By: Andrea Jane Pearce
London is in full bloom and there are plenty of magnificent events to keep you busy in May. There’s something sensational for everyone, whether it’s exploring a museum after-hours, stopping to smell the roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show or attending a Vins de Provence tasting at 100ft.
LONDONCATS INTERNATIONAL SHOW AND EXPO
SATURDAY 4 – SUNDAY 5 MAY
Canines, move aside! This season isn’t about crowning London’s top dog but about celebrating all things feline.
Join thousands of other cat enthusiasts for a weekend of talks, treats and competitions at the inaugural LondonCats International Show and Expo. Dubbed ‘the cat equivalent to Crufts’ the event’s main attraction is an international competition in which over 200 cats, representing breeds from Siamese to British Shorthair, compete for three coveted titles: Best Cat, Best Kitten and Best Household Pet. As well as the seven judging rings, the team behind Europe’s biggest cat expo have come up with plenty of other ways for cat owners to celebrate their pets. You can pick up a present for your feline friend at the shopping village, learn something new at the Educational Stage and even have a book signed by authors James Bowen and A Streetcat Named Bob. We’re not kitten around when we say that this is the purrfect way for cat lovers to spend their weekend.
Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF | Website
LONDON WINE WEEK
MONDAY 13 – SUNDAY 19 MAY
Dust off your decanter and get ready to swirl and sip your way into summer with this year’s London Wine Week. DrinkUp.London has partnered up with over 100 venues across the capital for a seven-day celebration of the wonderful world of wine. Claim your digital pass and receive a multitude of benefits, from unlimited access to The Hub at Flat Iron Square to exclusive wine and food pairing offers in some of London’s best restaurants. If you’re feeling brave, head to the iconic O2 and indulge in a three-course lunch with a perfectly paired trio from Vins de Provence, all whilst taking in the hustle and bustle of the city 100ft below.
Various locations | Website
MUSEUMS AT NIGHT
WEDNESDAY 15 – SATURDAY 18 MAY
Want to experience London’s museums and galleries in a different light? Wednesday 15th May sees the return of the Museums at Night festival during which cultural destinations across the capital encourage visitors to take part in exclusive evening events and night-time displays. This season’s highlights include a candlelit tour of the Benjamin Franklin House—the only surviving former residence of the Founding Father—a night of chocolate-based games at Brixton’s Chocolate Museum and an opportunity to test your general knowledge at the Museum of the Order of St John’s quiz night.
Various locations | Website
RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
TUESDAY 21 – SATURDAY 25 MAY
One of the world’s most anticipated gardening events, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show returns to London’s SW3 at the end of the month to showcase the work of internationally renowned designers and to promote horticulture to an expected 8,000 visitors from all over the globe.
Wander through cutting-edge Show Gardens to discover new plants and innovative design or visit the smaller Artisan Gardens where traditional materials and skills have been applied to bring awareness to important issues, from motor neurone disease to the role of donkeys in poor communities around the world. Explore the playful RHS Back to Nature Garden, designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to promote enjoyment of the great outdoors. When you’ve seen as many floral installations and sleek garden designs as you can manage, head to The Drawing Room for a Champagne afternoon tea or to one of the show’s trade stands to purchase the tools you need to make a start on your own horticultural showstopper.
London Gate, Royal Hospital Chelsea, SW3 4SR | Website
UNDERBELLY FESTIVAL SOUTHBANK
UNTIL SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
The Underbelly Festival’s 11th Southbank season is well and truly underway, gracing the banks of the Thames with its most exciting programme yet. Its line-up is packed with live circus, comedy and cabaret shows, plus a newly expanded Kids Festival which promises to be full of family-friendly fun. The shows are short and sweet, giving you plenty of time to explore the festival grounds and even hop on a fairground ride or two. If none of the live shows tickle your fancy, why not make the most of the finger licking food and have a dinner date here instead? Dig into a burrito from Hola Guacamole, grab some sustainable grub from Anata or indulge in a hand-pressed burger from Nanny Bill’s.
Feeling under the weather? Laughter is the best medicine and May’s line-up has it in spades. The beginning of the month sees the return of late-night comedy institution Spank! for just one night of hilarious hosts and excellent cabaret. For those with a darker sense of humour, Criminal: An Improvised Murder Mystery will be right up your street. Watch the anarchy unfold as four comedians attempt to solve a grizzly crime. Will the detective be able to pin down the suspect by the end of the night?
337-338 Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, SE1 7NA | Website