7 reasons for a weekend away in 2017

Comeback gigs from 100-million-selling rock stars, Viking festivals with axe-throwing contests and the world’s biggest arts festival. There’s lots of reasons to book a weekend away for 2017…

Phil Collins comeback gigs at the Royal Albert Hall

Phil Collins is a bit like Marmite – you either really like him or really don’t. But whatever your opinion, you can’t deny his legend status.

His drumming with 70s prog rock band Genesis was pioneering, and his career as a pop-tastic solo artist in the 80s made him one of only a handful of artists to sell 100 million records.

His biggest hit is probably In The Air Tonight – featuring some of his best drumming and later borrowed for a chocolate advert.

Now after a five-year break, he’s back with the Not Dead Yet tour. The only UK dates on the tour are in London with a five-night stint at the Royal Albert Hall.

When the gigs were announced streaming of Phil Collins songs soared 94% on Spotify. They’re the hottest tickets in town.

When? 4-9 June 

Where is it? London,Royal Albert Hall

How much? £58.60 – £181

More info

Step behind London’s front doors

Ever wondered who would live in a house like that? Some of London’s most exclusive addresses and public buildings throw open the doors for one weekend only.

The Open House weekend takes place every September to celebrate the capital’s best architecture and allow you to take a peak behind normally closed doors like 10 Downing Street and the Gherkin.

You can also step inside some of the most interesting houses such as Grand Designs eco homes like 15 and a Half Consort Road in Southwark.

It’s all free but you need to pre-book the buildings you want to visit so a guide can be there to show you around. We don’t know which buildings will feature in 2017.  Check on the Open House website for announcements.

When? September

Where is it? Buildings across London

How much? FREE!

Find out more

The biggest exhibitions of 2017

London is one of the best cities for arts and culture with a handful of the world’s most-visited museums and galleries.

Some incredible exhibitions will be hitting the headlines throughout 2017 – too many to mention here.

Don’t miss… 

  • David Hockney at Tate Britain: From California swimming pools to Yorkshire landscapes, Hockney has created some of our best-loved art. This career-spanning retrospective is a must. From 9 February – 29 May. More info
  • Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains: Trace the story of one of the biggest bands of all time at the first international retrospective of Pink Floyd. V&A, from 13 May – 1 October. More info


Explore Viking York

Vikings ruled York for around 100 years between the 9th and 10th Century. Renaming it Jorvik, they filled it with their smoke-filled houses and workshops and families and farm animals. York remains proud of its Viking heritage.

The highlights include:

  • Jorvik Viking Centre

Interactive displays and Viking artefacts dug up from beneath the streets of York. Jorvik museum reopens in 2017 with ‘state of the art animatronics’ coming.

  • Jorvik Viking Festival

Europe’s largest Viking festival. Streets of York come alive with re-enactments of Viking battles and the Strongest Viking challenges of log running and shield wrestling.

When? Jorvik Viking Festival 20 – 26 February, Jorvik Museum reopening Spring 

Where is it?  Coppergate, York  

How much? Tickets yet to go on sale  

More info


Celebrate Martin Luther King in Newcastle

‘I have a dream…’ said Dr Martin Luther King in a 1963 speech that paved the way for equal rights in America – inspiring millions along the way.

In 1967 Newcastle University handed Dr King an honorary degree. Now 50 years on, the city celebrates the event and everything the man stood for – freedom, togetherness, empowerment and respect.

Freedom City 2017 is a citywide celebration of culture and diversity taking in art, music, film and more. Highlights include…

  • Candi Station and Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section singing the songs of the Civil Rights Movement at Sage Gateshead
  • Mass march across the Tyne Bridge to celebrate inclusivity, internationalism and integration
  • New exhibition on Dr King’s Newcastle visit at the Great North Museum: Hancock

When? November  

Where is it?  Newcastle   

How much? Varies

More info



World-famous arts festivals in Edinburgh

Every August the streets and venues of Edinburgh are taken over by a huge arts festival.

The Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival Fringe bring an eclectic mix of dance, drama, comedy, music and street performance to the city.

Festivities begin with a spectacular opening ceremony, 2016 saw Edinburgh Castle bathed in a lightshow with a soundtrack from post-rock band Mogwai.

How the festivals differ…

  • International Festival is made up of official events by established artists performing by invite-only so it’s mainly bigger stars
  • Festival Fringe is the noisy younger sibling. Anyone can perform at Fringe – making it the place to catch unknown up-and-comers, especially comedians.

When? 4–28 August

Where is it? Citywide

How much? Tickets by event

More info

Bucket list New Year’s Eve Edinburgh-style

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Hogmanay as the last day of the year and the parties to celebrate it that start in the evening and continue until the next day. And in Edinburgh they do things by the book.

Along with New York, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, the Scottish capital is up there with the best global destinations for New Year’s Eve.

Tens of thousands of revellers descend upon the city centre for a mass street party. Concerts are played by big stars (2016 saw Paolo Nutini and The Charlatans), burgers and hog roasts are served from street food stands, and pints are pulled from pop-up pubs`

Then there’s the fireworks, and what fireworks they are. They fill the sky over Edinburgh Castle with sparking, shooting colour as midnight strikes while on the ground thousands of revellers join arms to sing Auld Lang Syne in an outpouring of goodwill.

No wonder tens of thousands watch on the telly too.

When? 31 December

Where is it?  Princes Street 

How much? Tickets for individual events