After weeks of turgid cloud cover and never-ending gloomy evenings, that elusive orb we know as the sun has finally put in an appearance. What's more, the forecast for this weekend is looking bright - for the second time in a row. As we count down the hours to 5pm, we're celebrating with a look at cheap, fun ways to finally get off that sofa and out and about across the UK.
Prepare to get footloose and fancy-free as we present 10 things to do under £10 for the weekend, from a women's day walk in Denmark Hill to Manchester's Latin America festival and a celebration of movie-related real ales in Leeds. Enjoy!
Women’s Day Walk - Denmark Hill, London
Join up with independent charity CoolTan Arts for "a stigma-busting cultural walk" through Ruskin Park, Myatts Fields and other green spaces to celebrate International Women’s Day last week. Heading from Denmark Hill to the Feminist Library on Westminster Bridge, the jaunt will include short talks along the way on Olive Morris, who set up the Brixton Black Women’s Group; the writer, philosopher and advocate for women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft, and many other inspiring female figures.
Free (but voluntary donations welcome), CoolTan Arts, starting Maudsley Hospital on Denmark Hill, London, 11.45am Sunday 16 March
Hampstead Heath Ponds - London
While you can technically swim in the ponds on Hampstead Heath at any time of year (and hardy souls regularly do), the prospect of sun makes the whole thing much more appealing. There are men's and mixed ponds but we recommend the Kenwood ladies' pond - as it's nearest to the natural springs of Kenwood estate, its water is the cleanest, and a wonderful canopy of trees provide privacy and a peaceful atmosphere.
£2 entry, Hampstead Heath Ponds, London, 7am - 3.30pm daily
Idols and Illusions exhibition and talk - Bristol
This weekend is your last chance to catch the wonderful Idols and Illusions exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, with over 60 photographic images from the golden age of cinema. This Saturday, Simon Crocker of the John Kobal photographic foundation, hosts a walk and talk tour of the exhibition, with highlights including candid shots of Hollywood legends Audrey Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart.
£5 entry, RWA Bristol, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March
Classic Car Boot Sale - Southbank, London
We love nothing better than sifting through a trove of second-hand goodies to find an unexpected treasure or two. So we'll be front of the queue at the Southbank Centre's Classic Car Boot Sale this weekend, to peruse a fabulous collection of vintage clothing, accessories, household goods, memorabilia and vinyl records. As if that wasn't enough of a draw, there's also street food, slideshows, impromptu musical performances and street theatre. Count us in.
£4 entry, Southbank Centre, London, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March
Introduction to Italian - Conway Hall, London
If you fancy a slice of la vita e bella this year, it's time to brush up on your Italian. Conway Hall in Red Lion Square runs a series of cheap introductory language courses, with Italian - the language of love - in the spotlight this Saturday. The hour-long session introduces you to the basics of the language for a flavour of what lies ahead - should you want to take it up. Our must-have phrase? Un gelato per favore!
£5 entry, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square London, 11.30am Saturday 15 March
Leeds Beer Festival - Pudsey Civic Hall, Leeds
Real ale is having a moment in the UK right now - it seems we can hardly blink without a new and unusual brand hitting the spotlight. Thank the ale gods that be then, for the Leeds Beer Festival - which offers the opportunity to sample nearly 200 real ales from Yorkshire and beyond. Intriguingly, this year's theme is films, so punters are told to keep an eye out for beers with a connection to the movies. There's also ciders, US craft beers, a snack emporium and performances by local musicians.
£3 - £5 entry, Leeds Beer Festival, Pudsey Civic Hall, Leeds, from 11am Friday 14 and Saturday 15 March
Beautiful Books - Keats House, London
Writer Linda Carey is on-hand to host this Beautiful Books event, which celebrates our favourite stories - for kids from 1 to 92. If you do have little ones in tow, it's a great way of inspiring their love of books as Carey will help them create a pop-up version of a book of their choice. Meanwhile, you can explore the beautiful garden of Keats House or stretch out on its lawn to soak up the warm, springtime sun.
Free entry, Keats House, London, 1-4pm Sunday 16 March
Spanish Conversation and Film - Manchester
As part of Manchester's ¡Viva! 20th Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, this fun session allows Spanish speakers to immerse themselves in the culture and language of Spain and Latin America. It starts with introduction in Spanish and a full screening of Los Últimos días - the 2013 sci-fi thriller - followed by an open discussion, where people can practise their language skills by talking about everything from city life to love and science fiction.
£8.50, the Cornerhouse Manchester, 10.30am Saturday 15 March
Repeater Festival at The Shacklewell Arms - Dalston, London
We can't think of a better way of spending the weekend than with good tunes, real ale and art. East London hangout The Shacklewell Arms is launching a new bi-monthly mini-festival REPEATER this weekend, to showcase the venue’s favourite new and breaking artists. It runs alongside the Shacklewell Art fair, zine fair and ale festival, with highlights including Portland’s garage rock four-piece White Fang and electronic drone pop band Patterns.
£5 - £8 advance entry, The Shacklewell Arms, London, Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March
Murder and Mayhem Tour - Brighton
After the sunny day on the beach, learn about the darker side of Brighton with the city's hugely popular murder and mayhem tours. Grab a good pair of shoes and join a twilight foray round the city as you discover the identity of the chocolate cream poisoner, the perpetrators of the two Brighton Trunk Murders and hear who haunts the Theatre Royal. It's Brighton as you've never known it before.
£8 entry, Brighton Murder and Mayhem Tour, starting at The Victory Inn on Duke Street, Brighton, from 7.30pm Friday 14 and Saturday 15 March
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features