What To Book Around The UK In April

From catching the Jeff Koon’s retrospective in Oxford to sipping botanical cocktails in the Cotswolds, there’s a wealth of culture on offer this spring. Fashion fans will welcome the private collection of Vivienne Westwood’s shoes in York or the exhibition of royal dresses in Bath. So, whether you prefer your festivals to be of the literary type, or the gin variety, here are the top things to book this April


Daylesford has opened The Legbar, a new extension to organic Daylesford café The Trough. The name is inspired by the much-loved rare breed Gloucestershire hens, the Daylesford Blue Legbars, who lay pastel-blue eggs on the farm. Open all day and into the evening, The Legbar provides a relaxed, light and airy space for drinks and small plates as well as coffee and botanical cocktails. Furnished with low tables and comfortable armchairs, The Legbar’s long wall of glass doors opens onto a courtyard where guests can enjoy alfresco drinks and dine outside in the spring and summer. Serving a seasonal menu that celebrates the surrounding farm, dishes include hand-sliced charcuterie, artisan cheese plates, seasonal vegetable crudités and delicious plant-based dips.

Daylesford, Near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG; open now

Visit Daylesford.com

FIND A NEW SIP HERE: Gin Festival, Liverpool

Gin Festival Liverpool will take place on 12th-13th April. Taking full advantage of the industrial setting of the Baltic Triangle, the main hall will host an array of gin suppliers from across the UK and further afield. The courtyard and outdoor terrace will feature a cocktail bar, live music, the UK’s best street food vendors and a pop-up gin shop where you can purchase your favourite tipples on the way out. The bars will be stocked with more than 100 gins, ranging from London drys to Old Toms. Don’t worry if your plus one isn’t into gin: there will also be an alternative drinks bar serving craft beers, wines and cider.

Constellations, 35-39 Greenland Street, Liverpool, L1 0BS; 12th-13th April

Visit Roister.co.uk 


Behind an unassuming door above a busy Leeds street, Home offers warm hospitality, bold seasonal flavours and relaxed refinement. Launched in 2017 by Masterchef semi-finalist Elizabeth Cottam and Michelin-starred head chef Mark Owens, Home swiftly made its mark on the Leeds restaurant scene through its own take on fine dining. This month the team has put together a menu of dishes which reflect the transitory nature of April: think lamb cheek, dripping crumb and pickled asparagus; confit truffle ratte potatoes and split barolo sauce; and salt-aged duck with artichokes, honey and fennel pollen; and rhubarb and sherry ice-cream. The ‘Season’ tasting menu is presented through around ten dishes and is priced at £65-£90 per person.

16-17 Kirkgate, Leeds, LS1 6BY; from 1st April

Visit HomeLeeds.co.uk


Jeff Koons has been called the world’s most famous, controversial and subversive living artist, and this year he’s arrived at the world’s oldest public museum. This major exhibition offers an exciting journey through a career that has pushed at the boundaries of contemporary art. From the moment he burst onto the scene with floating basket balls and ready-made objects to his recent re-working of classical statues and Old Master paintings, Koons has, at turns, delighted, shocked and intrigued his viewers. Curated by Koons himself, this show at The Ashmolean features 17 major works, from the 1980s to today, 14 of which have never been to the UK before. They include some of his most well known series such as ‘Equilibrium’, ‘Banality’, ‘Antiquity’ and his recent ‘Gazing Ball’ paintings and sculptures.

Beaumont St, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2PH; until 9th June

Visit Ashmolean.org 

STAY OVERNIGHT HERE: Mollie’s Motel & Diner, Oxfordshire

Designed by the people at Soho House and inspired by the classic American diner, Mollie’s is a motel, diner, drive-thru and general store that brings something affordable and stylish to the roadside. The Diner offers dirty burgers, mac and cheese or nachos, alongside cocktails, sodas and hand-spun milkshakes, while the drive-thru, open from 7am till 10pm, serves breakfast baps, burgers and Mollie’s chicken bags. The 79 motel bedrooms range in size, from cosy double rooms to interconnecting family rooms. All have Egyptian cotton sheets, rainforest showers and Cowshed products in the bathrooms. From phone chargers to, ahem, condoms, Mollie’s General Store has it covered. And whether you’re sleeping over or just dropping in, guests can work or relax in the lounge, where there’s free filter coffee and tea, access to superfast wi-fi and multiple charging points.

Shivenham Road, Buckland, Oxfordshire, SN7 8PY; open now

Visit MolliesMotel.com


If you’ve watched new BBC2 drama Pose, you’ll know that the opening scene, where they break into a museum and steal a selection of royal costumes, is one of 2019’s television highlights. This has made us particularly interested in the Fashion Museum’s latest exhibition, which focuses on the clothes of royals through the years. Royal Women examines how their regal roles influenced their choice of dress. Exhibition highlights include Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ wedding dress, dating from 1863, generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen. Items of dress belonging to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother includes a dove grey silk satin ball gown from 1954, while dresses worn by Princess Margaret show her glamorous side and her patronage of designers such as Christian Dior and Norman Hartnell.

Bennett Street, Bath, BA1 2QH; until 28th April

Visit FashionMuseum.co.uk


DISCOVER A NEW READ HERE: Stratford Literary Festival, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Celebrating its 12th year, the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is an exciting mixture of debate, ideas, celebrity author events, workshops and humour. This is one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading. Top of our list is an evening with Emily Maitlis. The award-winning anchor of BBC’s Newsnight has interviewed everyone from the Dali Lama to Donald Trump. Here, she’ll offer a peek behind the scenes, making sense of some of the most memorable world events in recent years. Also making appearances will be Ali Smith, Philippa Perry, Pandora Sykes, Prue Leith, The Midult, Darcey Bussell and Jaqueline Wilson.

Various venues across Stratford-Upon-Avon; 27th April-5th May

Visit StratfordLiteraryFestival.co.uk

BOOK TICKETS FOR THIS: The Girl On The Train, UK-Wide

Rachel Watson longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love. Or so it appears. When Rachel learns the woman she’s been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, she finds herself as a witness and even a suspect in a thrilling mystery in which she will face bigger revelations than she could ever have anticipated. Adapted from Paula Hawkins' novel – the international phenomenon selling over 20m copies worldwide – this gripping new play will keep you guessing until the final moment. Samantha Womack, best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders, stars as Rachel.

In Salford on 1st-6th April, Bath on 8th-13th April, Glasgow on 15th-20th April, Northampton on 22nd-27th April and Newcastle on 29th April-2nd May

Visit GirlOnTheTrainPlay.com

EXPERIENCE J-CULTURE HERE: Bristol Museum & Gallery, Bristol

Immerse yourself in J-culture at this quirky evening at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery celebrating traditional and contemporary Japan. Japanese DJ Suzuki usually rocks the crowds at international festivals but will be digging into his music archive to play an eclectic set covering city pop from 80s Japan through to modern hip hop, rock and J-pop. Visitors can learn to draw with professional manga artist Chie Kutsuwada (a Royal College of Art graduate) or try their hand at origami and mask-making. There will be an authentic tea ceremony, and guests will be able to dress up in beautiful traditional kimonos or try on an anime inspired costume with TV and film costume designer Pam Tait.

Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RL; 4th April

Visit BristolMuseums.org.uk 

EYE UP SOME MEGA HEELS HERE: A Personal Collection of Vivienne Westwood’s Shoes, York Castle Museum, York

Explore the passion shoes can inspire through this prized private collection of Vivienne Westwood. This collection showcases Westwood’s punk fashion in the 1970s and 1980s, with celebrated designs from the Seditionaries boots favoured by The Sex Pistols to the infamous ‘super-elevated’ heels of the 1990s – the same design that caused Naomi Campbell to take a tumble on a Paris catwalk. To complement the exhibition, visitors can follow fashion through the ages with a display of footwear dating back to the 18th century, selected by Dame Vivienne from the museum’s historic collection, including a pair of Christian Dior court shoes designed by Roger Vivier, the creator of the stiletto heel.

Eye of York, York, YO1 9RY; until 28th April

Visit YorkCastleMuseum.org.uk

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