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Things to do this spring in the city

Get back to the buzz of the city with our top suggestions of things to do this spring in a UK city near you.

London

The British Library in London

Stay with us at one of our London hostels and take advantage of the many cultural things on offer. When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life, or so the saying goes. There’s so much to do in the capital. Some of our favourites for spring include the new exhibition at the V&A museum — Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature. This family-friendly exhibition takes visitors on a journey to discover Potter’s life as a scientist and conservationist, exploring the places and animals that inspired her most beloved characters. For Beatles’ fans see Paul McCartney: The Lyrics at the wonderful British Library where you can get a glimpse of the lyrics from some of the most famous songs of all time.

Further out of the city, visit Kew Gardens where you can take in the stunning artworks by botanical artists from Japan, China and Thailand during March. The best thing about London is there is so much to discover for free. Marvel at street performers in Covent Garden, visit the free markets such as Leadenhall Market and Borough Market. Go arty at free galleries such as The National Gallery and Tate Britain. When all that is done, have a wander through Chinatown for eats.

Put your head down in one of our London hostels

Manchester

Portrait of a white lama in Heaton Park

Known as a northern powerhouse of England, Manchester is famous for its football teams, cultural diversity, often rainy weather and its vibrant music scene. Whilst staying with us why not head to the Science and Industry Museum. Home to the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station, and the world’s first railway warehouse. Encounter amazing objects and find out about ideas that were born in Manchester and changed the world forever. For footy fans head to the National Football Museum where there is an exhibition on Lily Parr, one of football’s first female superstars.

Heaton Park is a definite must-do with play areas, cafes, an animal centre (that includes alpacas), a Tram Museum and a boating lake. Book worms will love The John Rylands Research Insititute and Library as it’s a late- Victorian, neo-Gothic masterpiece that houses a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. No visit to Manchester would be complete without a trip to The Lowry which is home to the world’s largest public collection of paintings and drawings by LS Lowry. For shopping go to Afflecks, an indoor market in the city’s Northern Quarter, housing 60 independent shops and stalls.

Stay at YHA Manchester

Liverpool

The Three Graces in Liverpool

A city where the River Mersey meets the Irish Sea, a migration port from the 18th century and set to take a starring role in ‘The Batman’ film as a double for Gotham City. The film, which is released in March 2022, has many scenes featuring iconic Liverpool locations such as the Royal Liver Building and St George’s Hall. Now is the perfect time to go to Liverpool for a film tour. Walk the same streets as the stars of Batman, Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz, and take in some of the famous sites. Don’t miss the spectacular Grade I listed Albert Dock where you can spend time at Tate Liverpool, one of the most visited art galleries outside of London. Also worth a stop off is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

One of the city’s two immense cathedrals, an architectural gem, with a Crypt that is one of the works of leading British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. Then there’s The Beatles Story and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, or simply stroll around and enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants.

Make a weekend of it at YHA Liverpool Albert Dock

Chester

Chester was an important site in the Roman empire, and definitely well worth a trip to the city this spring. Make like a Roman at the amphitheatre, the scene of Britain’s largest archaeological excavation. Finds uncovered from these digs are on display in the Grosvenor Museum, just a short stroll away. Grosvenor Park, overlooking the River Dee is a Victorian park with plenty of space for little ones to let off steam, or see steam with the miniature railway.

Chester Cathedral is a stunning Gothic-style building which was founded in 1092 as a Benedictine Abbey. Don’t miss The Refectory Café if you’re feeling peckish, you can eat in the 13th-century monk’s dining hall which includes a 17th century tapestry on the west wall. Chester Cathedral is a fully functioning church with over 20 regular services taking place every week that you are welcome to join. For the artists, Pictura Studios is a creative space on Eastgate Row or go and see a movie at Storyhouse, Chester’s impressive modern theatre, cinema and library.

Stay in eco-friendly chalets at YHA Chester Trafford Hall

Bath

The Circus in Bath, UK

Fall under the spell of Bath, the only UK city designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a tour around the Roman Baths, dating back to AD43 to see how they liked to relax and be pampered all those years ago. Stroll past the Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent before trying something different such as the Bath Skyline walk. A six-mile route that takes you through meadows, valleys and ancient woodlands. Bath is surrounded by beautiful waterways, so take a picnic and punt along the River Avon.

For shopping, there’s Walcot Street in Bath’s bohemian quarter where you’ll find several antique and bric-a-brac shops or there’s the Bath Guildhall Market which is a quaint, old-fashioned indoor market, perfect for March’s unpredictable weather. Spring is the best season to see Bath’s parks begin to bloom and the big sites are minus the crowds.

Spend a couple of nights in our Italianate grade II listed mansion at YHA Bath

York

Gladstone, steam locomotive exhibited at the National Railway Museum

The historic walled city in the UK has much to offer, which is why it’s so popular with tourists. Hit it in spring to avoid the crowds and whilst there why not check out the UK’s biggest outdoor Ice Trail which will feature magnificent ice sculptures around the city on the first weekend of March 2022. The impressive York Minster can be seen on the horizon for miles around, a stunning building, you’re able to climb the high central tower for some stunning views.

Take a tour of the city and sights on an open-top bus or join one of the many walking tours. Enjoy the eclectic street theatre and stop and have a cuppa at one of the many tearooms. If you can, fill up on a Fat Rascal at Betty’s before heading off to the free National Railway Museum if raining or The Museum Gardens if it’s fine where you can explore the ruins of the medieval St. Mary’s Abbey or visit The Yorkshire Museum.

Take a break at YHA York

If city is not your thing, then discover rural and coastal stays with YHA.

Photo credit: davidionut / Sammy / Iordanis Pallikaras / gb27photo / dudlajzov / HildaWeges / kmiragaya / Adobe Stock

Written by Jo Avery

Jo works in YHA's communications team, writing about travel and adventures for all. She loves curling up with a good book and a large mug of tea, ambling through wheat fields in Derbyshire with her family and dog and holidaying beside the seaside.

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