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If you ask us, Easter weekend is what every weekend should look like. Two Bank Holidays mean most people get a full four days off work. But don’t waste it under the duvet - there’s always a basket full of special events to enjoy at this time of year.
Good Friday falls on 25 March and Easter Monday is on 28 March. So we’ve been on our own little egg hunt to reveal some of the best, hidden delights and blockbuster events over the long weekend.
And if you go by First TransPennine Express train then you’ll have plenty of time to spot the first signs of spring out the window, too. Where do you fancy going?
Head north for a warm welcome, a hot chocolate and an eclectic mix of powerhouse cities and seaside resorts. Newcastle, Leeds and Scarborough are among the destinations en route, so there are venues and menus to suit almost every taste and plenty to do whether it’s Easter or not.
Just 10 minutes’ walk from the station, Merrion Street is taken over by local bars and restaurants for Bank Holiday festivals of food, fine drinks, laugh-out-loud comedy and excellent music. The first one of the year is on Sunday 27 March to celebrate Easter, well mainly to just celebrate actually. With outdoor seating on a pedestrianised street, this event generates a mini carnival atmosphere. If the heavens open up, there are plenty of divine places to snuggle up for an indoor drink nearby.
Amateur players and Royal Shakespeare Company actors are coming together for a unique series of performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the acclaimed Northern Stage, Newcastle. This national touring show - featuring 14 actors as one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, Bottom, at 12 venues - hits town in time for Easter weekend.
The city of York has something of a passion for Easter and a long association with chocolate. This year it is hosting a family festival right next to York Minster. But the event that’s got our tummies rumbling is the York Chocolate Festival featuring an entire market devoted to the delicious stuff in Parliament Street plus demonstrations and tastings galore.
Make for the North West to enjoy a smorgasbord of local, independent food and the odd curveball (more of a wheel, actually). From the thriving metropolis of Liverpool, out to the green spaces of the Lakes, you certainly won’t go hungry for ideas, or food for that matter...
Liverpool celebrates its independent superstars in a two-day feast of food in the city’s hottest quarter, the Baltic Triangle, over the Easter weekend. Hosted at the Great Baltic Warehouse, the Independent Liverpool’s Spring Food and Drink Festival will bring together the best of the city’s eateries, breweries, bakeries and shops. And if all the scoffing takes its toll, you can have a sit down and refresh yourself in the Liverpool gin garden. We suggest you skip breakfast...
Can there be a better place to attend a farmer’s market than at the heart of the Lakes? If you need an excuse to spend a weekend in this beautiful part of the world, Kendal’s farmer’s market is the oldest in Cumbria and so attracts the finest locally-grown produce. Expect the choicest free-range meats, cheeses and organic vegetables next to artisan breads and homemade preserves on Sunday 27 March.
Enjoy a spoke-tacular sight in Chorley town centre as Britain’s pro cyclists start the Chorley Cycling Grand Prix on Saturday 26 March.
Characterful, gorgeous Scotland with its cosmopolitan cities and ultra-friendly towns is always the perfect choice for a weekend away. Here are a few insider tips to give you even more reasons to visit…
This street food market returns on Saturday 26 March with plenty of local food and drink vendors to help fill your belly. Enjoy the best of Edinburgh’s range of cuisines plus beer, wine and spirit bars. Add in live musical entertainment and a friendly crowd and you have The Pitt, the city’s hottest gastro gathering. Expect some of the best stars of the British Street Food Awards - and some appropriately tartan-themed food. Keep an eye out for tattie scones, Kentucky Fried Rabbit and local crab - and plenty of local tipples (hop, berry and rye).
Diane, take a note… Twin Peaks fans have been treating themselves to a slice of cherry pie since the news that David Lynch’s iconic series is making a return to the small screen in 2017. In preparation, Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema is showing all 30 hours of the 90s series on the big screen. It starts at 10.15 am on the morning of Saturday 26 March, so clear your schedules for a visit to the Black Lodge. Oh, and the coffee? Free throughout the whole weekend.
Some of the biggest names in UK comedy head to Glasgow for the city’s annual celebration of everything chucklesome. Over the Easter weekend you can laugh along with Julian Clary, Fred MacAuley, Shappi Khorsandi, Paul Merton and dozens more acclaimed comics. It’s not just stand-up though; expect theatre, improv and music. One of the highlights is a chance to see risqué American comic Jena Friedman, reprising her 2015 Edinburgh Fringe hit.
All tracks lead to Manchester and no wonder as this buzzing city is home to great shopping, dining and cultural experiences galore. This Easter our diary is stuffed with quirky things to see and do.
Get close to nature without leaving the city limits thanks to The Urban Naturalist. This session on Saturday 26 March is being held at Manchester Museum and features tips on everything from food foraging to composting. So whether you’re a budding Bear Grylls or just in search of The Good Life, you’ll be in your element without being exposed to the elements.
For an experience that is truly out of this world, visit the 67th British National Science Fiction Convention - also known as Eastercon - at the Hilton Deansgate, for a celebration of the best sci-fi writing on the planet is celebrated by fans. The convention runs from Friday 25 to Monday 28 March.
Want to combine a visit to a great venue with a unique spectacle? Head to The Deaf Institute on Good Friday for liberal helpings of both. The setting is a shabby-chic domed music hall – now an uber-trendy venue. The entertainment is the sixth Manchester Art Battle, in which artists go head-to-head to create work from scratch in front of a live audience. And, best of all, you get to choose the winner.
Head to the beautiful south for a feast of Easter events. From the city to the countryside, it’s a veritable celebration of Yorkshire and beyond...
There’s a literal feast in the case of the Gourmet Vegetarian Food Evening on Saturday 26 March at the independent Showroom Cinema. The picture house’s award-winning chef Jon Tite will present a vegetarian menu especially focusing on seasonal fruit and vegetables - and even vegetarian wine. Make a day of it with an Oscar-winner or indie film at one of the cinema’s four screens.
Leaf back through the pages of history at the Abbeydale industrial hamlet in Dore . The historic metalworks’ working water wheels are a highlight among the reborn 18th-century town. See the original works and try your hand at blacksmithing and grinding – and chat to the volunteers who will be happy to guide you. On-site craftspeople will be demonstrating long-forgotten skills, and you can stock up on their handiwork in the visitor centre.
Discover new personal treasures at the Freeman Street Market’s Craft and Vintage Fair in Grimsby on Saturday 26 March. This all-day event brings together the best in hand-crafted goods, jewellery, arts and crafts – plus vintage 20th-Century products for the home, kitchen and garden. It’s a great way to treat yourself - and your house - in a bustling part of the seaside town.
Meanwhile at Meadowhall, there’s a weekend celebration of artisan food and drink, with cookery demonstrations and market stalls live at the shopping centre on Thursday 24 to Saturday 26 March. Regional producers and renowned local chefs will tickle your taste-buds with the finest Yorkshire food, with produce including game, seafood and cakes.