High-quality local food? Check. High-quality local booze? Check. High-quality local art, music and parties? Triple check. You get the picture; England’s got you covered. Here are five unmissable events to enjoy this spring.
1. Chow your way through town at the Leeds Indie Food Festival
May and early 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 10-28 May. For afters, there's a variety of tempting food and drink events taking place through spring and early summer, including the Great British Food and Drink Festival at nearby Harewood House from 26-28 May.
For a full month, between 4 May and 3 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 visual artist David Shrigley directing an extraordinary programme of art, theatre, dance, music, literature and family shows. Highlights include performances from Jungle and comedian Bridget Christie.
LightNight Liverpool promises a city-wide extravaganza of art for a single night on 18 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 26 and 27 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.
5. Sip G&Ts in one of the world's oldest train stations
Head to Brunel's Old Station, a vast events space just footsteps away from Bristol Temple Meads Station, for a gin-themed spectacular. The Bristol event takes place on 25 and 26 May but there are also a number of other gin festivals happening around the country this spring and summer. 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).