May day, May day...

... we bring you news of delightful vintage design, flamboyant flowers, stately homes, and woodland wanders for the Bank Holiday weekend.
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Design fair at Brockwell Lido
Design fair at Brockwell Lido

The Modern Movement Design Fair

Snap up a vintage treasure for your home at this fair at Brockwell Lido on Saturday and Sunday (10 am-4pm). Some 20 stalls will be clustered around the 1930s pool selling iconic furniture and furnishings from the likes of Charles Eames, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobson, Ole Wanscher, Harry Bertoia and Bridget Riley - "genuine art and antiques at sensible prices", say the organisers.

Fun family activities are run by Open House, helped by design students from Camberwell College of Art; there are also talks and tours for adults, with architects, young designers, local historians and artists, as well as intriguing design/art workshops at 11am and 2pm. A café will serve lemonade and home-made cakes. Entry is free.

Brockwell Lido, Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London SE24 (020 7274 3088).

Down in the woods

Revealing the bosky secrets of its nature reserve is Kew Gardens, with the finest bluebell carpet in London. The Woodland Wonders weekend is a magical programme of near-rural activities from Saturday to Monday. The beautiful small Queen Charlotte's Cottage will open specially - it is hidden in the arboretum, and was given by George III to his bride in 1761. Also see demos of traditional crafts, and try woodcarving and hedge-laying yourself. Enjoy wandering musicians, Morris Men and maypole dancing, with puppet shows and storytelling for the kids, who can also explore the treetops on the "Go Ape Zipline", from the award-winning High Wire Forest Adventure company. Chat about Britain's birds with the London Wildlife Trusts or the RSPB, and watch majestic birds of prey demonstrations. Admission is £13 for adults, £12 for concessions, and free for under-17s. Call 020 8332 5655, or visit

Green Corners allotment at Covent Garden Market
Green Corners allotment at Covent Garden Market
In the same vein in east London, a Woodland Fun Day is on Sunday (11am-4pm) at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Southern Grove, Bow, E3. Learn traditional crafts in free workshops (pole lathe turning, willow weaving, green woodwork), enjoy live music and rickshaw rides and take part in guided walks. See

Pick up tips on the perfect compost from David Bellamy on the Green Corners allotment at Covent Garden Market on Saturday 3 May. It is part of Covent Garden's Spring Renaissance (until 18 May), which is bringing the garden back to the famous cobbled streets and colonnades, and includes all things horticultural from giant evolving floral peacock sculptures, a weekend flower market and the Urban Garden "pop-up shop". Meanwhile, the Green Corners allotment is fully operational, with all kinds of fruit and vegetables growing, scarecrow, garden shed and expert growers, plus more workshops, demos and readings each weekend. See

Recreating 18th century life at Clandon Park
Recreating 18th century life at Clandon Park
Get out into the countryside and discover the woodlands, meadows and chalky landscape of the North Downs, courtesy of the National Trust. Admire stunning views from Box Hill and spot wildlife on Denbies Hillside. Join an "environmental family fun day" at Dapdune Wharf on Monday, with bug hunts, leaf collages and bat-box making. Or visit a glorious stately home, such as Surrey's Polesden Lacy or Hatchlands Park. On Sunday and Monday, actors will recreate 18th century life at Clandon Park.

For more details of these and other Bank Holiday events all around the capital, see

For events at English Heritage properties, including tours/walks at Chiswick House, go to

So long, sofa

Meanwhile, back in town, pop along to Harrods on Sunday for a free cup of tea - provided you are one of the first 104 people to plump yourself down on the "world's longest sofa" on the Basil Street pavement, SW3 (9am-11.30am). Created by Danish company Bo Concept, it is 51m long and seats 104 people. Then explore the rest of Harrods' special Design Icons exhibition, which extends over all seven floors of the store. Check out forthcoming design lectures at Call 020 7730 1234; or see

Away from it all

The Design Weekend is at Tatton Hall, Cheshire, featuring a host of high-calibre home and garden exhibitors. Tickets cost £12, concessions £8.50; under-16s get in free. See

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