50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows


Trevor Nelson’s Soul Brunch, Mayfair Iconic Mayfair restaurant Quaglinos has reopened with new chef Jack Smith at the helm and some starry guests on the decks for their live music bottomless brunches, starting with a stint from Trevor Nelson. Sat, 12-4pm, two courses for ?47, quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk  Drive-in Film Club, Various

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Nostalgia a-go-go as Clueless comes to Brent Cross, Pulp Fiction arrives in Sandown Park and Cruel Intentions shows at Ally Pally. Snacks will be delivered by skaters in 90s garb and beauticians are on hand for mini manis at your car door. ?27.50 per car, Sat, Sandown Park, Esher; Brent Cross; Sun, Alexandra Palace, rooftopfilmclub.com/london

Noisy Kids: Heroes & Villains, Lambeth Highbrow antics for all the family in this superhero themed concert from the Royal Philharmonic, featuring everything from John Williams’ Jurassic Park and Star Wars themes to Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets”. Held at Royal Festival Hall.

Sat, 12.30pm and 4pm, ?15-?25, southbankcentre.co.uk Wild Indie Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival, Greenwich A sci-fi geek’s dream day out, with a host of awards and screenings of short movies celebrating the storytelling and technical skill of the fantasy genre.

Sat, 1pm, Odeon Greenwich, ?16.76, online festival pass, ?7.50, filmfreeway.com 

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Anoushka Shankar: Love Letters, Lambeth The sitarist performs her glorious collection of songs about love and heartbreak. Just the tonic after a culture-starved lockdown.

Held at Royal Festival Hall. Sun, 7.30pm, from ?20, southbankcentre.co.uk Mud & Guts Rove and Roam, Elstree 

As close to the city as you can get while feeling the countryside feels, Home Farm Glamping hosts these workshops on shelter-building, bushcraft, fire-lighting and campfire skills as well as games and quizzes to nurture body and mind. Mon, ?30 for campers and day guests, athomefarm.live The Funk & Soul Kitchen, Stratford

Funk and soul with your matcha tea waffles and your ham and eggs, at the Manhattan-style design hotel, The Stratford. Sat, brunch from 11am, DJ sets 1pm-4pm, thestratford.com Guided walks, various

Harry Potter nerds, street art obsessives, medieval history lovers; there’s something for all on a walk with a guide knowledgeable in your area of fascination. Don’t forget your anorak. Sat, Roman London, Georgian London, Medieval London and Jack the Ripper Walk; Sun, Oliver Twist Walk, Street Art in Shoreditch; Mon, Harry Potter: West End to Whitehall, from ?10, londonguidedwalks.uk


The 31-mile 1066 Country Walk runs from Pevensey to Rye (Photo: Jim Holden)

Frinton Festival, Essex

The Barbican Piano Trio, cellos and poetry in Elisabeth Lutyens’ The Farmstead, and glorious violin recitals in Frinton Tennis Club’s ballroom. Sat-Mon, ?20, free tickets for aged 8-25, frintonfestival.com Brighton Fringe Festival, East Sussex

The UK’s biggest arts festival outside Edinburgh kicks off this weekend. Highlights include comedian Arthur Smith (6pm, Sun, The Warren) and a darkly funny reimagining of The Tragedy of Dorian Gray (Sat-Mon, Rialto Theatre) and, if you can’t decide, there’s the daily Pick of the Fringe (12.30pm, The Warren) for a bit of everything. There’s also the Fringe City in Jubilee Square for free outdoor performances and social buzz.

Sat-Mon, various venues and prices, brightonfringe.org English Music Festival, Horsham, Sussex Star baritone Roderick Williams performs a rarely heard work and the New Foxtrot Serenaders get those toes a-tapping with tunes by Ivor Novello, Noel Coward and Flanagan and Allen at St Mary’s Church.

Sat-Mon, times and prices vary, englishmusicfestival.org.uk 

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Sculptures on the 1066Country Walk, Sussex The 31-mile 1066 Country Walk from Pevensey to Rye – passing through Battle, of course – has been given an arty new lease of life with the installation of a series of oak sculptures. Created by sculptorKeith Pettit to mark key sites along the route with the Bayeux Tapestry as the theme.

Sat-Mon, free, visit1066country.com Open Garden, Kent Falconhurst, with its kitchen and walled gardens, wildflower meadows, orchards, and pigs and lambs in the paddocks, has a bank holiday open day.

Mon,11am-4pm, ?7, ngs.org.uk

‘Creating a National Collection’ exhibition, Southampton The City Art Gallery is collaborating with the National Gallery on their new exhibition, called Creating a National Collection, covering key moments in Western European art history. From Monet to Gainsborough, Maggi Hambling to Paula Rego, the event is part of the bid to become UK City of Culture in 2025.

Until 4 Sep, visitsouthampton.co.uk Sky High Night Glow, Isle of Wight There will be a glorious sight to behold as a mass of stunning hot air balloons light up the night sky over the valley of Robin Hill nature park. Sat-Mon, 5-10pm, ?23, robin-hill.com

50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Hot air balloons will illuminate the night sky at the Sky High Night Glow (Photo: David Rutherford)

South West

Wiltshire Creative, Salisbury

Free ticketed events from across the arts, including an interactive walkabout performance of The Invisible Man, bring the buzz to the cathedral town. Sat-Mon, wiltshirecreative.co.uk Flashback Festival Yeovil, Somerset

Five, S Club Party (no longer seven because three of them refuse to take part) and Urban Cookie Collective probably don’t get a whole load of offers to headline festivals these days. But they’re topping the bill at this nostalgia fest for kids of the 90s. Sat-Sun, from ?11.37, flashbackfestivalyeovil.com Artist open studios, Cornwall

Artists are welcoming visitors to their studios to show the best of West Cornish creativity, including 16 of them at Trewidden Garden near Penzance. Sat-Mon, free, facebook.com/ArtStudiosOpen


50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows There will be bee-themed activities galore at Pensthorpe nature reserve (Photo: Steve Adams)

Cambridge Beer Festival, Cambridge Blind tastings, events, discussions and plenty to celebrate about our dear, beloved institution, the pub.

My, how we missed you. Sat, various venues and online, cambridgebeerfestival.com Whitsun Fayre, Bury St Edmunds

Bank holiday jaunters to Suffolk may want to check out the annual fair in the market town, for craft, flower and food stalls and traditional fairground rides. Sun-Mon, 10am-4pm, ourburystedmunds.com Maker’s markets, Lincoln

Local artisans ply their wares at the top of Steep Hill. There’s affordable art, ceramics, furniture and pottery to be perused, and if you happen to have a dog in tow, your canine buddy is also welcome at the dog-friendly bank holiday weekend at Lincoln Castle. Sat-Mon, visitlincoln.com, castle entry ?10, lincolncastle.com

Bee Wild at Pensthorpe, Norfolk Bee-themed activities at the 700-acre nature reserve – and former home to BBC’s Springwatch – in Norfolk. Expect activity packs and a nature trail encouraging kids to learn more about ecosystems and the role of our buzzy friends.

Sat-Mon, 10am-4.30pm, ?11.95, pensthorpe.com


50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Spirit lovers will rejoice at this gin-soaked festival in Cardiff (Photo: Gin Stock Depot)

Gin Stock, Cardiff Spirit lovers rejoice at this gin-soaked festival, featuring a variety from different producers, as well as street food to soak up the mother’s ruin. Sun, ?30, depotcardiff.com

Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye/online The literary festival pulls in the big guns. This weekend, highlights include children’s laureate Cressida Cowell, David Walliams in conversation with Shappi Khorsandi, and David Hockney live from his Normandy farmhouse studio.

Plus everyone from Ray Mears to Mel Geidroyc, Tom Allen to Michael Sheen, via Graham Norton who talks to Marian Keyes and Richard Osman. While the events take place in person in Hay, audience attendance is online only. Sat-Mon, events free to watch for 24 hours after broadcast, hayfestival.com


50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Outdoor screenings are set to take place in the grounds of Wollaton Hall

Van Gogh Alive, Birmingham

It’s a sensory delight as Van Gogh is given a 21st-century makeover thanks to immersive gallery technology. A symphony of light, colour, fragrance and music brings the painter’s masterpieces to life. Sat-Mon, ?22.50, birminghamhippodrome.com

UK’s Strongest Man, Milton Keynes Fancy watching a 30-stone man picking up a 10 tonne truck with his bare hands by way of bank holiday fun? Why wouldn’t you?

Watch the Channel 5 show live from Stadium MK. Sat-Mon, call the box office on 01908 622922, ultimatestrongman.tv Comedy Festival, Oxford

Ahir Shah, Jacob Hawley and Sara Barron perform at this outdoor festival of laughs in the less funny surroundings of Oxford Castle and prison. Mon, 7pm and 9pm, prices varyoxfordcastleandprison.co.uk Vintage Open Air Cinema, Milton Keynes

Get your gladrags on (there are prizes) for old movie clips, jazz and an usher service at Furtho Manor Farm before a dusk screening of Mamma Mia. Sun, 8.30pm, ?15, voacinema.co.uk

50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Beat the Street is an interactive, outdoor challenge across Leicester (Photo: Mike Sewell)

Crafts BBQ Bash, Birmingham There won’t be any burnt bangers here – Brummie dining experience Craft have got Stuart Collins, winner of The Great British Menu, on board.

Sun, ?60, weare-craft.co.uk Beat the Street family game, Leicester An interactive, outdoor challenge across the city.

Beeping and flashing sensors (above) called Beat Boxes are on lampposts and you score points as you clock up the miles. Sat-Mon, free, beatthestreet.me/leicester Adventure Cinema, Nottingham

Outdoor screenings in the grounds of Wollaton Hall, an apt venue given it starred in the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises (and they showed that one last night in case you’re considering it a glaring omission). Sat, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 2pm, Mamma Mia, 8pm; Sun, The Jungle Book, 2pm, Les Miserables, 7.30pm, ?14.50, adventurecinema.co.uk


50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Manchester Flower Show will be the city’s first public event

AI: More than Human Exhibition, Liverpool It moved three times but Liverpool’s World Museum has finally opened the blockbuster science exhibition of immersive artworks and future vision.

Sat-Mon, ?12, liverpoolmuseums.org.uk Get up and Grow, Salford Bridgewater is RHS’s first new garden in 17 years and the largest gardening project in Europe.

There’s a garden trail, children’s yoga, bee-themed family workshops and, on Monday, a ‘Bee Cart performance’ – an interactive show all about our beloved bees. Sat-Mon, ?11, rhs.org.uk Manchester Flower Show, Manchester

All hail Manchester’s first public event of 2021 as doorways, balconies, statues and fountains will feature floral displays, among them an NHS heroes floral tribute, a cherry blossom fountain and an art deco celebration of the 1920s. Sat-Mon, free, visitmanchester.com Opening weekend at Homeground, Manchester

The new outdoor theatre experience opens with DJ sets, cabaret, circus workshops and very excellent pizza. Sat-Mon, prices vary, homemcr.org Gisburne Park Festival, Lancashire

Family shows, tribute bands (Fleetwood Bac, anyone?) and Mamma Mia Live are among the acts performing at this 1,000-acre country park in the Ribble Valley (inset below). Sat-Mon, prices vary, gisburneparkpopup.com

50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Gisburne Park is set to host family shows and tribute bands

Clearbeck House Open Gardens, Lancaster Rapunzel’s tower, a turf maze, a walk-through pyramid and a two-acre wildlife lake are among delights to behold at this open garden event. Sun, ?4, ngs.org.uk

Follow the White Rabbit, Hull Who knew that Lewis Carroll had connections to Hull? His mum was raised there and, as such, the city has a new White Rabbit trail to discover, visiting locations linked to the family and his work.

Sat-Mon, free, visithull.org Teddy Bear’s picnic at Raby Castle, County Durham  Take ted for a picnic in the Deer Park and explore both the Teddy Bears’ Picnic trail in the Walled Garden and bears hiding in the castle.

Sat-Mon, castle entry ?13, raby.co.uk


50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows Night Fever in Dundee is the first major exhibition looking at the relationship between club culture and design (Photo: Jane Barlow/PA)

Marine Fest East, Lothian The Scottish Seabird Centre kicks off its first festival to raise awareness of the pressures facing marine wildlife. At the visitor centre and digitally, find live science and puppet shows, rockpool rambles, bird identification walks and beach cleaning, sand sculpting, sketching – and even a workshop to address football’s plastic problem.

Mon until 13 June, seabird.org ‘Night Fever’ exhibition, Dundee The first major exhibition looking at the relationship between club culture and design examines iconic clubs in New York, Paris, Florence, Manchester, London, Beirut, Berlin, as well as towns and cities across Scotland.

At Dundee’s V&A Museum. Sat-Mon, ?12, vam.ac.uk/dundee Bank Holiday Drive-in Panto, Glasgow

Because pantos aren’t just for Christmas (and last year, they weren’t even for Christmas), it’s better late than never for this live performance of The Wizard of Oz, on stage and broadcast across two massive LED screens. Sat, 5.45pm, ?47.80 per car, feverup.com/m/96868 Orkney Folk Festival, Orkney

The Hebridean islands go digital this year for online performances, including their traditional (this time virtual) fiddler’s rally. Sat-Sun, all-inclusive weekend streaming ?40 orkneyfolkfestival.com Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Edinburgh

A mix of online and live theatre and dance events for youngsters, including free pop-up encounters, walkabout characters and sound trails in outdoor spaces, including the Royal Botanic Gardens. Sat-Mon, free, imaginate.org.uk

50 fun ways to spend this bank holiday across the UK, from films to festivals to flower shows The Scottish Seabird Centre kicks off its first festival to raise awareness of the pressures facing marine wildlife (Photo: Phil Wilkinson Photography)

Perth Festival, Perthshire The final day sees a closing performance from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with the acclaimed violinist Nicola Benedetti, available to watch online.

Sat, 7.30pm, ?8, perthfestival.co.uk Victoria & Albert exhibition, Edinburgh The Palace of Holyroodhouse is hosting a collection of 80 watercolour paintings celebrating their love for Scotland.

Sat-Mon, ?7.80, rct.uk

Nationwide and virtual

Joint Chester and Chippenham Folk Festival, virtual Concerts and ceilidhs with the likes of Martin and Eliza Carthy, as the festival goes online and joins forces with its northern counterpart, the Chester Folk Festival. Sat-Mon, chesterandchippenham.com

Kids rule at English National Heritage, nationwide Themed performances, storytellers and quests across 15 sites, including fairy hunting at Brodsworth Hall in Yorkshire and competing in The Neolithic Games at Stonehenge. Sat-Mon, included with admission, english-heritage.org.uk 

Mind Body Spirit Wellbeing Festival, virtual Workshops about spirituality, free daily yoga sessions and – with everything we’ve gone through in the past year – a particular emphasis on self care. Namaste.

Sat-Mon, ?16, mindbodyspirit.co.uk Edinburgh Marathon festival, virtual Scotland’s biggest virtual running festival means you can do things on your own terms – from 5K to the full shebang.

Sat-Sun, ?30 for full marathon, edinburghmarathon.com