Travel - What's on around the UK: Come on baby, do the locomotion

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The Independent Travel
Watch cynical Londoners "oooh" and "ahhhh" as the Thames River Festival brings a spectacular fireworks display, lanterns and music to the capital's river, today. Expect a 1,500-strong procession of musicians, dancers, giant sculptures and lanterns to liven up a traffic-free Victoria Embankment.

A flotilla of river craft will pass by at around 6pm as the London festival orchestra recreate a scene from the year 1717, when Handel performed his Water Music for the king from a barge on the Thames. The orchestra will play aboard a traditional ship moored on the south side of the river. The watery pageant culminates with a fireworks display from Christophe Berthonneau, a whiz-bang wizard of world renown, whose high-tech explosions take to London's skies at 9.15pm. Best viewpoints for this free festival are at Victoria Embankment, Waterloo Bridge and the South Bank (tel: 0171-928 899).

Further north today, in Stoke-on-Trent, it's your last chance to see historic locomotives in action. The Foxfield Steam Railway (tel: 01782 396210) at Blythe Bridge holds its final Diesel Day, offering lovers of Thomas the Tank Engine the chance to ride the real thing, from 10:30am.

And for those who prefer to move under their own steam, participants in the Calderdale Walking Festival will be striding into the Pennine Hills from the 25th of this month. Keen walkers can tone up at Slack Bottom, just one destination among some 60 walks in the main programme. Call Halifax Tourism (tel: 01422 368725).

Along with the main hiking events, there are competitions, exhibitions and courses on orienteering and navigation for those not blessed with the sixth sense of direction. With a dozen easy walks for beginners, this two- week festival attracts all levels of rambler - from the thick-socks- and- Thermos crew to the meandering day-tripper. And if all that cardiovascular action gives you an appetite, head for York, where the Food Festival is taking place until 26 September.

Several thousand hungry visitors are expected to arrive each day in the cathedral city for tastings, gourmet dinners, wine evenings and cookery demonstrations from celebrity chefs, including Ready Steady Cook star James Martin. Times, venues and prices vary (tel: 01904 554455).

Finally, take a swift trip south-east to wash it all down with the Camra Beer Festival in Hull on 24, 25 and 26 September. A range of ciders and beers to tickle your taste buds, plus entertainment at Hull City Hall (tel: 01482 566700).

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