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8 ways to spend May bank holiday in London

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As the weather warms up and the days get longer, nothing is more welcome than a bank holiday weekend. May comes with two of these, giving you the perfect opportunity to get out and about in one of the world's most vibrant cities.

1. See some art

London has a wealth of cultural pursuits and chief among them is the city's fantastic array of art galleries. From the Tate Modern, where surrealist Dorothea Tanning's breathtaking oeuvre is currently on display, to the National Portrait Gallery, which holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, there will be something to cater to every taste.

2. Dine out at one of the city's premier restaurants

For those who can afford to spend a little money, the capital is one of Europe's most diverse food cultures and has hundreds of great restaurants to explore. Fans of French cuisine should check out Le Dame de Pic at the Four Seasons hotel, the home of French star chef Anne-Sophie Pic. For those who enjoy West African flavours, Ikoyi in St. James Market serves food flavoured with a bold heat and umami tones.

3. Barbecues in the park

If you are looking for a less expensive way to eat out, why not get some friends or family together and have a barbecue in one of London's beautiful outdoor spaces. Whether you like traditional hamburgers with 'plastic' cheese or a more sophisticated grilled aubergine in your burger, this can be a great way to spend time with the people you care about without breaking the bank.

4. Stop and smell the roses

With Spring in full flow, the May bank holiday is a great chance to visit some of the city's beautiful gardens. The Royal Botanical Gardens houses more than 30,000 varieties of plant and is considered a World Heritage site.

5. Take a walking tour

Walking tours are an ideal way to get to know the city's history at the same time as getting a little light exercise. Whether you are a local or just visiting, you can learn about London's historical figures from Karl Marx to Jack the Ripper by exploring the places they frequented.

6. Visit a market

London has a wide range of markets where visitors can browse a huge choice of street food. Two of the most famous are Camden Market and Borough Market. The former is famed for its history of music and food, and the latter has a rich range of delicacies for visitors to sample.

7. Party in Soho

One of the city's most lively areas for nightlife, the many bars of Soho are perfect for a night - or day - out, and visitors can enjoy a drink at one of the many terraces in the area and watch the neighbourhood's many colourful characters pass by.

8. Take in a play at Shakespeare's Globe

A reconstruction of the original theatre in which Shakespeare's greatest plays were performed, Shakespeare's Globe holds regular performances of the bard's work. With tickets available from as little as £5, and with masterpieces such as Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors showing throughout May, this is a great opportunity to see these great works as they were originally performed.

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