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What's on in Yorkshire

Becca Challis summarises interesting and unusual events coming up in Yorkshire this summer

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Many of us will be staying in or at least visiting York over the summer, so for those of you who are already making plans, make sure you don't miss out on some of the key events happening throughout Yorkshire.

Yorkshire is famous for its literary history, so it's only natural for it to have a lively literary scene. NiddFest (5th-7th August) was inspired by the famous Yorkshire landscape and is dedicated to nature writing with a line up including Carol-Ann Duffy and Tony Juniper. Bradford Literature Festival (20th-29th May) has released an interesting and topical line up of lectures and films screenings. Fans of Literature may also enjoy an atmospheric live performance of Bram Stoker's Dracula (23rd-24th July) within the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Medievalists should also consider watching the York Mystery Plays which will be performed in the Minster (26th May-30th June). Real enthusiasts will also enjoy Betty's Mystery Plays luncheon (21st June), which will take diners through the history of the plays whilst enjoying a two-course meal.

Image: Mike Peel
Image: Mike Peel

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Yorkshire is playing its part in honouring the Bard. You'll find a number of performances across the county; York Theatre Royal is hosting The Merry Wives of Windsor (17th-21st May) and the Royal Shakespeare Company will bring A Midsummer Night's Dream to York's Grand Opera House (31st May- 4th June). An amusing adaptation of Measure to Measure from 'Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare' (30th July) will also come to York as part of The Great Yorkshire Fringe (15th-31st July). Laughter is guaranteed- the actors will attempt to produce an entirely serious play with one entirely drunk cast member. Any aspiring dramatists may be interested in visiting Helmsley, where volunteers are challenged to produce an entire play within 24 hours (15th-16th July).

Leeds is famous for its contribution to the summer music scene with its festival being held from 26th-28th August. For those who find camping unappealing, it is perfectly possible to go for the day (and night) and then return to your bed in York. Leeds, however, is not the only exciting music event this summer. The Beverley Folk Festival (17th-19th June) will host Kate Rusby and Steeleye Span, whilst the Platform Festival (12th-16th July) will have music from the likes of Seafret and comedy from Paul Merton, all within an old station building in Pocklington. Dalby Forest have booked John Newman (25th June) and the Kaiser Chiefs (26th June) to play an outdoor concert amongst the trees, however for smaller music events the program for the Yorkshire Festival must not be overlooked. Those interested in world music should look up Rokia Traore who is playing in Leeds (23rd June), or those who enjoyed 'Into The Woods' can see Soundheim's musical live in Leeds (16th-25th June). In the same city you can dance under the world's biggest disco ball on 1st July, or for another unique experience you can listen to the innovative music of #ChipShoptheMusical whilst enjoying your own portion of fish and chips at Wackers, York (3rd June).

York Minster from M&S (2)
Image: Matze Trier- Wikipedia

Yorkshire also has a wide variety of Food Festivals this summer. Why not visit Malton, the 'Food Capital of Yorkshire', with free entry to its Food Lover's Festival (28th-29th May) featuring demonstrations by Rosemary Shrager and showcasing Yorkshire's finest produce. The Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival (30th-31st July) is being held in Skipton and will have demonstrations and talks by James Martin and the Hairy Bikers. Alternatively, the Foodie Festival in Harrogate (19th-21st August) will host Chef Aldo Zilli and Masterchef finalist Tony Rodd, whilst also displaying the Pimm's Teapot bar and a Mojito Galleon Ship. Closer to home is the York Taster Food Festival, so for those who love free food head to Parliament Street on 11th and 12th June. For serious foodies there is a Molecular Gastronomy Dinner in Sheffield (10th June) which will present guests with a 6 course taster menu of the most up to date molecular cuisine.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors this summer, Yorkshire has a lot to offer. One highlight is the 'Bronte Cobbled Classic Cycle Saturday' (21st May) which follows a 55 mile route around Bronte country, focussing on 2 famed cobble climbs. Another is 'A Taste of Smuggling' (28th May), a historical guided tour around Whitby's Robin Hood's Bay with the added bonus of a beer tasting. Or if you are looking for something truly unique and somewhat bizarre to enjoy this summer then make the trip to the town of Settle to view their Flowerpot Festival. It runs through July and August and last year featured a flowerpot dinosaur and giant minions. There really is something for everyone this summer.

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