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The tradition of sending lanterns up into the New Year sky dates back two millennia but that's a drop in the primordial ocean compared to Edinburgh Zoo's festival, which tells a 570 million-year story of luminescent wildlife evolution. Giant Lanterns is spectacularly romantic – and, if you fancy a smooch without the kids under your feet, there's an adult only night on 10 January. The theme this year is Lost Worlds and there's no better place to lose yourself than among these stunning creatures of the night.
Newcastle's party credentials are legendary. But the city's answer to the South Bank, Gateshead, is contributing serious cultural cache too. This January, the venue that kickstarted it all has just opened the doors on two stunning new exhibitions. The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is challenging how we view the place of humans in the world with the multi-disciplinary Animalesque collection. And the 50-year career of pioneering feminist artist Judy Chicago is celebrated with the first, major UK survey of her work. Still want some post-Christmas party sparkle? Six restaurant on the top floor serves spectacular cocktails.
The sales start before the Christmas turkey is cooked these days but if you’ve put your feet up and enjoyed a proper festive break, why not dust off your ailing purse and head to one of Europe’s biggest shopping malls – Meadowhall? The train takes you practically to the door and there are over 230 stores to sift through as you hunt for the ultimate bargain.
What do you get when over 2,000 musicians descend on Glasgow, fling open the doors to iconic venues such as the Barrowland Ballroom and get the whole city dancing? No, it’s not a noise abatement order, it’s Celtic Connections 2020. 300 events will give audiences a flavour of roots music from around the world from jazz and soul to rock and blues, folk music to fusion. This is a cultural coming together on an epic scale. And with an amazing soundtrack.
Over two weeks, on multiple stages and in galleries galore, the Push Festival returns to showcase the best creative talent in the North West. Choose theatre, choose movies, choose art, choose references to more recent sequels to Danny Boyle movies. You can even choose to hone your own writing skills, meet filmmakers and explore the latest VR developments if you’re a maker as well as a consumer of creative content.
Experiencing the grandeur of the Liverpool Empire is almost worth the ticket price alone but when the on-stage entertainment is as magical as this you know you’re in for an unforgettable night. An adaptation of the 2007 hit movie, Once is a raw love story about a struggling busker who falls for an exotic stranger. Their romance is played out on the guitar and bristles with hope and heartache. There’s intimacy in spades – in fact, this could be the perfect date night.
You’ve waltzed around the living room in Blackpool week, hid behind the dog during the dance offs, and wondered whether that bloke who plays Carlton in the Fresh Prince can come back every week… Now it’s time to sample the magic of Strictly up close and in sequins with the live tour. The first date in the north is in Leeds. There’s a matinee for Gran and you can go back with your mates in the evening for a second helping of shimmering glam.
Kick off your work boots and slip into something more comfortable – or at least a bit jazzier – as you leave your couch behind and get your groove on at Durham’s funkiest dance festival. The DJam Swing Dance Festival is a celebration of fancy footwork with bookable lessons to help transform you from dad dancer to disco diva.
January is packed with must-see events in the North and Scotland to welcome the New Year with a bang, so book an Advance ticket now and don't miss a thing.