Things to do in London in May 2021

The ianVisits guide to May's unusual events, tours, lectures and exhibitions happening around London.


Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Saturday 1st May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Saturday 1st May

Sunday 2nd May

Monthly open day at the museum to London's first international airport - in Croydon.
All Day
 
Croydon
Monthly open day at Croydon Airport museum
Better than half price entry to the Painted Hall on the first Sunday of the month.
10am to 5pm
 
Greenwich
Monthly cheap entry to the Painted Hall
A beautiful historic parkland designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown with Edwardian gardens in Reigate, Surrey.
1pm to 5pm
 
Reigate
Monthly open day at Gatton Park
A garden with unusual architectural features including Oriental Tea House overlooking carp pond
2pm to 6pm
 
Muswell Hill
Visit a garden - 5 St Regis Close (Muswell Hill)

More London events on Sunday 2nd May

Monday 3rd May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Monday 3rd May

Tuesday 4th May


Online events / webinars

This lecture looks at great winners (and losers) from the past and clarifies the ideas behind the annual competition.
2pm to 3pm
 
The Turner Prize Explained
This talk will explore negotiations between planners and the public by focusing on attempts to reorganise London’s teaching hospital system in the post-war period.
4pm to 5:15pm
 
Planning, publics, and the reorganisation of London’s teaching hospital system
To coincide with the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death, this lecture will review Sir John Soane’s interest in Napoleon Bonaparte.
6:30pm to :
 
Sir John Soane’s fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte
Join Mark Solms as he explores the mechanisms behind the dreaming brain and what they really mean.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
The dreaming brain
Historian and curator Barry Bergdoll examines transformations in French architectural culture through the lens of the Vaudoyer dynasty.
7pm to 9pm
 
The Vaudoyers: a French architectural dynasty 1756-1975
Join Professor Alyce Mahon to trace how the Marquis de Sade became an icon of free expression and explore his influence on Surrealist art
7:30pm to 9pm
 
The Marquis de Sade & the Avant-Garde: Illustrated Zoom Talk by Alyce Mahon

More London events on Tuesday 4th May

Wednesday 5th May


Online events / webinars

You are how you eat: Dr Melisa Morales Garcia will show us how jaws of mammals can reveal their diets.
12:30pm to 1:15pm
 
What were Mesozoic mammals eating?
Join Janet Hartley for a rich exploration of the Volga that reveals the river's vital place in Russian history.
6pm to 7:30pm
 
The Volga: A History of Russia's Greatest River

More London events on Wednesday 5th May

Thursday 6th May


Online events / webinars

Join Alison Weir on Zoom for a magisterial history of the queens of Medieval England - including the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
Queens of the Crusades - An Online Talk by Alison Weir
Geoffrey Hollis will talk about the 1951 Battersea Pleasure Gardens – ‘Art and Elegance in Abundance’.
6:30pm to :
 
Festival of Britain 70th Anniversary: Battersea
Join a panel of experts to discuss the recent exciting findings from the LHCb experiment at CERN.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
A new force of nature at the LHC?
A talk about the creation of Laurence Bradshaw’s Karl Marx memorial in Highgate Cemetery.
7pm to :
 
The Marx Memorial Lecture: The Plot For Karl Marx

More London events on Thursday 6th May

Friday 7th May


Online events / webinars

Join Gavin Mortimer as he considers what society today can learn from the Second World War generation.
12pm to :
 
Guidance from the Greatest
Dr Philip Mansel, author of King of the World: the life of Louis XIV (2019) will explore how the King used the gardens he created at Versailles to attract and impress foreign visitors
6pm to 7:30pm
 
Louis XIV, King of Gardens

More London events on Friday 7th May

Saturday 8th May

Visit the garden surrounding the centre designed by world-famous Dutch Landscape Architect Piet Oudolf.
11am to 3:30pm
 
Belmont
Visit a garden - Maggie's (Sutton)

Online events / webinars

Joanna Banham, freelance curator, lecturer and writer, will explore the history and production of Morris’s wallpaper.
3pm to :
 
William Morris Wallpapers

More London events on Saturday 8th May

Sunday 9th May

A hidden oasis full of surprises and built on several different levels.
10am to 6pm
 
Ealing
Visit a garden - 38 York Road (Ealing)
Over 50 hand-picked traders, bringing, 20th Century furniture, salvaged French homeware, vintage clothes, curiosities & collectables, kitschenalia, reclaimed industrial fixtures / electricals / lighting, and unexpected oddities.
11am to 6pm
 
Peckham
Peckham Salvage Yard
A garden for all seasons with many interesting plants and sculptures.
11am to 5pm
 
Mill Hill
Visit a garden - Highwood Ash (Mill Hill)
The 35 acre Beale Arboretum consists of over 800 varieties of trees and shrubs, incl National Collection of Hornbeam cultivars.
2pm to 5pm
 
Barnet
Visit a garden - West Lodge Park Hadley Wood()

More London events on Sunday 9th May

Monday 10th May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Monday 10th May

Tuesday 11th May


Online events / webinars

With a little knowledge and common sense, you can decide what definitely to avoid, and what to grow safely to enjoy their aesthetic.
10am to 11:30am
 
The Darker Side of Plants -Toxic Trees, Poisonous Perennials & Wicked Weeds
Explore the Regency assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval and how the drama played out in the City.
2pm to 3pm
 
‘England’s Kennedy Moment’ – 11 May 1812
A journey down through the layers of London to rediscover the lost rivers of her past.
6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
Searching for London's lost rivers with Dr Tom Bolton
In this talk, Dr Amy Boyington will explore the real-life locations from some of the most famous dramas and films.
6:30pm to :
 
Behind the Scenes: Georgian Buildings in TV and Film

More London events on Tuesday 11th May

Wednesday 12th May


Online events / webinars

Join us to look back at the impact of the pandemic and its lessons for the future of nursing in this RCN Fellows event for Nurses Day 2021, with author Christie Watson.
5:30pm to 7pm
 
In Conversation with Nursing Pioneers: the COVID-19 Pandemic
This talk is a celebration of the Common as it is today, 150 years after this landmark protection.
6pm to 7:30pm
 
Unforgettable Gardens - The Wandsworth (un)Common Story
Come on a roller coaster trip through the history of disaster movies with Scott Freer.
6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
American disaster movies with Scott  Freer
Explore the fascinating history of 19th-century hospitals in this talk by the Survey of London's Harriet Richardson.
7pm to 10pm
 
Grand Designs for Health & Wellbeing in the Victorian Hospital
In this talk we’ll reveal some of the RSN’s precious gifts and commissions for the royal family illustrated by objects from our archives, letters and accounts in newspapers of the day.
7pm to 8:15pm
 

More London events on Wednesday 12th May

Thursday 13th May


Online events / webinars

Material scientist Anna Ploszajski explores what generations of craftspeople have discovered from experimenting with various materials.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Handmade: a scientist’s search for meaning through making

More London events on Thursday 13th May

Friday 14th May


Online events / webinars

Join Professor Peter Gaunt as he analyses the experiences of those forced to travel during the English Civil Wars.
12pm to :
 
Fighting, Campaigning and Travelling in the English Civil War

More London events on Friday 14th May

Saturday 15th May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Saturday 15th May

Sunday 16th May


Online events / webinars

How to depict the impossible, a monster more bizarre than any medieval Apocalypse or engravings of krakens and rhinoceroses?
8pm to 11pm
 
On The Monstrous Pictures of Whales - Philip Hoare

More London events on Sunday 16th May

Monday 17th May


Online events / webinars

Get a taste of the Royal College of Physicians fascinating 500-year history and award-winning architecture in a live virtual guided tour.
1pm to 1:30pm
 
RCP live virtual guided taster tour

More London events on Monday 17th May

Tuesday 18th May


Online events / webinars

This lecture follows the journey of a plant hunter and illustrator who has painted his way around the globe, depicting the underworld of plants
10am to 11:30am
 
The Darker Side of Plants - The Underworld of Plants
Join a panel of experts as they discuss the risks posed by climate change and what we can do to mitigate them.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Climate change: a risky business
Learn about the common mushrooms and fungi you can find in Britain.
7:30pm to 8:30pm
 
Fungus amongus: common mushrooms in England

More London events on Tuesday 18th May

Wednesday 19th May


Online events / webinars

Join community archaeologist Alexis as he explores how the Roman development of Fulham reflects Britain’s economic situation at the time.
12:30pm to 1:30pm
 
Roman, Saxons and Vikings – farms and forts in Fulham
A talk by a V&A Museum curator on the men's rings collection in the museum
6pm to :
 
Men's Jewellery
This talk will explore how The Royal Parks conserve and enhance this magnificent working cemetery for people, heritage and nature.
6pm to 7:30pm
 
Unforgettable Gardens - Brompton - A Garden Cemetery reborn
This talk celebrates the work of one of Britain’s greatest film actors.
6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
James Mason – The Man that Got Away

More London events on Wednesday 19th May

Thursday 20th May

As we celebrate reopening the Museum and welcoming you back into London, we look back at a rich history of celebrations in and about our city.
6:30pm to 9pm
 
Covent Garden
Museum After Dark – Let’s celebrate

Online events / webinars

Join author and expert in gold and silver Timothy Schroder as he takes a close look at the workings of this relationship and at the individuals who operated it.
7pm to 8pm
 
Cromwell, Bowes, the Goldsmiths and the Mint

More London events on Thursday 20th May

Friday 21st May


Online events / webinars

Dr Simon J Moody will examine how the Cold War nuclear threat affected the British Army’s training, war doctrine and purpose.
12pm to :
 
Preparing for Nuclear War in the British Army

More London events on Friday 21st May

Saturday 22nd May

Rare opportunity to visit this 42 acre jewel with many mature trees, 2 acre lake with water fowl, expansive lawns and a river walk.
10am to 4:30pm
 
Fulham
Visit a garden - The Hurlingham Club (Fulham)
Many surprises, unusual trees and shrubs are hidden behind the railings of this large London square.
10am to 4pm
 
Belgravia
Visit a garden - Cadogan Place South Garden (Chelsea)

More London events on Saturday 22nd May

Sunday 23rd May

Hackney Record Fair provides a unique opportunity for independent labels, record vendors, and used hifi dealers to sell directly to the fans who love them.
11am to 6pm
 
Stoke Newington
Hackney Record Fair
This steeply sloping garden comprises woodland walks, filled with flowering shrubs and ferns.
2pm to 6pm
 
Wimbledon
Visit a garden - 61 Arthur Road (Wimbledon)
A friendly and informal garden square with mature and rare trees, plants and shrubs laid out according to the original Victorian design of 1862
2pm to 4pm
 
Notting Hill
Visit a garden - Arundel & Elgin Gardens (Notting Hill)
Gardens on or near the River Thames: a riverside garden in an artists’ complex, a large walled garden
2pm to 5pm
 
Hammersmith
Visit a garden - Chiswick Mall Gardens
These five adjacent long gardens run for 100 yds from the back of historic houses on Kew Green down to the Thames towpath.
2pm to 5pm
 
Visit a garden - Kew Green Gardens

More London events on Sunday 23rd May

Monday 24th May


Online events / webinars

This talk will consider how ideas of privacy shaped housing design in post-war Britain, with particular reference to the evolution of courtyard/patio layouts.
6pm to 8pm
 
Privacy and post-war housing in Britain

More London events on Monday 24th May

Tuesday 25th May


Online events / webinars

This talk will follow Games’s creative process from designer’s brief to the ubiquitous, versatile and memorable ‘Britannia’ emblem which adorned buildings, posters, souvenirs and stamps.
2pm to 3pm
 
Abram Games and His Festival of Britain Symbol - 70th Anniversary
Join Rebecca Smethurst to find out more about these mysterious and massive astronomical objects.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
It’s not easy growing a supermassive black hole

More London events on Tuesday 25th May

Wednesday 26th May


Online events / webinars

This conference will analyse Napoleon's maritime strategy against Great Britain after Trafalgar and how it was implemented.
5:15pm to 7pm
 
Join Amy Hare as she explores this significant element of the RSN Collection and shows you stunning examples of millinery throughout the years.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Hats, Bonnets & Veils: Embroidered Millinery
The acclaimed director Mike Leigh in conversation with Westminster library staff
7pm to 8:30pm
 
In conversation with director Mike Leigh

More London events on Wednesday 26th May

Thursday 27th May


Online events / webinars

This illustrated talk by City Guide Alexandra Epps takes us on a virtual tour of the post-war stained glass of the City of London
2pm to 3:15pm
 
Modern Stained Glass in the City of London
This lecture will tell the intriguing story of Bomber Command’s electronic war, and how, eight decades later, the work of 100 Group remains an indispensable part of the modern air campaign.
6pm to :
 
How Bomber Command Pioneered Electronic Warfare
A discussion about the influential work of Dr Edward Jenner, the pioneer of vaccinations.
6pm to 7pm
 
Dr Jenner, Smallpox & Vaccines: In Conversation with Owen Gower
Join Giles Milton as he launches his new book, revealing how events in post-war Berlin began the Cold War and shaped the modern world.
7pm to :
 
Checkmate in Berlin

More London events on Thursday 27th May

Friday 28th May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Friday 28th May

Saturday 29th May

A monthly opening of the House of Dreams in East Dulwich - a house given over entirely to a unique form of art.
10am to 5pm
 
East Dulwich
Monthly open day at the House of Dreams
Learn about the truly Terrible Tudors at Hampton Court Palace
Starts at 12pm
 
East Molesey
Horrible Histories - Live on Stage
A small walled garden behind the Priory Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St Dominic, commissioned by the Dominican Friars.
1:30pm to 5:30pm
 
Kentish Town
Visit a garden - The Mysteries of Light Rosary Garden (Kentish Town)
Join us for a herb walk of the year, where we will be exploring the marshes and looking at edible and medicinal plants that are around this time of the year.
3pm to 5:30pm
 
Homerton

More London events on Saturday 29th May

Sunday 30th May

Learn about the truly Terrible Tudors at Hampton Court Palace
Starts at 12pm
 
East Molesey
Horrible Histories - Live on Stage
Developed over 14yrs, this large garden has a formal layout, with wide mixed herbaceous borders full of colour, surrounded by mature trees, framing sunny lawns, a central box parterre and an Indian pergola.
2pm to 5:30pm
 
Lee
Visit a garden - 41 Southbrook Road (Lee)
An extensive garden with mature trees, shrubs and perennials divided into areas.
2pm to 6pm
 
Finchley
Visit a garden - 31 Hendon Avenue (Finchley)

More London events on Sunday 30th May

Monday 31st May

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Monday 31st May

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