Event recommends the top 100 cultural experiences

Event recommends the top 100 cultural experiences

April 21, 2019

100 things to do before you die! Our experts pick the world’s best cultural experiences

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Live like 007 for a night, watch a hologram of your favourite dead pop star or enjoy Shakespeare by candlelight… Event’s cultural experts give their tips for the ultimate bucket list… 

FILM 

By Matthew Bond 

1. See ‘the favourite’ at the house where it was filmed

Despite passing planes, imperfect darkness and the penetrating chill of a British summer evening, outdoor cinema has become a huge thing in recent years. It is always best when the film is appropriate to the surroundings – and Olivia Colman’s Bafta winner, The Favourite, is being shown at Hatfield House, where it was filmed. Pack plentiful food and drink, a comfy perch and lots of blankets. See thelunacinema.com

Secret Cinema is more than just a movie screening, it’s an interactive event where you get to immerse yourself in the world of the film. This year’s production is Casino Royale

It’s Sunday, it’s raining and what you really want to do is curl up in front of an old film… do it in style by hot-footing it to the BFI  where there is a season of Stanley Kubrick films

 Embrace Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show with stockings, corset and eyeliner

2. ‘Star’ in an action movie

A host of specialist extras’ agencies will represent those happy to hang around in the background. For example, for the new Hellboy film, Universal Extras found people to play policemen, monks – and even a stand-in for the star David Harbour. For a nine-hour day, you’ll earn about £90. It might just be the start of something big… See universalextras.co.uk and castingcollective.co.uk

3. Be bond for a night

Secret Cinema is more than just a movie screening, it’s an interactive event where you get to immerse yourself in the world of the film. Having bought your tickets, you’ll be told the secret venue and given a character to ‘play’, with advice on what to wear and suggestions to help you prepare. This year’s production is Casino Royale – expect budgie-smuggler swimming trunks, roulette tables and Vesper martinis. From £49, secretcinema.org

4. Live in Harry Potter’s world for a day

The attention to detail and sheer scale of the sets at the Making Of Harry Potter studio tour, at Leavesden in Hertfordshire, is spectacular, and places you right inside Hogwarts. But at £148 for a four-person Muggle family, it’s not cheap. Book in advance, go early and don’t overdo the butter beer. Or why not book to see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child in the West End – do both parts of the stage production in one day or on consecutive days. See wbstudiotour.co.uk; harrypottertheplay.com

5. Take in a true classic

It’s Sunday, it’s raining and what you really want to do is curl up in front of an old film… Do it in style by hot-footing it to the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank, where Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, John Ford’s The Grapes Of Wrath and Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout are all in next month’s schedule, along with a season of Stanley Kubrick films. Tickets from £8, bfi.org.uk

‘Star’ in an action movie! A host of specialist extras’ agencies will represent those happy to hang around in the background

6. Watch a movie with the soundtrack played live

Watching a favourite film while a live orchestra plays the score is such an uplifting experience – suddenly the music is absolutely centre stage. Such events have become hugely popular and this year’s treats include Blade Runner at the Royal Albert Hall, Titanic at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, and Fritz Lang’s silent classic Metropolis at the Royal Festival Hall. Full listings at moviesinconcert.nl. ‘Blade Runner’ tickets from £34, royalalberthall.com

7. Be dazzled by the three-walled cinema

See a blockbuster like Shazam! in the latest wraparound, 270-degree ScreenX version, where the film is projected over three walls – beyond your peripheral vision. Then there’s 4DX – in which wind, scent and strobe effects are added while you watch, and even your seat moves. See cineworld.co.uk

8. Support your LOCAL picture palace

There is life beyond the multiscreen. Make an effort to visit one of the smaller, independent venues, such as the Olympic in Barnes, west London – it was once a recording studio used by The Rolling Stones, Queen and U2. Or try the Ultimate Picture Palace, a Grade II-listed building in Oxford built in 1910. The Filmhouse in Edinburgh has an upcoming ‘Robots’ season, which includes Westworld and the original version of The Stepford Wives. See olympiccinema.co.uk, filmhouse cinema.com, uppcinema.com

9. Give the dog a film!

Last year, Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs made the idea of dog-friendly screenings popular, with the Picturehouse chain leading the tail-wagging way with drinking bowls and blankets on chairs for its four-legged customers. Expect similar fun with the documentary Pick Of The Litter, which follows a litter of labrador pups from birth to possible selection as guide dogs. The pooch-friendly picture is being shown in the chain’s cinemas nationwide on May 12. See picturehouses.com

10. Dress to thrill for a spectacular singalong

Channel your inner Hugh Jackman with a top hat and cane à la The Greatest Showman. Or embrace Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show with stockings, corset and eyeliner. Yes, singalong screenings of these films are touring the country – and dressing up is part of the fun. See singalonga.net

11. Pull An all-nighter

The Prince Charles Cinema, just off London’s Leicester Square, offers regular all-night movie marathons. You go in mid-evening and, in the case of the upcoming Harry Potter event, where all eight films are shown, stagger out the following afternoon. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone marathons are in the schedule, too. For those with serious stamina, a cinema chain in the US has plans to screen all 22 Marvel superhero films back-to-back – all 59 hours’ worth! See princecharlescinema.com

12. Say hooray for Hollywood

Any serious film buff will want to visit Hollywood before the great director in the sky calls ‘Cut’ on you for the final time. Some will head for Hollywood Boulevard, to spot their favourites among the 2,600 stars immortalised on the Walk Of Fame. Others will make a date with a great white shark, Norman Bates and King Kong by taking the Universal Studios tour. Better still, do the lot. See visitcalifornia.com 

TV & RADIO 

 By Mark Wareham

13. Go 50:50… or phone a friend!

Fancy the top prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, trying to hit zero points on Pointless, outrunning The Chaser or even attempting no passes in Mastermind’s famous black chair? It’s easy to apply. After that, you just need to have the smarts and the nerve to make it as far as the show itself. Get on the mailing list and fill out the form at bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/takepart or itv.com/beontv 

Portmeirion. The extraordinary, colourful Welsh village was the star of the cult Sixties series, in which Patrick McGoohan played Number Six, the inmate of a police state

14. Be the prisoner in Portmeirion 

The extraordinary, colourful Welsh village, above, was the star of the cult Sixties series, in which Patrick McGoohan played Number Six, the inmate of a police state. The spectacular setting, a 20thcentury folly, is effectively a living set, having changed little in 50 years. Stay in one of the village rooms and soak up the surreal atmosphere, or visit the annual convention. See portmeirion-village.com 

15. Watch ‘strictly’ being recorded 

See the celebrity contestants strut their spangly stuff from the audience for a glittering episode of television’s favourite talent show, Strictly Come Dancing. Tickets for the filming at Elstree Studios in London are, not surprisingly, at a premium but, rather like Wimbledon, they’re allocated by a ballot, which is open to anyone on the BBC’s mailing list. Register at bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/mailinglist, tick the entertainment category and keep an eye out in August when the ballot opens 

IT’S A FACT

Bringing Madonna to perform two songs at this year’s Eurovision finals is expected to cost $1m. She will have an audience of 180m.  

16. Join in at ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ 

The BBC’s flagship music show is open to all, and you can apply for a free pair of tickets for its heady mix of legendary acts and up-and-coming new talent. Get yourself into Jools’s audience at Maidstone Studios in Kent by registering with the BBC. Series 54 and 55 are due in May and September. 

17. Watch the Eurovision song contest live 

If you think Strictly’s the go-to glitterfest, try attending Eurovision. The campest, showiest party on Earth is a week-long entertainment extravaganza, including dress-rehearsal family shows, jury rehearsals, the semifinals and grand final. This year’s contest, guest-starring Madonna, takes place in Tel Aviv, May 13-18. See eurovision.tv 

Bringing Madonna to perform two songs at this year’s Eurovision finals is expected to cost $1m. She will have an audience of 180m

18. Get a shout-out on the radio 

Whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary or just to show someone that you really love them, a radio request is a gift that will be cherished forever. And you can’t get one on Spotify. The days of scribbling a request on a postcard to Simon Bates are long gone – now it’s SMS, Twitter, email or even an old-fashioned phone call. Select the radio station of your intended’s choice and check out the website for details. 

MUSIC  

By Tim De Lisle 

19. SEE A LIVING LEGEND

The Sixties and Seventies were the golden age of rock and there’s still time, just, to see the last men standing from that era. Bob Dylan plays Hyde Park in July, Elton John’s farewell tour comes to Britain in June and again in 2020, and Paul McCartney pops up here, there and everywhere. There are many legends, but there’s only one Boss, and Bruce Springsteen is expected to tour next year. Catch him in a country that goes crazy for him, ideally Spain or Italy. See ticketmaster.co.uk

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, in 1685, Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, USA, in 1942. But they both lived in Brook Street, London

Both houses that housed these musical legends are open to the public. See handelhendrix.org

20. DISCOVER SECRET GLASTONBURY

The biggest name in festivals is also, most years, the best, thanks to the imagination of the Eavis family. Make it even better by catching a secret performance. There’s always one, and it could be anybody from Liam Gallagher to Lady Gaga. Keep your ear to the ground while you’re there and follow @secretglasto on Twitter… See glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

21. SEE A HOLOGRAM GIG

Yes, it’s weird to witness a dead rock star being brought back to life by a trick of the light. But it’s also fascinating, as your friends will confirm by quizzing you about it afterwards. Book now for Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly – together – in October. See basehologram.com

22. FIND YOUR INNER HIPPIE

‘By the time we got to Woodstock,’ Joni Mitchell sang, ‘we were half a million strong.’ That was in 1969, when Jimi Hendrix topped the bill. For the 50th anniversary, upstate New York is hosting two rival Woodstocks: a sedate one headlined by Santana and Ringo Starr, and a younger version featuring Jay Z. See woodstock.com and bethelwoodscenter.org

23. YOU’RE GOING TO GRACELAND

Follow in Paul Simon’s footsteps by visiting Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, and the site of his grave. While you’re in Memphis, tour Sun Studios, where Elvis cut his first records, and listen to the blues on Beale Street, where it was more or less invented. Then head for Nashville or, better still, New Orleans. See graceland.com

24. VISIT ABBEY ROAD

Why did the Beatles fan cross the road? To get her picture taken, of course. And to add her name to the thousands scribbled across the wall outside Abbey Road Studios in London NW8, where nearly all The Beatles’ music was recorded. You can’t take a tour, as the studios are still in use, but there’s a shop and a webcam to capture your crossing. See abbeyroad.com

25. SEE BOWIE’S BERLIN

In 1976, David Bowie moved from Los Angeles to Berlin, where he made three albums at Hansa Studios in no time – Low, Heroes and Lodger. Pilgrims can look round Hansa, take a Bowie walking tour and shop at KaDeWe, which crops up in his 2012 comeback hit Where Are We Now? See viator.com, fotostrasse.com

26. TAKE A TABLE AT RONNIE SCOTT’S

If you love jazz, you’ve probably been already. And even if you don’t, this exemplary club puts on plenty of other music, from elder statesmen of the blues to young soul singers who ought to be more famous. See ronniescotts.co.uk

The Kitchen cooker and shelves at Mendips. This is where John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi would cook him his favourite meal of egg and chips washed down with a cup of tea

27. GO TO A ROCK GIG AT AN ICONIC VENUE

Watching live music doesn’t have to mean spending an evening in a sweaty dive or a soulless arena. This summer, you can see Gladys Knight at Blenheim Palace, The Jacksons at Hampton Court Palace, Jess Glynne at Kew Gardens, Bryan Ferry at Scone Palace or Kraftwerk at Jodrell Bank. Tickets for Gladys Knight start at £35. See blenheimpalace.com

28. DROP IN ON TWO LEGENDS

George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany, in 1685, Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, USA, in 1942. But they both lived in Brook Street, London – Handel in a house at No 25 and Hendrix next door in a flat. Both are open to the public, and elegantly recreated – you can even see what Hendrix bought from John Lewis. See handelhendrix.org

Follow in Paul Simon’s footsteps by visiting Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, and the site of his grave. While you’re in Memphis, tour Sun Studios, where Elvis cut his first records

Mega-star Taylor Swift is known to welcome a few lucky fans into her dressing room. OK, so your chances of meeting Swift are pretty slim, but some stars offer tickets with something extra

29. GET BACK… TO THE BEATLES’ ROOTS

The Beatles all grew up in Liverpool, steeped in its music, humour and warmth. And Liverpool today is steeped in the band, from The Beatles Story exhibition to tours of Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes, both owned by the National Trust. See visitliverpool.com

IT’S A FACT

Ronnie Scott’s has hosted greats such as Chet Baker and Nina Simone – and Jimi Hendrix, two days before his death in 1970.

30. COME FACE TO FACE WITH A STAR

Mega-star Taylor Swift is known to welcome a few lucky fans into her dressing room at the end of concerts. OK, so your chances of meeting Swift are pretty slim, but some stars offer tickets with something extra. For £48, you can get a good seat for k.d. lang’s tour in July; for an extra £190 you can get a great seat (in the first five rows) and a meet-and-greet beforehand. See kdlang.com

31. SEE A MUSICAL LEGEND IN LAS VEGAS

When in Vegas, spurn the slot machines and catch an unforgettable show. Lady Gaga is there on and off, Diana Ross drops by in June, and the Eagles land in September to play Hotel California, in full, for the first time. See arena-lasvegas.org

CLASSICAL AND OPERA 

By David Mellor 

32. Do the Proms properly

Either dress up with a hat and fly the flag at the Last Night, below, or book for one of the big foreign orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic doing something huge, like Mahler’s Ninth or Bruckner’s Eighth, and wallow in it. See bbc.co.uk/proms

33. Get a front-row seat in Vienna for the New Year’s Day concert

The Golden Hall in the Musikverein has a golden glow, thousands of euros-worth of flowers everywhere and some of the catchiest tunes ever composed, and you get to clap along at the end. See viennaconcerts.com

Do the Proms properly! Either dress up with a hat and fly the flag at the Last Night, below, or book for one of the big foreign orchestras

34. Go backstage at the Royal Opera House

You can visit the backstage and front-of-house areas of this majestic venue as it prepares to open its doors for the evening performance. Tours vary as to what is available on the day but it is fascinating to see the workshop areas and what goes on in the wings at this iconic theatre, and the guides have a wealth of expert and quirky detail to hand. See roh.org.uk

35. See a great Verdi opera at La Scala in Milan

OK, the opera house had to be rebuilt after the war, but this is where most of the great Italian operas began, and there’s nowhere like La Scala to make you feel you really are where it’s at. Verdi, Puccini, Rossini… bring ’em on. See teatroallascala.org

36. Watch Wagner’s Ring at its home in Bayreuth

Walk up Wagner’s green hill (along a road once called Adolf Hitler Allee, but let’s forget about that) and sit in the all-wooden theatre Wagner himself designed. Even if the production is crazy, and it’s likely to be, you’ll still find it a wonderful experience. You can see the window from which Hitler addressed the audience, but we’d better forget about that as well. The 2019 events begin in July. See bayreuther-festspiele.de

Liz Jones: ‘I’d love to go to Tuscany to hear Andrea Bocelli sing Turandot beneath the stars at the open-air Teatro del Silenzio’

37. Go to Glyndebourne

Country-house opera is all the thing these days, and Glyndebourne is where it began, with an eccentric Eton beak converting an outhouse to put on operas featuring his soprano wife. It’s all a bit different now. The international house, the picnics, the Sussex evening drawing in, and not forgetting the music, make it all magical. From May 18. See glyndebourne.com

38. Be transported with nine lessons and carols

King’s College, Cambridge is really special both inside and out. And that choir is world famous for performing traditional carols magnificently, with some more challenging new ones stirred in. Then take a walk along the Backs and across the road for a cup of tea and a muffin – you can’t get more British than that. See kings.cam.ac.uk

39. Start Christmas Day at St Paul’s

For me, no Christmas Day is complete without the 11am communion service at St Paul’s Cathedral, with the choir working their way through Haydn’s mass as the service progresses. It’s not the same since Bishop Chartres retired – a showman to his fingertips – but it’s still worth queueing up for, even if, as it so often is, it’s cold and wet and the heating isn’t working properly.

40. Come back from wexford waxing lyrical

The town with the annual autumnal opera festival has got it all – lovely beaches, great walks, great seafood, and, although this is Ireland, plenty to drink! Oh, and by the way, there are always some interesting rare operas as well. See wexfordopera.com 

THEATRE

By Robert Gore-Langton

41. Never mind the play check out THAT view! 

The Minack Theatre, near Penzance, is Cornwall’s truly spectacular open-air theatre, literally jutting into the sea, four miles from Land’s End, in Poldark country. Hope for a sunset over the ocean. Even in the rain it’s fabulous. See minack.com

William Findley in The Mousetrap. Agatha Christie’s tourist landmark – running since 1952 – is a time tunnel back to the days of post-war theatre

Boo a baddie at the London Palladium, which puts on the starriest panto in the capital

42. West End panto? Oh yes it is..

Boo a baddie at the London Palladium, which puts on the starriest panto in the capital. No joke is too old, no thigh left unslapped, in this hugely lavish London tradition. See lwtheatres.co.uk

43. See ‘The Mousetrap’

Agatha Christie’s tourist landmark – running since 1952 – is a time tunnel back to the days of post-war theatre. Even the country-house set is unchanged. Work out whodunnit at this St Martin’s Theatre thriller that’s as old as the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Tickets from £22.50, uk.the-mousetrap.co.uk

44. Enjoy the bard by candlelight 

There is something magical about seeing a play lit entirely by candles, and that’s what you get at the Globe Theatre’s indoor space, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. It’s the only purely beeswax-powered theatre in Britain. See shakespearesglobe.com for details of upcoming plays, including ‘Richard II’

Book tickets to a big Broadway musical. Soak up the bright lights and grab a late bite at Joe Allen on West 46th Stree

45. Give your regards to Broadway

Book tickets to a big Broadway musical. Soak up the bright lights and grab a late bite at Joe Allen on West 46th Street – you might meet an actor winding down from the show you’ve just seen. For a full list of current shows, from ‘Aladdin’ to ‘Wicked’, see broadway.com

46. And now try something completely different…

The Punchdrunk theatre company offers an experience like no other. Wander alone in a warehouse or an abandoned hotel as the company transforms classic plays into weird and wonderful interactive events. Punchdrunk’s Small Wonders for childen (and adults) is at the Edinburgh Children’s Festival from May 14 to June 2. Tickets at imaginate.org.uk/festival/whats-on/small-wonders

IT’S A FACT

For the 1932 performance of The Tempest at the fledgling Minack Theatre, the stage was lit by car headlights.

47. The stage is set for a trip into the past

The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is the National Trust’s only theatre, and it’s 200 years old this year. It was designed by William Wilkins, also famous for the National Gallery. See a show or take the backstage tour of this Regency gem where Charley’s Aunt had its premiere. Tours £7.50, or free for National Trust members. See theatreroyal.org

48. Visit an iconic music hall

See a show at the gorgeous, ghostly Wilton’s Music Hall, below, in the heart of Jack the Ripper’s East End. The last surviving Victorian venue of its kind, it’ll transport you back to the gaudy days of its greatest star, Champagne Charlie. From May 8 it hosts a restaging of Kenneth MacMillan’s version of the Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht ‘ballet with songs’, Seven Deadly Sins. From £10, see wiltons.org.uk

49. Take your seat at the end of the Pier

Try the ‘end of the pier show’ at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier in Norfolk. Its summer variety show – a feast of comedy, music, dance and more – is a nostalgic treat. You can hear the slap of the waves below when the music stops. Summer show starts June 22, tickets from £10. See cromerpier.co.uk

 Take a young child to the Puppet Theatre Barge, top, and walk the gangplank into another world

See a show at the gorgeous, ghostly Wilton’s Music Hall, below, in the heart of Jack the Ripper’s East End

50. Splash out on your own royal box

Nothing beats having your own theatre box. Book one at the ‘Little Theatre in the Hay’, today known as the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and feel like a monarch in perhaps the most beautiful theatre in the world. See trh.co.uk

51. Float off into a magical world

Take a young child to the Puppet Theatre Barge and walk the gangplank into another world. A floating 50-seat venue, it’s a magical experience, moored this summer at Little Venice, London. A Child’s Garden Of Verse, May 4-6, £8. See puppetbarge.com

52. Transport yourself with an art deco delight

The art deco Savoy Theatre is an a silver-and-gold-panelled delight. Before you go, have a glass of port in the underground caves of Gordon’s, London’s oldest wine bar. The Savoy is currently home to the Dolly Parton musical, 9 To 5. Tickets from £20. See savoytheatre.com

53. See Shakespeare in his home town

Take in a Shakespeare play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the Bard’s home town, Stratford-Upon-Avon. Before curtain-up, walk by the river. After the show, rub shoulders with the cast in the actors’ pub, The Mucky Duck. ‘Measure For Measure’ runs from June 28 to August 29 Tickets from £16, rsc.org.uk

ART 

By Philip Hensher

54. Tour Mackintosh’s Glasgow

A walk around Glasgow, organised or not, will introduce you to the work of the great art nouveau artist, designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh – sadly now without the School of Art, recently burned down (twice). See crmsociety.com

The most underrated painted ceiling, with a recent £8.5 million renovation, is by William Hogarth’s father-in-law, James Thornhill, at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich

A walk around Glasgow, organised or not, will introduce you to the work of the great art nouveau artist, designer and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh

There is nothing more enchanting to children than a sleepover in the Egyptian galleries at the British Museum

55. Stay late at the Tate 

Tate Modern is at its most atmospheric and cool after normal closing hours. There could be DJs, an all-night film event, workshops or readings, while the crowd can be irresistibly glamorous. See tate.org.uk

56. Visit Britain’s own Sistine chapel

Painted ceilings were once the ultimate ostentation, such as the Sistine Chapel, Rubens’ Banqueting House and Tiepolo’s Bishop’s Palace in Wurzburg. The most underrated, with a recent £8.5 million renovation, is by William Hogarth’s father-in-law, James Thornhill, at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. See ornc.org

57. Buy a masterpiece

If you want to buy a piece of art for about £1,000, try an auction. Bruun Rasmussen, in Denmark, has a steady stream of Scandinavian art, both classical and modern. Or check out the Affordable Art Fair – the next one is in London, May 9-12. See bruun-rasmussen.dk, affordableartfair.com

MY TOP PICK

I love the American desert and I haven’t yet been to Marfa in West Texas, which is an unexpected oasis of contemporary art. Alexandra Shulman

58. Visit an artist’s house

The most dramatic and beautiful artist’s house in London is probably Leighton House – sumptuous, extravagant, an oriental fantasy in the middle of respectably Victorian Holland Park. It was designed with just a hint of naughtiness to distinguish its owner, Lord Leighton, from a rich banker. See rbkc.gov.uk

59. Stay in a work of art

Grayson Perry designed A House For Essex (Julie’s House) for Living Architecture, full of a sense of narrative and beautifully eccentric little details. Yes, it’s a work of art, but you can book to stay with three friends for a night. See living-architecture.co.uk

60. Spend a night at the Museum

There is nothing more enchanting to children than a sleepover in the Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, with five organised activities (and an accompanying adult). Lights out at midnight for a sleepless night, surrounded by ancient sarcophagi. See britishmuseum.org

Joy Ride by Kareem Rizk, at the Affordable Art Fair. The next Fair is in London, May 9-12

Grayson Perry designed A House For Essex (Julie’s House) for Living Architecture, full of a sense of narrative and beautifully eccentric little details

Along The Way by KAWS, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has for 40 years invited visitors to encounter modern and contemporary sculpture in beautiful parklands

61. Try your luck at the summer exhibition

For 200 years the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has shown work not only from distinguished Academicians but also by artists of all sorts. Most of the art is for sale. Anyone can submit a work for a fee of £35: then 4,000 submissions are called in for closer examination, before a final selection is made. See summer.royalacademy.org.uk

62. Get hep to Hepworth in St Ives

The Barbara Hepworth Museum And Sculpture Garden at St Ives preserves the working environment of one of Britain’s greatest modern sculptors, with some of her finest work in an amazing settting. Entry from £6.60. See tate.org.uk

63. See art in the park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park has for 40 years invited visitors to encounter modern and contemporary sculpture in beautiful parklands. The experience of taking a brisk walk and bumping into an Ai Weiwei on a lawn or a Giuseppe Penone in woodland is unique. Do it independently, or the park mounts walks to suit people of all ages. See ysp.org.uk

COMEDY 

By Mark Wareham 

64. See a major act at an intimate venue

Big-name stand-ups perform work-in-progress shows all the time. All you have to do is get on their mailing lists and watch your inbox. In London, the Soho Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre and the Bill Murray Club all regularly host comics trying out new material, with names currently in rehearsal including Frankie Boyle, Russell Howard and Stewart Lee. Outside the capital? Just register with your local venue. See sohotheatre.com, angelcomedy.co.uk

Michael McIntyre, John Bishop (above), Eddie Izzard and Jimmy Carr all had their start at the Edinburgh Fringe

65. Be the first to spot the next stand-up comedy star

Edinburgh, the world’s largest arts festival, has been the training ground for just about every big-name comedy act you care to mention, including Michael McIntyre, John Bishop (above), Eddie Izzard and Jimmy Carr. They all had to start somewhere, right? So see the rising stars of tomorrow close up and personal in tiny venues dotted around the Scottish capital every August, and then you can say you were there at the start. Who needs arenas? See edfringe.com

66. Laugh till you cry at the Comedy Store

London’s Comedy Store is where the alternative comedy revolution began in 1979 with the likes of Alexei Sayle, Keith Allen, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. The venue may have moved from its original dingy Soho dive but the vibe hasn’t changed. The Comedy Store Players (including alumni of Whose Line Is It Anyway?) perform twice weekly and celebrate their 40th anniversary in May. See thecomedystore.co.uk

67. Join the audience for a BBC radio show

It’s easy to get tickets for any number of classic radio shows, and what’s more they’re free. Attend a comedy show such as Just A Minute or The News Quiz at the Beeb’s swish art-deco radio theatre, as well as concerts including Friday Night Is Music Night or political institution Any Questions?. Apply for tickets at bbc.co.uk/showsandtours

68. Have a pun day out at the best Festival you’ve never heard of

Leicester hosts comedy’s unsung hero of a festival every February for 18 days across 72 venues. Unlike Edinburgh, accommodation is not a rip-off and there’s a crowd-pleasing mix of big names and undiscovered acts. Up-and-coming comics who have landed the festival’s big prize since it started in 1995 include Johnny Vegas, Jason Manford, Miles Jupp, Rhod Gilbert, Josh Widdicombe and Romesh Ranganathan. Leicester also hosts the UK Pun Championships each year in a boxing ring. See comedy-festival.co.uk

69. Become a stand-up for the night

Think you could be the next Michael McIntyre? Looks easy, doesn’t it? Come up with some old guff about your spice cupboard and start counting the cash. But even if you’ve got some half-decent material, can you deliver it? Aye, there’s the rub. London’s City Academy has courses at its Comedy School or simply throw yourself in at the deep end at an open-mic night down at your local comedy club. Just avoid late-night drunk audiences at all costs. See city-academy.com

BOOKS 

By Neil Armstrong 

70. Sit at Roald’s writing desk

The old garden hut in which Roald Dahl used to write and dream up characters such as Willy Wonka and Matilda has been recreated at the Roald Dahl Museum in the Bucks village where he used to live. You can even sit in a replica of the great man’s armchair. See roalddahl.com

Always wanted to be a writer? Enter a short story competition. There are dozens available


The old garden hut in which Roald Dahl used to write and dream up characters has been recreated at the Roald Dahl Museum in the Bucks village where he used to live

71. See where Harry Potter was created

Before JK Rowling was one of the world’s best-selling authors, she used to write in several Edinburgh cafés with her daughter sleeping at her side. The best known is The Elephant House on George IV Bridge in the city centre. It can’t guarantee inspiration will strike but it does do a very nice latte.

72. Meet the true masters of crime

Every year, the world’s most dangerous serial killers, vicious gangsters and devious criminal masterminds descend upon the eminently respectable town of Harrogate. Well, their creators do. Mix with the biggest names in the genre at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. See harrogateinternationalfestivals.com

MY TOP PICK

I’d nominate a number of long visits to Westminster Abbey, at least one of them for evensong. Craig Brown

73. Tour the bod

Take a guided tour of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. One of the oldest in Europe, it houses 13 million books and documents and is spread across several buildings, including the 15th-century Divinity School and the medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library. It is regularly used as a filming location and features in the Harry Potter series among many others. See bodleian.ox.ac.uk

74. Make hay!

Get a book signed by your idol at the Hay Festival, which always attracts a stellar array of speakers and readers – Benedict Cumberbatch (below) turned up last year. This year, Ian McEwan, Stephen Pinker and Emily Maitlis are among the attendees. ‘The Woodstock of the mind,’ Bill Clinton called it, although there are usually fewer naked hippies dancing around. See hayfestival.com

Get a book signed by your idol at the Hay Festival, which always attracts a stellar array of speakers and readers – Benedict Cumberbatch turned up last year

75. Join the Dead Poets Society

Take a literary pilgrimage to pay your respects to the writers buried or commemorated in ‘Poets’ Corner’ in Westminster Abbey. There are more than 100, including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens. See westminster-abbey.org

76. See Woolf’s lair

Explore Monk’s House, Virginia Woolf’s tranquil country retreat where she wrote some of her best-loved books and entertained guests such as TS Eliot and EM Forster. See nationaltrust.org.uk/monks-house

77. Write your way to glory

Always wanted to be a writer? Enter a short story competition. There are dozens available, which you can find by searching online. Some offer prizes of up to £5,000. Go on, have a go. What have you got to lose? See bridportprize.org.uk

78. See the Bronte treasure

Treat yourself to a Treasures experience at the Brontë Parsonage. During these special hour-long sessions, a member of the curatorial team shares facts and stories about a number of carefully selected objects. From £75, bronte.org.uk

79. Visit Dracula

It was during a visit to Whitby that Bram Stoker found inspiration for his great horror classic, Dracula. The town now celebrates its association with the novel with several Goth festivals. See whitbygothweekend.co.uk

FOOD 

By Tom Parker Bowles 

80. Sink into a porky pie

Glaves is an excellent old-fashioned butcher just outside Scarborough. Its meat is top notch but its pork pies are sublime. Even better when eaten hot, straight out of the oven, so the jelly is warm, liquid bliss. Seriously, this is one of those once-in-a- lifetime porcine pleasures that can never be bettered. Get there just before lunch, or ring in advance to see when they’re ready. See glavesbutchers.co.uk

The Wolseley is a classic mittel-European brasserie that happens to sit in the heart of Piccadilly. Sublime kippers await

81. Try the pasty queen

There are Cornish pasties. Then there are Ann Muller’s pasties from the Lizard Pasty Shop, a glorious hand-held symphony of crisp, golden shortcrust pastry filled with beef skirt, turnip and onion, all lavished with the most lovely and peppery of gravies. See annspasties.co.uk

82. Frying tonight!

We all have our own favourite chippy but The Anstruther Fish Bar in Fife never fails to delight. The fish is always fresh and sustainable, the batter crisp and light, the chips as fat and burnished as they should be. There’s also dressed Scottish crab, fishcakes, lemon sole and deep-fried haggis and sausage. Of course. See anstrutherfishbar.co.uk

 The tour of Caol Ila, on Islay, is hard to top. There are sensational views, including Jura’s Pap mountains, which you can spot from the still house

83. Order the tasting menu

Now and again it’s time to aim high. And settle down to one of the most thrilling, delectable and downright brilliant dinners you’ll ever eat. Now, Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham may not be cheap. And be sure to book well in advance. But save up, blow out and lose yourself in the ten-course tasting menu from one of the country’s true culinary greats. See restaurantsatbains.com

IT’S A FACT

The Savoy’s American Bar opened in the 1890s, and its clientele has included F Scott Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra.

84. Go batty for balti

Yes, the balti is about as Indian as chicken tikka masala-flavoured crisps. But who cares about authenticity when you have blistered, buttery naan the size of a table and great metal bowls of exquisitely spiced balti? Deep in Birmingham’s Balti Triangle, Al Frash is one of my favourite restaurants on Earth. Go for the balti meat or balti chicken jalfrezi too. See alfrash.com

85. Breakfast at a classic brasserie

The Wolseley is a classic mittel-European brasserie that happens to sit in the heart of Piccadilly. It’s a place that contains the very quintessence of London life, eternally packed and eternally abuzz. I love lunch and dinner here, but breakfast is one of those things every person must try at least once. Sublime kippers, crisp bacon roll, omelette Arnold Bennett, devilled kidneys and fried haggis with duck egg. One breakfast to rule them all. See thewolseley.com

DRINK 

By Olly Smith 

86. Say ‘Ja!’ to a beerfest

Take in Munich’s Oktoberfest. The oldest tent there – dating from 1867 – is Schottenhamel. It’s insanely rowdy and is where the Mayor taps the first keg of beer at 12pm on opening day by bellowing ‘O’zapft is’. For luxury, head for the Marstall tent. For the beer, though, it’s Augustiner all the way – direct from the barrel and the real-deal brew. See oktoberfest.de

87. Be called to the barr

Noma, in Copenhagen, is top of many people’s foodie list, but head to the lesser- known sister restaurant Barr for a beer and food pairing to blow your mind – and a bill that’s a little kinder on your wallet. Don’t miss the schnitzel. Next day, fly to Bilbao and get a cab to Etxebarri in the hills, run by self-taught wizard of the coals Victor Arguinzoniz. The food is exquisite and the wine list packed full of local affordable gems. Unbeatable. See restaurantbarr.com, asadoretxebarri.com

88. Take a whisky tour

The tour of Caol Ila, on Islay, is hard to top. There are sensational views, including Jura’s Pap mountains, which you can spot from the still house. And the whiskies are totally splendid. Islay’s largest distillery offers five quid off a bottle of 75cl when you go. There are themed tastings too – Whisky with Chocolate or the Cask Strength Experience. Relax and let the whisky do the talking. See malts.com

89. Enjoy the viner things

Britain has a bunch of world-beating vineyards, but if I were to visit one it would be Camel Valley in Cornwall. I could wax lyrical about how its sparkling rosé is one of my favourite wines in the world, or the terrific views over the Camel Valley down the vineyards. And the visitors’ centre is lovely. But really you should go because the Lindo family who run it have poured their lives into it – and delicious folk they are too. See camelvalley.com

90. Raise a toast to your favourite movie

Cocktails at the American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel turn the most humdrum moment into a Bogart soliloquy. Take the tip from the team or order your favourite. Either way, you’re starring in your own personal movie and it’s winning all the Oscars. See fairmont.com

91. Sip a pint at a brewery

You may have to wait a couple of years to get on the brewery tour at Harvey’s, but this historic site in Lewes, East Sussex, is the Chateau Margaux of brewing. Unbeatable pints, craft, tradition and a fascinating history make this beer journey the only one to embark on. See harveys.org.uk

92. Be game for a caff

A bacon roll and a mug of tea at The Hungry Man cafe on the pier at Rozel, Jersey, is a pilgrimage I always make whenever I return to the island. Great views over the picturesque harbour back up the best way to begin the day. See jersey.com

93. Sniff out the finest wine list

For the most imaginative and best curated list, head to Noble Rot, no question. For expert sommelier advice, ask for Julie Barbero at Frenchie in Covent Garden, who is at the top of her food-pairing game and the menu is spot-on right now. For a reliably hearty feast with great sherry and top Rioja, Pizarro in Bermondsey gets the nod every time. Just make sure you visit all three. See noblerot.co.uk; frenchiecoventgarden.com; josepizarro.com

DANCE

By Rupert Christiansen

94. Bawl your eyes out at the Ballet

You can’t beat a tear-jerking production of Romeo And Juliet, and there is a spectacular one currently running at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, featuring a galaxy of the company’s brightest talents dancing Kenneth MacMillan’s magical choreography. The last performance is on June 11. Don’t miss it. See roh.org.uk

95. Get down at Sadler’s Wells

London’s only large-scale theatre dedicated to dance is where you can catch Matthew Bourne’s Christmas faithful Swan Lake, as well as avant-garde imports from all over the world. And its sister Peacock Theatre stages a host of children’s shows. See sadlerswells.org

96. Visit Carlos Acosta’s dance school in Havana

Situated in the heart of the city, this new dance academy, established in 2017 under the direction of the great Cuban star, is dedicated to training some of the world’s most exciting talents in ballet and modern dance. See carlosacostafoundation.org

TOURS

By Kelly Woodward 

97. Burst into song where the hills came alive…

You’ll be humming your way around the original Sound Of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria, which takes in all the famous locations of the classic Julie Andrews film, including Mirabell Gardens and the Mondsee cathedral, where Maria and the Baron get married. From £40. See panoramatours.com

The Daily Bugle office from Spider-Man, the Ghostbusters’ firehouse and the hotel where Monica and Chandler tied the knot in Friends are the movie locations on a New York tour

Follow in the footsteps of Inspector Morse and his sidekick Lewis on a TV locations tour of Oxford

Visit Carlos Acosta’s dance school in Havana! The acadmy is dedicated to training some of the world’s most exciting talents in ballet and modern dance

A fan of Sweden’s finest supergroup? Then head to downtown Stockholm for a walking tour of ‘Abba-land’

98. Mamma Mia, here we go again

A fan of Sweden’s finest supergroup? Then head to downtown Stockholm for a walking tour of ‘Abba-land’, starting at City Hall, where Benny performed for the very first time. See stadsmuseet.stockholm.se

MY TOP PICK

I loved Agatha Christie as a child and cannot imagine anything better than reading one of her thrillers on the Orient Express to Venice. Elizabeth Day

99. See where spidey swung

The Daily Bugle office from Spider-Man, the Ghostbusters’ firehouse and the hotel where Monica and Chandler tied the knot in Friends are among 60 famous TV and movie locations on this New York tour. From £39. See onlocationtours.com

100. Crack the Morse code

Follow in the footsteps of Inspector Morse and his sidekick Lewis on a TV locations tour of Oxford. See sites from the books and TV shows created by the author Colin Dexter. You might even spot a classic Jag… From £17. See walkingtoursofoxford.com

 

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