In the UK, early summer is blessed with two bank holiday weekends, and it seems a shame to spend the May bank holiday weekend at home when there are so many fantastic places to escape to.
The May Day bank holiday (Early May Bank Holiday) on the first Monday and the Spring Bank – now extended into a four-day bumper Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Holiday starts on Thursday 2 June 2022.
If the weather throws cold water on your May Day attempts to get out, you can look forward to an even longer weekend in the first week of June. Here’s our round up of May Bank Holiday ideas for all the family.
Free walking guides
Download free walking guides to beaches, forests, moorland and villages looked after by the National Trust.
The site also lists National Trust properties and gardens that offer discounted entry or a tearoom voucher to car-free visitors, to promote greener travel.
Brooklands Museum at Weybridge in Surrey is a fantastic day out with enough to keep all ages engaged.
There’s an excellent collection of vintage racing cars and memorabilia from the venue’s heyday as a motor racing circuit – indeed part of the famous banked track are still visible. Brooklands is also home to the London Bus Museum, where you’ll find examples dating from 1875 through to 1979.
Aerospace history is also a big part of the Brooklands experience. Get up close with a Battle of Britain fighter, the RAF Hurricane. Walk round the majestic Hawker Harrier as well as Cold War stalwart the Hawker Hunter and a vintage replica Sopwith Camel. There is a WWII Wellington bomber – recovered from Loch Ness after ditching during the war. The museum is also home to the supersonic Concorde and other vintage commercial jets – for a small additional fee you can even take a live piloted virtual flight Concorde Experience!
A family ticket for Brooklands – 2 adults and up to three children is £52.50 (advance) – booking is advised.
Iron Bridge, Shropshire
A series of attractions celebrating the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Visit Blists Hill Victorian town and the historic area around Coalbrookdale, including Tar Tunnel, coalport China Museum and The Iron Bridge and Toll House.
For more information about May events see Ironbridge.org.uk
Brighton – a seaside day out
It might be a bit early in the year to enjoy what the Victorians referred to as the ‘curative properties’ of the waters at the east Sussex resort, but there is still plenty for visitors to do – and not just around bank holiday weekend. Free and paid-for music, dance and theatre make up the Brighton Festival and Fringe Festival throughout the month. Brighton Festival has more than 150 events and 30 venues. The festivals run side by side from 7-29 May (the Fringe finishes 5 June).
For more May bank holiday ideas on the south coast, see VisitBrighton.com.
Isle of Wight walking festival
The Isle of Wight Walking Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in the UK and takes place from 7-15 May. There are hundreds of walks of varying pace, distance and difficulty.
Visit the site to find your ideal walk and check booking requirements. Many walks are free or request a charity donation. See Isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk.
National Cycle Network
Fancy getting out in the open? The National Cycle Network is made up of more than 16,575 miles of routes.
Find a free map at sustrans.org.uk, together with ideas for easy or long-distance rides.
Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens
Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens in Abbotsbury, near Weymouth, Dorset are filled with rare plants from around the world. In spring, camellias and magnolias are at their peak.
If you are stuck for May bank holiday ideas, you’ll find lots to do at abbeys, castles, ruins and stately homes at more than 400 English Heritage sites open this bank holiday and plenty are free. The English Heritage website also has details of half term events and venues that offer reduced price family tickets.
See English Heritage for more May bank holiday ideas details.
You can find lots of special offers such as two-for-one admission and kids-go-free offers at Visit England – Things to Do.
The site has plenty of ideas for days out grouped into themes, such as family fun, and food and drink.
Enjoy a Dahl day
The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in South Bucks has storytelling and craft activities for children and families at weekends and throughout May has an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of The Fantastic Mr Fox.
Later in the month, to coincide with half-term (28 May – 5 June), the museum and story centre invite you to bring the kids and listen to your favourite books read by expert storytellers. It will be brilliant fun for all the family.
Head to the three galleries and pull a power pose next to Matilda, measure yourself against Roald Dahl’s most popular characters, test your sparkiness on their Spark-o-meter, and try out Roald’s writing chair for size. Plus a zillion other hands-on activities. No sitting down for you adults, until you relax in the courtyard for a breather – phew!.
Ticket to ride
Between Liverpool and Southport, and a 30-minute train ride from the city centre, is a stretch of unspoilt shore known as Sefton’s Natural Coast. You have to pay for the train, but the beach is free.
A living Tudor world!
Take a step back in time and Join Henry VIII, his family and courtiers at Hampton Court Palace. There will be a range of exhibitions and events to bring history to life, including Tudor cookery displays and costumes for visitors to learn how to dress for the royal court.
Explore the parts of Hampton Court that not even Henry’s guests will get to see! Peer into Henry’s private apartments and discover traces of his ex-wives.
See the order of service for a Day at Court for more May bank holiday ideas.
The sky at night
Discover the wonders of space, stars and Living history planets with a trip to The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. The observatory’s planetarium has live tours throughout the school holidays giving children and adults the opportunity to explore the night sky through the wonders of technology.
The Royal Observatory is one of four attractions in the Greenwich area – the Cutty Sark, Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum. A family membership gets access to all venues for a year for a mere £75.
If you found May Bank Holiday ideas – brilliant days out for all the family helpful, you’ll find more ideas for days out around the UK on our Travel channel.Tags: May bank holiday, May Day Last modified: April 28, 2022