5 free things to do this month

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Museums at Night late night events: dragon hunt, West Berkshire Museum, Newbury

Plan your month ahead with our ideas for fantastic free days out and things to do around the UK

Mark your diary with these special events worth visiting: Halloween nights at museums, a storytelling festival, LEGO exhibits, movie screening and behind-the-scenes science.

1. Museums At Night Halloween 

31 October-2 November, nationwide

A scheme that allows you to go around museums after hours, Museums At Night works particularly well over the Halloween weekend – big old buildings are creepier at night...

As such several museums are opening their doors for free over the Halloween weekend, including Halloween night at Lyme Regis Museum and a night at Swansea University's Egypt Centre, while others have events with a ghoulish theme that you can attend for free, by either dropping in or booking a place. Brontë Parsonage Museum has spooky storytelling that's free for local residents on 31 October, there's an evening of scary kids' poetry at Daventry Museum, Cambridgeshire's Wisbech and Fenland Museum has torchlit scary tales, you can come along for a dragon hunt at West Berkshire Museum, or participate in a less scary but more challenging drawing night at London's Mall Galleries.

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2. The Scottish International Storytelling Festival

18-31 October, across Edinburgh

The 31st annual Scottish International Storytelling Festival is another opportunity to head to Edinburgh for riveting celebrations of stories in the forms of literature, spoken word, music, dance and more. Taking place across Scotland's capital but centred on the Storytelling Centre, this year's themes of 'Beyond Words' also links the host nation with Canada, with speakers from both sharing their rich heritage through various mediums.

There's also the '365: Stories and Music' and 'The Long Look' exhibitions, and the outdoor Enchanted Garden stories and Words On The Street games workshop for the kids. Those are all free and there’s plenty of other events at various prices to whet your appetite for a good yarn.

3. World War Z screening

31 October, Francis Crick Institute, London

Halloween for most of us means horror films, so what could be better than a free screening of Brad Pitt zombie film World War Z in the Francis Crick Institute?

Not only is the tense film free, but as part of the Science On Screen programme scientists will also be on hand to talk about some of the scientific aspects of the film – spoiler alert, Brad ends up in a laboratory at one point – and answer any questions you have about the chances of a zombie apocalypse.

Some of the responses may be tongue-in-cheek but you'll be full of popcorn, which is also free. So make sure you book your tickets.  

4. Craft and Graft: Making Science Happen

2 October-30 November, Francis Crick Institute, London

Craft and Graft: Making Science Happen is a year-long behind the scenes look at how some of science's latest and greatest breakthroughs are currently being made. With over a thousand scientists at the Crick working on a huge variety of experiments, you're in good hands to have your mind fed with some incredible innovation.

Have look into Britain's biggest lab where you'll see how experts are looking at flies for clues to our own genetics, growing cells artificially for research, and you can even talk to those who fix the machinery and wash the glasses after hundreds of tests.

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5. Brilliant Bricks and Arrivals: Making Tyneside Home

Until 3 November, Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne

It's your last chance to see the Brilliant Bricks and Arrivals: Making Tyneside Home exhibits at Newcastle's museum of maritime, technological and scientific discovery.

The latter is a series of portraits from photographer Jeremy Abrahams focusing on those who have come from far and wide to call the north east their home throughout the 20th century.

Building Bricks is aimed a little more at the whole family, with 45 models of the North's greatest inventions recreated in LEGO form, featuring over 50,000 bricks altogether.

While you're at the Discovery Museum there's also plenty for kids to enjoy in the Science Maze, while the permanent exhibitions explore the history of Newcastle and scientific endeavour, with a particular emphasis on steam engines.

 Images © Getty

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