street in soho, london
August 7, 2023

Things to do this May Day Bank Holiday  

Excitingly, the spring May Day bank holiday is fast approaching. That means a whole extra day to enjoy everything the city has to offer. From days out to bottomless brunches, we round up the best events, activities, and ideas for fun things to do around London over the long weekend. Discover the most exciting and uplifting things to do in London this May Day bank holiday. Take the tube, or why not book with Zipcar to get there faster.


May Day Bank Holiday Events and Activities in London

London is full of attractions, museums, galleries and historic pubs. The good news is most are open this May Day bank holiday.




Hackney City Farm

Spring is lambing season, so expect plenty of opportunities for ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the sight of tiny, curly-coated sheep down on Hackney City Farm. With a garden, cafe, craftshop and animals, this is more than just a farm in the city. What’s more, it’s free to visit. Where? Hackney City Farm, 1 A Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QA. See the Hackney City Farm website for more information.


The Barbican

The Barbican is one of London’s most stunning examples of brutalist architecture. Still as striking as ever, the landmark remains one of the city’s coolest spots. Just ask Harry Styles, who chose to shoot his latest music video among The Barbican’s walkways and ponds. It’s also home to an enormous glasshouse, brimming with tropical plants - worth a visit if you’re looking for something a bit different (or home planting inspiration) this bank holiday. They also host events, exhibitions, family-friendly workshops, and have two on-site cafes plus a well stocked shop. Best of all, there’s no need to book and entry is free - including the conservatory. Where? The Barbican,  Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Open daily - see The Barbican website for more details.

The Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory has just reopened after a lengthy closure. Visit famed architect Christopher Wren’s Octagon Room, and catch the Planetarium show that’ll have you marvel at the story of stars. Timed booked slots are necessary. Where? Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10.  Open daily from 10 am - 5 pm. Book via the Royal Observatory website. Why not organise your friends and car share to get there? Book with Zipcar.

people having brunch

Bottomless Bank Holiday Brunch

London’s has well and truly caught the bottomless brunch bug. Check out some of the city’s alternative venues - perfect for celebrating one of our favourite popular pastimes this bank holiday Monday.


  • London’s first Jamaican brunch. Where? Ma Petit Jamaica, Inverness Street, Camden, NW1. See website for opening times.
  • Best for a next-level vegan brunch. Where? Super Nature, Hackney, E2. See the website for opening times and booking.
  • Bao brunch - perhaps the greatest new concept in London! Where? Daddy Bao, Mitcham Road, Tooting Broadway, SW1. See the website for times and booking.

Hyde park

The Great Outdoors

London’s Royal Parks comprise acre upon acre of green space ready for you to explore. Packed with wildlife, lidos, cafes and open from dawn until dusk, there are plenty of opportunities to lose yourself in their majesty over the bank holiday weekend. Take a stroll, visit the zoo, go for a bike ride, or even a swim. See The Royal Parks website for more information and opening times.


  • Go deer and stag spotting in Richmond Park. Where? Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10. Open daily.
  • Take a pedalo around the Serpentine Lake. Where? Hyde Park, Westminster, W2. Open daily. 
  • Visit The London Zoo at The Regent’s Park. Where? The Regent’s Park, Ulster Terrace, NW1. Open daily.
  • Watch the resident pelican’s being fed. Where? St. James’s Park, The Mall, SW1A. Open daily. Check the website for pelican feeding times.

V&A museum

London Museum and Galleries

The range of museums across the city is almost mind blowing. There are over 170 scattered around London, and what’s more, general admission to most of them is free*. A visit to one of London’s museums is one of our top ideas for things to do this bank holiday weekend. Here are a few of our favourites. Whether teaming up with friends or going it alone, book your trip with Zipcar.


  • Royal Academy of Arts is the home of art, architecture and ideas. Where? The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, W1J. See website for details and opening hours.
  • Visit The National Portait Gallery to see an impressive collection of historial portraits. Check the website for more information and opening times.
  • The V&A Museum houses 2.2 million decorative art and design objects. Where? The V&A Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7. The V&A website has details on times and booking specialist exhibitions. 

For award-winning exhibitions, and stories of scientific achievement, check out The Science Museum. Where? The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7. See website for details and times.

Woman shopping

Shop 'til You Drop

London is famous for its shopping streets, allies and arcades stocked with everything your heart could desire - from designer for those with money to spend, to high-street, and second hand for those with more curious and quirky tastes. Known the world over for it’s striking architecture and designer shops, Bond Steet boasts half a mile of first-class shopping. The go-to for upscale, elegant boutiques and high-end clothing, you’ll find the likes of Celine, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Balenciaga, and Mulberry. Shopping mecca Chelsea has been the home of cult fashion (and boots) for decades - you might even spot a celebrity or two while you pick up a purchase.  Brick Lane in East London is awash with thrift and second-hand stores. Beyond Retro has rack upon rack of the greatest vintage wares we’ve found. Find everything from 1950’s glamour dresses to ‘90s Levis.


  • Couture. Where? Bond Street, W1. See the local website for more details.
  • High Street. Where? Kings Road, SW10. Check the local website for store listings.
  • Feeling Thrifty. Where? Beyond Retro, Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2. Find more information on the Beyond Retro website.

Portobello road

London Markets

For bargains and unique second-hand finds, where nicer to spend the bank holiday than meandering around London’s street markets? Typically open all week, most of London’s markets really come alive on Saturdays. May of these traditional, vibrant hubs of colour and noise have been given a makeover in recent years - with several getting the full renovation treatment. Expect to find stalls spilling over with everything from antique furniture and jewellery on Portobello road, clothes and unusual gifts at Spitalfields, to foodie heaven at Borough Market. There’s a street-market to suit every taste. Book a Zipcar and explore markets around London.


  • Portobello Road. Where? Portobello Market, Portobello Road, W10. Check the website for daily hours.
  • Borough Market. Where? Borough Market, Southwark Street, SE1. Open all week - best on Fridays and Saturdays. Check the website for details.
  • Spitalfield. Where? Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, E1. See the website for information and bank holiday hours.

Cabaret mirror

Cabaret at the RVT

If showstopping cabaret and drag is your vibe, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern plays host to outrageous acts Mary Mac and Miss Penny this bank holiday Monday. DJ Simon Le Van and guests will be adding sparkle to the after party. Where? Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Kennington Lane, SE11. Tickets from £10. Check the website for showtimes.

All you need to book a Zipcar is a valid credit or debit card. You won’t even need to organise insurance - Zipcar takes care of this. Your greatest May Day bank holiday is just a few steps away.