diamond geezer

 Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wahey, here comes the month with two bank holiday weekends. Assuming you have time on your hands, what to do and where to go? Here's my list of mostly-free suggestions...

Weekend 1: April 30/May 1/May 2 [BANK HOLIDAY]
» Canalway Cavalcade (Sat, Sun, Mon): The annual narrowboat festival at Little Venice. It's usually very busy, and very colourful, and brings a welcome slice of watery heritage to the heart of London.
» Rochester Sweeps Festival (Sat, Sun, Mon): For one weekend only, the town centre is taken over by morris dancers, sooty-faced musicians, beer drinkers and a Jack-in-the-Green. [my report from 2010]
» Jack-in-the-Green May Day Festival (Sat, Sun, Mon): Lasts all weekend, but the amazing day is Monday when the townspeople of Hastings dress in foliage, dab green spots on their foreheads and dance through the streets like they're in the Wicker Man before ending up on the clifftop for a booze-up. Arrive early, and it's quite some day out. [my report from 2014]
» Jack In The Green (Sun, 11.30-16.5): A garlanded man will be paraded around the streets of Southwark and the City to celebrate May Day - looks like a pagan excuse for a pub crawl to me.
» May Day Rally (Sun, from 11.30): Jeremy Corbyn will be amongst those marching from Clerkenwell to Trafalgar Square for a rally to celebrate International Workers Day, comrade.
» Gumball Rally 3000 (Mon, 12-8): If you like cars and bling, you may want to welcome some C-list American celebs in pimped-up wheels to Regent Street this afternoon. Destination Bucharest.
» Brixton Beer and Bread Festival (Mon, 1-5): To celebrate the bicentenary of the windmill, an afternoon of local breweriness, very local flour and live music.

Weekend 2: May 7/May 8
» Westminster Morris Men, Day of Dance (Sat, 10-6): The annual takeover of Westminster's streets and squares by hanky-wielding bell-ankled baton-thwacking jigglers. [my report from 2009]
» Boring Conference 2016 (Sat): Yay! But sold out. [my report from 2015]
» Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival (Sun, 10.30-5.30): Punch and Judy Professors from all over the country and abroad gather in the garden of St Paul’s Church.

» Honourable Artillery Company Annual Open Evening (Tue 10th, 5-9): Your chance to visit the largest greenspace in the City of London to see helicopters, parades, military acrobatics and big guns, and poke around inside the HAC's ancient HQ. [my report from 2015]

Weekend 3: May 14/May 15
» Museums at Night (Wed-Sat): Sleepovers and after hours tours at museums across the country.
» National Mills Weekend (Sat, Sun): In London this means access to Brixton, Keston, Shirley, Upminster and Wimbledon windmills, plus watermills at Bromley-by-Bow, Kew and Merton Abbey Mills.
» Eurovision (Sat, 8-11): Just a reminder.
» Streatham Common Kite Day (Sun, 11-5): Aerial acrobatics, wind permitting. Includes hog roast.
» Urban Village Fete (Sun, 12-7): The housebuilders and placemakers of the Greenwich Peninsula curate a second design and entertainment fair in an attempt to give their expensive residential developments a creative foundation. [my report from 2015]

Weekend 4: May 21/May 22
» Spring into Summer (Sat, Sun): Walk London's thrice yearly celebration of London on foot. Dozens of free guided walks are available, most of them easy and central, plus a few more interesting more challenging outer rambles. Clearly getting too popular, because this year (for the first time) you have to book in advance.
» Fawley Hill Steam and Vintage Weekend (Sat, Sun): Rare opportunity to visit Lord McAlpine's back garden, and his private steam railway, three miles north of Henley on Thames. It's a pain to get to, and be warned that the "free shuttle bus" fills up fast, but lovers of all things vintage, steamy and mechanical will love it. [my report from 2014]
» Rickmansworth Festival (Sat, Sun): Canal-based hi-jinks at the Aquadrome. [my report from 2010]
» Nunhead Cemetery Open Day (Sat, 11-5): Enjoy tours and stalls in the grounds of one of Victorian London's Magnificent Seven. [my report from 2013]
» The Cup Final (Sat, 5.30): Southeast London club battles one of the Manchesters.
» LSO Open Air Classics (Sun, 6.30): Open air all-Tchaikovsky concert in Trafalgar Square (includes noticeable car sponsorship).

Weekend 5: May 28/May 29/May 30 [BANK HOLIDAY]
» RHS Chelsea Flower Show (Tue-Sat): Showgardens and horticultural dazzle.
» Something'll else turn up, surely (Sat or Sun or Mon): ?

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