‘People are annoyed at regular club culture’: inside the renaissance of Britain’s free party scene
Today, the Roundhouse in Camden stands as a celebrated music venue that has seen the likes of Bob Dylan, The Doors, Patti Smith and the Ramones perform – but in 1991 it had been unused for almost a decade. The former railway engine shed existed simply as an vacant, rotting shell. ‘Walking into this vast space, it was just too good to be true,’ recalls Mark Angelo Harrison of the arts collective and free party sound system Spiral Tribe in a new documentary, ‘Free Party: A Folk History’. Over Christmas that year, entry was gained to the building and in collaboration with fellow sound system collective Circus Normal, a near week-long party was thrown. Thousands descended on the building for a festive rave, dancing to the burgeoning sounds of hardcore breakbeats and pummeling techno. Photograph: Matthew Smith ‘Originally, I just wanted to make a short film about that party because it was mad,’ says Aaron Trinder, director of ‘Free Party’, who was in attendance. ‘But then I realised, hang on a minute: nobody’s done the whole thing before and told the story of the free party scene.’ And so, over five years, Trinder set about doing just that. He traced the roots of the modern movement via various events and milestones such as Stonehenge, Glastonbury, the Battle of Beanfield, Avon Free Festival, and what would become known as the biggest ever illegal rave in the UK, Castlemorton – along with the implementation and impact of the subsequent Criminal Justice and Public Order Act,
The 27 best restaurants in Sheffield
The Yorkshire city of Sheffield is best known for its huge university, charming accent and winning array of fun things to do. However, the city certainly packs a punch when it comes to its prosperous food scene. An array of independent restaurants, bars and cafés make Sheffield a super exciting place to eat. The student-centric city boasts a diverse range of eateries that cater to pretty much all budgets and occasions. So whether you’re more into the idea of street food, a sourdough bakery or a even fine-dining establishment set in a shipping container (yes, you read that right), our pick of the best rated restaurants in Sheffield has you covered. RECOMMENDED:🌳The best things to do in Sheffield🛍️The best things to do in Leeds🌤️The best things to do in the UK⛰️The most beautiful national parks in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 14 best cheap eats in Leeds
Leeds has often been declared the 'foodie capital of the north'. While some may argue that the title belongs to Sheffield and others insist that it's Manchester, at the very least no one can deny Leed's culinary brilliance. And though the city glistens with Michelin-star venues and other super posh dining spots, some of the best, most flavour-packed nosh won't do nearly as much damage to your bank account. Some are award-winning, others have been beloved by locals for decades. From amazing pizza joints to tasty Thai and deliciously crunchy Vietnamese sarnies, here’s our guide to the best cheap restaurants in Leeds. RECOMMENDED:🍕 The best restaurants in Leeds🍸 The best bars in Leeds 👀 The best things to do in Leeds 🍺 The best pubs in Leeds
The 23 best restaurants in Newcastle
Newcastle's food scene is thriving, and a visit to this vibrant northern hub will entail a constant struggle to resist going out for a lavish meal every single night of the week. From award-winning fine dining to the fantastic streetfood stalls of Grainger Market, all culinary tastes and budgets are well catered for. The Toon's abundance of seafood thanks to its proximity to the coast, and the high concentration of innovative chefs, mean the food scene here is absolutely prospering, and one of the most exciting in the UK. Here are our top picks for the best places to eat in the Newcastle. RECOMMENDED:🏖️The best seaside towns in the UK👙The most beautiful wild swimming spots in the UK🚴The most beautiful cycle routes in the UK🏩The best Airbnbs in the UK🎨The best things to do in the UK right now At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 25 best things to do in Sheffield
Sheffield has been having its moment for a while now. Last year, we investigated why everyone and their dog is moving there for good, and in 2023 we crowned it the second best city break spot in Europe. This is a mighty cool city, and the world has (finally) woken up to it. Not only is Sheffield one of the UK’s greenest cities, it’s got a thriving arts, culture and food scene to match. Pair that with its cracking bars, clubs and general nightlife scene, and you’ve got yourself a seriously packed-full weekend away (or a new home altogether, we guess). From festivals to animal parks, here are the best things to do in Sheffield right now. RECOMMENDED:🍝 The best restaurants in Sheffield📍 The best things to do in Leeds☀️ The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 22 best things to do in Leeds right now
Leeds is a vibrant city that offers the best of both worlds. Its proximity to beautiful national parks and the Yorkshire Dales means that a trip to scenic, rolling green hills, dotted with chocolate box villages, is always an option for a day out. But for those craving an urban adventure, you’ll find a food, culture, and shopping-packed centre that offers up plentiful options – offering the perfect balance between bustling city living and proximity to the great outdoors. Whether you’re here for the top-notch galleries, the pioneering restaurants and bars, the incredibly vibrant street food scene or to escape into nearby beauty, here are some unmissable things to do in Leeds right now. RECOMMENDED:🍔 The best restaurants in Leeds🍸 The best bars in Leeds🌳 The best things to do in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 19 best restaurants in Durham
With its charming cobbled alleyways, grand cathedral and romantic bridges, Durham is an impressive city based on its looks alone. But prepared to be properly blown away when you taste all the culinary goods it has to offer. Whether you're in the mood for classy fine dining over the River Wear, some elevated pub grub a stone's throw from Durham Cathedral or a downright dirty burger in the studenty Viaduct area, you'll not be disappointed. Here's our pick of all the very best places to eat in Durham. RECOMMENDED:🍽️ The best restaurants in Oxford 📍 The best things to do in Newcastle👀 The best restaurants in the UK At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.
The 18 best things to do in Whitby
Whitby is and always has been the perfect seaside getaway. This idyllic former fishing town on the North Yorkshire coast has maintained all of its best traditions (hello, Whitby Goth Weekend), and won’t change for no one. Spend a day or a weekend here to discover fantastic seafood, old cosy pubs, and a hell of a lot of very quirky charm. From its spooky abbeys and its cliff-top graveyard to its cobbled streets and whale bone monuments, visiting Whitby is sort of like stepping into a gothic novel, but a really, really fun one. Stroll along the Blue Flag beach in the summer, dip into independent shops in town, and sink your teeth into a healthy portion of fish and chips. And if you’ve got the kids in tow, even better – the exhibitions and activities here are endless. Here are the best things to do in Whitby right now. RECOMMENDED:📍 The ultimate guide to Yorkshire🌳 The best places to visit in the UK🍝 The best restaurants in the UK
Best things to do in Haworth right now
There are so many beautiful spots in Yorkshire, where does one begin? It’s an age-old question, for sure, but if you’re in any way a literature fan, there’s only one place for you – and that’s Haworth, tucked away in the South Pennines. The actual Brontë sisters are from here, and the village has continued to inspire some serious literature ever since. It’s no surprise really, as most of Haworth looks like a picture in a storybook; steam trains, rugged hills, coastal walking trails, quaint cafés, that sort of thing. So even if you hate literature with a passion, you’ll still love it here. And just in case you need any more persuading, we’ve designed the perfect day, from your morning coffee to your afternoon pint (and even your stay for the night). Here are the best things to do in Haworth. RECOMMENDED:📍 The ultimate guide to Yorkshire🌳 The best places to visit in the UK🍝 The best restaurants in the UK
The best things to do in Harrogate
If you’re looking for a proper break from it all, we’ve got an idea. How about a weekend away in a blissful spa town, full of quaint cobbled streets, traditional baths and seriously good beer? Yes, we’re talking about Harrogate. And if it sounds like a bit of you, you’re in luck. We’ve got a full guide to the city right here. Harrogate can get overlooked for its famous neighbours York and Leeds, but this city is a North Yorkshire gem. Life is slow here. You’re supposed to simply relax and go along for the ride. There’s kids activities and afternoon tea galore, Turkish baths and tons of historic buildings to wander past and admire. We’ve chosen the town’s most well-known things to do as well as its more unique points for our full guide. Here are the best things to do in Harrogate right now. RECOMMENDED:📍 The best things to do in Leeds📍 The best things to do in York📍 The essential guide to Yorkshire
The 18 best bars in Leeds
Leeds is a city that sure likes to party, and so it’s fortunate that there’s no shortage of lively, atmospheric bars to kick back and let loose in. With its easily walkable centre, this is the perfect place for a bar crawl with mates, covering significant ground without racking up an excessive taxi bill. Even if your idea of a good night out isn’t one that’s liable to end up with a 4am kebab, there are plenty more intimate bars, too: places where craft beer or multisensory mixology takes on a sophisticated, almost reverential quality. Whether yours is an ice-cold pint, fruity mocktail or niche concoction that only certain bartenders seem to know how to make, this city is good with a shaker and definitely isn’t afraid to prove it. Feeling thirsty? Here are the best bars in Leeds according to us. RECOMMENDED: The 24 best restaurants in Leeds you need to try
The 24 best restaurants in Leeds you need to try
Feeling hungry in West Yorkshire? Leeds will not leave your belly nor taste buds lacking. Aside from the wide array of brilliant things to do, this is a city that’s home to a properly exciting and eclectic food scene, one which is constantly evolving with its culturally diverse population. Complemented by a range of great bars and pubs, the Leeds food industry prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere, catering for the classics as well as pushing the envelope with exciting (and aesthetically pleasing) new inventions. From quick affordable bites to budget-blowing fine -dining, Leeds really is a city that has it all. So, whether you fancy ramen and karaoke, 12-course British-fusion food or some of the tastiest Chinese dishes in the UK, here’s our round up of the very best restaurants in Leeds right now. RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Leeds
Techno DJs in pubs, queer nights in cutlery factories... how Sheffield became the UK’s DIY party capital
Head into Shakespeare’s in Sheffield on a Thursday afternoon and you’ll be greeted with a scene fairly typical of a traditional boozer. Solitary blokes reading their paper and nursing a pint, real-ale aficionados scribbling away in little notebooks, someone sitting quietly munching on a pork pie and crisps in the corner. But return just hours later and the steady thump of techno will be sending bouncing ripples into those glasses of foamy beer. Slamming dance music and real-ale pubs may not be things you would necessarily associate with one another, but on the first Thursday of every month you’ll find the GROUNDWORK crew in the upstairs function room merging these two worlds with great success. ‘The combination of club tunes and the warmth of a real-ale pub, drinking good beer at a reasonable price and finishing by midnight seems to satisfy people,’ says Alex Hatch, who runs GROUNDWORK with Isaac Crookes, Jamie Roberts and Oliver Heaviside. Photograph: Groundwork They bring their own PA system, with subwoofers that Roberts built himself, and turn the 100-capacity function room that’s normally used for pub quizzes and open-mic nights into a sweaty, bouncing, vibrating, early-doors party. As evidenced by the huge success of Annie Mac’s Before Midnight club night, there’s clearly an appetite for an alternative for those who want to avoid ‘going the full slog till 6am’, as Hatch describes it. However, while Mac’s night may be geared more towards to ravers-turned-knackered pa
These incredible underground tunnels in the UK are now open to the public
Sheffield provided the backdrop to a lot of lyrics for Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and the secret tunnels and rivers that run underneath the city centre were no different. On the tune ‘Wickerman’, Cocker even recalled his own time spent wading through the mysterious passages. The song acts as an underground journey through Sheffield, the Yorkshire city that exists ‘below other people’s ordinary lives’. He sang: ‘Underneath the city through the dirty brickwork conduits / Connecting white witches on the Moor with pre-Raphaelites down in Broomhall / Beneath the old Trebor factory that burnt down in the early seventies / leaving an antiquated sweet-shop smell and caverns of nougat and caramel.’ Sound intriguing? As it happens, that magical underground world Cocker described around twenty years ago is now opening up for guided tours via the Sheaf and Porters River Trust. Built during the mid-nineteenth century, the tours will take visitors around the city’s vast network of Victorian tunnels – including a huge brick-vaulted space referred to as the Megatron. Ready to fish out your waterproofs and wellies? This could be the ideal chance to learn more about the history of the place (as well as retrace Cocker’s footsteps, of course). Tickets for the trips are on sale here. Like your subterranean attractions? Take a virtual tour of the Paris Catacombs’ burial chambers.
Why Sheffield’s legendary Leadmill music venue must be saved
On Thursday Sheffield music venue the Leadmill revealed some unexpected news. ‘Today we have received some devastating news,’ it announced. ‘In one year’s time, our landlord is evicting us and forcing us to close.’ This was met with widespread shock. Artists including The Pogues, Billy Bragg, Self Esteem, Sleaford Mods and Tim Burgess all voiced support, as did other venues like Leeds’s Brudenell Social Club and Manchester’s Gorilla, while local MPs Paul Blomfield and Louise Haigh also expressed the need to fight and save it. Now the landlords, Electric Group, have issued a statement saying the building will still be used as a venue, but the Leadmill as it exists – its name, its staff, its independence – may all go. So, what does Sheffield stand to lose? The fact you have such a wide-reaching number of voices showing support for the Leadmill is indicative of its impact and legacy. It has been running for 42 years, initially opening in 1980 in a derelict flour mill and was as much a social and community centre as it was a radical performing arts space. The venue quickly became home to a burgeoning scene, with bands such as Pulp, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA and Artery all playing some of the earliest shows. From there it had a 40-year run as one of the most important pit stops on the UK touring circuit, playing host to countless bands that would go on to be huge (Oasis, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, you name it). But it was also a home for acts that woul
Cheap holiday alert: Leeds is offering free hotel nights to visitors this summer
With constantly-changing border restrictions and testing requirements now getting in the way of most foreign travel, demand for holidays within the UK has soared. And that means that prices have too. In fact, anyone on a budget may struggle to find accommodation at a decent rate. Enter ‘Be Our Guest’ – the latest in a series of initiatives led by UK cities aiming to lure back visitors this summer. A joint venture by Visit Leeds and the Leeds Hotels and Venues Association, it means travellers can claim free third night for every two they book at any of 12 top hotels in the city. That would give you that little bit longer to taste your way around Leeds’s thriving food and drink scene, to soak up some culture at its array of excellent museums and galleries, or indeed tick off all the other ace things the city has to offer. And not only that – the first 100 bookings will get to experience a ‘taste of Leeds’ thanks to a hamper filled with local produce. Lovely stuff. Sound good? You can find out more about the ‘Be Our Guest’ scheme here. And if you’re looking for more great deals? Manchester is offering free hotel nights too.