The 'Not the Royal Wedding' guide to fun this Friday

<i>IoS</i> readers may be looking beyond the television to celebrate 29 April. If so, Emily Dugan and Melissa Burfitt have the venue for you

Sunday 23 October 2011 02:47

The Union Flag bunting is hung, the shop shelves are heaving with commemorative chinaware and the television schedules are back-to-back adulatory schmaltz. But not everyone wants to spend this Friday watching two people say "I do".

With the latest polling suggesting that three-quarters of Britons could not care less about the royal nuptials, The Independent on Sunday has prepared a guide to the best ways to spend the bank holiday weekend. From watching animatronic dinosaurs in London to drinking a pint at Britain's most remote pub, one thing is for sure: there is not a veil, corgi or fascinator in sight.

So if the thought of all of that royalist adulation makes you want to reach for the nearest sick bucket, but you would rather not spend your precious bank holiday hiding under the sofa, read on.

Whitewater rafting

Thanks to the impending Olympics Hertfordshire has become the unlikely home to some serious white water rapids. The purpose-built course in the Lee Valley will host the canoeing contests, but for now it is open to the public, meaning everyone can get on a raft and have a go. Trips cost £49 per person or £54 including food and drink.

Island bird-watching

Get your binoculars out and head to Lundy, a small wildlife-rich island off north Devon. Forget fascinators, this is one of the best places to watch a whole host of feathered friends migrating for the spring. The ferry from Ilfracombe costs £33.50 return and will be running on the 26th, 28th and 30th April.

Bristol Folk festival

After a gap of 32 years, Bristol's Folk Festival has been revived. The indoor festival runs from Friday to Sunday in the city's Colston Hall. The family-friendly line-up puts major folk acts such as Show of Hands and Bellowhead alongside circus entertainers, ceilidhs and local performers. Tickets are £75 per adult for the weekend.

A knees-up at Britain's most remote pub

Have a pint at the Old Forge in Knoydart, Mallaig, mainland Britain's most remote pub. It's an 18 mile walk over the hills to reach it, or you can get the ferry. From there, head to the beach where Knoydart is hosting its own music festival from Friday to Sunday, with a field set aside for camping. Tickets for the weekend cost £60 for adults and £30 for teenagers.;

Watch a Scilly race

It is one of many destinations rumoured for the Royal honeymoon, but don't let that deter you. From Friday the Fifties time warp that is the Isles of Scilly will be far too busy hosting the World Pilot Gig Championships (that's a big rowing boat race to us) to bother about any nuptials. Daytrips on the ferry from Penzance cost from £30.

Get on a rollercoaster

With many glued to their television sets at home, why not follow the example of the 100 Cardiff residents who have organised a day out to Oakwood theme park to avoid the wall-to-wall Royal coverage. With any luck queues for big rides at most parks will be shorter, but avoid Alton Towers if you'd like to escape – they're putting the nuptials on a big screen. Adult tickets £19.95.

Leave the country

If you blanch at the thought of celebrating the marriage of a future unelected head of state, try holidaying in a place where the unelected are in their death throes. Sun-seeking holidays in countries at the heart of the Arab spring are tumbling in price. is offering flights and 7 nights in a five star hotel in Hammamet, Tunisia, from £279 per adult, while has packages to Luxor, Egypt, from £273.

Visit a non-Windsor castle

Imagine an era when Royalty was more than a tourist attraction and walk to the dramatic Dunstanburgh castle ruins in Northumberland. The fortress was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster in 1313 when relations between King Edward II and his most powerful baron had become openly hostile. Sitting on one of the most beautiful stretches of Britain's coastline, it can only be reached on foot. Entry costs £4 for adults.

Indulge your inner bard

The Wenlock poetry festival begins Friday with talks and readings taking place all around the Medieval Shropshire town. Expect nothing short of literary royalty, with highlights including appearances from Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay. Tickets are from £2 for local events to £15 for bigger names.

Dine out in island wilderness

For gourmet food in one of the most remote locations on the British Isles head to Inis Meáin. It is the least visited of Galway Bay's Aran Islands, 15 miles off the west coast of Ireland and is now home to the exclusive Inis Meáin restaurant and hotel, producing quality food made with local ingredients. Return ferries are £22 for adults.

Rent your own remote bolt hole

What better way to ensure you miss the hullabaloo than renting a property fit for a hermit. Under The Thatch specialise in quirky, green and secluded holiday homes in the UK, including cottages, yurts and caravans. They still have properties available this weekend, with prices starting from £161.

Be a tourist

With most foreign tourists distracted by the flag-waving on The Mall, this may be a good chance to visit home grown tourist attractions outside London. Stonehenge is usually so heaving with international visitors that it's hard to catch a glimpse of the rocks but on Friday it may be quieter. Tickets £7.50 for adults.

Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday

Stratford-upon-Avon is hosting a two-week long celebration of the bard's birthday which started yesterday (SAT). Events over the wedding bank holiday include performances from the South African Roedean choir on Friday and a birthday celebration procession on Saturday. Most celebrations are open to the public and free.

Rock out to Glasvegas

There are still tickets left to see the cult indie rock band from Glasgow perform live at the O2 academy in Liverpool on Friday. It follows the release of their second album 'Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\'. Tickets are £15 and under-14s have to be accompanied by an adult.

Gawp at robo-dinosaurs

If there's one thing which can persuade a child that it is worth battling through the crowds in central London on Friday, it's life sized animatronic dinosaurs. The Age of the Dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum finally opened last week giving kids and adults the chance to see the prehistoric creatures come to life. Tickets £10 for adults, £6 for children.

And also...

For those so incensed by wedding hype they want to tackle it head on, there are plenty of republican options, ranging from the funny to the downright furious. The Alliance to Boycott the Royal Wedding is suggesting that people boycott the Royalist day off and treat Friday as a normal working day.

If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, Republic is hosting the 'Not the Royal Wedding' alternative street party in west London's Earlham streets. More hedonistic republicans may want to party at one of several politely-named Fuck The Royal Wedding club nights across the country.

If you want a laugh while wearing your anti-monarchy sentiments on your sleeve, Brighton is holding a Royal Wedding special edition of the Treason Show at the Brighton Dome. Meanwhile, Manchester is hosting a zombie royal wedding at the Hellfire Club: guests are expected to wear a ripped-up blood-stained version of their wedding day best.

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