25 brilliant free events to attend in May 2022

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25 Free things may 2022 hero

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

1 boardgame

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

2 wine tasting

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 

3 hula hooping

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 

4 advanced driving course

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

5 paddleboarding

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

6 Dinosaur

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

7 Butterfly

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 

8 Solo bee

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

9 Snoopy dog trail

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

10 sketch and walk

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 

11 Business class

Still sitting on that great idea? If you’ve ever considered launching your own business but aren’t quite sure where to begin, this course is an excellent place to start. Covering the basics, this online workshop includes defining your business idea, understanding the purpose of a business plan, the legal structure of a new business and useful resources that new business owners can access. Hosted by the Tarrant Small Business Development Center, the course will take place on dates throughout May and June. 

12. Snap your way to wellbeing 

Photography for Wellbeing, 12 May – Stockport

12 Photography for wellbeing

A relaxing combination of mindful walking and photography, this Photography for Wellbeing session in Stockport is a relaxing way to spend a morning and a great way to meet some like-minded individuals too. Providing an opportunity to capture beautiful images of the heart of Stockport and to ask questions about photography; each session focuses on a specific prompt relating to wellness that you will discuss as a group while you make your way around the city route.

13. Pick up some dark room skills

Covid Safe Darkroom Induction, 3 and 25 May – Bristol 

13 Photography dark room

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

14 allotment gardening

Specifically for women and girls, this community flower garden open day is an excellent way to get stuck into the world of community gardening for the first time. During the day you’ll enjoy a whole host of fun gardening activities to get involved with, free tea and biscuits and you’ll meet lots of friendly faces to boot. 

15. Keep time with a historic clock

The Clockmakers’ Museum, various dates – London

15 clockmaker

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

16 Saxophone quartet

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 

17 Brixton kilo sale

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

18 kayaking

No prior experience is necessary at this professionally led kayaking session on the Grand Union canal in northwest London. Guided by instructor Neil, adults and kids over 9 will learn the skills needed to pilot your own kayak as well as useful safety tips and information on what to do if you’re interested in taking the hobby further. Plus, all of the equipment and costs are covered by the organisers Canal & River Trust – London & South East, so all you’ll need to do is book and turn up. 

19. Hear the dawn chorus

Dawn Chorus Walk, 2 May – West Sussex 

19 the dawn chorus

While many of us frequently enjoy the calming sounds of the dawn chorus, only a few can effectively identify the birds that make it up with any degree of accuracy. That’s where this Dawn Chorus Walk in West Sussex comes in. Guided by bird expert Tim Squire, this early-morning excursion will take in the sights of the beautiful Costells Wood, before finishing up at the nearby village church where free coffee and croissants will be provided. Along the way you’ll identify and delight in the songs of the birds that inhabit this ancient woodland environment.

20. Try your hand at calligraphy 

Free Calligraphy Taster, 4 May – Liverpool 

20 calligraphy

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

21 william morris wallpaper

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 

22 K pop concert

A wacky introduction to the world of K-pop that you aren’t soon likely to forget, the UK round of the K-Pop World Festival will take place in East London on May 15. A joyful afternoon of K-Pop music and dancing, performers will compete for a chance to perform live at the final round of the festival in Korea. Plus, later in the evening, there will be an additional live K-Music showcase and K-Music night with a fantastic line-up of Korean artists.

23. Find the world’s rarest foods

Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods talk,13 May – Exeter 

23 rare foods

Discussing his book Eating to Extinction at Forum in Exeter, Dan Saladino explores the many foods around the world that are at risk of being lost forever. During the talk, you’ll learn about the stories of these at-risk foods and those of the farmers, scientists and indigenous communities working to save them. And, as an added bonus, you’ll get to taste test some foods from regional producers in attendance including Westcombe Cheddar, and Oliver’s Cider and Perry.

24. Spot a classic by the beach

Magnificent Motors 2022, 1 May – Eastbourne

24 eastbourne car show

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

25 Plant sale

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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