Blackpool Illuminations centenary celebrations , 31 August to 4 November
Believe it or not, Blackpool has been getting all dressed up for winter for 100 years now. And this year will be better than ever, as North East England’s most flamboyant seaside resort festoons itself with lasers, light bulbs, neon, fibre optics and search lights in every colour imaginable. Take a tram ride along the seafront for the best view of the display, which also outlines The Tower and Pleasure Beach with strings of bulbs.
Freedom Festival, Hull 6-9 September
Hull’s eclectic annual celebration of the arts packs a punch with a spritely festival menu of music, burlesque, dance, comedy, cabaret, art and theatre. Star performers include Spiritualised and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Stick around too for the buzzing atmosphere of Hull’s historic Fruit Market quarter, whose antiques, fashion, food and furnishing shops are transformed by circus tents, galleries, street theatre and live music on two free stages.
ArtsFest, Birmingham 7-9 September
From ballet and bhangra to dub poetry and digital arts, it’s all happening in Birmingham this month. Venues across Birmingham city centre fling their doors wide open to showcase a staggering array of dancers, musicians, actors, comedians and artists. Even better, you can go to any one of the UK’s biggest urban arts festival’s 600+ events for free. Get a sneak preview tour of the city’s new library, see Birmingham Town Hall brought to life by 3D projections, or check out a National Portrait Gallery outdoor exhibition of key figures in London 2012.
Gravity Fields Festival, Lincolnshire 21-28 September
Get your geek on in this fab festival celebrating the life and achievements of Sir Isaac Newton. It’s an alchemical mix of serious and fun, with science presentations, theatre, arts, outdoor performance and, of course, a pub quiz. Catch up on the latest news and discoveries from CERN, explore the myths and facts behind the Northern Lights, escape into a mobile planetarium, and see a church tower splitting white light into all the colours of the rainbow.
Biba and Beyond, Brighton 22 September – 14 April 2013
When Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba fashion label hit the high street in the 1960s, working women all over Britain were bowled over by the bold but sensual designs. These weren’t just clothes; these were aspirations. The exhibition pays homage to Hulanicki, who studied art in Brighton, from her childhood to her role in regenerating Miami Beach to her more recent fashion and interiors collections, using film, fashion, photography, illustrations and the memories of those who knew her best.
From super-sleuths to fancy-dress festivals, check out VisitEngland’s delectable array of other things to do in September.