Whatever it is you’re into, England’s got you covered. High-quality local food? Check. High-quality local booze? Check. High-quality local art, music and parties? Triple check. You get the picture. Here are our top 10 unmissable events in the English spring. (Copy: Jamey Bergman)
Did you know that Leeds is an up-and-coming capitol of cuisine in the UK? May and June provide a perfect time to explore the Yorkshire foodie hotspot, as two major food-centric events come to town. To start, the Leeds Indie Food Festival showcases the city’s booming local food and drink scene with a wide range of events held in independent restaurants, bars, cinemas, art galleries and breweries between 11-28 May. For afters, there's a variety of tempting food and drink events taking place through spring and early summer, including the Yorkshire Post Food and Drink from 2-4 June.
For a full month, between 5 May and 4 June, Brighton Fringe and Brighton Festival colour the beachside city of Brighton with a rainbow of entertainment. Brighton Fringe – one of the world’s largest fringe festivals – features cabaret, comedy, club nights, burlesque, street performance, theatre and drag shows in its eclectic programme of events. The Brighton Festival – the largest multi-arts festival in England – sees virtuoso writer and performer Kate Tempest directing an extraordinary programme of art, theatre, dance, music, literature and family shows, with highlights including appearances from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins and an exclusive performance by cabaret diva Meow Meow and the Orchester der Kleinen Regiment.
Hull is being feted in 2017, bringing high culture to this historical riverside city in East Yorkshire. As part of the City of Culture year and following a £5.1m refurbishment, the Ferens Art Gallery has reopened with a full schedule of events. Many of Irish-born, British painter Francis Bacon’s seminal works will be on display this spring as part of the gallery’s permanent collection, and the venue will also play host to the prestigious Turner Prize later in the year.
With the Penwith peninsula branch of the Tate galleries scheduled to reopen 31 March, Cornwall will be awash in art this spring. The new Tate St Ives will double the venue’s exhibition area, with a low-profile, green-roofed architectural expansion. The site, perched on the coast, is a fitting setting for its The Studio and the Sea double exhibition, which chronicles the conversation between landscape and art through the mediums of film and ceramics. Then, when you’ve seen all the art, it’s time to hit the beach to experience the unique light that draws artists from far and wide to this Cornish town.
LightNight Liverpool promises a city-wide extravaganza of art for a single night on 19 May. More than 100 free events are scheduled as art spaces and venerable city sites throw open their doors to late-night, culturally-minded revellers. Come prepared to encounter all manner of performance art, street dancers, live music, huge light projections, theatre, spoken word, arts and crafts and hands-on workshops ... all night long. Venues include some of the city’s best-known landmarks, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, Albert Dock and the Baltic Triangle.
Join an expected 70,000 revellers at the annual Birmingham Pride celebrations on 28 and 29 May, over the spring bank holiday weekend. The largest two-day LGBTQ festival in the UK is held in the Birmingham Gay Village along Hurst Street and features a Carnival Parade through the middle of Birmingham along with well-known music acts on several stages. The main stage is complemented by a dance arena, women’s arena, a street party and a cabaret marquee.
There are a number of gin-based festivals prowling around the outskirts of Manchester this spring. They’re all put on by The Gin Society for a good cause (no, it’s not your rosy cheeks after you’ve had a few). There is no more English a way to spend a warm, spring day than with the most English of tipples, and luckily for festivalgoers, you’ll be fed (for an extra cost) and entertained (for free). Head to Manchester and strike out for Bolton on 26 May or Saddleworth on 2 June.
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