Spring is coming! As the days grow longer and the air feels warmer, the gentle arrival of April is clearing away the gloomy skies of winter and bringing with it a raft of outings, festivals and celebrations.
From across the UK and Ireland we have selected a mixture of events from the worlds of literature, sport, art, history, nature, and music. If you are planning a trip to one of the UK or Ireland’s great cities in April, take a look at what is in store below.
5th to 14th April
The Attenborough Nature Centre is part of a 360 acre nature reserve in the Nottinghamshire suburb of Attenborough. Appropriately, it was opened in 1966 by world-famous naturalist Sir David Attenborough and now offers events all year round that aim to educate people of all ages about wildlife. Just a few miles from Nottingham city centre and only eight minutes by train, it is conveniently located for visitors to the city.
During the Easter holidays they are running several events as part of the Attenborough Holiday Club from the 3rd April. These include the “Signs of Spring” and “Woodland Wildlife” events, where children will be able to learn more about the changing of the season, and the animals and plants that emerge at this time of year. Entry cost is £5 and is open to children over the age of 4, you can read more on their events page.
8th to 25th April
Every two years the Glasgow International features some of the best of local and international contemporary art. Events are held in locations spread across this buzzing, multicultural city, offering easy access to ambitious works from artists all over the world. If you want somewhere to start, the best place would be ‘The Glasgow International hub’ hosted by Wasp Studios on Osborne Street. During the festival, the hub will be home to Glasgow International staff who can help you put together an itinerary.
The Tramway art space will be home to several exhibits, including Lawrence Lek’s ‘QE3’ – a fictional telling of the final voyage of the QE2 as it returns home to Glasgow, using models and virtual reality. Alexandra Bircken’s ‘Trolley’ is a sculptural examination of the history of the Tramway space as a now defunct transport line.
15th to 17th April
The RHS flower show comes to Wales in April with a joyful celebration of Spring, showcasing a range of flowers and plants. The event will celebrate what would be the 100th birthday of author Roald Dahl – including displays inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; a twelve-foot tall Big Friendly Giant sculpture, and a Golden Ticket Family Trail. A custom ‘medieval medicinal herb garden’ has been built by designer Anthea Guthrie to promote the healthy benefits of green spaces and gardening. Prices range from £8 for members to £12 for tickets bought on the day.
17th to 24th April
On Ireland’s west coast this Spring, writers from over twenty countries will come together in Galway for the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Held annually since 1985, the week-long event will feature readings, book launches, lectures, concerts, and more.
Highlights of this year’s event include pop-up art exhibits in Galway’s Latin Quarter and The Letterfrack Poetry Trail, which is a guided tour of nine plaques adorned with poems across Connemara National Park, the Connemara West Centre, and the village of Letterfrack – combining nature with the spoken word. Bone Fire – a new collection of poetry by Susan Millar DuMars will be officially launched, and American essayist and novelist Leslie Jamison will be in conversation with journalist Sinéad Gleeson.
The 23rd April commemorates the death of the patron saint of England and events will be taking place across England on the Saturday. According to legend, St George slayed a dragon, in the process saving a princess who was to be sacrificed, this tale is often re-enacted at St George’s Day events. It is also traditional to hang the St George’s Cross, the national flag of England, and to wear a red rose, an English national symbol and flower.
In London “The Feast of St George” will take place in Trafalgar Square; the square will be decorated in red and white and there will be live music, games, dances and other festivities. Traditional English fare will also be cooked and available at food stalls. This St George’s Day also coincides with the 400th birthday of William Shakespeare and in Liverpool the fourth annual St George’s Day Festival will feature several Shakespeare-themed events.
Unfortunately if you have aspirations of running a marathon it is too late to enter the London one this year! However, you can participate as a spectator of this now iconic London event that has run annually since 1981. The race starts in Blackheath in South East London, just next to the beautiful Greenwich Park (home of the Meridian Line and Greenwich Observatory). The race then continues across South London up to and across the iconic Tower Bridge; the race doubles back towards East London before reaching its final stretch down Victoria Embankment to Westminster.
You can track runners on the offical website as well as getting information about pubs and transport near to the route. Roads will be closed to make way for the marathon route, so public transport may be busier than usual.
The marathon starts at 9am with wheelchair racers, followed by elite men and women runners leaving from 9:20am and finally the general runners at 10:10am. Elite runners should finish around noon, while the slower members of the public, i.e. those wearing incredibly large and hot costumes, should finish around 4pm!
27th April to 2nd May
Fans of jazz are in for a treat - if they are in the Cheltenham area at the end of April - as Cheltenham Festivals once again stages its ever popular jazz festival that celebrates its twentieth anniversary in 2016. This year’s curator is Jamie Cullum, who as well as helping to put together the six day line-up, will also be peforming the closing concert on the 2nd May.
Artists performing at the festival include Beverley Knight, Guy Garvey, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Brand New Heavies, and The Darius Brubeck Quartet. Plus there will be a celebration of the work of legendary American record producer Quincy Jones featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra.
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