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What to do in London's West End This May Bank Holiday

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Spring is here and London's West End is filled with must-do activities for the early May bank holiday. Whether you're hanging out with friends or flying solo, enjoy unmissable events, exhibitions and eateries in the heart of London.

Explore incredible art exhibitions, unwind in trendy restaurant bars, and make the most of your long weekend with our top recommendations for a fantastic time in the West End.

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May Bank Holiday Activities

(l) [DETAIL] Sadness (Ellen Terry), 1864 by Julia Margaret Cameron, Albumen silver print, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 84.XZ.186.52; (r) Polka Dots #5, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 by Francesca Woodman, Gelatin silver print, courtesy Woodman Family Foundation © Woodman Family Foundation / DACS, London

Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron at the National Portrait Gallery

Immerse yourself in the world of portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition ‘Portraits to Dream In’.

Featuring the remarkable works of influential photographers Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron, this exhibition showcases over 150 rare vintage prints spanning their careers. Experience the evolution of their styles and techniques, as they push the boundaries of portraiture.

Through their photographic portraits, Woodman and Cameron evoke imagination, beauty, symbolism, transformation, and storytelling, inviting the viewer to delve into a world beyond reality.

This bank holiday weekend is the perfect chance to see ‘Portraits to Dream In,’ running from 21 March to 30 June.

The Last Caravaggio at The National Gallery

Discover the latest exhibition at The National Gallery: 'The Last Caravaggio.' Delve into the final days of Caravaggio's life.

In May 1610, Caravaggio was in Naples creating his final masterpiece. Just two months later, he died under mysterious circumstances.

Known for his dramatic use of light and real-life models this exhibition highlights Caravaggio's most extraordinary works.

Experience ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula,’ Caravaggio's last-known painting, loaned from the Gallerie d’Italia in Naples. In London for the very first time, this painting portrays violence with unnerving closeness and offers a nuanced exploration of guilt and innocence. Within the artwork, Caravaggio's own self-portrait peers out, seemingly powerless.

Don’t miss out and book your free ticket to this incredible exhibition.

Spirited Away at the London Coliseum

For a magical show experience this May bank holiday, experience ‘Spirited Away’ at the London Coliseum.

Follow Chihiro on her extraordinary journey as she accidentally discovers a mysterious realm of spirits, ruled by the powerful sorceress Yubaba. When her parents are transformed into pigs and she's put to work in a magical bathhouse, Chihiro uses her wit to navigate this strange world, rescue her family, and find her way back home.

Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winning ‘Spirited Away,’ created by legendary animator and director Hayao Miyazaki is re-imagined for the stage by Olivier and Tony award-winning director of Les Misérables, John Caird.

Get your tickets now to experience this incredible Studio Ghibli animation transformed for the West End stage.

The Picture of Dorian Gray at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Experience the electrifying adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s timeless classic, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ at Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.

Kip Williams brings a modern twist for the digital age, using technology to transform 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' into a solo performance led by the remarkable Sarah Snook.

Best-known for playing the role of Shiv Roy role in the hit series Succession and for captivating films including The Dressmaker and Pieces of a Woman, Sarah Snook breathes life into every character in this witty and contemporary retelling.

Book your tickets to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', only showing for a limited West End run.

Drop in and Draw at the Royal Academy of Arts

Unleash your inner artist at the Royal Academy of Arts! Join the Drop in and Draw in The John Madejski Fine Rooms, Burlington House.

Discover your artistic potential with guidance from talented artists who are ready to share tips and tricks to enhance your drawing skills.

Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience level, to participate in this free event. No booking is required – just come as you are and let your creativity flow!

Audrey Green at the National Portrait Gallery

Grab a bite and a sip at Audrey Green, nestled inside the National Portrait Gallery. Inspired by the classic 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', this café sits on the ground floor of the East Weston Wing.

Indulge in a variety of treats including delicious coffee, tea, sandwiches, and cakes. Audrey Green features the historical charm of the National Portrait Gallery building, complete with restored original features such as a stunning mosaic floor and picturesque views of Charing Cross Road framed by unique shutters.

Whether you're gathering with friends or spending quality time with family, Audrey Green is the perfect location to indulge in a relaxed Aussie-style coffee shop experience surrounded by artwork of titans of the London performing arts scene.

Brumus Bar & Restaurant at Haymarket Hotel

Treat yourself to an exquisite dining experience at Brumus Bar & Restaurant in Haymarket Hotel.

Adorned with warm two-tone Indian pink linen, the Brumus Bar & Restaurant emanates a cosy ambience that welcomes you as natural light fills the room through large windows. Be sure to stop by the e majestic life-size horse sculpture proudly displayed in the window.

Indulge in classic dishes seasoned to perfection, such as Hand Carved Alfred Enderby Smoked Salmon and Roast Loin of Highland Venison.

Tucked away towards the southern end of London’s Haymarket Brumus offers an unforgettable dining experience for those in the know.

Featured Venues

London Coliseum HERO IMAGE

London Coliseum


The London Coliseum is a multi-arts venue that welcomes everyone. With 2,359 seats it is the West End’s largest theatre. Designed by theatrical architect Frank Matcham, it opened in 1904 with the ambition of being the ‘people’s palace of entertainment’. Today the London Coliseum is home to English National Opera (ENO) and stages a wide variety of ENO operas, musicals, ballets and concerts. The theatre also offers guided tours throughout the year.

Read more about London Coliseum
Royal Academy HERO IMAGE

Royal Academy of Arts


The Royal Academy of Arts is a world-renowned art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. For over 250 years, the RA has existed to champion art and artists and offers a place where art is made, exhibited and debated. Enjoy their expanded campus with free displays, new spots to eat, drink and shop, and much more.

Read more about Royal Academy of Arts
Haymarket Hotel

Haymarket Hotel


In the heart of London’s theatre district, the elegant Haymarket Hotel is surrounded by restaurants, bars, and is just next door to the Theatre Royal. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool, gym, and a spa with a range of treatments. Plus, sit back and relax in the Brumus Bar and Restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner menus.

Read more about Haymarket Hotel