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What's on this weekend in the UK: January 21-23

Update: 22/01/2016
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Weather forecast

Heavy rain will move eastwards on Friday, giving way to sunshine across much of the UK, with temperatures milder than we've seen so far this week. Saturday will be mostly settled, but there's good chance of rain and heavy winds on Sunday, especially in the north.

1. Celebrate Burns Night

The annual celebration of Scotland’s national poet on January 25 falls on a Monday this year, so many celebrations around the UK will take place this weekend. We’ve a selection of the best restaurants in London with themed menus, while Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, Lord Byron’s former home, will celebrate what is also the birthday of Lord Byron with a meal and tour on Friday night.

There are multiple events going on in the West Country - search for Bristol's here.

VisitScotland has collected together the best celebrations happening north of the border, including Burns Night comedy events in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Sunday, a “Big Burns Supper” in Dumfries, and a Burns Ceilidh Supper at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen on Friday and Saturday.

Alternatively, if you are economising as the end of January draws near, stay in and cook yourself a Burns Night feast using our guide to the best recipes.

Celebrate Burns Night by cooking up your own traditional feast
Celebrate Burns Night by cooking up your own traditional feast

2. Discover a city with more canals than Venice

Birmingham, that is. The Venice Carnival starts on Saturday and while, arguably, the Midlands city has not quite the cachet of La Serenissima, it has its own things to interest the weekender. That includes more waterways than Venice – perfect for a leisurely canal trip. Follow our city break guide to be convinced that Birmingham is great.

• Quiz: Birmingham or Venice - can you tell the difference?

3. Go below Brighton’s Royal Pavilion

Brand new tours at the Royal Pavilion – the greatest architectural pavlova in Britain – allow visitors to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of its basement and insights into the lives of servants, from the rat catcher to George IV’s principal private secretary. Tours end with a rare chance to see the see the tunnel that led to George’s royal stables and riding school, which is now the Brighton Dome. Visit brightonmuseums.org.uk for more information.

New tours allow visitors to see parts of the Brighton Pavilion normally off limits
New tours allow visitors to see parts of the Brighton Pavilion normally off limits (AP)  Photo: AP

4. Split your sides laughing in Bristol

The city is increasingly a cultural hub and this weekend will host the 12th annual Slapstick Festival, the country’s biggest celebration of silent and classic screen comedy. Opened by by The Silent Comedy Film Gala, there will be 25 events over six days, including Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature The Kid, accompanied by a 15-piece orchestra. Until Monday, Colston Street, Bristol, BS1 5AR.

The Big Short: "a very serious comedy" about a financial crisis bet that turns out rather well
The Big Short: "a very serious comedy" about a financial crisis bet that turns out rather well (Jaap Buitendijk)  Photo: Jaap Buitendijk

5. Or watch big screen comedy

This weekend’s big release is The Big Short, a “very serious comedy indeed”, according to The Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin’s four-star review. The film features Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in a story of a group of outsiders who make millions from a global financial crisis after making a bet. Enlightening and infuriating simultaneously.

Tuppence Middleton as Young Amelia Havisham in the BBC drama Dickensian
Props and sets from Dickensian will be on display in London  Photo: BBC

6. Celebrate Charles Dickens in London

Dickensian, the 20-part series celebrating the Victorian era chronicled by Charles Dickens, launched on the BBC at Christmas, and now comes the accompanying exhibition in the capital: “Dickensian, behind the scenes of the new BBC Drama Series". In the London townhouse that was once the author’s home, the museum is displaying costumes, props, production material, and parts of the set from the television programme. Until April 17.

See our guide to more of the best things to do in London this weekend.

7. Listen to jazz by the sea

The Ropetackle Arts Centre by the sea in West Sussex is the location for the acclaimed South Coast Jazz Festival this weekend, with workshops and performances from artists including Pete Long and Gareth Williams. Irish-born vocalist and composer Christine Tobin will be performing tomorrow night. The jazz singer “draws on a broad range of influences from Ireland to West Africa to Brazil.”

Ticket prices for the various events range from £20-£50.

 

8. Visit a hotel with an artistic spin

The Art Rooms initiative gives around 80 independent artists a room to make their own at a central London hotel. All pieces on display are for sale, and the concept challenges visitors to cross an unusual threshold in the pursuit of art. This weekend’s property is Melia White House hotel, in Albany Street near Regents Park. See our full guide to the best hotels in central London.

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