The south and south-west
The music producer Brian Eno is the festival’s guest artistic director this year, as more than three weeks of cultural events get under way. Highlights range from Eno’s own improvisational musical work, This is Pure Scenius, through to processions, pyrotechnics, world theatre premieres and recitals of Rachmaninov.
- May 1-23; various locations, Brighton, Sussex; www.brightonfestival.org; ticket prices vary
Viking attack in Dorset
The air will be thick with battle cries around the ruins of Corfe Castle this weekend with
re-enactments of military clashes and Saxon village life on this beautiful stretch of the Dorset coastline.
- May 1-3; Corfe Castle, Dorset; www.nationaltrust.org.uk; adult £6.20, child £3.10
- See a selected list of events and activities on National Trust properties
Jazz and blues in Plymouth
Kicking off four months of summer festivals in Plymouth, this jazz and blues festival has gigs – some free of charge – around the Barbican, the town’s historic quayside quarter.
- May 1-9; Plymouth, Devon; www.barbicanjazzandbluesfestival.com; admission fees vary
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
There will be a spring celebration with artistic workshops, wildlife activities, demonstrations and music throughout the gardens. Live Jazz will play on Flora’s Green, where visitors can also try their hand at Willow Weaving, face painting and paper bunting making. Horse carriage rides will depart from the Green throughout the day, taking visitors on a 15 minute ride through the pastures of the Wider Estate where demonstrations of woodturning, hazel weaving, flock care and charcoal burning will be taking place, as well as a behind the scenes tour of Heligan’s pioneering Wildlife Project.
- May 3; Cornwall; www.heligan.com; adults £10, children £6
In the picturesque Devon fishing port, the Brixham Pirate and Shanty Festival takes place, where a world record attempt for the number of people dressed as pirates will occur.
- April 30 - May 3; Brixham, Devon; www.brixhampiratefestival.co.uk
The Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival
Over 20 guided walks, including some challenging full day outings in and around the glorious Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. All walks are free but pre-booking is strongly recommended;
Spalding flower parade
Over 800 participants will take part in the 52nd Spalding Flower Parade (themed "Screen Heroes").
- May 1; Spalding, Lincolnshire; 01775 724843; www.flowerparade.org
London and the East
Walk with dinosaurs
Mingle with Tyrannosaurus rex (or, rather, a life-size animatronic replica) on Oxford Street as Dinosaurs Unleashed comes to a close on May 3.
Oxford Street, London
- www.dinosaursunleashed.co.uk; Adults £15.50, children (aged 4 to 14) £11 (not including booking fee)
High Tide Festival
Annual arts festival held in Halesworth, Suffolk, featuring local and international artists as well as a world premiere theatre productions, debates, talks, and films.
- May 3; www.hightide.org.uk
Feast of flowers
The renowned 70-acre gardens of Muncaster Castle are now coming into their own, in particular the spectacular azaleas and rhododendrons. Free guided walks are being held with the head gardener this long weekend, taking in some of the world’s rarest rhododendrons, which bloom in these grounds.
- Until May 3; Muncaster Castle, Cumbria; www.muncaster.co.uk; adult £8.50, child £6
More May Bank Holiday events can be found here
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