The weekend is finally upon us and it’s about time to solidify your plans. After all, summer weekends are not to be wasted! We’ve searched far and wide to find the best things to fill your precious 48 hours and bring you the top ones here. Glide down a 100 metre water slide, gorge on some Greek food and arrange your own bouquet – all after climbing aboard a bus serving gin-infused cocktails to get there. You better get going! 

Summer Circus at the Royal Academy of Arts

A Theatrical Night of Circus Delights

Escape the real world of cramped tube lines and long work days and enter a fantastical, surreal night of circus-inspired delights as the Royal Academy of Arts transforms its historic courtyard into a Victorian circus party. Explore the summer exhibition after hours as eccentric characters, acrobats, DJs and musicians perform amidst 1,200 works of art. Street food stalls and cocktail bars will also be open all night, in the event that all the excitement works up an appetite. Highlights include circus animal print-making, pompom headdress crafting, a dark circus drawing salon and glitter showers.

Where: Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD

Buckingham Palace's 'Fashioning a Reign' Exhibition Opens

Fashion Fit For a Queen

Because a celebration of the Queen never really ends, three special exhibitions will be staged across each of Her Majesty’s official residences this year in honour of her 90th birthday. The exhibition will chart significant events in The Queen’s life and present 150 outfits in total, with each exhibition displaying a selection chose due to their close association with the location.

Where: Buckingham Palace, Westminster, SW1A 1AA

Alexandra Palace Summer Festival

100 Metre Water Slide

It just wouldn’t be summer without a few festivals, and it just wouldn’t be Alexandra Palace’s summer festival without their famous 100 metre water slide. And if that isn’t already exciting enough for you, Alexandra Palace is also packing their second annual Summer Festival with events such as an outdoor cinema, silent disco, ice skating sessions, tree climbing, zip wires, prom in the palace, family raves with Big Fish Little Fish and the great British pram race.

Where: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY

Blooming Bouquet Workshops

Summer Bouquet Workshops

If you are looking for a way to liven up your flat or have an anniversary coming up, Bloomon, a flower arrangement startup is offering summer bouquet workshops across London. Of course you can buy a bouquet of flowers, but wouldn’t it mean more if you picked and arranged them yourself? This Saturday, Bloomon is headed to Notting Hill and you should hurry as classes only host 18 people! Don’t worry though, there are multiple sessions throughout the day and the summer series will take place until the end of August in Brixton, Dalston, West Brompton, Farringdon, Earls Court and Kentish Town – see their website for details.

Where: Landsdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2NN

Hungry Donkey

Street Greek Pop-Up

It appears the Greek gods have answered our prayers. Aldgate’s very own Greek restaurant Hungry Donkey will be teaming up with Maltby&Greek at the Maltby Street Market serving their favourite Greek dishes and drinks. You can expect to find halloumi pita wraps, Greek salads and cheeses, wines and craft beers. There will also be a number of toppings to choose from including Greek slaw and tzatziki. The collaborative pop-up begins this weekend, 9am-4pm at Maltby Street Market and runs for the next 2 weekends, until the first weekend in August.

Where: Hungry Donkey Greek Kitchen, Wentworth Street, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Aldgate East (0.2 miles)

Roman Road Summer Festival

Vintage Fair and Street Performances

East End’s talent, heritage, culture and arts all return for a third time on Sunday for a day of music, inspiring talks and dance displays. The celebration will feature over 40 stalls from London’s best designer-makers along with food and other goodies that guests will be able to compete to win from local shops. After all, there’s nothing like a little competition to spice things up a bit.

Where: Roman Road Market Roman Road, Bow, E3 5ES

JUST EAT Food Festival

Global Food Fest

Whether you’re a fan of all things delivered to your doorstep, or you have seen the pun-driven ads on the tube – Sashimi rollin’, they hatin’ – you are probably familiar with JUST EAT. This weekend, JUST EAT is launching its first-ever Food Fest at Red Market featuring cuisines from all over the world. The festival will allow guests to get a taste of Caribbean, Vietnamese, Italian, and much more food that are all available to order via their app. There will also be live music and cultural entertainment that are perfect for the sunny London days on the horizon. Friday 5pm-11pm, Saturday 12pm-11pm and Sunday 12pm-9pm, free entry with tokens available to purchase in exchange for food.

Where: Red Market, 288 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LA

Hendrick’s Ministry for Marginally Superior Transport

Gin On The Go

Starting on Thursday, Hendrick’s Ministry for Marginally Superior Transport will be traveling around the city between 4pm-9pm to help Londoners deal with the stress of London’s transport system. Hendrick’s Extraordinary Roving Bus for Exceptionally Refined Travel, also known as HERBERT, will serve as a double-decker gin bus which looks like a giant cucumber, with an array of Hendrick’s gin-infused drinks. Passengers can board the bus at various places across central London: Victoria Street, Westminster (SW1E 5NT), Euston Road, Kings Cross (NW1 2SX) Theobalds Road, Holborn (WC1X 8SP) and Southbank (SE1 8XT) to sip on a G&T and nibble on cucumber macaroons. If you have an endless list of travel travesties and are 18 years of age or older, keep track of HERBERT this weekend.

Where: Various

Carnaby Street Eat Festival

Carnaby Street's Al Fresco Food Festival

We’re well aware of Soho’s foodie credentials and this Saturday sees Carnaby Street transformed into a free street food festival. The pedestrian-only street is a pretty ideal place to host 40 different cuisines from 30 of the area’s restaurants and cafes – everyone from The Detox Kitchen to Pizza Pilgrims – and £5 deals mean you can finally try some of the restaurants you’ve been meaning to go for months. Live music, a demo kitchen in Kingly Court and performances from roller skating girls and Cirque Le Soir make it one not to be missed. Saturday 23rd July, 12pm-5pm.

Where: Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PS

Curious? Festival of Knowledge and Learning

London's Biggest Festival of Knowledge

It’s easy to let your brain do little over the weekend, with the most strenuous decisions often being where to go for drinks or what time to meet for brunch. Let your brain do a little more work with a day of intellectual stimulation at London’s biggest festival of knowledge (it will be fun, we promise). Curious? festival in Kings Cross is back for a second year featuring talks, live music, workshops and experiments from companies within London’s Knowledge Quarter (the square mile radius around Kings Cross) including Google, The British Library and Central Saint Martins. Brain food will be required so thankfully street food is on offer as well as a wine tasting at German Gymnasium – learning about wine is still learning, right? Saturday 23rd July, 10am-6pm.

Where: Granary Square, Kings Cross, N1C 4AA

The Botanist Gin

Cocktails With Wild Ingredients

In the spirit of summer, four new additions are making a limited appearance on the cocktail menu at Selfridges. Until the end of July, Selfridges’ bars will be serving up four new cocktails, each one using ingredients foraged in London. The exciting collab was first ignited when The Botanist led Selfridges bartenders on a foraging expedition through Hampstead Heath to harvest a selection of wild ingredients. These were then infused with The Botanist Gin to create delicious and innovative syrups, available at Harry Gordon’s Bar, The Corner Restaurant and Champagne Bar, Aubaine and the rooftop restaurant Forest. Even better? To celebrate the partnership, customers will also receive two forage-friendly enamel tumblers with any purchase of The Botanist 70cl, a gift exclusive to Selfridges.

Where: Selfridge's, 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1U 1AB

Smokey Tails at Hackney Village Fayre

Magic Breakfast

It’s a sad fact that some children in the UK go to school not having had breakfast, let alone a healthy breakfast. One charity trying to end all of that is Magic Breakfast, whose fundraiser is taking place this Saturday in Hoxton Square. Raffles, fete games and food and drink from favourites such as Dishoom, Meat Mission, Foxlow and Smokey Tails is all on the line up. We’ve got our eye on Smokey Tails who’ll be showcasing their new breakfast dishes – we’re talking Midwest biscuit with fried chicken and gravy and beef brisket hash with eggs and horseradish which launch fully on Monday. Once you’ve tried them on Saturday, head to Smokey Tales early on Monday morning as they’ll be giving out free breakfast dishes and coffee to the first few! Great weekend, great Monday.

Where: Hoxton Square, Hoxton, N1 6NU

Caught by the River Thames

Book Ahead: Music, Arts and Nature Festival at Fulham Palace

Bringing together music, arts and nature, Caught by the River Thames is a brand new festival coming to Fulham Palace next weekend (6th-7th August). It promises to be on the civilised end of the festival spectrum, with literary readings, craft beer and three stages with full performance programme, held in the hugely underrated Fulham Palace, right on the banks of the River Thames. No food or drink is allowed to be brought in with you but there is plenty on offer to satisfy hunger pangs. Similarly, no picnic chairs are allowed but by all means pack a rug to sit on. Readers of The Handbook can get 2-for-1 deals on both days by using the code CBTR241 (make sure you use caps) when booking tickets on Ticketmaster.

Where: Bishop's Avenue, Fulham, SW6 6EA

If you want even more this weekend then Saturday is National Hot Dog Day and Sunday is National Tequila Day! 

6 places to get your hot dog fix: Bubbledogs, Top Dog, Dirty Bones, Herman ze German, Popdog and All Star Lanes (they’re doing a limited edition hot dog for Saturday only).

6 places to get your tequila fix: Tonteria, La Bodegra Negra, Mestizo, La Perla, Wahaca Tequila Bar and Heddon Street Kitchen (on Sunday they’ll be serving a special Patrón Bloody Maria).