On the longest day of the year, the city of light pounds to the beat of an all-day music marathon. Open to all, Fete de la Musique events are performed for free in streets, parks, public buildings, train stations and museums throughout France. From budding X-factor protegees to orchestras and operas, the event popularises music for all and has now spread to more than 100 countries worldwide. If you’ve ever dreamt of giving up the day job, grab your guitar and book your Eurostar ticket now.
After the hectic rush of the working week, ditching the daily commute for life on board a narrow boat has a certain romantic appeal. Every May, more than 100 boats travel the length of the Grand Union Canal for the annual Rickmansworth Festival in Hertforshire. Tempting land-lovers with mortgage-free independence, many seeking an alternative lifestyle, choose to take the plunge. But what’s it really like to swap bricks and mortar for a life on the canals?
Stuck for something to do this bank holiday? If a trek round the Incas is off the cards this year, why not pop to Somerset House for a mesmerising underground tour of Peruvian and Andean art courtesy of Barcelona-born graffiti artist Sixe Paredes. Inspired by traditional folk art, towering tapestries vie for attention with giant totems, whimsical ceramics, knitted masks and “talking” knots. In a surreal clash of past and future, bold colours and dazzling geometric designs entrance and entice you to a land far removed from the daily grind.
Blazing across 2000 years of civilisation, the Jerusalem Festival of Light invites the world’s top light sculptors to ignite the Old City walls in a mesmerising canvas of state-of-the-art installations, sound-and-light shows and video art work. Lighting up the city this year from the 3 -11 June 2015, the Jerusalem Festival of Light is the perfect mini-break escape, allowing you to see life in a whole new light.
With Easter arriving late this year and beach holidays still a distant glimmer on the outlook calendar, spring-time cheer may be in short supply in your office. If you’re struggling with the trauma of end-of-year reports and performance appraisals, take a five minute break to sit back and enjoy the frothy fun of St Patrick’s Day, the UK’s best-loved festival and a growing global green phenomenon.
With more than 40,000 warriors abandoning their desks to invade York’s cobbled streets, Europe’s largest Viking Festival is back in town. Celebrating its 32nd year, this year’s highlights include a Viking banquet, a candle-lit Beowulf performance and the hotly-contested Strongest Viking competition. From live combat to shield wrestling and tug-of-war contests, the festival puts a whole new spin on corporate team bonding weekends. Never has paintballing looked so tame.
Plunged back into pitch black evenings, the working weeks leading up to Christmas can feel like the gloomiest of the year. If this week’s biggest thrill consists of being the last to switch off the lights in a deserted office, it may be time to shake out the gothic glad-rags and escape instead to a supernatural land brimming with screaming banshees, ghastly ghouls and dark princes.
Ever wondered what life would be like if you’d taken a completely different career path? If you’ve ever harbored a secret desire to wander the corridors of power or perhaps produce award-winning documentaries for Channel 4, London Open House gives you the chance to indulge your wildest work-place fantasies.
As the long, dark nights slowly creep in, hibernation mode beckons once more. While it’s all too tempting to sink into the sofa straight from work, there’s a whole other clandestine world taking place in shady venues across London. Thanks to the “Strictly” effect, dance is taking the capital by storm. Whether you fancy sashaying, rock and rolling, jiving or cerocing, there’s a class out there to indulge every whim. Keen to get in on the action, I drag my two left feet along to Regent’s Park to try out some alfresco tango.
Seeking a creative escape from work-place stress? What could be more liberating than drifting towards the heavens in a wicker basket under a wisp of nylon. Now in its 35th year, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta brings together some of the world’s most skilful balloon pilots in a four-day show-stopping spectacle as part of Europe’s largest hot air balloon event.