • You’re in for a treat, The May Fair at Grosvenor Square usually brings seaside vibes to the city on the early May bank holiday weekend. This year's event has been cancelled.

Exciting events for your calendar

  • Get a ticket for the Men's FA Cup final and Women's FA Cup Final or join football fans in pubs all over London, which are packed with people watching the games. These events have been postponed.
  • Lose yourself among vintage four-wheelers at Park it in the Market at Greenwich Market. These events are currently suspended.
  • Join three days of running and fitness activities with Hackney Moves. This year's event has been postponed.
  • Transform into an anime character for a day and mingle among other comic fanatics at one of the coolest celebrations of pop culture, MCM Comic Con London. This year's event will now take place in July.

For more things to do in London in May, take a look at our events calendar and guide to what's on in London. And catch the best of the London stage with our London theatre guide. For on-the-go adventure ideas, download the Visit London App

WEATHER: For average seasonal temperatures and rainfall, see our London Weather page.

Sign up for our monthly enewsletter for year-round updates about what's on in London.