At last! After, oh, I don't know, a whole three weeks without a Monday off, we're due another break. God knows how we lasted this long.
Whether you want to drink your bodyweight in beer, eat it in steak, dance till the small hours or treat yourself with a night of sheer, unadulterated decadence, this Bank Holiday delivers in spades.
Besides all the indulgence, don't miss the Chelsea Flower Show, which runs this week. Perfect timing, too: we're due a mini-heatwave this week. Take advantage. Chin chin to all that.
1. Brunch at the Piano Works
The Piano Works – London’s favourite bar? – is celebrating the bank holiday the only way they know how: with more music, more drinks and more food. This Sunday they’re hosting a brunch that last from midday until 4am: expect to be well and truly in the highest of spirits by the time the night is done. Food-wise, they're plating up plenty of eggs, avocado, smoked salmon and the like. Oh, and they’ve a full English with both black and white pudding (Michael Jackson fans take note). Two pianists kick things off, then take song requests from 1pm, and you’ve got the chance to join the Can’t Sing Choir to belt out a crowd favourite before the band leave the stage. From midnight, DJs take over. Whenever you get there, it’s bound to be terrific fun: the Piano Works is always busy and never fails.
Info: May 28, 113-117 Farringdon Rd, EC1R 3BX, pianoworks.bar
2. Drink up at the Crystal Palace Beer Festival
Hurrah for summer: tis the season for sun, rooftop terraces and plenty of beer festivals. The Crystal Palace Beer Festival returns for the seventh time this weekend, boasting more than 200 beers and ciders available to try over a long Saturday afternoon. Highlights include brews from Watneys – these days a long way from its 80s nadir – and The Cronx, a beer inspired by the festival itself. The FA Cup Final will be shown on the big screen and tickets (£10 in advance) include a free pint glass.
Info: May 27, Selhurst Park, Selhurst Park, cpfc.co.uk
3. Pay what you like for a glass of wine
Vinery London's honesty bar was a hit last month and returns this weekend at Look Mum No Hands! It’s a simple premise: head on down, try as many wines as you like and then, at the end, cough up with however much you think it was worth. A fabulous chance to try all sorts of new and interesting bits and pieces – just don’t go and ruin for everyone. Give fairly and chances are, they’ll be back.
Info: May 27, Look Mum No Hands, 101 Back Church Lane, E1 1LU, eventbrite.co.uk
...If wine is your thing, be sure to head to the brand new Berry Brothers & Rudd shop, which has just opened on Pall Mall. A gorgeous space, with wine going by the bottle or the case, they’ve everything from their iconic Good Ordinary Claret to some of the finest wines going in the UK. Be sure to top up a card and indulge at the sampling machines, too: you might just find a new favourite.
4. Eat, eat, eat
With all that drinking, London needs something good to eat. Thank goodness, then, for Blackhouse, Grill on the Market, which has just re-opened after a jolly lovely refurbishment. There’s 50% off food this week (though you’ll need to use this link: blackhouse.uk). If you’re a carnivore, take advantage. Given Blackhouse is just off the legendary Smithfield’s meat market, expect first rate cuts: Himalayan rock salt dry-aged beef, anyone? Apologies if you’re already drooling.
If steak isn’t your bag (?!), then try upmarket Sloane Square Italian Enoteca Turi, who’ve just launched a new Spring menu. Their wine list is especially good.
Info: Blackhouse, Grill on the Market, 2-3 W Smithfield, EC1A 9JX, blackhouse.uk.com/london
5. Go upmarket at Park Chinois
Celebrate the Bank Holiday properly: with a ridiculous, extravagant, opulent evening. Park Chinois is just the place: having seriously stepped up their game as of late (a recent visit was a real improvement on dinner a few months ago), they’ve just launched an immersive cabaret and comedy show downstairs at Club Chinois. As you dine in this glamourous, glittering club – the Duck de Chine is a dream and various dim sum offer moreish bites of brilliance – expect live performances including everything from comedy to old soul singing to opera. The later it gets, the more fun you’ll have: a cocktail at the bar to kick things off probably isn’t a bad idea, either. Smartly, they’ve spaced out performers so you can enjoy your meal without constant disruption. Perfect for those looking to impress.
Info: 17 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA, parkchinois.com
5. Head to the Chelsea Flower Show
This London icon returns for another week of stunning horticultural displays that are bound to take over your Instagram. It’s running all week, until May 28, and there are highlights galore: Raymond Blanc’s lunch promises to be particularly special, while the Radio 2 ‘Feel Good Gardens’ are designed to light up the senses. Our pick of the bunch, though, is the Grenada garden: they’ve picked up a dozen gold medals so far and will be gunning for another this year. Expect a heady swell of colour and spice – just like the island itself.
If you can't make it to Chelsea, get a taste of all the shows over in Gelupo in Soho, who are laying on flower themed and flavoured ice-cream this week.
Info: London Gate, Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR, rhs.org.uk
6. The Baxter Inn takeover the Bloomsbury Club Bar
The excellent Bloomsbury Club Bar is somewhere going from strength to strength and their residencies project is just one of the reasons they’re easily one of London’s top bars. This week, eminently likeable bar manager Brian Calleja welcomes The Baxter Inn, known as the best bar in Australasia, for four nights of sensory cocktails, meant to invoke the spirit of Sydney. Go: it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a flight to Oz.
Info: Bloomsbury Club Bar, below the Dalloway Terrace at The Bloomsbury Hotel, WC1B 3NN, doylecollection.com
7. Feria de Londres
Tower Bridge turns into a hub of Spanish fun, with tapas and tastings galore. Mum and Dad can keep themselves entertained with regional cocktails and cooking classes, while there’s plenty for the little ones including face painting, hairstyling, art and dancing. Be sure to read our 24 other suggestions for how to spend the half term.
Info: May 27 – 28, Potters Fields Park, SE1 2AA, facebook.com
Look, it’s John Boyega! The Star Wars actor is appearing in a new version of Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck, adapted by no less than Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne. It moves the action to 1980s Berlin, where one soldier is trying to escape poverty to build a better life for his child.
Info: Until June 24, Old Vic, SE1 8NB, oldvictheatre.com
9. Go to the Garden of Fun
If the good weather sticks around then National BBQ week, which kicks off on Monday, is set to be a good one. The Ealing Park Tavern are celebrating with a barbecue from midday until 5, with lots of sausages, beer and live music. Their garden of fun will be running throughout the summer, with pizza and bottomless booze on Saturdays and alfresco Sunday roasts.
Info: May 29, Ealing Park Tavern, W5 4RL, ealingparktavern.com
10. Food festivities
Syon Park is set to be particularly tasty this bank holiday weekend, when Foodies Festival returns for a three-day celebration of all that’s delicious. There will be food and drink stalls galore, chef demos, live music, a baking contest and a chilli-eating competition, plus appearances from MasterChef winner Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed and last year’s Great British Bake Off champ Candice Brown.
Info: May 27 - 29, Syon Park, TW8 8JF, foodiesfestival.com
11. GALA Festival
This one day, independent festival is custom built for the bank holiday. Kick off the summer in style at Brockwell Park, where there’ll be plenty of food and drink, and music all through the day courtesy of the likes of Horse Meat Disco, Studio 45's Nicky Siano and the Paradise Garage DJs.
Info: May 28, Brockwell Park, thisisgala.co.uk
...and finally: eat, drink and be merry
What better way to spend any weekend than gorging on glorious grub? We have everything you need to know, including London’s best brunches, the capital’s finest Sunday roasts, the best bars the city has to offer, and more of the finest food you can get your hands on.
For those of you still coming to terms with the triggering of a certain Article, there’s also our guide to eating the EU in London.