Let your inner creature of the night off the leash
Sunday 01 May 2011
Ever fancied taking part in a night exercise with the Royal Marines?
How about encouraging the kids to create their own book of fairy tales? Or why not join in a Fishtastic Festival to mark the sea-going heritage of the Scottish Highlands? And all after dark.
In just under a fortnight, hundreds of UK museums, galleries and cultural spaces are to put on an eclectic programme of nocturnal events for adults and families alike. Museums at Night (museumsatnight.org.uk), the annual after-hours weekend celebration of arts, history and heritage, kicks off on Friday 13 May. And with such a launch date, it's only appropriate that there will be some spooky goings-on.
As dusk descends, head for Arnos Vale, Bristol's necropolis, for a Night at the Cemetery. The torchlight tour explores folkloric customs and funereal traditions of the Victorians (suitable for age seven-plus). Adults, meanwhile, can go 100ft below ground on Saturday and Sunday (14-15 May) for a paranormal visit to RAF Holmpton, East Yorkshire, a popular ghost-hunting venue.
The biggest Museums at Night event, The Late Shows, involves a free culture crawl around Newcastle-Gateshead, linking more than 25 cultural hot spots. The Shipley Gallery is to stage a fashion parade while the Shed wants you to step out in your best black-and-white 1920s clobber for a celebration of the golden years of cinema.
In Birmingham on Friday, you can climb aboard the free Art Bus, which will transport you between key galleries such as Ikon, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Mac – a cultural tour with talks by staff who are picked up at each stop.
Liverpool will put on Light Night, a selection of 50-plus events including drop-in art workshops and a candlelit labyrinth, as well as the launch of the city's first international photography festival, Look 11.
And the capital will host hundreds of happenings, including the Lost London team quiz, at the Hunterian Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, where you can test your knowledge of buried rivers and long-gone museums.
Museums at Night reaches the furthest corners of Britain. You can spend a family-friendly Night at the Goal in Ruthin Gaol, Wales, or join a 12-hour challenge to create and print a new book at Cornwall's Newlyn Art Gallery. In Scotland, you can join an outdoor concert at Temple Wood Stone Circle. (See festivalofmuseums.com for more Scottish events.)
With such a lot of night-time entertainment to choose from, you'd better catch up on some sleep now.
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