February is the UK’s final month of winter and there are plenty of exciting things to do and places to visit before spring starts to roll around.
So, if you’re looking for some ideas and inspiration for how to spend your time this month, here are 12 things to do and upcoming events in the UK this February. From music and literature events, to classic car shows and comedy festivals, hopefully there’ll be something to spark everyone’s interest.
1. Visit Europe’s largest Viking festival, York
This February, the Vikings are back for their annual invasion of the city of York. Jorvik Viking Festival is the largest celebration of Norse heritage in Europe. It’s hosted in the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre, which sits on the site of one of the most groundbreaking discoveries of modern archaeology.
With tours, talks, family events, and dramatic battle reenactments, whether you’re a history enthusiast or not, there’s something to keep everyone entertained.
Plus, this year, guests also have the opportunity to enjoy three special events: The Viking Banquet where you’ll be welcomed by torch-bearing Vikings; the Viking Games, which features a battle between hundreds of warriors; and the Festival Finale where you can enjoy tales from the nine worlds connected by The World Tree of Norse mythology. Tickets are required for these events.
For more information about what to expect and to book tickets for specific events, head over to the JORVIK Viking Centre website. This year, the festival will run from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th February.
2. Celebrate Chinese New Year, London
This year, Chinese New Year falls on Saturday 10th February and will kickstart the ‘Year of the Dragon’. Of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, the dragon represents power, vigour, nobility, and luck, and is seen as bringing good fortune.
Celebrating Chinese New Year is a great way to get out of the house and experience some of England’s vibrant and diverse culture – and luckily, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
The London Chinese New Year Parade will set off from Charing Cross Road on 10th February, as Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, and the West End all fill up with thousands of people in the world’s largest Lunar New Year Celebration outside of Asia.
If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, the London Science Museum’s new exhibition, Zimingzhong – Clockwork Treasures from China’s Forbidden City, is a wonderful way to learn more about Chinese culture. The exhibition includes dancers, traditional Chinese crafts, interactive poetry workshops, and a silent disco.
Check out this guide to Chinese New Year 2024 in London from Visit London for more information on how to get involved.
While London is generally the most famous UK location for celebrating Chinese New Year, if this is too far away for you, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham are great places to celebrate too.
3. Immerse yourself in literature at BookFest, Portsmouth
If you’re a bookworm or literary enthusiast, then you’ll likely enjoy the exciting range of events taking place in Portsmouth at BookFest this February.
Now in its 13th year, the first week of BookFest (February half-term) is children’s week, which involves writing workshops and a dinosaur event. But adult events follow for the two weeks after.
This year, BookFest is welcoming Dame Sheila Hancock and poet John Agard for the first time. Dame Sheila will be discussing her excellent book Old Rage and John Agard will be sharing about his life and poetry. Other guests include Laura Gowers, Fergus Shanahan, and Isabel Ashdown.
BookFest’s ever-popular crime fiction event, MysteryFest, will also make a return on Saturday 24th February. Featuring 11 authors, some of whom are international bestsellers, MysteryFest is a day full of talks and panels discussing everything crime fiction.
This year, the adults programme at BookFest will run from 26th February to 3rd March.
4. Play Topgolf, UK-wide
If you enjoy golf with a twist, you might be interested in playing Topgolf this February. The aim of Topgolf is to hit microchipped golf balls towards giant targets on an outfield; the further your distance and closer you get to the centre of a target, the more points you earn.
Outdoor golf might seem more of a summer activity, but each hitting bay at Topgolf is climate-controlled. So, it’s great in the winter too and makes for an enjoyable way to get outside without having to worry about getting chilly.
Top Golf requires no prior golfing ability, so you can rest assured that a good swing isn’t needed to score points. And, paired with the good food and drinks on offer, Topgolf is a fantastic, reinvented way to enjoy a day at the driving range with friends.
Topgolf currently has four venues across the UK located in Chigwell, Watford, Glasgow, and Surrey.
Alternatively, if there isn’t a Topgolf near you, crazy golf is an equally fun option. Dotted all over the UK, you can use this handy tool from Crazy Golf UK to search for courses near you.
5. Get back to nature at the Fort William Mountain Festival, Lochaber
Set in the outdoor capital of the UK, Fort William Mountain Festival is an annual five-day event that celebrates the spectacular outside world.
The festival, run by a group of volunteers, aims to inspire and encourage its visitors to respect and protect the environment. This year’s programme includes inspiring talks from guest speakers, engaging films, and outdoor guided ‘explore’ events – including foraging, night runs, and wild swimming.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to escape everyday life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Check out the full programme on the Fort William Mountain Festival website. This year, the festival will run from 15th to 18th February.
6. Visit Kent’s biggest blue’s festival, Broadstairs
Kent’s biggest blues festival is back in Broadstairs for another year. From Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th February, 100 bands will be playing top-quality blues music all over the town.
This year’s lineup includes the Cinelli Brothers, Zac Schulze, and Alligator Cats, who’ll be playing across a range of venues – from intimate wine bars, friendly pubs, and the famous pavilion (which is where the Saturday night headline acts are playing).
And even better news is that apart from the Saturday night performance, the rest of the festival is free.
7. Get inspired at a Dark Skies Festival, UK-wide
National Parks remain some of the darkest places in Great Britain and throughout autumn and winter, various festivals take place to celebrate our starlit skies.
Dark Skies Festivals are designed to help people discover, enjoy, and learn more about the night sky. Activities include walking, cycling, running, and caving at night; as well as stargazing, parties, and daytime events where you can learn more about topics like star constellations.
Several Dark Skies Festivals are taking place this February, including in Northumberland, Wales, the South Downs, and the Yorkshire Dales. To see what’s happening near you, head over to the Dark Skies National Parks website.
8. Enjoy good food and drink at Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, Wakefield
Wakefield’s annual Rhubarb Festival has become a staple event in West Yorkshire since its debut in 1999. The city’s links with rhubarb stem from the fact that Wakefield, Leeds, and Bradford were once responsible for producing 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb.
This year, the festival is set to return bigger and better than ever before. With over 50 chalets to explore, you can sample and buy local delights, including the finest gins, jams, cheese, pickles, baked goods – and, of course, plenty of rhubarb-themed food and drink.
There’s also a range of workshops on offer at the festival, as well as live street entertainment and a new programme of chef demos where you can brush up on your culinary skills. On Friday and Saturday evening, head to the Rhu-bar Comedy Night where comedians Angelos Epithemiou and Britain’s Got Talent’s Lost Voice Guy will be performing.
Wakefield Rhubarb Festival will run from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th February this year. If you’re a keen foodie, this isn’t one to miss.
9. Learn something new at the Northern Irish Science Festival, Belfast
Since its beginnings in 2014, the Northern Irish (NI) Science Festival has grown to become one of the leading science festivals across Europe.
The festival includes a programme of 225 events covering a range of fascinating topics from engineering and robotics to maths, physics, astronomy, and the environment.
This year’s events include the science of cosmetics, our world from space, and explorations into how AI could change science and society. Some events require booking, but others are free to attend. Check out the full programme on the NI Science Festival website.
This year, the festival will run from 15th to 25th February.
10. Visit a National Trust or English Heritage site, UK-wide
If you’re in the mood for fresh air and adventure this February, you might enjoy visiting a National Trust or English Heritage site.
With it being the February half-term, many sites are hosting fun events and activities alongside their usual openings.
Even if you decide not to attend specific events, historic sites make for an enjoyable day out – and during the winter you’re more likely to skip the crowds too. Check out our article, 28 of the best historical sites to visit in the UK, for ideas on where to go.
11. Have a laugh at the Leicester Comedy Festival, Leicester
If you’re up for a laugh this February, why not take a trip to Leicester Comedy Festival?
Leicester Comedy Festival is one the biggest and longest-running comedy festivals in the UK, and this year’s lineup includes the likes of Stewart Lee, Catherine Bohart, Ross Noble, Sophie Duker, and Ania Magliano.
Running from 7th to 25th February, this year’s event celebrates the festival’s 30th year. The exciting programme reflects this milestone, with fantastic comedy shows and events set to grace several different venues across the city.
On Sunday 26th February, the festival will finish with a 30th-anniversary special, headlined by Nish Kumar. Check out the official Leicester Comedy Festival brochure to find out more.
12. Enjoy a Valentine’s day-themed activity
Last but not least, Valentine’s Day falls during February and is a day that many people, single or not, enjoy getting involved with.
If you’d like to plan a Valentine’s date for someone special, you can find plenty of romantic ideas in the dating section of our website.
This could be as simple as spending the day getting creative in the kitchen and preparing something delicious. You might like to try one of the recipes from our articles, 10 Valentine’s Day baking ideas and 10 recipes for an at-home date.
Alternatively, why not put a romantic comedy on the TV to curl up in front of?
Remember, Valentine’s Day can be enjoyed by everyone, and isn’t exclusively for couples. Whether you decide to spend time with friends and family, or simply reserve the day for self-care, remember to treat yourself with love. If this is something you struggle with, have a read of our article; 8 ways to fall in love with your own company.
However you like to spend your time, there are plenty of unique and exciting events to enjoy across the UK this February. From food and music festivals to events celebrating history and nature, we hope there’s something for everyone on this list.
For more fun day-out ideas, head over to the art and culture or travel sections of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from foodie hotspots and must-see historic sites to scenic walking routes and staycation inspiration.
What trips and activities do you have planned for this February? Have any of the ideas on our list sparked your interest? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.