What’s On In May 2019: 11 Marvellous Things To Do In London This Month

01 May 2019 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Abi Sritharan

Your all-encompassing guide to what's on in London this May 2019

London Craft Week, across London

The 2019 edition of London Craft Week brings together more than 240 makers, designers, brands, artists and galleries. Partake in a plant workshop with Tom Dixon; learn all about hats with Vivienne Westwood; enjoy a Japanese ‘craft picnic’ at Chelsea Physic Garden and marvel at Paul Smith’s new Stack Collection of one-off vases, debuted in April at Salone del Mobile. With 227 events, 70 exhibitions, 40 workshops, 87 talks and more than 60 live demonstrations, there is certainly something to suit all.

Date: 8-12 May Price: Varies Location: Throughout London


RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show brings together world-famous garden designers, plant specialists, florists and nurseries for a four-day floral extravaganza in the Royal Hospital Gardens, attended by everyone from Alexa Chung to The Queen. This jolly day out is supported by pop-up bars and a Jardin Blanc hospitality space with flowing champagne, canapés and afternoon tea, hosted by Raymond Blanc OBE.


Date: 21-25 May Time: 8am-8pm/5.30pm on Saturday Price: from £38 Location: London Gate Royal Hospital Road, Royal Hospital Chelsea, SW3 4SR Closest Station: Sloane Square


Chelsea in Bloom

In celebration of Chelsea Flower Show, the shopkeepers of Chelsea decadently dress up their storefronts with whimsical and imaginative floral installations, which are every bit as impressive as the main event. Record numbers of shops are set to participate this year, embracing the theme of Under the Sea. Expect aquatic sculptures, floral waves and any number of surprises, supported by in-store promotions and a hearty dose of springtime cheer. The festivities spread into Belgravia, where The Hari hotel and Peggy Porschen are taking part under a separate theme of The Language of Flowers.

Date: 21-25 May Price: Free Location: Chelsea, SW3 Closest Station: Sloane Square


AllBright Members’ Club Launch, Mayfair

The AllBright members’ club is opening its much-anticipated second location this month on Maddox Street in Mayfair. The exclusive women-only club has been designed by Suzy Hoodless to serve as a home-away-from-home for its members. It features a brasserie, co-working space and two large rooftop terraces overlooking the city’s skyline, alongside a restaurant and wellness floor, which will be open to members and non-members alike. Allbright counts actresses Naomie Harris and Olivia Wilde as founding members, alongside entrepreneur and House of Lords peer, Martha Lane-Fox, EMEA Facebook VP, Nicola Mendelsohn and MOBO Awards Founder Kanya King.


Date: From 9 May Time: 7am-11pm Price: £1,150 per year, plus £300 registration fee Location: 24-26 Maddox St, Mayfair, W1S 1QH Closest Station: Oxford Circus


Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at The Queen’s Gallery

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the greatest artists in history, 144 of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings were displayed across 12 exhibitions, which took place simultaneously across the UK. This May brings all of Va Vinci’s works together at The Queen’s Gallery for the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in 65 years. The astonishing array of drawings includes his earliest dated drawing Studies of Water, The Head of Leda based on classical mythology, and A Star-of-Bethlehem and Other Plants (pictured below).

Date: 24 May-13 Oct Time: 10am-5.30pm Price: £13.50 (adult), £6.70 (child) Location: The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA Closest Station: Green Park


How to Academy: Emma Watson in conversation with Dr. Denis Mukwege (15 May 2019)

The How To Academy, known for its thought-provoking programme of live events, welcomes Emma Watson this May. The actress-turned-activist will take to the stage at Westminster’s Emmanuel Centre to interview Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Denis Mukewege, as part of a collaborative event between The New York Times and the How To Academy. Introduced by New York Times Journalist, Ellen Barry, the two inspirational figures will discuss their philanthropic work and explore women’s rights.

Date: 15 May Time: 6.45pm-8pm Price: From £32 Location: Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, SW1P 3DW Closest Station: Westminster


No.50 Cheyne, Chelsea

Formerly known as Cheyne Walk Brasserie, this Chelsea stalwart has reopened following an extensive nine-month renovation. Set across two floors, the glossy new design features a 70-cover restaurant, cosy upstairs ‘drawing room’ and crimson red cocktail bar. Chef Iain Smith helms the kitchen, joining from Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House in Soho, while an ambitious cocktail menu has been devised by award-winning head bartender Max Berrington. Book Sunday lunch at least three days in advance and No.50 Cheyne will prepare a generous rib of beef, whole salmon or rack of lamb.

Time: 12pm-12am Location: 50 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, SW3 5LR Closest Station: Gloucester Road


Manga at The British Museum, Bloomsbury

The British Museum is showcasing the largest exhibition dedicated to Manga held outside of Japan, opening this month. The exhibition will chart the history of the genre – with attractions dating back to the 19th century – before showcasing the impact it has now, from books to TV shows and films, and gaming to cosplay. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, on loan from Tokyo. The imposing ancient artefact was made in 1880 by manga creator Kawanabe Kyosi and is nearly 17m long and 4m high. Visitors can also try on cosplay costumes and step inside a video booth where you can get ‘manga-fied’.

Date: 23 May-26 August Time: 10am-5.30pm Price: From £19.50, under 16s free Location: Room 30, British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG Closest Station: Tottenham Court Road


Murder Express: Jewel of the Empire

Embark on a whodunnit adventure this May, as Funicular Productions returns with a new interactive dining experience. Board a retro steam train in East London and watch the mystery unfold, while enjoying a four-course meal prepared by Masterchef champion, Laurence Henry. While the train remains stationary, outdoor views are smartly projected on windows to transport you across the world.

Date: 2 May-31 August Time: 6.30pm and 8.30pm with 1.30pm and 3.30pm shows on weekends Price: From £57 Location: Pedley Street Station, Arch 63 Pedley Street, E1 5BW Closest Station: Bethnal Green


Opium London Restaurant & Club, Soho

One for the late-night revellers. Spanish super-club and restaurant collection, Opium London is officially opening in Soho this month, following a soft launch at the start of the year. The glitzy venue, with outposts in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella, spans 1,000sq ft and includes a 90-cover restaurant serving seafood, sushi and Mediterranean dishes.

Date: From 15 May Time: From 8pm; closed on Sundays Price: £20 club entry Location: 9 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DG Closest Station: Piccadilly Circus


Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, Kensington

For the first time, Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award will open its doors to the general public. The event, inspired by French business woman Madame Clicquot, celebrates businesswomen across the country, and will be held at The Design Musuem. Finalists are curated by a panel of high profile women – including Cassandra Stavrou, founder of Propercorn; Vanessa Kingori, publisher of British Vogue; and Moira Benigson, founder of The MBS Group – and range from women in the world of fashion, media, commerce and more. Excusive tickets will be available to purchase via the website below.

Date: 23 May Time: 7pm Price: Free Location: 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, W8 6AG Closest Station: South Kensington