Raise a glass to London’s bubbling cocktail culture with a week of cosmopolitans, caipirinis and caucasians as the Dude would say …hiccup! There is more to London Cocktail Week then getting drunk though, really. Based in the swish Seven Dials area of Covent Garden, the biggest drinks festival in the UK lets you drink up some of the finest cocktail experiences around in luxury hotels, underground bars, exclusive members clubs and pop-up bars like Smatt’s Alcoholic Ice Cream Parlour. Take a crash course in cocktail making with demonstrations from some of the best mixologists around, learn how to pair rum with chocolate and tapas with cocktails in a food and drink pairing master class and scoff your face with cake at a cocktail and cupcake party or gin-soaked afternoon tea. Birmingham
Chuckle your way through Brum this October with the Birmingham Comedy Festival. With big names such as John Bishop, the Hairy Bikers and Sean Walsh filling the city’s theatres with explosions of laughter, punk poetry from cult wordsmith John Cooper Clarke, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, visual arts and plenty of fresh young things to laugh at, there’ll be something to tickle every sense of humour going.
The fluffy feline icon that is Bagpuss has a permanent place in many a 1970s child’s heart and now The Bowes Museum brings him out to play again for both big and little kids to enjoy. Beyond Bagpuss – an Artist’s Journey showcases the magical works of Linda Birch, illustrator of Bagpuss and The Clangers. Paintings and illustrations from her early on in her career up until the present day will grace the walls, and include drawings of the first nipples (on mermaids) to be shown on the BBC! Head to the museum for the national Big Draw event on 27 October and you can doodle your own furry creations with Linda Birch herself.
Perfect your flesh-hungry groans and zombie stagger for the annual Brighton Zombie Walk. Now in its sixth year, thousands of zombie men, women and children will infect the famous pebble beach and streets of Brighton in search of flesh, brains and maybe a few fashion accessories, if they stumble upon The Lanes. Squirt on a good helping of fake blood, go heavy on the make-up and join in with the gruesome fun.
At the end of October, York’s handsome and historic architecture is transformed into modern works of art during the city’s Illuminating York Festival. Medieval landmarks become the canvas for striking light art and digital installations, illuminating the dark autumn nights with swathes of colour. The event has previously seen the commanding façade of York Minster cathedral turned into a kaleidoscope of colour. Exploring York Minster from the inside is a must too. You’ll feel like an awestruck ant as you gaze up at the heavenly limestone arches and huge stained-glass windows seeping with sunlight.