It might not feel like it at the moment – brrr – but May is the month to embrace all things outdoorsy. Sandwiched between two bank holiday weekends, this month boasts flower shows, festivals and even culture after dark. We’ve included a few fab indoor things to do, just in case, but with so much fun stuff going on, we’re certain we’ll have you Morris dancing around the May pole in no time.
If you’re not going to make it to Edinburgh later in the summer for your festival fix, head down to Brighton in May. The Brighton Fringe Festival is England’s largest arts festival and includes cabaret, dance, theatre, music, film and literature.
www.brightonfringe.org, 5 May until 4 June.
What to Visit
The Imperial War Museum is launching a new program ‘Conflict Now’ focusing on personal experiences of those who have been involved in wars first-hand across the globe. The first of these exhibitions and events is Syria: A Conflict Explored, which includes an exhibition from Pulitzer Prize-winning Russian documentary photographer Sergey Ponomarev. The show is a moving reminder of how the war in Syria has effected so many people in so many ways and worth a visit.
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth North, 27 April until 3 September, Free entry.
Now in its third year, London Craft Week is returning to Spitalfields, with galleries and specialist workshops hosting events to showcase ancient skills and exciting new talent. The week-long festival covers jewellery, fashion, art and design.
Check out www.londoncraftweek.com for more. 3 to 7 May
Museums at Night
For something a little different sign up to the London offering of the UK-wide festival Museums at night which sees doors of cultural venues across the city kept open after-hours. It’s a chance to see the treasures inside some of the capital’s quirkiest museums in a whole new light – the dark – preferably with a cocktail in hand.
www.museumsatnight.org.uk 17 to 20 May.
What to Watch
Emma Rice, the Globe’s artistic director, is due to leave her post in the summer, but not without a bang. Twelfth Night opens on 18 May and if it’s anything like her well lauded staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream it is set to be brilliant. Rice famously admitted she sometimes didn’t understand Shakespeare’s language and as a result her portrayals are a refreshing take on the classics.
Shakepeare’s Globe, 18 May until 5 August
Bristol Walk Fest
The UK’s largest urban walking festival takes place in Bristol in May, featuring themed walks and events. With green spaces throughout the city, beautiful English countryside nearby, the initiative aims to get people out exploring the culture, history, architecture and art the city has to offer.
At the Flicks
We’re excited to see Lady Macbeth, confusingly nothing to do with Shakespeare but rather a relocation of a Russian novel into Victorian England. It’s a drama about a teenage girl sold into marriage in the 1860’s, portrayed brilliantly by British up-and-comer Florence Pugh. It’s a dark portrayal of the time’s terrible patriarchy and racism. A feminist British indie not to me missed.
Tickets to the Chelsea Flower Show are probably sold out already – they always are well in advance – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your gardener on. There are lots of other floral-themed events in and around Chelsea in May, and many hotels and restaurants offer special afternoon teas and menus in honour of the show. Darjeeling and dahlias, anyone?
www.rhs.org.uk , 23 until 27 May
Picasso’s obsession with bullfighting is beautifully laid bare at the Gagosian gallery in Grosvenor Hill. Picasso: Minotaurs and Matadors is curated by the artist’s friend and biographer, John Richardson, and focuses on two recurrent themes throughout his life: those mythical bull-men and the men who would fight with bulls. It also glimpses into his terrible treatment of women.
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, W1 until Aug 28
What to Eat
Asparagus is the star of the show this month. They’re delicious grilled on the barbecue with a squeeze of lemon, or chop them up into a delicious spring salad with broad beans, peas, spring onions and mint. Elderflower heads also come into bloom now. Why not try your hand at homemade elderflower cordial, delicious with sparkling water or even prosecco as a cocktail for those oh-so-soon garden parties.
What to Wear...
Step in to early summer days in fresh and colourful pieces for work and pleasure. Osei Duro's gorgeous new collection has just arrived at Gather&See full of their trade mark prints - we love the Agona Dress for a smart look and their clever Akoma Knit - sleeveless and spring like but made from super soft Alpaca for warmth on cooler May days. Also new in Conditions Apply's collection is a riot of colour and beautiful shapes as we head into wedding season it is a must see for wedding guest dress and jumpsuit ideas. Positive vibes indeed!