Out & about

Our top tips will help you make the most of what’s going on around the country during the upcoming month

By George!

Celebrate England’s patron saint at the largest St George’s Day festival in the country at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire (21-22 April).

The entertainment spans the centuries, from medieval jousting knights and soldiers of the Great War to Victorian side-saddle demonstrations, falconry displays and an interactive play featuring England’s kings and queens.

Peterkin the Fool will be on hand to amuse the crowds in his funny hat and the event will culminate in the ultimate heavyweight contest when St George takes on his fire-breathing foe once again.

The official London St George’s Day celebration takes place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 21 April. Festivities include free entertainment with live bands on the main stage, food stalls and street actors.

William Shakespeare’s birthday also falls on St George’s Day and the Globe Theatre is hosting workshops and entertainment to bring the Bard back to life.

Many towns and cities hold their own St George’s Day events; in Nottingham, for example, the Royal Society of St George leads a parade of marching bands and uniformed revellers that starts at the site of the legendary Goose Fair and proceeds into the Old Market Square on the big day itself.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham St George’s Day Association celebrates England and Englishness with a special concert at the city’s Symphony Hall on 21 April from 6pm. Guest star is actor and playwright Malcolm Stent.

Food for thought

His name is Michael Caines and quite a few people know that he’s a top chef at the Gidleigh Park Country House Hotel on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, where he has earned his reputation – as well as two Michelin stars and an MBE – over the past 13 years.

Michael Caines

He’s also the cofounder of the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink which takes place in the cultural quarter of the city (13- 15 April).

Caines will be demonstrating in the festival Cookery Theatre, assisted by his sous chef for the Friday, TV house-hunter and amateur cook Kirstie Allsopp.

The foodie fiesta includes demonstrations from TV celebrity chefs, expert masterclasses and fine dining at the new Gourmet on the Go pop-up restaurants.

At supper time, the Festival After Dark Party on Friday and Saturday nights presents two evenings of music plus a mouth-watering array of stalls serving regional fare, real ales and cider.

Crafty moves

Kedleston Hall, the National Trust property set in rolling Derbyshire parkland near Quarndon, opens its gates for a country and craft fair (21-22 April).

The show’s main arena features championship scurry driving, falconry, working ferret and gun dog displays, target field sports and a pedigree dog show.

Traditional craft demonstrations include glassblowing, blacksmiths’ and other rural skills, knitwear, walking sticks and – for the very steady-handed – chainsaw carving.

Blooming marvellous

Botanical art bursts into bloom (20-29 April) when the Society of Botanical Artists holds its Annual London Open Exhibition at Westminster’s Central Hall.

The show will include some 700 works of flower and plant images in watercolours, pastel, pencil and oils. Admission is free and all work is for sale, including prints and cards.

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