Travel: What's On Around The UK: Britain behind closed doors

England's "unofficial festival of architecture" takes place this weekend, with hundreds of the country's finest buildings, normally closed to the public, throwing open their doors.

Almost 2,000 buildings will take part in Heritage Open Days, including a former slaughterhouse (now architects' offices) and an art nouveau Turkish baths. This is England's contribution to European Heritage Days '99, in which more than 40 countries will take part.

There are similar events in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland throughout September, and in London on 18 and 19 September. (Telephone 09068 800603 for details; calls cost 60p per minute.)

To help you dash from site to site on the cheap, you should take advantage of the "Sunday Rover" bus ticket. For just pounds 5.50 it offers unlimited travel on buses and some rail lines in East Anglia and the Home Counties north of London. There is no central point of contact for this offer, so check travel or bus information lines in the area.

Visitors to Heritage Open Days' Menagerie Lodge in the Midlands (one of only two menageries existing in the UK, modelled on one at Versailles) may also want to call into Birmingham for the final day of ArtsFest (tel: 0121-248 1300).

Billed as the biggest free arts festival in the UK, ArtsFest has more than 200 events in and around Birmingham's Centenary Square, ranging from bite-sized bits of opera and dance, for the high-art shy, to bhangra, comedy and street shows. Some 100,000 visitors are expected, with a finale that includes the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and a performance of Philip Glass's opera Satyagraha.

Nordic arts are the theme this week in Scotland's northernmost town of Wick as it hosts the Northlands festival (14-20 September).

Nordic neighbours Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Greenland unite to bring to-gether talents in classical music and jazz, along with dance and theatre. Highlights include the debut performance of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's newly formed soloists ensemble; Mari Boine, the internationally renowned Sami singer from north Norway; a lecture from writer and journalist Neal Ascherson; a performance of Ibsen's classic play Ghosts; and a chance to sample fresh and imported produce prepared by top chefs. Call for details (tel: 01955 606660).

In Cumbria "art" takes on a rather more savage form this week as the World Gurning Championship, 18 September, snarls and contorts itself into an annual fit of pique. As part of the Egremont Crab Fair, valiant face- pullers from around the world contest for the title, which has to date been won only by home-grown ugly mugs.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor