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April begins in true pillow-wielding, artisan chocolate-eating style this weekend, as a host of happenings roll out across the UK. The Oxford v Cambridge boat race gets underway in London on Sunday, but maybe you'd prefer a front seat at its edgier sister event - the Oxford v Cambridge goat race (thrilling stuff, we can tell you). Talking of racing, the good people of Brighton will be sweating their socks off this weekend at the city's annual marathon. Paula Radcliffe will be leading the thong and there's plenty of ice-cream to be had if you fancy cheering her and others on.
If that all sounds a bit too much like hard work, get involved in International Pillow Fight Day on Saturday - feathers will fly in cities across the world, including Leeds, and you only need a soft pillow to qualify. There's vintage shopping to be had in Nottingham and yurt-based storytelling at the re-opening of the Olympic park. Our favourite event, however, has to be Bristol's chocolate festival. Luxurious cocoa butter beauty treatments? Count us in.
Get involved with it all, below:
International Pillow Fight Day - Leeds
Abs at the ready as International Pillow Fight Day gets underway in dozens of cities around the world this Saturday. This feather-filled fiesta is as fun as it looks; all you need is a pillow, plenty of stamina and perhaps some fancy dress. It's being celebrated from Las Vegas to Ho Chi Minh and the Leeds one (hosted by the Leeds Pillow Fight Society - who knew?) kicks off in Millenium Square from 2pm.
Nottingham Does Vintage
Vintage does Nottingham this weekend, with rows upon rows of retro clothes, jewellery, homeware and "kitchenalia" laid out at the city's Playhouse. As well as fine quality and affordable vintage goodies, they'll be live music, a vintage tea shop and free workshops. Not bad for the £1 entry fee.
The Chocolate Festival - Bristol
Chocoholics ahoy! Bristol's Chocolate Festival in the atmospheric surroundings of Brunel's Old Station offers you the chance to sample the best and newest artisan chocolates around. Hotel Chocolat will be hosting a cocoa spa with luxurious cocoa butter beauty treatments, there's creamy hot chocolate to be had at The Chocolate Cafe, or you can take part in the intriguing-sounding "brownie trail" - to hunt down "the best ever chocolate brownie".
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park re-opening - Stratford, London
Re-live the London 2012 spirit as the Olympic Park re-opens to the public this weekend, in part of a continuing effort to regenerate the area and its facilities. A series of free activities throughout the day include a performance froma gospel choir, a hulahooping workshop, circus shows, storytelling sessions in a yurt and lots more. For an extra £15, you can climb up the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
John Bates at Jean Varon - Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Together with Mary Quant and Jean Muir, John Bates was one of the most celebrated designers of "Swinging London" in the 1960s and 70s. This exhibition of outfits from his Jean Varon label feature some wonderful eveningwear pieces, including a recreation of a red velvet mini dress worn by Twiggy in a Vogue photoshoot in 1967.
RHS Secret Garden Sundays - Westminster, London
This special new series of events from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) promises to get Londoners growing, eating and celebrating the best of seasonal British produce in 2014. Learn to make a hand-tied bouquet of mixed spring flowers, find out how mushrooms can be grown from coffee grounds (courtesy of the Espresso Mushroom Company) and discover simple techniques for container-grown vegetables such as chillis and tomatoes - plus many more homegrown and craft-based workshops.
Vespbar 10 O'Clock Show at Glasgow Comedy Festival
Vespbar's legendary 10 O'Clock Show, hosted by comedian and writer Viv Gee, sees out the Glasgow Comedy Festival in style. The city's best comic acts - "a mixed bag of tasty talent" - come together to strut their stuff in an evening full of laughs that culminates with "a top class headliner." Advance booking is recommended as word has spread and the event tends to get very busy.
Oxford v Cambridge goat race - Spitalfields City Farm, London
Forget the Oxford v Cambridge boat race; it's all about the Oxford v Cambridge goat race. This landmark event, now in its sixth year, takes place on the same day as the actual boat race and involves a nail-biting run-off between two goats, one named Oxford and the other Cambridge, who tear around the cobbled track of Spitalfields City Farm. There's also bands, booze "and other goat-related nonsense", with all proceeds going to the farm.
If you prefer the real thing, head to the Dove in Hammersmith for a front-row seat of all the action.
The sporty lot are out in their droves in Brighton this weekend, as record holder Paula Radcliffe kicks off the city marathon. Grab a vantage point along Brighton's iconic seafront as you cheer on the 10,000 hardy souls who are tackling the 26-mile race. The best bit? Even without having to do the actual running, you can reward yourself with fish 'n' chips and an ice-cream...
The London Coffee Festival - Brick Lane, London
And finally... it's a bit over £10 but this event is just too good to miss for all you coffee aficionados out there. The London Coffee Festival takes place at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane this weekend and your £11.50 ticket will give you access to interactive workshops, tastings, brewing tutorials and talks. Plus there's coffee, cocktail and street food tastings, live music and art shows and over 200 independent coffee exhibitors showing off their wares.
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features