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Books may let you travel without moving but what’s better than reading on a train? With a biscuit and a cuppa. We love Durham Book Festival – an unmissable literary jamboree that always attracts stellar names. This year Alexander McCall Smith, releasing the 20th No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel this year, is a headliner. Also on the bill are Mersey Poet Roger McGough, Louis de Bernières, Joanne Harris, the BBC’s Kirsty Wark and ex-Blue Peter favourite Janet Ellis.
So many cities are switched on to the festival of light idea. But Leeds are going large by bathing the whole city in rays this October. Over two nights you can visit 74 installations, indoor and out. Most are a few minutes’ walk from the train station so the best way to enjoy the art is on a self-guided trail. There are different routes for families, art-lovers and history buffs. Plus performances galore along the way. How’s that for light entertainment?
Win or lose on the gee-gees, the races is a fantastic day out – and York’s end of season finale lets you experience the glamour, drama and liquid refreshment with aplomb. Friday offers punters bountiful food and tipples at the Countryside Market. Then Saturday is the big send off with live music and great action on the track. Back TransPennine Express each way if you want to travel in style.
Owning art used to be the preserve of people with country piles and monocles. Not anymore. The Manchester Art Fair lets you browse amazing art, meet the creators and find something fabulous for your front room. Even if you’re not in the market for a new painting, there’s lots to do – including taster courses in classic art techniques, printmaking demos and workshops for the kids. The organisers are offering TransPennine Express travellers free entry, saving you £5 on your visit. Use the link above and the offer code TRANSPENNINE to claim your loot. WE’RE NOT SHOUTING – IT HAS TO BE IN CAPS.
Not the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, though both feature men with large muscles and anchor tattoos. This is a celebration of body ink to blow your mind. As well as gawping at some of the finest tattoo art on the planet, you can get yourself inked by needling superstars. The best bit? Against the clock tattoo duels between artists on stage. Go along to this huge festival of music, entertainment, food, drink and the occasional snake. You won’t regret it – unlike that giant tattoo of your ex across your back. What were you thinking?
As if this arty, party city wasn’t dazzling enough, Glasgow is going to ignite the night in October with GlasGLOW, held in the otherworldly setting of the glass-domed Botanic Gardens. This year, immerse yourself in nine themed worlds created by striking light installations. Portals open to a Zombie Tea Room, the yummy-sounding Marshmallowland and The Patch – where you’re invited to pay your respects to the pumpkin god.
Bringing Bavarian excess to Scarborough, Oktoberfest hits town for the last three Friday and Saturday nights of the month. The venue? The Tipi tents, where real fires under canvas are used to brown your bratwurst to perfection. Enjoy your beer in traditional two-pint stein glasses while traditionally-dressed servers wait on you hand, foot and handlebar moustache.
October is packed with must-see events in the North and Scotland so book an Advance ticket now and don't miss a thing.