MGM 2008 - Top Ten Events For The May Bank Holiday Weekend

By Caroline Lewis | 01 May 2008
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Photo of two Tudor re-enactors with two girls in modern dress

Historical and arty larks aplenty are to be had over the May Day weekend. © Somerset Museums Service

From MGM Welcome Weekends to medieval fayres, there's no way you can be stuck for something cultural to do this May Bank Holiday weekend.

Here's a top ten of what's going on - and if you want more, just search our what's on listings.

1. Charmouth Fossil Festival
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, Dorset

Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, 10am-4.30pm

Photo of an ammonite fossil

A 'Fossil Fantastic Marquee' will adorn the beach at Charmouth this weekend, where young and old can learn how to make ammonite sculptures, polish ammonite slices, or go on a fossil hunting walk.

Events are free but you must book places for the walks on 01297 560772. See for more festival details.

Graphic of venetian images

2. Venetian Fun Day
Abington Park Museum, Northampton

Saturday May 3, 10am-4pm

Glass blowing, lace making, circus skills, Punch and Judy and all sorts of fun activities to do with Venice and its gondolas are on offer at Abington Park Museum to mark the beginning of the town's Venezia! Festival.

3. Free entry to Pompeo Batoni and family tours
National Gallery, London

Sunday May 4

Detail of an 18th century oil portrait of a man and dog

Come along to the National Gallery on Sunday for a special day of free activities to welcome in Museums and Galleries Month. The £8 entry fee to the Pompeo Batoni exhibition will be waived and family tours with bonus 'animal antics' will take place at 12pm and 2.30pm, plus live music and workshops will provide fun for everyone.

4. Medieval May Day
Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire

Sunday and Monday, May 4 and 5

Photo of a man and woman in medieval costume

Celebrate May Day medieval style at Helmsley Castle. Music, mumming and merriment is promised from medieval peasants and players, who will recreate the festivities that used to mark the end of a period of back-breaking work in the fields.

5. The Director talks Climate Change
Science Museum, London

Saturday May 3, sessions at 11am, 2pm and 4pm

Head and shoulders portrait photo of a man in a suit

Renowned environmental scientist and Director of the Science Museum Professor Chris Rapley is giving free talks on climate change and the future at the Science Museum on Saturday May 3. Call 0870 870 4868 for a free ticket for one of the sessions.

6. A Chinese extravaganza

Saturday May 3, 12pm-2pm

A painting of a Chinese man in traditional style

There will be foot juggling, drumming and spring rolls in Ipswich for opening of Dragons, Silks and Stories at Ipswich Town Hall Galleries on Saturday. Exploring traditions of Chinese life, the exhibition features beautiful objects from the museum service's collection and the launch day will see lots of free fun between 12pm and 2pm.

7. Somerset Heritage Roadshow
Glastonbury Abbey

Monday May 5, 11am-5pm, free

Photo of a couple in English Civil War era costumes

More than 50 Somerset museums have got together to present this fantastic fair of history, where visitors can rub shoulders with historical figures from all periods and take part in activities and demonstrations at myriad stands.

8. Dressing up in Manchester
The Lowry and Manchester Museum

Saturday May 3

Photo of a reconstructed head of a man

The Lowry is having a Family Welcome Day with creative fun including dressing up and drawing family portraits, and the Manchester Museum has Iron Age costumes to try on to help visitors get a feel for the days when bog-preserved Lindow Man was alive, plus other activities.

9. Keeping house the National Trust way
Melford Hall, Suffolk

Saturday May 3

Photo of a conservator cleaning a suit of armour

Some of you may use the long weekend to catch up on a little housework. While we recommend you go easy on that and have some fun instead at a museum or gallery, you could go to the Elizabethan Melford Hall in Suffolk to find out the secrets of keeping house the National Trust way.

10. Treasure Hunt at La Hougue Bie, Jersey, and the full Millennium Mosaic
Saturday May 3

Photo of a stone entrance way leading into a mound

Come and take part in mini archaeological digs and search for treasure at Jersey's ancient burial site, La Hougue Bie.

Also, you've got two weeks to catch the Millennium Mosaic the Sir Francis Cook Gallery. Inspired by the Occupation Tapestry, it'll be the first time all 18 panels of Wayne Audrain's artwork are shown together.

All pictures © the venue

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