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Ideas / Events / April
Things to do in the UK in April 2015

APRIL 2015

Temperatures are starting to get warmer at this time of year, but there is often the risk of quite heavy showers. The days are becoming longer and sunnier: this encourage more flowers to bloom, including cherry blossoms and tulips. Sporting events include the Grand National (horseracing) and the London Marathon. The British tax year ends on 5th April: if you paid too much tax in the previous 12 months, you should ask for a tax reclaim form. If you want to go to Chelsea Flower Show in May or to one of the summer's outdoor rock festivals, book your tickets now. The Easter holiday starts at many schools, colleges and universities.

Cherry blossoms


Fri 20 Mar -
Mon 6 Apr 2015
Ideal Home Show, London
The Ideal Home Show is an annual exhibition about home improvement. For more information, see:

Wed 1 Apr 2015 April Fool's Day, UK
Be careful - it is traditional for people to try to trick you ("fool you", "play a practical joke on you"). This is meant to be for fun, so try not to take it too seriously if someone tries a joke on you or tries to make you believe something strange. One of the most famous examples in Britain was a documentary shown on television about the spaghetti harvest in Italy! Many people believe that someone should only be tricked in the morning, otherwise the person who is doing the tricking is the "fool".
The tradition may have started in France, where New Year's presents used to be exchanged on April 1st. In 1582 the Western calendar was changed, and New Year's Day was moved from 25th March to 1st January. Some people kept their former New Year's customs, but other people would think they were fools and would make fun of them. The custom of fooling people on this day was later copied in Britain and many other parts of the world.

The Easter weekend is the time when Christians remember the time that Jesus Christ was killed on a cross and later came back to life. People eat "hot cross buns": currant buns with a symbol on the top which represent the cross on which Jesus was killed (these are cut in two, toasted, and butter is spread on each half). The date of Easter changes each year, but it is always between the end of March and the end of April.

The 4-day holiday period is used by many people as a chance to travel. Airports can be very busy (book your flights early). If you are travelling by train, check if there is engineering work on the part of the railway network you need: extra bus services will be organised, but journeys can take longer. If you are driving, note that the roads can be very busy (especially on Thursday, Friday and Monday), and check for roadworks before travelling. If you want to go on a tour, try to book this early.

Easter is named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring (Eostre). Eggs and bunnies (baby rabbits) are two symbols that represent new life. There are many Easter traditions involving eggs, including eating chocolate Easter eggs, egg races, egg hunts and egg painting.

Statue of Jesus on the cross

Hot cross buns

Chocolate Easter bunny

Thu 2 Apr 2015 Maundy Thursday, UK
Maundy Thursday is when Christians remember the Last Supper, when Jesus met with his followers before he was betrayed by Judas and was captured by the Romans. Some church services may involve washing the feet of the poor (it is written that Christ washed the feet of his disciples in an act of humility).
It is traditional for the Queen to give out Maundy money at a special service in one of the UK's cathedrals. In 2014 the Queen is 88 years old, so 88 elderly men and 88 elderly women are chosen as recipients (usually local people who have done a lot for the community or for a charity). Each person is given two purses: one purse contains 88 specially minted silver coins, and the second one contains ordinary money (for food and clothing). See:

Fri 3 Apr -
Sat 11 Apr 2015
Jewish Passover
Jewish people celebrate the festival of Passover (also known as Pesach) during this 8-day period. See:

Fri 3 Apr 2015 Good Friday, UK
A public holiday in the UK. Some supermarkets and larger shops will be open, but many local shops will be closed. Buses and trains will run, often with a service that is similar to a normal Saturday or Sunday service.
Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ, who was crucified (killed on a cross) by the Romans. Christian churches hold special services.
* Photos and information about Good Friday traditions: Ideas/Album/Good-Friday

Fri 3 Apr 2015 Widow's Buns ceremony, Bromley-by-Bow, London
The Widow's Buns ceremony is a tradition that takes place each Good Friday in the Widow's Son pub in Bromley by Bow in London. The story is that the pub was built on the site of a cottage where a woman used to live with her only son. When he left to become a sailor she promised to bake a hot cross bun on Good Friday for him to eat when he returned. He didn't come back, but she continued to bake a new bun each year until she died, hoping that he would appear at her door. Each year a sailor from the Royal Navy comes to put a hot cross bun (marked with the year) into a net which hangs above the bar.
* Photos and information about Good Friday traditions: Ideas/Album/Good-Friday

Fri 3 Apr 2015 The Passion of Jesus, London
A free 90-minute open-air play is performed in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday, telling the story of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Sun 5 Apr 2015 Easter Sunday, UK
Special Easter Sunday services in Christian churches celebrate the belief that Jesus Christ came back to life on the third day after he was killed (known as the "resurrection"). There are special Easter Sunday religious services. Churches are often decorated with flowers. Children are often given chocolate Easter eggs by their parents or relatives. Sometimes eggs are hidden and children hunt for them in the house or garden. Note that many shops are closed on Easter Sunday, even if they normally open on other Sundays. Visitor attractions are usually open, but you should check before you travel.
* Photos and information about Easter Sunday traditions: Ideas/Album/Easter-Sunday

Mon 6 Apr 2015 Easter Monday, UK
A public holiday in the UK. Many of the larger shops will be open, but you should check opening times; many smaller shops will be closed. Buses and trains will run, often with a service that is similar to the normal Sunday service.

Mon 6 Apr 2015 Harness Horse Parade, Sussex
An annual parade of horses, ponies and donkeys and their carriages.
The venue is the South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TL (map)
For details, see:
* Photos and information about this event: Ideas/Album/HarnessHorseParade

Harness Horse Parade

Mon 6 Apr 2015 New tax year starts, UK
The start of the new tax year. If you paid too much income tax during the previous tax year (6th April - 5th April), you can claim a tax refund. If you have additional tax to pay you will need to complete a tax return.
For UK tax information, see:
Tax checker:
* Further details: Work/Employment

Sat 11 Apr 2015 The Grand National, Liverpool
A famous horse race (a "steeplechase", which involves jumping over fences) at Aintree, near Liverpool. You can see it in the afternoon on television. Many British people like to make a small bet about the result of this race. See:
* Horse racing in the UK: Life/Sport/Horse

Sat 11 Apr 2015 Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race, London
An annual university boat race on the Thames in London between Oxford University (the "Dark Blues") and Cambridge University (the "Light Blues"). The teams toss a coin to choose which side of the river they start (the north side is "Middlesex", and the south side is "Surrey": these are the names of the counties on each river bank. The race starts at Putney Bridge (near Putney Bridge underground station, on the Wimbledon branch of the District line; see: map), and ends after a distance of 4.25 miles (7 kilometres) just north of Chiswick Bridge (near the railway station Mortlake; see: map). The starting time changes each year, depending on the tide. Thousands of people line the river to see the two boats pass (after this people often rush to the nearby pubs to watch the rest of the race, which lasts about 20 minutes). The first contest took place in 1829, after a student at Cambridge challenged his friend at Oxford. Before the main event is a similar race between the second teams, which are known as "Isis" (Oxford) and "Goldie" (Cambridge). Other useful vocabulary: cox or coxswain (the person who steers the boat), stroke (the rower nearest the cox), bow (the rower furthest from the cox), a clash of oars (when the oars of the two boats hit each other), to catch a crab (when one of the oars gets stuck in the water and cannot complete its stroke).

In 2015 the women's race starts at 4:50pm and the men's race starts at 5:50pm.
For more details about the event, see:
You can watch the races live on television.

Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race

Sat 11 Apr 2015 The Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race, London
A race between two goats called "Oxford" and "Cambridge" is one of the events in an afternoon of entertainment at Spitalfields City Farm, held on the same day as the boat race. Note that tickets are required, and these should be bought in advance. See:

Sat 11 Apr 2015 Vaisakhi at City Hall, London
Free event celebrating Sikh heritage, history and culture, from 12 noon to 5pm at City Hall and The Scoop, More London, near Tower Bridge. See:

Sun 12 Apr 2015 Olivier Awards, London
This annual London theatre awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
You can watch the ceremony for free on large screens set up outdoors in Covent Garden Piazza from 5pm (nearest Tube: Covent Garden; map) - there are also some live performances.
Alternatively, highlights are broadcast afterwards on television (ITV1 at 10:15pm). See:
* London Theatre: Life/Entertainment/Theatre

Sun 12 Apr 2015 Day trip to Salisbury and Stonehenge
A day trip from London to Salisbury and Stonehenge. The cost is £60, which includes train transport to/from London Waterloo (meet there at 8:45am, arrive back at 9pm), a guided walk in Salisbury with a local blue-badge guide, a visit to Salisbury Cathedral, transport to/from Stonehenge from Salisbury, and entry to Stonehenge (you will have 2 hours to visit there). This trip is organised by the author of this website. For further information please call Mark on 07984 257572.
* Stonehenge: Travel/Tours/England/Stonehenge

Tue 14 Apr -
Wed 15 Apr 2015
Champions League Football
First leg matches from the quarter-finals stage of the Champions League
For further information, see: or
* Football: Life/Sport/Football

Tue 14 Apr 2015 Vaisakhi, UK & worldwide
The Sikh New Year festival of Vaisakhi is celebrated on April 13 or April 14.
* Photos: Ideas/Album/Vaisakhi

Thu 16 Apr 2015 Accredited MBA Fair, London
Fair for people who are interested in studying for an MBA. Exhibitors are all accredited by the Association of MBAs. See:
* MBA courses: Course/MBA

Sat 18 Apr -
Mon 4 May 2015
World Snooker Championship, Crucible Theatre (Sheffield)
International snooker championship. Matches are shown on BBC2.

Sat 18 Apr 2015 FA Cup Semi-Final #1
Semi-final game in the FA Cup, which is a knockout competition between football clubs in England and Wales.
For details see: or:
* Information about football in the UK: Life/Sport/Football

Sun 19 Apr 2015 FA Cup Semi-Final#2
Semi-final game in the FA Cup, which is a knockout competition between football clubs in England and Wales.
For details see: or:
* Information about football in the UK: Life/Sport/Football

Sun 19 Apr 2015 Shakespeare's Birthday Open House, London
An afternoon of family events at Shakespeare's Globe in London, to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday.

Tue 21 Apr -
Wed 22 Apr 2015
Champions League Football
Second leg matches from the quarter-finals stage of the Champions League
For further information, see: or
* Football: Life/Sport/Football

Tue 21 Apr 2015 Queen's Birthday gun salutes, London & Windsor
The Queen's real birthday is on 21 April (she also has an "official" birthday in June which is marked by the Trooping the Colour ceremony: Ideas/Album/TroopingTheColour). She was born in 1926.
It is traditional for soldiers to fire cannons to celebrate royal birthdays or other national events. Gun salutes are not fired on Sundays, so if the date falls on a Sunday the salute will take place the next day. Cannons will be fired in the following locations:
- A 41-gun salute at 12 noon fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Hyde Park, London
- A 62-gun salute at 1pm fired by the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London (from the gunpark at the western end of London Wharf: map ; nearest Tube: Tower Hill). Guns have been fired from this location since the time of Henry the Eighth
- A 21-gun salute at 12 noon at The Long Walk in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Windsor (near the Brook Street entrance: map)
For background information about the gun salutes, see: or
* Royal traditions: Britain/Countries/Royalty

Gun salute in Hyde Park ...

... and at the Tower of London

Thu 23 Apr 2015 St George's Day, England
Saint George is the Patron Saint of England. It is believed that he lived in Palestine in the time of the Roman empire. He was imprisoned and killed after protesting against the persecution of Christians by the Romans. A legend was later created about St George - it is said that he saved a village and rescued its princess by killing a dragon. For more background information about St George, see:
* Photos from St George's Day events: Ideas/Album/StGeorgesDay

Thu 23 Apr 2015 Shakespeare's Birthday
23 April is the birthday of William Shakespeare (England's most famous writer).

A celebration of Shakespeare's birthday

Shakespearean plays at the Globe Theatre, London

Sat 25 Apr 2015 ANZAC Day, UK & worldwide
The name ANZAC is an abbreviation for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, which took place in Turkey on 25 April 1915 (starting at dawn), during the First World War. 50,000 Allied soldiers (from Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and India) and 87,000 Turkish soldiers died, and many more were injured. This was the first time that soldiers from Australia and New Zealand had been involved in a major battle. Australians and New Zealanders use this occasion to remember those who have served their countries and the Commonwealth in times of war.

05:00 - Dawn Service in front of the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park Corner, London (the service will last about 40 minutes) (you are recommended to arrive before 04:30) - the service includes the laying of wreathes at the Australian/New Zealand War Memorials nearby.
Later in the morning there is a brief wreath-laying service at the Cenotaph on Whitehall and a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey (tickets for this must be obtained in advance)
For more details about these ANZAC Day events in London, see:

See also:

* Useful general links for people from Australia: Links/Australia
* Useful general links for people from New Zealand: Links/NewZealand

New Zealand War Memorial

Australian War Memorial

Sat 25 Apr 2015 Feast of St George, London
Celebration of English culture and food in London's Trafalgar Square (St George's Day is on 23 April).

Sat 25 Apr 2015 Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare's birthday is celebrated in Stratford-upon-Avon, the town where he was born. There is a street procession from his birthplace to the church where he was buried, and other entertainment with a Shakesperean theme. See:
* Guide to Stratford-upon-Avon: Travel/Tours/England/Stratford

Sun 26 Apr 2015 The London Marathon, London
The London Marathon has been taking place each year since 1981. Many of the runners are taking part in order to raise money for charity. There are three starting points (red, green and blue) close to Greenwich Park (in Charlton Road, St John's Park and Shooter's Hill Road; map); races start between 9am and 10am. The nearest railway stations are Maze Hill or Blackheath; Greenwich train station and the DLR station at Cutty Sark are also close. The race ends on The Mall (map; in front of Buckingham Palace, near Green Park, Victoria and St James's Park underground stations). The centre of Greenwich (near the boat called the "Cutty Sark") and the area near to the finishing line can become very busy (most of The Mall contains seats and can only be accessed by people with tickets). Recommended places to view the race are either close to the start, or somewhere along Westferry Road on the Isle of Dogs (the 15-20 mile section of the race, close to the DLR station Canary Wharf). You can also watch the marathon on television: it is shown on BBC1 in the morning and early afternoon. If you want to apply to run in next year's race, obtain a copy of London Marathon News from a local sports shop between August and October (not all people who apply are accepted). For further details about the race, see:
* Photos of this event: Ideas/Album/LondonMarathon

London Marathon

Thu 30 Apr 2015 Edinburgh Beltane Fire, Edinburgh
The Beltane Fire is a festival which is held on the evening of 30th April each year on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. It celebrates the ancient festival of Beltane, which was one of the quarter-days dividing the seasons of the Celtic year. For further information, see:

Events for which dates have not been confirmed (or which may not be taking place this year) - check the links for the latest details:

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