What does spring mean to you? Flowers, sun and fun? A pre-summer breather from the everyday hustle and bustle? There are many ways to celebrate it, to show your appreciation for its existence. In the North East, parks, events and festivals are bursting at the seams. Almost every county holds its own country show to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
While the outdoors may be more appropriate to the spring theme, these types of activities are not the only ones available. Some favourite alternatives encompass that good old phrase ‘fun and games’. The entertainment value is high with the examples below and they only skim the surface in terms of originality of options available.
For the sci-fi action seekers, Laser Quest Sunderland can give you the chance to enter battle with family and friends in a futuristic game of laser tag. Equipped to the teeth, you enter an immersive labyrinth to test your aim and strategy skills against your opponents’. Reasonable prices, special offers and packages make it an experience worthy of a spring getaway. Suit up and join the fray – if you’re not too intimidated by the competition.
Another activity that has exploded onto the mainstream live entertainment scene from its humble 1980s point-and-click origins are room escape games. These real-life events are being set up all over the world, their themes varying from the typical puzzle-filled room to complex ideas of awe and gore. One such intriguing opportunity can be found in Whitley Bay. The games on offer at Pirate Escape are, as the name suggests, based on swashbuckling scenarios, including ‘Pirate Island’ and ‘The Brig’. In addition to group deals and vouchers, the organisation now features Virtual Reality games, such as ‘Funhouse’, ‘The Lab’ and ‘Audioshield’. Because there is no such thing as too much fun, especially when you’re asking for it.
Laughter is just as desirable and important as entertainment, a preference that can be satisfied by the numerous stand-up comedy events and venues across the UK, including The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle. Its audiences enjoy a different act each night, as well as exclusive membership benefits, which include discounts, priority bookings and alerts to special events, counting John Bishop, Frankie Boyle and Sarah Millican among past performances.
Another source of thrills and giggles has always been the game of bingo, widely popular in its online and live forms. Both versions provide ample rewarding and fun-driven elements, with the virtual experience recently adding a number of social elements – including chat rooms – to mirror the physical as accurately as possible. It is not unusual to find themes, shows and activities accompanying the game. The North East is buzzing with bingo halls and clubs, each one eager to welcome new players into their existing loyal fan base. Club 3000 Bingo in Peterlee, for instance, earned its quality reputation by providing an environment that is friendly, lively and filled with special opportunities to walk away with a happy pocket, as well as a smile. Win or lose, it is a memorable experience to share in during the spring season.
Veering towards a more cultural and atmospheric option, the National Railway Museum in York has a new exhibition trail called ‘The Missing Passenger’, open until the 3rd of September. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie-style detective fiction, the narrative visitors are introduced to is that a murder has taken place on a train and that they are needed to help solve the mystery by following clues between Platforms 5 and 6. There are no actors involved, only a trail-guiding booklet and vintage carriages beautifully set up to immerse into the storyline. Taking a whodunit into your own hands is not only fun and empowering but therapeutic too as you calmly examine and assess evidence in order to become familiar with the situation and the characters before settling on a logical theory. Artist and director of the exhibition Geraldine Pilgrim is keen to highlight the rich history contained at the Museum, an ideal setting for an elegant delve into the past, as we read in her interview to Theatre Bubble.
Spring is not just about frolics in sunshine and meadows. It is a season that reminds us to equally enjoy natural and personal life, reflected in 2015 statistics showing a 38% likelihood that vacationers would consider taking wellness holidays between May and June. From the North East to the rest of the UK, activities abound to delight every interest or curiosity. What matters is not what gives you joy, whether common or different, but that you are free to indulge in it when you need it the most.