From flower shows to festivals, duck races to dance displays, there are lots of in-person and online events for you to enjoy in June
If you're looking for free things to do during the month of June, then you've come to the right place.
We've compiled a list of events that you can enjoy over the course of the month, either online or in person. And with everything from music and theatre to crafts and motoring on the itinerary, there really is something for everyone.
1. Follow the scent
Manchester Flower Show, until 6 June
Nothing says summer like the sweet smell of flowers – and they'll be out in abundance at this annual show. Manchester's first public event of the year will see its shop windows, squares, fountains and balconies decorated with beautiful blossoms, all of which can be viewed from the city's al fresco bars and restaurants, or by embarking on a specially curated walking trail. Blooming marvellous!
2. Give your little ones a giggle
Comedy Health & Wellbeing Films for Kids, until 30 June
Credit: Dirliebane Theatre Company
Children may be less likely to display symptoms of the coronavirus, but they've still suffered during this pandemic. Give their wellness a boost with the help of these online comedy films. Created by Dirliebane Theatre Company and supported by activity packs on their website, the movies for kids aged 6-12 are funny, silly and emotional. They might just give you a lift, too.
3. View the pandemic from another angle
Covid-19 and the Hunt for the Vaccine: A Frontline Account, until 14 August
Available to view for a limited period only, this online talk sees a panel of experts, including the government's chief medical adviser Professor Chris Witty (above) discuss the ongoing battle to seize control of the pandemic. You'll hear about the global efforts to discover an effective vaccine, and how important it is for medical professionals to improve public understanding of the immunisation process.
4. Enjoy a Grimm fairytale
Better than Death, 1 & 2 June
Credit: Guildford School of Acting
It's only a matter of time before your local theatre will be showing live performances again. In the meantime, check out this online play by comedian Nick Revell, presented in conjunction with the Guildford School of Acting. Better than Death is a bawdy retelling of the Grimm brothers' classic fairytale The Musicians of Bremen. Combining laughter and hope, it's sure to be the perfect pick-me-up.
5. Revisit some classic records
Tim's Twitter Listening Party, 1, 4, 13, 17 & 19 June
Charlatans singer Tim Burgess returns for more of his Twitter Listening Parties. The format is simple: each session, Tim will listen to a classic album and dissect it in real time via his Twitter feed, with members of the public free to chip in with the conversation. This month's albums include Liverpool by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (above, 4 June) and Róisín Murphy's Crooked Machine (13 June).
6. Tune into some musical mirth
Extraordinary Women, 2 & 3 June
Looking for a bit of escapism? This online musical performed by students from the MFA Musical Theatre group will provide it in spades. Based on the novel by Compton Mackenzie, Extraordinary Women is set on a Mediterranean island in the 1920s, where glamorous Rosalba is wreaking havoc with her female admirers. With music by Sarah Travis Book and Richard Stirling, it's sure to get those toes tapping.
7. Dig some dynamic dancing
Kapow Presents: Dancescapes, 5 June
To celebrate the end of their first year, a group of students from Bath Spa University teamed up with Kapow Circus Dance Theatre for a week of intensive training. Their goal: to create a dynamic new dance show that could be performed outdoors within the stunning grounds of the uni's Newton Park campus. Today will see the fruits of those labours. Though it's a free show, you will need to book ahead.
8. Discover the new Banksy
Upfest, 5 & 6 June
Banksy may have thrust Bristol's urban graffiti scene under the global spotlight, but the city's relationship with street art goes back decades. The largest festival of its kind in Europe, Upfest celebrates the talents of local artists, giving visitors the chance to witness dozens of extraordinary new works across the city. Live entertainment and artisan food stalls will add to the general merriment.
9. Get ready to rock!
Download Festival: Reloaded, 5 & 6 June
Sadly, there's no Download Festival this year, but you can still get your rock 'n' metal fix by tuning into this special broadcast on Sky Arts (Freeview channel 11). Over two days, a programme of classic Download performances will be shown, including tracks by next year's headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro, as well as Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Def Leppard, Limp Bizkit and many more.
10. Catch sight of some classics
Cars at the Castle, 6 June
Credit: Simon Q/Wikimedia Commons
Set within the picturesque grounds of Hertford Castle, this free show will see around 60 vintage and classic vehicles on display. It's too late to enter your own car, but you can still while away the hours marvelling at other people's motors. With food and drink stalls and other activities happening during the course of the day, it promises to be a great occasion for the whole family.
• Read our guide to this summer's best motoring events
11. Bet on a duck race
Ballater Duck Festival, 6 June
You're sure to have a quacking time at this delightfully eccentric festival, held in Ballater, Royal Deeside. Throughout the day, there will be a trade and craft fair, live entertainment, pony rides and a bouncy castle. However, the real fun begins at 3pm when the duck race commences (spoiler: they're not real ducks). Whether you want to have a flutter or simply watch the action unfold, it'll be a memorable spectacle.
12. Laugh along to some lyrical genius
UK Pun Off, 6, 13, 20 & 27 June
If wordplay sends you wild, then you won't want to miss this weekly online show, in which some of the UK's top punsters go head-to-head in a quick-witted battle of supremacy. Typically, the contestants are given five topics to talk about over the course of the evening, with past subjects including everything from Star Wars to babies. Expect pun and games galore!
13. Embrace the great outdoors
Festival of Nature, 5-12 June
Shops, cinemas and other businesses may have reopened, but don't let that stop you spending time outdoors. The largest free celebration of the natural world, Bristol's Festival of Nature is aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their surroundings. While the programme hadn't been finalised at the time of writing, a range of talks, workshops and volunteering projects are likely to be on the agenda.
14. Buy something weird and wonderful
SoLo Craft Fair, 6, 13, 20 & 27 June
Looking for a unique present? There's every chance you'll find it at the SoLo (South London) Craft Fair. Held as part of the Between the Bridges Festival, it'll see around 30 traders gather on the South Bank to display their handmade wares. With a different theme each week – and plenty of live entertainment to spruce up proceedings – it sounds like a fine way to spend a Sunday.
15. Attend a biographical bonanza
Boswell Book Festival, 10-16 June
Named in honour of the 18th-century Scottish writer James Boswell, this is the world's only festival of biography and memoir. The 2021 programme will be taking place entirely online, with a wide range of talks and performances available to stream for free (donations are encouraged). Alongside the adult-focused events, there will be a number of special activities for children.
16. Be entertained by a children's author
Guy Bass – Skeleton Keys: The Night of the Nobody, 12 June
Credit: Guy Bass/YouTube
You may not have heard of Guy Bass, but there's every chance your kids will have. The award-winning author has penned loads of fictional books for youngsters, including the popular Skeleton Keys stories. To celebrate the latest instalment in that series, he's presenting this funny and fast-paced online event, in which he'll share anecdotes, recite poetry and pass on writing tips.
17. Pick up a bargain
Leeds Record and Book Fair, 12 June
Fans of music and literature have been confined to shopping for bargains on the likes of eBay over the past year. But with restrictions being lifted, this massive fair in Leeds' Kirkgate Market will be taking place in person. With over 40 stalls expected, selling everything from vinyl and CDs to books and posters, it's a must for collectors.
18. Hear some unique stories
Fearless Fairy Tales with Konnie Huq, 12 June
Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq has branched out into children's fiction, and her latest tome, Fearless Fairy Tales, sees her reinventing old-fashioned bedtime stories for the 21st century. In this online session for kids aged 6+, Konnie will introduce some of the characters from the book – such as Sleeping Brainy and Trumplestiltskin – and answer some of her most-asked questions.
19. Get active
The Festival of Human Rights, 12 June
As coronavirus cases continue to drop in the UK, and life starts to get back to normal, what can we do to right some of the social injustices that have been highlighted by the pandemic? This online event, hosted by the Liberty human rights organisation, may provide some answers. Featuring live performances, talks, poetry and specially commissioned videos, it promises to be a inspirational afternoon.
20. Have a roaring good time
A Day with Supercars, 13 June
Most of us may never be able to afford a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, but that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy them. This in-person event in the picturesque grounds of Leicestershire's Whatton House will enable visitors to get up close and personal with their favourite supercars. There will also be stalls selling artisan food and cocktails. Admission is free but donations to the Alex's Wish charity are welcomed.
21. Learn how to take stunning shots
Photography Masterclass: Perfecting Your Portraits, 15 June
It's frustrating when you think you've captured the perfect shot of your loved one, only to check your handiwork and find that it's come out blurry or badly framed. In this free online workshop for Boundless members, award-winning photographer Anna-Marie Coster will show you how to take fabulous portrait pictures with your digital camera, ensuring that you'll never miss that magical moment again.
22. Learn about London's history
New Beginnings: Rebuilding the City After the Great Fire of London, 23 June
After being devastated by fire in 1666, London rose from the ashes to once again become one of the world's most impressive and vibrant cities. In this fascinating online talk, City of London guide Jill Finch will recount the gargantuan efforts that went into rebuilding the city, and how that famous inferno shaped the capital as we know it today.
23. Gear up for Peer
The Big I Am, 23-26 June
If you've been missing live theatre, then here's a chance to enjoy the visceral thrill of an in-person performance. To conclude their drama training, the PraxisPro theatre company will be taking to the stage at Uxbridge College's Hayes Community Campus to present a new adaptation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Be warned, though: the show contains strong language and sexual content.
24. Let music massage your senses
Fauré's Requiem, 26 June
Throughout the lockdown, Sterndale Singers in Sheffield have been practising together on Zoom. Now, they're coming together at the city's majestic St Marie's Cathedral for a concert in honour of those who have lost their lives during the pandemic. As well as performing Fauré's moving Requiem, they'll sing a number of joyful pieces to help lift everyone's spirits.
25. Hear some gripping Gulf War stories
Tornado: In the Eye of the Storm, 29 June
If you're a fan of military history, then you won't want to miss this free online event for Boundless members. To celebrate the launch of his new book of the same name, Tornado navigator John Nichol will recount the harrowing events of the Gulf War when, during an ultra-low-level mission, he and his pilot John Peters were shot down by a missile launcher and captured by Iraqi forces.
Photos: Getty Images, unless otherwise stated