Warmer weather, blooming flowers and a calendar jam-packed with exciting, free events to attend are just a few of the things you can look forward to this month
With winter firmly in the rearview mirror and summer almost within touching distance, now’s the time to get out and enjoy some of the UK’s best free events taking place in May 2022.
1. Learn a new board game
Money Talks board games workshops, various dates – Leeds
Taking place throughout the month of May, this weekly workshop at Leeds City Museum will teach you how to play a new board game each week. This month themed around money to coincide with the Money Talks exhibition currently being held at the Museum, you’ll be introduced to both classic and contemporary games and then have a chance to play them. And while you’re there, you can make the most of the excellent museum and exhibition too, where entry is also free.
2. Host the perfect summer BBQ
Wine & Spirit Education Trust: a taste of summer, 31 May – online
Struggling to find the ideal wines to accompany your impending summer BBQ feast? Well worry not, this informative online event hosted by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) will have you covered. Hosted by experienced wine taster Anjali Douglas, this webinar will take you through a selection of classic barbeque foods and the best wines to pair them with, alongside a few useful tips for taking the stress out of hosting your day.
3. Hula the night away
Hoop Tone Hackney, 2 May – London
Not just for kids, hula hooping is a fantastically fun and accessible way to get active this spring. Hosted in London by Guinness World Record Holding hoop troupe Marawa’s Majorettes, this free fitness class is open to all ages and abilities and will teach you core hooping, arm hooping, multi-hoop hooping and hoop tricks. Set to some catchy carnival tunes, all you need to bring with you is an enthusiastic attitude, comfortable sportswear and a big bottle of water. The hoops are provided for you!
4. Hone your driving skills
Introduction to Advanced Driving Seminar, 7 May – Cheltenham
Whether you’ve just recently passed your test or you’ve been driving for many years, this free introduction to advanced driving seminar is a useful way to further hone your motoring skills. Run by IAM RoadSmart, this classroom-based workshop will cover all the skills you’ll learn on an Advanced Driver Course including observation, hazard identification, steering, braking, cornering, motorway driving and the approach to the Advanced Driving test.
5. Practise your balance
Let's Paddleboard, 18 May – Tring
An excellent way to get outdoors (and out on the water) this spring, this free paddle boarding taster session hosted by the Canal and River Trust in Tring, Hertfordshire requires no previous experience. With equipment and buoyancy aids provided, simply put on an old pair of trainers (that you don’t mind getting wet) learn a few techniques and safety tips from your instructor, and set off on a short paddle down the canal.
6. See a dinosaur in the flesh
Velociraptor show @ Tobacco Factory, 1 May – Bristol
Hosted by the award-winning Teach Rex team, this May bank holiday event will see a whole host of life-like dinosaurs descending on Bristol’s Tobacco Factory venue for a day of excitement, fun and learning. Suitable for children aged 3 and up, the 45-minute show will teach you and your kids about the anatomy, physiology and life of these giant creatures that once roamed the planet. This, combined with thrilling special effects and music will no doubt make for a day the little one in your life won’t soon forget.
7. Stroll beside butterflies
Butterfly Fly on Afton Down, 28 May – Isle of Wight
A tranquil experience led by expert volunteers from Isle of Wight Butterfly Conservation, this guided morning walk will see you taking a leisurely stroll across the rolling chalk hills of Afton Down on the southwest coast of the island. With no previous knowledge necessary, on the walk you’ll learn about (and hopefully see) a variety of local butterfly species including Adonis blue, various skippers, green hairstreak, Glanville fritillary and many more.
8. Discover solo bees
Solitary Bees: 2 Day In-person Workshop, 26 May – Ormskirk
While essential to the environment many people know little about solitary bees and their fascinating lives. At this free two-day workshop at Edge Hill University, visitors can learn all about solitary bee lifecycles, nesting and foraging habits as well as get the chance to examine some specimens under the microscope. Led by experienced entomologist Liam Olds, the workshop includes a mix of indoor and outdoor sessions finding and identifying bees in the grassland, meadows and scrub in the local area.
9. Go on a dog-themed jaunt
A Dog's Trail: An adventure with Dogs Trust and Snoopy, until 5 June – Cardiff
A Dog's Trail is a fun, free public art trail running across Cardiff from April 8 to June 5 in celebration of the Dogs Trust's new rehoming centre opening in the city. Over eight weeks, the city's streets, parks and bay will be home to strikingly painted Snoopy sculptures, each created by a local, regional, or national artist or illustrator – from famous favourites to total newcomers.
10. Walk, draw and snap
Burnham-on-Crouch Circular walk and sketch, 19 May – Essex
Led by artist and illustrator Hannah Tooke, this circular 5.5 mile walk will take in the beautiful marina, local park and views of RSPB Wallasea Island across the water at Burnham-on-Crouch. And don’t forget your camera and sketchbook – Hannah will advise attendees on artistic and photographic styles and techniques as you make your way along the route.
11. Master business basics
Start Your Business (Basics), various dates – online
12. Snap your way to wellbeing
Photography for Wellbeing, 12 May – Stockport
13. Pick up some dark room skills
Covid Safe Darkroom Induction, 3 and 25 May – Bristol
For those seeking to take their photography to the next level, look no further than this Covid Safe Darkroom Induction taking place on the 3 and 25 of May in Bristol. Including a guided tour of the darkrooms the session is then followed by a talk explaining the use of different chemicals and equipment within the space. A helpful introduction to film photography once this induction is completed you’ll be able to access and use the Learning Centre darkroom at your leisure.
14. Tour a garden in full bloom
Bloom Sheffield Open Days, 1 May – Sheffield
15. Keep time with a historic clock
The Clockmakers’ Museum, various dates – London
Comprising more than 600 watches, 90 clocks, 30 marine chronometers, the world’s oldest clock and watch collection now has a new home in London. Visit and discover the world’s oldest clock and learn about the history of clockmaking from the 1300s all the way through to the present day. Free to visit on the second floor of the Science Museum; keep an eye on your watch, this exhibition is not one you’ll want to be late for.
16. Enjoy a saxophone concert
Ventus Saxophone Quartet, 14 May – Glasgow
An award-winning group of saxophonists will perform at The Pearce Institute in Govan near Glasgow this month with a charming mixed programme of classical and contemporary music. Ventus Saxophone Quartet from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are four exceptionally talented musicians who will flex their melodic muscles at an evening event on the 14 May.
17. Shop a sustainable vintage bargain
Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale, 7–8 May – London
Sustainable and fun, shopping by the kilo is a more environmentally friendly way to refresh your summer wardrobe. And with a cost of just £15 per kilogram of vintage clothing, the deals you’ll find at the Brixton Vintage Kilo Sale will be difficult to match elsewhere in the capital. Taking place on May 7 and 8, this sale features a whopping six tonnes of quality vintage clothing, so there really will be something for everyone.
18. Kayak the canal
Let's Paddle, Alperton, 14 and 28 May – London
19. Hear the dawn chorus
Dawn Chorus Walk, 2 May – West Sussex
20. Try your hand at calligraphy
Free Calligraphy Taster, 4 May – Liverpool
A fantastic way to learn about and experience firsthand the fascinating art of Chinese calligraphy and Mandarin itself, this Calligraphy Taster session is hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Liverpool. Attendees will get the chance to get hands-on with brushes, pens and inks before having a go at creating their very own piece of calligraphy to take home.
21. Appreciate the art of wallpaper
The Art of Wallpaper: Morris & Co. Lunchtime Tour, various dates – Edinburgh
This free exhibition at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh houses over 130 vintage wallpapers from the Morris & Co. archives showcasing the legacy of designer and artist William Morris. This show is dedicated to his legacy and features framed original samples as well as some of his interior designs. Lasting about 30 minutes with opportunity for questions at the end, these tours are a great chance to learn more about the artwork on display.
22. Dance to K-pop
2022 K-Pop World Festival: UK Round, 15 May – London
23. Find the world’s rarest foods
Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods talk,13 May – Exeter
24. Spot a classic by the beach
Magnificent Motors 2022, 1 May – Eastbourne
This vintage vehicle event, which will take place on Eastbourne beach on May 1, is perfect for lovers of sea, sand, and sleek classic cars. Free and open to everyone, Magnificent Motors 2022 is the ideal day out for vintage car enthusiasts and casual visitors alike, featuring vehicles from all over the country. Plus, while you’re there, you can enjoy everything the vibrant town of Eastbourne has to offer.
25. Purchase a plant
Plant Fairs Roadshow at Hatfield Park & Gardens, 1 May – Hertfordshire
On May 1, the Plant Fairs Roadshow will visit Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, bringing with it an astounding selection of unusual, interesting and rare plants, most of which are available for purchase. Hundreds of different plants, including enormous exotics, gorgeous early summer perennials, Japanese maples, epimediums, late spring flowering plants, and an abundance of rarely seen species will be available at the market’s stalls.
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