Spring has arrived in earnest and everywhere you walk in our Hampstead neighbourhood you can see and feel it - birds chirping, crocuses and daffodils flowering and days growing longer every evening.

Not surprising then, May’s a popular month for visiting London. The only question is, what to do in this fine city, because whether you’ve got a long weekend, a week or even a month, you’ll still be spoilt for choice with all the opportunities our amazing city offers.

Here are a few of our ideas for enjoying your time in London this spring…

1. Chelsea Flower Show - 21st to 25th May

There’s nothing like the Chelsea Flower Show. And you don’t have to be a professional gardener to enjoy it either - it’s an astonishing venue not just for professional horticulturists but also green-thumbed amateurs, and when you see the blooms there, you’re going to sigh with delight.

This year’s show runs from Tuesday 21st May to Saturday 25th May and, as usual, is being held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelse (home to the famous ‘Chelsea Pensioners’ who are retired soldiers of the British Army).

Each year the show has a theme and this year the environment takes centre stage, with all of the designers encouraged to showcase sustainability. And as well as gorgeous show gardens, don’t miss the Floral Marquee and the ‘Balcony and Container’ gardens for those who want to grow in a smaller space.

There are also endless shopping opportunities, whether you're looking to pick up some plants or invest in some gardening gadgets!

Chelsea Flower Show, 21st-25th May 2024

London Gate, Royal Hospital, Chelsea SW3

2. City Splash - 27th May 2024

The second Bank Holiday of this month falls on Monday 27th May and what better way to enjoy it than to celebrate the impact that Caribbean and African culture have had in England…by boogying on down in the south of the city.

Brockwell Park (just south of Brixton, close to Norwood) will be hosting ‘City Splash’ - a day with non-stop beats, from the heritage of Roots, Dub and Dancehall to the birth of Jungle and Garage. They will also be showcasing all kinds of up-and-coming talent.

City Splash is also partnering with BlackEats London so expect lots of incredible food stalls, run by city traders who know their grub.

Tickets are on sale but will probably go quickly so don’t hesitate to pick one up quickly - oh, and kids are allowed which makes this a great family-friendly activity for your Bank Holiday.

City Splash Music Festival - 27th May 2024

Brockwell Park, Brockwell Park Gardens, London SE24

3. A View From the Bridge - Theatre Royal Haymarket

Theatre buffs, this one is for you - Arthur Miller’s masterpiece ‘A View from the Bridge’ is hitting the London stage and starring none other than Dominic West (one of Britain’s most acclaimed - and rather dishy - actors, who’s made his mark in ‘The Wire’, ‘The Affair’ and - most recently - The Crown (didn’t he make a marvellous King Charles?)

The plot for this timeless play is set in Brooklyn where Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman, sees his niece Catherine (whom he regards as a daughter) fall in love with Rudolpho, a young Italian immigrant. As Eddie - a tragic hero - struggles with his jealousy (which clearly has sexual undertones), conflict quickly turns to tragedy - with terrible consequences for this Italian-American neighbourhood.

West leads a fine line-up in this new production, directed by Lindsay Posner, and tickets are bound to go like hot cakes - so don’t delay and book today.

A View From the Bridge - opens May 22nd 2024

Theatre Royal, Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, London SW1

4. ‘Photo London’ at Somerset House - 16th to 19th May

Back for its ninth year, and hosted at the beautiful venue of Somerset House ‘Photo London’ is running for three days and showcasing the best of the medium, past, present and future.

The exhibition brings together over one hundred exhibitors from 44 cities, across four continents. There will be all kinds of exhibitions and talks, with prizes on offer. You’ll be able to see examples of some of the earliest historic photographs (dating back to the 1840’s), silver gelatin prints presented by Roland Belgrave and a solo presentation of unseen colour photographs from the 1950s by New York legend Helen Levitt.

There’s also a wealth of things to do in the area, so once you’ve seen this exhibition you can wander around Covent Garden, head across the River Thames and walk along the South Bank or even pop into the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square (London’s museums and galleries are free for the most part, and really world-class).

5. Affordable Art Fair Hampstead - 8th to 12th May

Last but by no means least, the ever-popular Affordable Art Fair is back in London and actually being hosted in our Hampstead neighbourhood. For anyone interested in art, and particularly being able to collect a piece, this is the place to learn more. And, as the title suggests, this is a fair that wants to make art accessible for those who don’t have millions in the bank.

That’s why the pieces on sale range from eye-wateringly expensive to pretty fair - think £7,500 to £50 (and £50 is the cost of a football ticket or a cheapish meal for two out in London these days). As well as being able to browse the thousands of pieces, and seek out works by emerging artists, there are bars and cafes offering food and drink, and the nearby Hampstead Heath to stroll on (which we think is particularly beautiful for walkers and ramblers in the spring).

If you’re coming to visit the British capital and looking for a place to stay, we'd love to host you at La Gaffe Hotel Hampstead. We offer comfortable guest accommodation which is both family-owned and family-run and returning guests never fail to tell us how much they feel they have a home away from home, when they check in.

We also offer a continental breakfast with fabulous breakfast cappuccinos and because we’re only three minutes walk from the Hampstead tube, you can be in the centre of the city in just 15 minutes by London Underground.

For more information about our rooms and to make a reservation directly with us, contact us by phone or email - we’re looking forward to seeing you!