Now that spring is making an appearance, we thought we’d celebrate UK weekend breaks for this time of year. The days are longer and brighter, and there are plenty of outdoor events, pop ups, music gigs and cultural activities to be getting involved in.
By spring, Londoners have stopped hibernating because finally, summer doesn’t seem so far away. As well as milder weather, there’s so much to keep you busy from March to May. Whether you go to organised events, hit the shops of Oxford Street or make the most of green spaces like Hyde Park, Kew Gardens and Richmond Park, your weekend itinerary will be full.
For sports enthusiasts, annual events like The Boat Race takes place on 7 April along the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs. The London Marathon takes place on 28 April, starting in Greenwich Park all the way to Buckingham Palace.
If you plan to come over Easter Bank Holiday weekend, then London has everything from egg hunts for the kids to theatre performances, like the one at Sadler’s Wells where Aracaladanza provide two days of family-friendly stage shows from 19-20 April.
Foodies and shoppers will love London’s choice of weekend markets and festivals that are best enjoyed in good weather. The London Coffee Festival takes place 28-31 March at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, while things like Portobello Road Market, Borough Market and Greenwich Market happen weekly so you can get a taste of everyday London life.
In the northwest of England, Manchester is an exciting option for a city break. Not only can you shop till you drop in the Trafford Centre and in the industrial Northern Quarter, there’s a thriving music and arts scene too. Some of the biggest music venues including Manchester Arena, the O2 Apollo and Bridgewater Hall live here.
From 28-31 March, Not Quite Light Weekend will be putting on a series of art, music, debate and architecture events. The annual Manchester Jazz Festival will take place from 23-27 May at multiple venues across the city, with the main hub running from St Ann’s Square to New Cathedral Street.
If sightseeing is on the agenda, then why not see the city from the waterways? You can hop onboard Manchester River Cruises or Manchester Ship Canal Cruises in good weather. There are also daily walking tours where you can discover Manchester’s most iconic buildings such as Manchester Cathedral, The Royal Exchange and Lincoln Memorial.
For the culture vultures, Manchester has some great exhibitions, cinemas and festivals year-round. Check out Manchester Art Gallery to see Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition until 22 April, or The University of Manchester for Ancient Textiles from the Andes until September 2019.
Liverpool is a great all-rounder for a city break, especially as spring makes an appearance. Whether you decide to head here for the annual Aintree Grand National on 6 April, or just want to explore what the city has to offer, there’s something for everyone.
One of the main family-friendly events is the Royal Albert Docks Festival. A series of flagship events take place throughout the year; from 12-14 April you can attend Heritage on the Dock. For music lovers, the UK’s leading independent festival of emerging talent Sound City takes places from 3–5 May in Liverpool Baltic Triangle.
Soak up Liverpool’s waterfront views at Bordeaux Wine Festival from 31 May to 2 June. You can enjoy world-class music, food, art and of course, plenty of wine. Alternatively, Liverpool’s annual Food and Drink Festival will kick off on 28 April this year with some epic street food, chef demos, craft beer and kids’ activities. It’s the perfect spring day out.
If you’re a fan of Leonardo da Vinci, then until 6 May you can visit the Walker Art Gallery as it marks the 500th anniversary of his death. Another free cultural event is LightNight on 17 May, offering a series of workshops, music, performance and more for its 10th anniversary.
Scotland’s biggest city is bursting things to see and do, from exploring world-class museums and galleries like Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to the annual Glasgow Film Festival which is the third biggest in the UK. There are no less than 70 parks and green spaces, and it’s a major hub for sports like rugby and football. This spring, you can get involved with some great events happening across the city during a weekend break.
Glasgow’s Eat and Drink Festival takes place at the Exhibition Centre from 24-27 May, with a jam-packed line up of street food, mixologists and artisan producers. Another great street food event will be held at the Barras Art and Design Centre to celebrate the start of summer on 31st March.
Get a taste of Glasgow’s cross art scene at Outskirts Festival on 27 April at Platform Glasgow. There will be an unbeatable line up of performance, music and visual art. If you enjoy the theatre, then head to King’s Theatre Glasgow for a sensational production of Dirty Dancing from 20-25 May.
For some of the best sightseeing and days out in the city, heads to the 12th century Glasgow Cathedral, famous George Square and iconic Glasgow School of Art. You can get close to nature at Kibble Palace in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens – one of the largest glasshouses in Britain.