Things to do in London in May 2019

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


Wednesday 1st May

Annual parade by the New Esperance Morris Dancers.
 12pm to :
 
Islington Milkmaids Garland
Dr Jonathan Boff will discuss the transformation undergone by the British Army during the First World War and the role this played in the defeat of Germany.
 6pm to 8pm
 
 Chelsea
The British Army and the End of the First World War
There is more to the Ministry of Defence UFO files than reports on strange sightings in the sky.
 2pm to 3pm
 
 Richmond
UFOs and the Cold War
Join Senior Curator Simon Sladen as he introduces a new display in the British Galleries exploring comedy’s impact on society.
 1pm to 1:45pm
 
 South Kensington
The newly discovered Salvator by Leonardo, the world’s most costly picture, is one of his most notable creations, in which he used his ‘science of art’ to transform a stock subject into a profound expression of the ineffability of the divine.
 6pm to 7pm
 
 Barbican

More London events on Wednesday 1st May

Thursday 2nd May

The presentation identifies the many people who, over the years, have been involved with the canal during its colourful existence.
 7:30pm to :
 
 Islington

More London events on Thursday 2nd May

Friday 3rd May

Join Tony Colvin as he examines the Battle of Winnekendonk, which took place during the final stages of the Second World War.
 11:30am to :
 
 Chelsea
The Noise of Battle
An evening of talks, music and activities celebrating music in Stanley Kubrick’s films.
 6pm to 9pm
 
 Kensington
Museum Late: The Sound of Stanley Kubrick
Writer and broadcaster, Michael Rosen, takes us on a celebratory romp through our ABC’s.
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
The Archbishop's garden is open for a few hours each month between April and September.
 12pm to 3pm
 
 Southwark
Monthly opening of Lambeth Palace Garden

More London events on Friday 3rd May

Saturday 4th May

Explore a large labyrinth of colour and light.
 11am to 4:30pm
 
 Wembley
Colourscape
IWA Canalway Cavalcade is London's biggest, brightest and best waterways festival.
 All Day
 
 Maida Vale
There'll be many rare and out-of-print titles for sale, illustrating different aspects of the East End's social, political and maritime histor
 9:30am to 2pm
 
 Whitechapel
Local history book sale
A delightful old barn now packed full of "clutter" that's oddly enjoyable to visit.
 10:30am to 4pm
 
 Upminster
 Occasional open day at the Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia
Monthly open day at one of London's more curious and delightful museums, devoted to the history of the sewing machine.
 2pm to 5pm
 
 Tooting

More London events on Saturday 4th May

Sunday 5th May

Explore a large labyrinth of colour and light.
 11am to 4:30pm
 
 Wembley
Colourscape
IWA Canalway Cavalcade is London's biggest, brightest and best waterways festival.
 All Day
 
 Maida Vale
Traditional May Day entertainment with Maypole dancing, music, entertainment for all the family.
 11am to 4pm
 
 Mayfair
The May Fair - Grosvenor Square
Monthly(ish) open days at 250 acres of the estate originally laid out by Capability Brown.
 1pm to 5pm
 
 Reigate
Gatton Park monthly open day
A monthly opening of the Victorian museum of industrial testing equipment.
 11am to 5pm
 
 Southwark

More London events on Sunday 5th May

Monday 6th May

Explore a large labyrinth of colour and light.
 11am to 4:30pm
 
 Wembley
Colourscape
IWA Canalway Cavalcade is London's biggest, brightest and best waterways festival.
 All Day
 
 Maida Vale
Local teams build a cart, show it off, race it round the course... and then pick up the pieces!
 12pm to :
 
 New Cross
Traditional May Day entertainment with Maypole dancing, music, entertainment for all the family.
 11am to 4pm
 
 Mayfair
The May Fair - Grosvenor Square
Semi-regular days where they fire up a Victorian steam engine.
 12:30pm to 4:30pm
 
 South Tottenham
Open day at a Victorian steam pump
Monthly opening of the only surviving windmill in inner London.
 10am to 4pm
 
 Brixton
Brixton Windmill monthly open weekend

More London events on Monday 6th May

Tuesday 7th May

Barrister Sarah Langford gives an account of 11 cases that shine a light on the current state of the legal system in the UK and the lives affected in the criminal and family courts.
 6pm to 7:30pm
 
 Holborn
Richard Youngs’ new book Civic Activism Unleashed examines the factors driving this 'age of rage', assesses whether the emerging activism is effective
 6:15pm to 7:30pm
 
 Euston
Civic Activism Unleashed - Book Launch and Keynote Lecture with Richard Youngs

More London events on Tuesday 7th May

Wednesday 8th May

A talk by Robin Myers on his own book about the letters sent by the two brothers.
 6pm to 7:30pm
 
 Southwark
Dr Andrew Ducarel, Lambeth Librarian 1757-85, seen through his brother’s eyes
Join Helen Lewis, Stephen Bush, and more New Statesman guests to discuss Brexit, local election results and the state of British politics
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Holborn
A talk by Hallie Rubenhold’s on her new book, the first full-length biography to explore and contextualise those women’s lives.
 6:30pm to 8:30pm
 
 St James
The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
Professor Alex Rogers has spent the past 30 years studying life in the deep ocean. Join us as he takes us on an epic and utterly unforgettable voyage to an alien world, and brings us right to the edge of what is known about our oceans today.
 7pm to 8:15pm
 
 Soho
The Deep: The Hidden Wonders of Our Ocean and How We Can Protect Them
The lecture will re-assess the sanctity ascribed to to the graves of poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley as the bicentennials of their deaths approach in 2021-2.
 7pm to :
 
 North Kensington
A talk about the construction of the Royal Exchange in the City.
 6pm to 7pm
 
 Barbican

More London events on Wednesday 8th May

Thursday 9th May

Juliet Gardiner traces the fascinating cultural and social developments in Britain in the twenty years following the Second World War.
 7:30pm to 9pm
 
 Richmond
From the bomb to The Beatles
A whistle-stop tour of the history of innovation in food and kitchenware
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
Nan Sloane tells the story of the remarkable women who were present at the origins of the Labour Party and contributed to its earliest campaigns, many of whom have been forgotten.
 6:30pm to 8pm
 
 Holborn

More London events on Thursday 9th May

Friday 10th May

A night of spectacle and illusion, wonder and deception, magic and trickery at this evening of performances, talks and workshops.
 7pm to 11pm
 
 Camden
Seeing is Believing
Dr Alastair Massie will discuss the Third Afghan War of 1919, one of history’s shortest conflicts.
 11:30am to :
 
 Chelsea
The Third Afghan War of 1919
Get a look behind the scenes at the 103-stop Harrison and Harrison organ, and find out about the making of this monumental instrument.
 11am to :
 
 Southwark
Making of the Organ at Royal Festival Hall
Discover the secrets that lie behind, or rather underneath, the Charterhouse.
 10:30am to 12pm
 
 Clerkenwell
Crossrail and the Charterhouse Tour
A talk and tasting with female pioneers in the cheesemaking industry
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
It closed in 1854 but in the three centuries before 1.5% of all Londoners ended up at St Pancras; rich and poor, famous and unknown and from many nationalities.
 2pm to 3pm
 
 City of London
‘Dying to Get In’: St Pancras Churchyard

More London events on Friday 10th May

Saturday 11th May

Monthly opening of the only surviving windmill in inner London.
 10am to 4pm
 
 Brixton
Brixton Windmill monthly open weekend
The afternoon will consist of a brief demonstration of the organ, explanation of its history and a guided session for people to play it.
 3pm to :
 
 Dulwich
Occasional open day at a 14th century building in Ilford.
 9am to 10am
 
 Ilford
Occasional open day at the Ilford Hospital Chapel

More London events on Saturday 11th May

Sunday 12th May

Occasional open day at the heritage windmill in Croydon.
 12pm to 5pm
 
 Croydon
Shirley Windmill open day
The free event will be packed full of spectacular kite flying displays and is an opportunity for everyone to go fly a kite.
 11am to 5pm
 
 Streatham
Streatham Common Kite Day
Open day at a restored and working water mill.
 2pm to 5pm
 
Monthly open day at Cobham Mill
Monthly opening of the only surviving windmill in inner London.
 10am to 4pm
 
 Brixton
Brixton Windmill monthly open weekend
A weekend of steam engine events in Dartford.
 10am to 2pm
 
 Dartford

More London events on Sunday 12th May

Monday 13th May

What’s the future of listening? What will happen to the ways we give attention to music in the future?
 6pm to 7pm
 
 Barbican

More London events on Monday 13th May

Tuesday 14th May

An evening watching military demonstrations while sipping a drink and eating an army BBQ.
 5pm to 10pm
 
 Moorgate
Annual Open EVening at the Honourable Artillery Company
Jonathan Bate will track Keats to Hampstead and tell of the extraordinary circle of writers – opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, essayist Charles Lamb, master-critic William Hazlitt – who wrote for The London Magazine.
 6pm to 7pm
 
 Barbican
Professor Wilks will discuss the argument that ‘superintelligent’ AI may turn against us, as Hawking and Bostrom have warned.
 1pm to 2pm
 
 Barbican

More London events on Tuesday 14th May

Wednesday 15th May

Join Paul Mason, discussing his new book, Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being with New Statesman deputy editor, George Eaton
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Tottenham Court Road
Paul Mason in conversation with George Eaton
In this talk, Dr Alison Bancroft will uncover the links between avant garde thinking in art, and the fashion from Christian Dior.
 1pm to 1:45pm
 
 South Kensington
Join Judith Grant to learn about the early life of Alexandra Feodorovna and the influences that contributed to her role leading to the destruction of Imperial Russia.
 2pm to 3pm
 
 City of London
The Early Life of Alexandra Feodorovna, Last Empress of Russia

More London events on Wednesday 15th May

Thursday 16th May

Nicholas Jubber talks about his new book Epic Continient in which he journeys across Europe exploring Europe's epic poems, from the Odyssey to Beowulf, the Song of Roland to the Nibelungenlied, and their impact on European identity in these turbulent times.
 7pm to 8:15pm
 
 Soho
Exploring Europe's epic poems with Nicholas Jubber
Guided bird walk with London Wildlife Trust in Sydenham Hill Wood
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Sydenham
In this especially timely occasion, the panel will consider the impact of the upcoming European elections on the EU as a negotiating actor of Brexit and the future relationship with the UK.
 6:30pm to 8pm
 
 Holborn

More London events on Thursday 16th May

Friday 17th May

Join Dr James Taylor as he discusses the work of Fougasse, the artist responsible for the iconic propaganda campaign 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.
 11:30am to :
 
 Chelsea
The brilliant comic poster art of Fougasse
Explore the zone where rebellion meets beauty and transgression meets art.
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
Marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino, Matthew Parker examines one of the Second World War's bitterest struggles.
 6:30pm to 8pm
 
 Chelsea
Madness at Monte Cassino: The view from the front line
In the context of Afro-pessimism, this lecture will imagine "the Internationale," that great song of international solidarity and revolution transcending the nation, as a blues.
 6:30pm to 8pm
 
 Holborn

More London events on Friday 17th May

Saturday 18th May

Tours of the cemetery, chapel and crypt on this annual open day event.
 11am to 5pm
 
 Peckham
Waterloo Classics is a monthly classic car show/meet in central London.
 12pm to 4pm
 
 Southwark
Monthly Waterloo Classic car display
A race by around 50 stand-up paddleboards between Tower Bridge and Putney.
 9am to 12pm
 
Stand up paddle-boarding on the Thames
A delightful old barn now packed full of "clutter" that's oddly enjoyable to visit.
 10:30am to 4pm
 
 Upminster
 Occasional open day at the Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia
A day of talks celebrating some of the history associated with St Saviours, the church now known as Southwark Cathedral.
 10am to 4pm
 
 Southwark
Life in Early Modern Southwark: Stories of Edward Alleyn, Philip Henslowe and their World
Join London Wildlife Trust for a spring orchard tree care event and picnic, at a new community orchard on Gallery Road.
 11am to 4pm
 
 Dulwich

More London events on Saturday 18th May

Sunday 19th May

Visit the walled Kitchen Garden on one of theiropen days and enjoy its plentiful displays of flowers and produce.
 11am to 3:30pm
 
 Chiswick
Kitchen Garden Open Day
Huge parade of Mini cars from Crystal Palace down to Brighton.
 8am to 12pm
 
According to an air traffic warning, there will be "controlled pyrotechnics" for filming in the morning.
 7:30am to 9:30am
 
 Victoria Dock
Soak in the atmosphere and chat to the experts when 55 plus top midcentury dealers head to celebrated interiors show
 10am to 4pm
 
 Bethnal Green
Midcentury East
Join some of the best authors today as they reveal the tricks of their trade and invite you to get to the heart of what makes a great book tick.
 11:30am to 5:15pm
 
 Camden
An opportunity to have a look at the buildings and engines, to take in the exhibition and learn something of the Victorian sewer system.
 10:30am to 4pm
 
 Abbey Wood
Crossness Engines open day

More London events on Sunday 19th May

Monday 20th May

Take a peek behind the scenes with two highly respected food writers, Sybil Kapoor and Jenny Linford, to find out about the process of writing and creating a cookbook
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
To accompany an exhibition of unique material from the Women’s FA, broadcaster and writer Clare Balding hosts a discussion with leading lights from the game.
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Camden
Chris Stokel-Walker interviewed more than 100 of YouTube’s biggest names in front of and behind the camera. He investigates the past, present and future of the world’s most popular video sharing website and its impact on society.
 7:30pm to 9pm
 
 Holborn

More London events on Monday 20th May

Tuesday 21st May

Hear from the founders of the food sector’s tastiest business success stories
 7pm to 9:30pm
 
 Camden
Over 30 hives from around the world will have stands presenting products distinctive to their region including honey – in all its varieties – pollen, propolis, royal jelly and wax, as well as honey-based products.
 6:30pm to 8:30pm
 
 Holborn
Join our librarians to learn about the history of Guildhall Library, tour the building (including behind the scenes) and view some of the library’s treasures.
 2pm to 3:30pm
 
 City of London
History and Treasures of Guildhall Library
The book launch of Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics, by Rachel Reeves MP.
 7:15pm to 9:45pm
 
 Aldwych
Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics, by Rachel Reeves MP

More London events on Tuesday 21st May

Wednesday 22nd May

This lecture examines the ways in which Jews across Europe and Asia co-operated in helping the tens of thousands of their co-religionists displaced by the mid-seventeenth century wars in eastern Europe.
 6:30pm to 8pm
 
 Euston
Harmful practices due to belief in witchcraft have seen a huge increase in the past six years both globally and in the UK and Kirsty Brimelow QC and author and campaigner Syd Moore have joined forces to expose this phenomenon.
 7:30pm to 9:30pm
 
 Holborn
Hear from a series of experts from the architectural, built environment and cultural sectors, as we examine the future threats and opportunities for London’s 24-hour city.
 6:30pm to 9pm
 
 Euston
The 24-hour city, powered by PechaKucha
Tessa Murdoch will introduce Huguenot craftsmen and entrepreneurs responsible with examples from the V&A’s Ceramic collections.
 1pm to 1:45pm
 
 South Kensington

More London events on Wednesday 22nd May

Thursday 23rd May

In conjunction with a book of the same name, the talk will explore how the young royal couple played key roles as public supporters and as large-scale lenders, before the museum grew its own collections.
 7pm to 8:45pm
 
 South Kensington
The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation presents an evening with the authors shortlisted for this year’s Best Published Novel award.
 7pm to 8:30pm
 
 Soho
What is adventure fiction? 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize
Every element within this ancient ritual has a sacred and symbolic meaning. Join City Guide Robert Stephenson to learn more.
 2pm to 3pm
 
 City of London
The Hidden Meaning of the Coronation

More London events on Thursday 23rd May

Friday 24th May

Join Justin Saddington as he recounts a series of incredible battlefield escapes and discusses their impact on soldiers.
 11:30am to :
 
 Chelsea
Close shaves and lucky escapes
A chance to go into the normally private gardens in the medieval monastery by the Barbican
 5:30pm to 8:30pm
 
 Clerkenwell
Monthly opening of the Charterhouse's gardens
Acclaimed manga artist Takahashi Yōichi, creator of the football-themed sensation Captain Tsubasa and exhibition curator Nicole Rousmaniere discuss the global impact Takahashi's artwork has had over the past four decades.
 Starts at 12am
 
 Russell Square

More London events on Friday 24th May

Saturday 25th May

Be the first to see our brand new museum, temporary exhibition gallery and restored period rooms which open today!
 10:30am to 5pm
 
 Fulham
Fulham Palace unveiled
Visit the c.1397 Grade 2 listed ‘threshing’ barn, over 100ft x 40ft in size, with a fine crownpost roof.
 10:45am to 1pm
 
 Rickmansworth
Monthly open day at a wood and nature reserve that's next to the railway at Forest Hill.
 1pm to 4pm
 
 Forest Hill
Monthly open day at the Dacres Wood nature reserve
A special close-up look at the Transport Museum’s poster collection and some of the artworks behind the posters.
 Starts at 11am
 
 Acton
Art and poster store tours
Flower and champagne expert Nick Barber describes and demonstrates how to make this seasonal treat.
 2pm to 4pm
 
 Tottenham
See and buy from a display of more than 200 cacti and succulent plants
 10am to 5pm
 
 Enfield

More London events on Saturday 25th May

Sunday 26th May

View Tate’s Grade II* listed mansion Park Hill (exterior only) and explore the historic garden with its Grade II listed features, including the Pulhamite grotto, Victorian folly, lake and temple.
 2pm to :
 
 Streatham
Discover the history of the building and climb the 135 stairs for the best view of Hackney.
 2pm to 4:30pm
 
 Hackney
Monthly open day at a site of an important railway wildlife reserve.
 1pm to 5pm
 
 Forest Hill
Over 100 vintage to modern cars race around the old Crystal Palace motor track.
 9am to 5:30pm
 
MotorSport at the Palace
See the gardens on seven linked floating barges.
 2pm to 5pm
 
 Southwark
Garden Barge Square at Downings Roads Moorings
A monthly open day at a quirky transport museum housed in an old water pumping building.
 10am to 4pm
 
 Enfield Town
Monthly open day at a Transport Museum
See and buy from a display of more than 200 cacti and succulent plants
 10am to 5pm
 
 Enfield
A chance to visit five private gardens overlooking the Thames.
 2pm to 5:30pm
 
 Hammersmith
Open day at the Chiswick Mall Gardens

More London events on Sunday 26th May

Top events in London on Mon 27th May 2019

Semi-regular days where they fire up a Victorian steam engine.
 12:30pm to 4:30pm
 
 South Tottenham
2019-05-27
2019-05-27
Open day at a Victorian steam pump
Over 100 vintage to modern cars race around the old Crystal Palace motor track.
 9am to 5:30pm
 
2019-05-27
2019-05-27
MotorSport at the Palace
See and buy from a display of more than 200 cacti and succulent plants
 10am to 5pm
 
 Enfield
2019-05-27
2019-05-27

More London events on Monday 27th May

Tuesday 28th May

Historian Serhii Plokhy talks to journalist and author Luke Harding, drawing on his recent book Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2018.
 6:45pm to 8:15pm
 
 Camden
This heartfelt, deeply personal memoir explores how one family built bridges across today’s great divides. And how our stories hold the power to heal.
 7pm to 9pm
 
 Southwark
Mama's Boy - A Talk by Dustin Lance Black

More London events on Tuesday 28th May

Wednesday 29th May

The Science Museum will be marking the redefinition of the Kilogram with a special Lates in partnership with the National Physics Laboratory (NPL)
 6:45pm to 10pm
 
 South Kensington
Except for churches, the sugar refineries of Georgian London were the capital’s tallest buildings, but they virtually vanished overnight in the 1870s. They are little known and yet played a huge role for so many. With architectural historian Andrew Byrne.
 6:15pm to 8:30pm
 
 Clerkenwell
The Remarkable Sugar Houses of Georgian London – completely vanished
Occasional open week where tours are offered of a former Archbishop's palace.
 1:45pm to 3:45pm
 
 Croydon
Tours of Croydon Old Palace
Jasmine Losasso will examine medical phenomena in London from the outbreak of the plague to the introduction of the contraceptive pill.
 6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
 Clerkenwell
Medical History and Archival Documents
This talk looks at mathematical modelling of real, complex fluids in flow situations – some with serious commercial applications, and some just for fun.
 6pm to 7pm
 
 Barbican

More London events on Wednesday 29th May

Thursday 30th May

A book launch to mark the 200th anniversary of Brixton Prison.
 6:30pm to 9:30pm
 
 Stockwell
Sample a range of delights, from film screenings to hands-on workshops; from oysters to ale, all at this special late-night event.
 6:30pm to 9pm
 
 Poplar
Occasional open week where tours are offered of a former Archbishop's palace.
 1:45pm to 3:45pm
 
 Croydon
Tours of Croydon Old Palace
Launch of a presents an intimate cross-section of life in Ethiopia's capital through 242 images from private archives and their accompanying stories.
 6:30pm to 8:45pm
 
 South Kensington
Vintage Addis Ababa London Book Launch & Pop-up Exhibition

More London events on Thursday 30th May

Friday 31st May

Join Kim A Wagner to learn about the experiences of the ordinary British and Indian people affected by the Amritsar Massacre of 1919.
 11:30am to :
 
 Chelsea
The Amritsar Massacre revisited
This workshop with Paul from the Ultimate Navigation School is specially designed for people who are comfortable with the basics of map and compass work but wish to brush up further with navigation and map reading techniques.
 12pm to 2pm
 
 Soho
Ordnance Survey Map Reading for Intermediates Workshop
With broadcaster and art historian Dr Janina Ramirez, University of Oxford, we see Munch’s world famous composition The Scream in its various forms.
 Starts at 12am
 
 Russell Square
Join us for various activities to celebrate the women who built nearby Waterloo Bridge with poster making, dressing up, a pop up exhibition and a walk to the nearby bridge.
 2:30pm to 5pm
 
 Holborn

More London events on Friday 31st May

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