Forget about the wintry weather and dive into a range of brilliant free online events, from quizzes to comedy, festivals to theatre performances
Struggling to find things to do in lockdown? Well, struggle no more as we have some fantastic free events for you to attend in February.
From celebrating the Chinese new year to making donuts for Valentine's Day, the free events on this list should help to put a smile on your face and while away some time until spring is here!
1. Browse some antique rugs
LARTA Virtual, until 14 February
Looking for something special to fill that gaping space on your living room floor? Well, the London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair might just have what you need. The event is moving online this year for obvious reasons, but there's still going to be loads of exhibitors displaying and selling their wares, from oriental rugs to antique carpets. And as they'll all be together on one virtual platform, finding your perfect pile will have never been easier.
2. See the pandemic through a different lens
Leave Home, Save Lives, until 31 May
A collaboration between refugee charity Breaking Barriers and world-renowned photographer Rankin, this online exhibition tells the story of seven key workers from refugee backgrounds who have been serving on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic. Poignant and inspirational, Leave Home, Save Lives provides a fascinating insight into the selfless nature of our key workers.
3. Make do and mend!
The Festival of Thrift's Fix It Fortnight, 1-14 February
Launched in 2013, the Festival of Thrift aims to raise awareness of sustainable living by organising events and activities throughout the year. One such event is the annual Fix It Fortnight, which encourages people to 'make do and mend' rather than go out and buy new stuff. This year, there are a number of activities happening online to tie in with Fix It Fortnight, including tech- and bike-fixing workshops and a live debate. To find out more, visit the Festival of Thrift website.
4. Revisit a classic record
Tim's Twitter Listening Party, 2-27 February
Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess continues his series of 'Twitter Listening Parties', in which he invites music fans to stream a chosen classic album and discuss it with him in real-time on social media. This month's album choices include The Beach Boys' self-titled debut LP (2 February), The Blow Monkeys' Animal Magic (13 February) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Liverpool (20 February). To find out more, click here.
5. Improve your understanding of the coronavirus
Covid Conversations, 3 February
You may be fed up with hearing about the coronavirus pandemic, but if not, here's something to get your teeth into. In this live-streamed event hosted by The Francis Crick Institute, BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Lauren Laverne (pictured) meets scientists who've been working in the eye of the storm in an attempt to understand and eradicate this deadly disease.
6. Delve into a medical murder-mystery
The Art of Dying and the History of Chloroform, 3 February
Bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Dr Marisa Haetzman – known collectively as Ambrose Parry – have just had their latest crime novel published by Canongate Books. A tale of medicine and murder set in 19th-century Edinburgh, The Art of Dying promises to be a riveting read – and in tonight's discussion, the two authors explain why you might want to check it out. Donations welcome.
7. Tackle some trivia questions
Not in a Pub Quiz, 3, 10, 17 & 24 February
Sadly, pub quizzes in the physical sense are off-limits at the moment, due to the fact that boozers are closed. However, you can still get your fix of pub trivia at this weekly online quiz event. All you have to do is log in, click play on the provided audio stream and get answering. You can play as an individual, or with friends and family via Zoom. And you won't even have to get a round in!
8. Hear some sweet melodies
Harpin' by the Sea, 5-7 February
If you love the sound of the mouth organ, then take a virtual trip to Brighton for this free online harmonica festival. The three-day programme will include performances by 15 international guest artists, tuition, interviews and competitions – and there will even be a virtual tour of Hohner's harmonica factory in Germany.
9. Get carried away by the classics
All About Bach! Festival, 5, 12, 19 & 26 February
London-based arts and entertainment company Only Stage is running a series of free online concerts throughout February, dedicated to the legendary composer J.S. Bach. Accessed via the company's YouTube channel, these performances will showcase the virtuosity of some of the UK's most talented musicians, from piano players and guitarists to violin virtuosos.
10. Have fun while you learn
Adventure in Albertopolis, 6 February
Hosted by the Queens Gate Junior School in London, this online event for girls aged 6-8 features a range of fun and educational activities based around Kensington Palace, the Natural History Museum and other famous landmarks. Participants will learn about fossils, globetrotting Victorians, the Royal Family tree and much more. Please note that booking is essential.
11. Be enchanted by a free theatre production
Dust, 6-19 February
Credit: Z-arts / Half Moon Young People's Theatre
Written by acclaimed children's author Laura Dockrill (the Darcy Burdock book series), and performed by Z-arts in collaboration with London's Half Moon Young People's Theatre, Dust tells the story of a young girl with a scruffy rucksack who befriends a flamboyant and loveable hoarder. Combining puppetry with poetic language, this child-friendly tale will live long in the memory – and you can watch it for free in February by clicking here.
12. Make some romantic treats
Valentine's Chocolate Donuts, 7 February
Since we can't go out for a romantic celebration this Valentine's Day, why not make something delicious that you can eat together at home? This short beginners' workshop by Toronto-based Lorena, streamed live on Facebook and Instagram, will show you how to rustle up a selection of yummy donuts, complete with chocolate and sprinkle toppings. Whether there will be any left by 14th February is another matter! (Note that you'll need to register beforehand to get the recipe.)
13. Gear up for some motorsport action
A Victory Lap for Silverstone, 11 February
Like motorsport? Then you don't want to miss this exclusive Boundless members' event. Silverstone's Rob Jainer will be hosting an online talk, in which he'll bring the history of this legendary track to life. You'll hear about the riveting race rivalries, the star-studded guests and what the future holds for this iconic venue. To find out more about this and other Boundless virtual events, click here.
14. Enjoy an audience with a famous crime writer
Elly Griffiths, 11 February
Credit: Elly Griffiths
In her latest novel, The Night Hawks, bestselling crime author Elly Griffiths (pictured) unravels a complex mystery that begins with a group of people with metal detectors discovering a dead body washed up on the beach. If that sounds like an intriguing plot to you, then you'll almost certainly enjoy this online Zoom discussion, in which Ellie talks about her books and so much more.
15. Go wild for Woolf
Dalloway, 12 February
Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel Mrs Galloway has been adapted for the stage by Dyad Productions, and for one night only you can stream the production for free, courtesy of OnFife (donations are welcome). Telling the story of a woman who is organising a party in Westminster shortly after the end of the First World War, Dalloway “conjures the hopes and regrets of middle-class London” – and will keep you riveted to the end.
16. Have a laugh while helping to raise money
Canned Laughter Online, 12 February
Spare a thought – and a few pounds – for those people who have to rely on handouts in order to eat. A free monthly event that welcomes donations, Canned Laughter Online has so far raised over £40,000 for London's food banks. Tonight's Valentine's special promises to be one of the best yet, with comedians Nish Kumar (pictured), Amy Annette and Gabby Best all joining in with the live-streamed laughs.
17. Welcome the Ox!
Chinese New Year at the National Maritime Museum, 13 February
Celebrate the Year of the Ox with the help of London's National Maritime Museum. Over the course of the day, the museum will be presenting a number of events and activities on its Facebook page, including craft workshops, traditional music performances, cooking demonstrations aboard the historic Cutty Sark sailing ship and Chinese storytelling for the deaf.
18. Reach for the sky
Stories of the Stars: Constellations in Myth, Art and Reality, 14 February
As part of the Northumberland Dark Sky Festival, author Ian Ridpath presents an online talk in which he'll examine how ancient myths and legends were shaped by astral phenomena. He will also uncover some of the sky's most fascinating secrets, from the existence of distant galaxies to the birthplace of black holes.
19. Find out how we can save the planet
Changing the System: Brian Eno and James Thornton in Conversation, 15 February
Brian Eno (pictured) is best-known for his work as a musician, most notably with Roxy Music. However, he is also a dedicated climate campaigner, and in tonight's discussion presented by London's Science Museum, he'll be chatting to ClientEarth founder James Thornton about the challenges of achieving positive change and how we can all play our part. Note that booking is essential.
20. Hear tales of long-forgotten romance
Stories of Love in Wartime, 15 February
To mark Valentine's Day, Judith Hewitt from the The Devil's Porridge Museum in Dumfries & Galloway will present a fascinating online talk exploring tales of love and loss from both World Wars. Focusing specifically on HM Factory Gretna, which employed around 12,000 during the First World War, Judith will illustrate her presentation with photographs, documents and other objects from the time.
21. Listen to a filmmaking genius talk about his art
A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb, 18 February
Award-winning British documentary maker Mike Dibb has been at the pinnacle of his profession for decades, as demonstrated by Whitechapel Gallery's two-month-long virtual exploration of his work (ends 26 March). In tonight's online talk, Mike will discuss his incredible career with esteemed essayist and novelist Geoff Dyer. You can also watch a selection of Dibb's films by clicking here.
22. Watch some of the UK's best dancers in action
Dumfries & Galloway Dance: Online Watch Party, 18 February
Each month, Dumfries & Galloway Dance is hosting an 'Online Watch Party', giving arts lovers the chance to enjoy a programme of movement-related films produced by talented companies and individuals from the local area. Tonight's films include Loose Leaf Tea, performed by Natasha Gilmore and Barrowland Ballet, and EGO by Dan Löwenstein and Northern Ballet.
23. Go on a journey of virtual discovery
Cardiff Science Festival, 18-21 February
Science has the ability to enrapture children and adults alike, and the whole family will love getting stuck into the events and activities scheduled for this year's Cardiff Science Festival – even if they will be taking place online. From the science of hula-hooping to polar bear pop quizzes, space exploration to a virtual grow-along, there's enough to keep everyone entertained.
24. Take a supersonic trip back in time
Celebrating Concorde, 23 February
Concorde is one of the most astonishing aircraft to ever grace the skies. Between 1969 and 2003, this British/French-made jet carried more than 2.5 million passengers at speeds of up to 1,350mph, completing more than 50,000 journeys overall. In this fascinating online talk for Boundless members, one of Concorde's pilots, John Tye, looks back at the history of this amazing plane and his experiences in the cockpit. To find out more about this and other Boundless virtual events, click here.
25. Get some two-wheeled tips
Bikepacking in Scotland: Discovering the Past – Enjoying the Present, 23 February
If you're wondering what to do for your first post-pandemic adventure, this free online talk might just inspire you. Markus Stitz, founder of Bikepacking Scotland, will regale viewers with details of his epic two-wheeled adventures, and how he came to develop new bikepacking routes across the country. With tips and anecdotes galore, this is a must for cycling and camping fans. Booking is essential.
Photos: Getty Images, unless otherwise stated