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On now until 6 May
Venues across the North
You may not have heard about it yet, but this one’s a corker. To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, there are 12 simultaneous exhibitions of his drawings taking place across the UK. Seven of them are right here in the North, with all the drawings taken from the Royal Collection Trust. Go to each gallery’s web page to find what’s on around your way (see links below) and then plan your trip and see how many of Leonardo’s works you can catch this April. It’s like Pokémon Renaissance Edition.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow • Leeds Art Gallery • Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool • Manchester Art Gallery • Millennium Gallery, Sheffield • Sunderland Museums & Winter Gardens
1 April to 31 May
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Knowing you’ve got a visit to Edinburgh planned is always exciting – there’s just so many things to do. As perfect springtime activities go, a guided tour of the Botanic Garden is right up there with the best of them. Head to the John Hope Gateway visitor centre and book a tour taking in the rhododendrons as they are in bloom. The walks costs just £6 and takes an hour kicking off at 11am every morning in April. It’s great value and a beautiful way to see the colours of spring.
At the time of writing, the 2018 winner Tiger Roll is still the bookies best bet in the UK’s biggest racing event, but the Grand National is never just about the race. This is a national spectacle, drawing 600 million viewers for the Sunday race. With Ladies Day on the Friday and the big race on the Saturday at 5.15, treating yourself to a trip to Aintree will be one for the memory bank – if not the actual bank.
Old Trafford and across the city
You’re too late to sign up for the event but there’s nothing better than cheering people on as they dash around the streets trying to improve on their PB and raise money to fight cancer. The race starts at Old Trafford but whooshes (and, for some laudable few, wheezes) across the whole of the city.
Venues across the city
We’re huge fans of the LYFF, which has an incredible amount of screenings, many with creative activities. As well as watching films you can also step behind the silver screen and discover how to get involved in the craft of filmmaking. Learn how to set up a YouTube channel for Fortnite vloggers, take animation masterclasses, acting classes, costume design workshops, on-screen fighting skills courses and much more besides. If you fancy popping along to the Festival you can download a programme here. Believe us, you’ll need it.
Home is where the art is, that’s our byword. But on this occasion Home is where the award-winning author discusses the topics covered in his latest book. In a world where nervousness is the new normal, Matt Haig discusses how to feel happy, human and whole in our tumultuous present day.
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
It’s nigh on impossible to improve the joy to be found at any of the multiple and wonderful botanical gardens across the network… but Glasgow is having a good try by hosting a book fair. With a variety of secondhand, vintage and antiquarian books on sale, this is a book browsers dream. You’ll also find prints, maps and all manner of exciting ephemera. Head to the Hopkirk Building, have a contemplative wander, bag yourself a book and then bimble off to a leafy bower. That sounds pretty perfect to us.
Tyne Bank Brewery
If you can conjure a better afternoon than heading to an award-winning brewery that’s hosting a food fair, then your magic is incredibly strong. For the rest of us we can simply hop on a train to Newcastle’s Tyne Bank Brewery Tap. If you aren’t aware of the concept, a ‘tap’ is the brewery opening its doors, setting out tables and chairs and serving their beer metres away from where it’s created. Expect pizza, seitan sticky ribs, vegan street food and lots more sticky-fingered treats.