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Things to do for grown-ups on the May Bank Holiday in London

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Streets of Spain

If you’re up for trying something completely different this bank holiday Monday, we recommend that you have a wander down to the streets of Spain festival at the Southbank Centre.  Colourful, vibrant and interesting, you can sample a huge array of traditional Spanish wines and foods here, and quite easily spend a whole afternoon just wondering from stall to stall, snack stand to snack stand, wine tasting to wine tasting, always learning a little something along with way from the charismatic collection of hosts.

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Campo Viejo is sponsoring the event and has a big say in the party atmosphere, and they do a great job of bringing an authentic fiesta to our London streets.  Art and culture are also a huge part of the festival, and you’ll come across a fabulous array of street performers, musicians and painters displaying their talents.

Cooking masterclasses by Spanish chefs who have travelled to England specially for this four-day extravaganza are well priced and lots of fun, and you can soak up the festival from 10.30am until 10.30pm from Friday 2nd through to Monday 5th.

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John Paul Gaultier Exhibition

From 12pm until 6pm for the duration of the Bank Holiday, any fashion-mad firecracker will be thrilled to learn that there’s a major exhibition devoted to Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican Art Gallery.  This much-celebrated and globally renowned designer produces whacky, unique and effervescent works of art, and here you can see iconic pieces worn by Kyile, Madonna (including the famous corset worn for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour), and countless pieces instantly recognisable from the worlds of film and glossy mags.

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There’s 40 years worth of priceless collections on display here, as well as great information on the origins and journey of the clothing.   A true pioneer, Gaultier has even put together short films of catwalks, interviews and fly on the wall studio documentaries that can be viewed in small screening rooms around the exhibition.  Tickets come in at £14.50, and it’s worth booking online to avoid the queue!

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One Million Years of the Human Story

The Natural History Museum currently have a fascinating exhibition on named ‘Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story’.  The title is self explanatory, but this is a display like nothing the museum has ever seen before.

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Life-sized models of Neanderthals lurk in corners, looking out upon an astonishing number of skeletons, artifacts, weapons and treasures.  You’ll be amazed to see 33,000 year old human bones that were found in Wales, buried next to those of 40 woolly mammoths, as well as evidence that hippos once lived in the Thames, and packs of lions ruled the land we now recognize as Trafalgar Square.

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The exhibition also maps humankind’s progress, and provides a captivating insight into just how much we’ve evolved, and to be honest, quite how clever we were in the first place!  The tools, maps, models and carving will have you grinning for the entirety of your journey through Britain’s surprising human history, and if nothing else, you’ll leave feeling thoroughly more appreciative of modern conveniences. Particularly when it comes to shops.

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