Where To Avoid The Crowds In London This August Bank Holiday

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The much-anticipated August bank holiday brings with it major annual events such as the Notting Hill Carnival and All Points East, and while they’re certainly something to experience, gatherings such as these can get pretty packed! If you’re looking to get out and about in the capital, but would prefer it to be a little less hectic, then we’ve rounded up some of the more under-the-radar events taking place this weekend!

Long Morning at Trinity Buoy Wharf

Swap the inevitable swarms at the Southbank Centre for another waterside arts hub this bank holiday, and visit Trinity Buoy Wharf beside the River Lea instead. Here, you’ll find London’s only lighthouse, which was built in 1864 to help test out equipment and train lighthouse keepers. It is also the permanent home of an intriguing art project called Longplayer; a 1000-year-long musical composition that began playing at midnight on the 31st December 1999. On Sunday, an event called Long Morning will take place from 10am until 2pm, which offers visitors the opportunity to hear Longplayer and chat to current and past trustees of the piece. Elsewhere in Trinity Buoy Wharf, you’ll find Insta-worthy architecture, sculptures and watercrafts, including container buildings that are home to artists and a tiny, fascinating museum that recreates the office of scientist and genius Michael Faraday.

Sunday, free entry.

Victorian Vauxhall at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens


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Despite its gritty reputation, the Victorian era wasn’t all disease and despair! This bank holiday, you could let loose 19th century-style in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which will be filled with vintage games and fairground rides, circus performers, food stalls and even a regency hair salon, so you can unleash your inner Bridgerton!

Saturday, free tickets available to reserve online.

Portraits of Dogs at The Wallace Collection

While it’s easy to find something to stare at in the Tates and the National Galleries, you might find it more difficult than usual to get an uninterrupted view this August bank holiday. There are galleries galore to choose from in the capital, however the relatively under-the-radar Wallace Collection is currently home to a particularly whimsical and crowd-pleasing show. Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney features a medley of pooch-themed paintings, sculptures, drawings, and even taxidermy. Sadly, canine critics aren’t allowed in this grandiose gallery, but you might find a treat or two to take home in the gift shop.

All weekend, standard adult tickets £14.

Barbican Outdoor Cinema


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With outdoor cinemas popping up all over the city, there’s no reason to feel guilty about going to watch a film when it’s warm anymore. While there are plenty of spectacular locations to choose from, the Barbican’s Sculpture Court allows you to soak up the striking brutalist architecture of this arts and culture complex, as well as the illuminated skyline of The City when the sun goes down. Some of the films showing this weekend include a Studio Ghibli anime and a Hitchcock classic…

All weekend, standard adult tickets £18.

London Wetland Centre

London is lucky to have plenty of green spaces and city farms, however many of them still feel within arm’s reach of the hustle and bustle of the capital. Even though its located in Richmond upon Thames, London Wetland Centre is a sprawling oasis that really feels like somewhere out in the countryside. You’ll find meadows of wildflowers and glassy lakes where you might spot kingfishers, sandpipers, water voles and otters, plus kids will love getting hands-on with some pond dipping and following the centre’s illustrated guide by Quentin Blake, which is full of creative challenges.

All weekend, standard adult tickets £15.40. 

Hampton Court Palace Food Festival


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Hampton Court Palace was once the home of the ventripotent Tudor monarch Henry VIII, so we think he’d most definitely approve of the royal residence’s choice of gathering this bank holiday. The Hampton Court Palace Food Festival will fittingly feature seemingly endless food and drink stalls, so you can sample all kinds of indulgences, from wedges of cheese and sky-high scoops of ice cream, to culinary creations by revered restaurants including Soho’s 10 Greek Street. Within the sprawling, pristine grounds, you’ll also find ales to slosh and cocktails to concoct, as well as live bands and family-friendly attractions, including shire horse and cart rides and circus workshops.

All weekend, general admission tickets £29. 

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