Spring flowers

What’s on in May in London and the South West

In this article, you'll learn the following:

Spring is well under way!  May’s a great month to get out and about, with warmer and sunnier days on the horizon. 

Festival season has officially begun - explore food and music festivals across our network this month. There’s plenty more to do to suit every taste and budget. From the FA Cup Final and Chelsea Flower Show, to free outdoor activities like scenic bike rides, wildflower wandering and more, read on to see all the magnificent ways to make the most of May. And don’t forget to browse SWR Rewards to find fantastic discounts on shopping trips, food and drink and more.

Go to Grand Designs Live

People pointing at a laptop

4-12 May

Head to London’s Excel for Grand Designs Live 2024

See live talks on the likes of sustainable renovating, interior design and money-saving ideas. New for 2024, see a whole house built by Grand Designs Live. There are also showcases including outdoor living, kitchen and bathroom ones. 

Looking for guidance from an expert for your own home? You can book an appointment with a specialist architect, interior designer, landscape gardener, financial planner and an eco expert. 

Some websites are displaying links to free tickets - when we last checked this link worked!

Excel London is less than a 30-minute tube ride from London Waterloo

Women’s FA Cup Final 

Inside of Wembley Stadium

12 May

The Adobe Women’s FA Cup Final is just around the corner. Watch the biggest fixture in the domestic women’s football season, as Tottenham Hotspur take on Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Get your tickets

While you’re there, why not enjoy some of Wembley’s hot spots for food and drink? Try BOXPARK Wembley where you’ll be spoilt for choice with the likes of delicious street food, burgers, pizza and authentic Caribbean dishes. If pub grub is more your style head to The White Horse Pub in Arena Square. There’s plenty on offer in the area. Check this page to see what tickles your fancy. 

How to get there: Get the Bakerloo line from London Waterloo to Wembley Central. 

Make the most of half term and the bank holiday

A family sat on the grass

27-31 May

Enjoy some time off with the kids over May half term or have some bank holiday fun at the end of the month.

We’ve noted some things you can do to make your time off super fun-filled and action packed. When you travel with us, you can enjoy money-off activities with SWR Rewards. There’s loads to do; here’s a snippet of what’s on offer. 

For the kids

There's lots to do with the kids over the holidays.

You could head to the West End for a theatre show, or go to the likes of Legoland and Thorpe Park for a thrilling day out. Search for other London and South West attractions to enjoy with the kids, and see if you can get money off your trip. If you’re on a budget, see our free things to do in London this spring guide.

Food and drink 

There are heaps of noteworthy spots to eat and drink worth mentioning across the network. Here’s a taster of some great places to try.

If you want a fancy day out in the capital, try a luxurious afternoon tea on the Thames for 2 in London, and get 22% off when you travel with SWR.

If you're after lunch or dinner spots with decent veggie options head to the likes of Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza in St Pauls and get 20% off with SWR Rewards. Or, book a table at Sophie’s Steakhouse, where you can also get 20% off food.

Take a look at our guide to British food gems in the south west and 6 most popular restaurants in London for more inspo.

Check out our food and drink rewards page for more savings options. 

Wholesome activities 

You could get down to Portsmouth or the Isle of White and ride a Beryl Bike down scenic routes. Get 25% off any Beryl Bike bundle when you journey with us. There are loads of places to cycle in London and the South West. We’ve put together a handy little guide to help you decide where to ride on two-wheels.

If walking is more your vibe, go on a Thames Path stroll, or visit one of the South West’s beautiful wildflower gardens.

You could also try your hand at wild swimming - we’ve rounded up some of the best places to do it, including Lepe Country Park which sits on the edge of the New Forest, and Swanage Beach on the infamous Jurassic Coast.

Weekend getaways 

If you fancy a staycation, why not head to London or a South West destination? See our recommendations for the best staycations in the South West.

We’ve also put together some more detailed guides for individual destinations. Learn more about them, including what to do while you’re there, where to stay, eat, and more. 

Head to a museum

18 May is International Museum Day! If you’re after a free activity, check out some of the free museums in London, including:

- Natural History Museum
- British Museum
- Science Museum
- Tate Modern
- National Gallery

We’ve also got some offers including a 2-for-1 deal at the London Transport Museum

Enjoy the start of festival season

A crowd at a festival

Festival season has officially begun! Take a look at these gems…

Whitchurch Folk Festival

Taking place on 11 May, the historic town of Whitchurch is relaunching the Whitchurch Folk Festival.

The festival - which traces back to the 80s -  celebrates music, community, art, and much more. Unlike most festivals which take place on fields, this one uses old buildings in the town instead.

There will also be a free Children's Folk Festival and a Fringe Festival - see the details on the website.

Head to Whitchurch Station with SWR to start your adventure. 

Foodies Festival

At Foodies festival, you can watch michelin-starred and top local chefs cook up a storm, try a hands-on authentic Thai green curry cook school session, and eat delicious street food, gourmet treats and amazing artisan delicacies.

Bake Off fans -  stars of the show will share their best baking hints and tips live on stage. MasterChef champions will also be there - cooking their signature summer recipes. Plus watch famous artists like Sister Sledge, Blue and more perform live on stage.

Foodies Festival is also kid-friendly - take the little ones down to The Kids Cookery Theatre. 

This one’s held in various locations across the UK, including in London and Winchester on the SWR network. 

Wide Awake Festival 

Wide Awake Festival - in Brockwell Park, Brixton - is worth considering if you’re looking for a day music festival.

Taking place on 25 May, expect leftfield Indie, Post Punk, Electronica, Techno and more here. There’ll be a range of artists and DJs including headliners King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard,  and electronic music acts Ben UFO and Modeselektor.

Brockwell Park is less than a 20-minute bus ride from Vauxhall Station.  

Belgravia in Bloom festival

Belgravia in Bloom festival is returning for its ninth year between 20-27 May with a floral fun and games theme.  

Here, you’ll see stunning flower displays, tuck into spring cupcakes and other sweet treats, and dine at its cafes and restaurants.

The nearest tube stations to Belgravia in Bloom are Victoria, Knightsbridge and Sloane Square which are easily accessible from London Waterloo, Vauxhall and Clapham junction

Take the kids to Mini Moments Festival 

18 May

Head to Mini Moments Festival for a family day out this spring, in Surbiton. 

This one celebrates the ingenuity of John Cooper, the triumph of the Mini Cooper at the Monte Carlo Rally of ‘64, and wider stories of innovation and cutting edge design.

See over 150 Minis through the ages (including the winning Monte Carlo Rally car), tours of the garage where John Cooper was based, and live music. 

The closest station to the festival is Surbiton, which you can get to with SWR. From the station, it’s around a 20 minute walk or you can get the 281 bus from nearby the station.

Enjoy the Chelsea Flower Show

Pink flowers at a flower show

21-25 May

Head to the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show to be dazzled by colourful flowers and innovative garden designs. 

The flower show draws in a global crowd and you’ll see the very best garden designs from around the world. Plus, it’s a great place to indulge in food and drinks in the sunshine like three-course meals, seafood platters and afternoon tea.

As the wider showground closes at 8 pm, head to Ranelagh Gardens for an evening performance from famous radio DJ Jo Whiley.

Members of the royal family are regular attendees of the show, so keep a look out for them while you’re there! 

Plan your day and grab your tickets

How to get there: From Waterloo station, catch the 211 bus from Waterloo Station stop B to Chelsea Old Town Hall. Walk 15 minutes to Royal Chelsea Hospital where you’ll find the flower show. 

Plan your travel with South Western Railway

Now you’ve filled your May calendar, it’s time to plan your travel. Find cheap train tickets by travelling off-peak and enjoy further discounts with a Railcard. If you’re travelling in a group, you could benefit from GroupSave.

We’ll catch you next month with ideas for what to do across our network in June.

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