February Events – the best UK activities for half term & beyond

vikings york

SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s Festival of Light, 9-12 February

Now in its 4th year, SPECTRA promises to celebrate the Scottish Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology through an ingenious array of light installations and exhibitions in key locations throughout the city. Alongside the ambient exhibits there will be family activities and more – perfect for the start of half term week! http://spectraaberdeen.com/spectra431/

St Ives Feast & Hurling the Silver Ball, 9 February

One of Cornwall’s oldest customs in one of its most popular locations, the event begins with a civic procession before two teams (‘countrymen’ and ‘townsmen’) try to win possession of a silver coated ball in a scrappy game of brinkmanship played throughout the town. The player who returns the ball to the mayor on the steps of the Guildhall on the stroke of midday is the winner and receives a silver coin! http://www.visitstives.org.uk/events/st-ives-feast-hurling-the-silver-ball-p505483?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=visitcornwall.com&utm_campaign=listing

Stargazing, Various Locations, February

stargazing

February is the perfect time for gazing at the stars, with the shorter nights still a distance away. The UK now offers over 150 Dark Sky Discovery sites, many of which are located in gorgeous National Parks and provide perfect settings from which to gaze up to the heavens and enjoy the breath-taking majesty of the constellations. Active explorations by day and lying under the stars at night – what could be better! Just remember to wrap up warm! http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/

Showzam! Celebration of circus, magic and live performance, 11-14 February

Blackpool’s seaside setting and holiday heritage makes it the perfect location for this grand celebration of live performance. Expect street theatre, sideshow attractions, a free entertainment hub, carnival ball, heritage tours and a host of other surprises. http://www.visitblackpool.com/showzam/

English Heritage Half Term Activities, Various Locations

Let the little ones take a fun tour of English history at locations throughout the country this February half-term. They could become a butler or an awesome archaeologist, sign up for spy school, explore the world of fairy-tales or sit in a bi-plane at Stonehenge. And with so much fun to be had, they might not realise they’re learning something! http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/familydaysout/febhalfterm/.

RBS Six Nations Championship, Cardiff, 11 February

It’s Wales versus England in the scenic setting of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.  This ancient sporting rivalry has produced over one hundred games of rugby since the first meeting in 1881, with a very even match history. And with the Principality Stadium itself offering a majestic riverside setting and one of the most vibrant atmospheres on match day, so there really is no better place to watch the action. http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/matchcentre/match_centre.php?section=overview&fixid=204328#i462DWEb2PXgqQiZ.97

Snowdrop Walks, Various Locations, February

snowdrops

The ever popular Galanthus (Greek for ‘milk flower’) offers a glorious natural illustration of the changing of the seasons. Normally flowering at the end of January, the first half term break of 2017 is the perfect time to go for a leisurely walk and admire the beauty of winter in bloom. You can find Snowdrop Walks at National Trust properties around the country, but we’d also recommend Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire and, of course, the stunning Snowdrop Valley in Devon. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/top-spots-for-snowdrops

Glasgow Film Festival, 15-26 February

One of the UK’s leading film festivals, the GFF allows you to get ahead of the game and see exclusive screenings of the latest films and talks from their creators. This year’s programme includes and a 30th anniversary screening of The Lost Boys in a secret location. Genre fans are well catered for with FrightFest, a weekend of terror, and there are a number of UK premieres, showcases and events. http://glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival

Jorvik Viking Festival, 20-16 February

jorvik

Europe’s largest celebration of Viking heritage takes place in the elegant streets of York, where Ivar the Boneless once took control with his Great Heathen Army. Vikings left the city when the equally charming Eric Bloodaxe was seen off by King Eadred, but its Scandinavian heritage (and the arrival of spring) is still celebrated with much blowing of horns, drinking of mead and events and activities for the whole family. http://www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk/

Theatre Workshops, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, 20-24 February

Shakespeare’s spiritual home seems like the perfect place for a host of stunning storytelling events. There are creative writing workshops for older kids and younger teens, a play in a day for different age groups, mask and stage fighting courses, free craft activities and more! https://www.rsc.org.uk/events/february-half-term-activities

Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Match, Peak District, 28 & 29 February

The town of Ashbourne’s medieval tribute to ‘the beautiful game’ allows spectators to take part in a huge match played over two eight hour periods with goals over three miles apart! Each Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday two teams from both sides of the river compete to score the most goals. Both the Up’ards and the Down’ards teams boast hundreds of players, and there’s a convivial atmosphere throughout the town – assuming you don’t break the rules (the main ones prohibit murder, hiding the ball and transporting it in a motorised vehicle!) https://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/whats-on/royal-shrovetide-football-p688791

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