What to do this month? Here’s a list of the fun and colourful events—sometimes wacky, but always cheap!
May Events in London
London Wonderground (May 5-Sep 25): London Wonderground is colourful, alternative circus coming back to South Bank for its 5th year. Enjoy a programme of circus, cabaret, family entertainment and the world’s tallest travelling ride—plus a slew of food stalls and bars!
The Magic Roundabout – Outdoor Party (May 6): Enter via a secret staircase into a pop-up tropical street party space filled with craft beers, magicians, cocktails, DJ sets, face painting and street food. Free entrance.
National Pet Show (May 7-8): Not quite cheapo (£17 for adults), but it’s a great place to take the kiddos and see over a hundred kinds of animals doing extraordinary things (hip hop dancing dogs, anyone?) You’re also privy to expert advice on taking care of pets and or how to enter them into competitions.
Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Show (May 8): A celebration of London’s most old-school wooden puppet show, plus a brass band procession, workshops, clowns, folk music and refreshments.
Urban Fete Show (May 15): “A contemporary twist on a traditional village fair” — A free, modern take on the traditional British summer fete, celebrating design, art, music and craftmanship featuring creative workshops, gigantic slinkies, hula hooping classes, and international street food.
Tattoo London (ongoing until May 15): Free exhibition and series of events exploring London’s tattoo culture. Insight into professional tattoo studios in a specially commissioned film by Chocolate Films, tools of their trade from hand-poking tools to customised tattoo machines, and more.
Photo London (May 19-22): International photography event featuring 80 of the world’s top galleries, book signings, special installations and three major exhibitions
Alchemy (May 20-30): A celebration of South Asian culture, with a programme including music, art, dance literature, film and fashion.
Spin – The Cycling Festival (May 20-22): Bike enthusiasts can expect three days of stalls, workshops on frame building, and talks from experts and campaigners. Over 100 road, urban and lifestyle exhibitors.
Comida Fest (May 21-22): Second installment of a three-part Latin American street food festival. Plenty of culinary offerings plus coffee and wine masterclasses, facepainting and storytelling for kids, and salsa classes.
MCM Comic Con (May 27-29): The UK’s biggest pop culture event. Cosplayers, film geeks, and graphic novel fans gather under one colourful roof in to pledge their pop cultural allegiance.
Above and Beyond (May 27-Aug 29): Immerse yourself in the world of flight and aerospace innovation at the National Maritime Museum’s ‘Above and Beyond’ exhibition. Journey into space with augmented reality, and virtual reality interactives.
DIY Cultures (May 29): East London’s cinema and arts space hosts a one-day festival of alternative and DIY culture. Visitors can expect film, animation, zines, comics with themes of a social and political bent.
Star of Bethnal Green Street Party (May 30): Community street party in east London back for its 5th year with street eats, drinks and DJ sets.
“This Is a Voice” Exhibition (ongoing until 31 July): Free exhibition (at the Wellcome Collection) exploring the emotions that resonate in the voice, plus a look at vocal tracts and how the voice can be changed with treatment and training.
The City Garden (23 April – 25 Sep): Inspired by the gardens of the city of London, enjoy an indoor interactive and multi-sensory botanical experience that contrasts the urban environment outside. Takes place at the City Centre Gallery.