Free events are the ones your wallet loves. While there's always lots of entertainment in Durham to be had, it's got an additional pleasure when you don't have to put your hand in your pocket.

After sitting enticingly on the horizon for a number of weeks, Easter is finally upon us, so expect various Spring and Easter themed activities coming your way. You can find the full lineup of events in our Durham Easter activities story. The majority of Easter activities are paid-for, even if they don't cost a lot, but Prince Bishops Shopping Centre has got several free activities this week, which we've listed below.

Take a look at the free events below and see whether anything takes your fancy - or whether you'll have to shell out for music gigs instead.

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#1: Animal Encounters, M&Co

The Prince Bishops Family Funland Area inside M&Co is hosting Animal Encounters, where you can get up close to their collection of exotic animals. Taking place from Thursday to Saturday April 18-20, the petting zoo will features animals such as a giant tortoise, crested geckos, an African bull frog and an African pygmy hedgehog.

Durham Animal Encounters is free and there's no need to book. It's suitable for all ages and runs 10am to 4pm each day.

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#2: Holy Week Address and Compline

Holy Week is the week before Easter, and Durham Cathedral will mark it with a series of special services. The Address and Compline is an evening service of contemplation and prayer that has been offered since the days of monastic life.

The Durham Cathedral Address and Compline takes place on Monday to Wednesday, April 15-17, at 7.30pm each day.

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#3: Bertie's Easter Egg Hunt, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre

Starting on Monday April 8 and continuing until Saturday April 20, the Prince Bishops mascot Bertie has left Easter eggs all around the shopping centre.

Collect an Easter Egg Hunt form from the team at Bertie's Play Village (inside M&Co) then head out onto the malls and get hunting. Bertie's eggs are hidden in store windows throughout the shopping centre. When you spot an egg, call into that store to collect a matching sticker.

Once you've found all 10 hidden eggs, return your completed form to Bertie's Play Village to receive your reward. Each person who completes the egg-spotting mission will receive a sweet treat as a reward.

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#4: Live InDurham, various venues

Fancy a free live music concert? Live InDurham brings some of the best up and coming music talent to gigs at various venues across Durham. It takes place on the evening of Thursday April 18 2019 - you can see the lineup when it's announced on the Live InDurham Facebook page.

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#5: Durham Cathedral Easter services

As you might expect, there are several Durham Cathedral Easter services taking place across April. There's a Palm Sunday Eucharist on Sunday April 14 at 11.15am; on Thursday April 18 at 11am there'll be Maundy Thursday Sung Eucharist and Blessing of the Oils; later that day at 7.30pm is Maundy Thursday Sung Eucharist and Stripping of the Altar; on Good Friday, April 19 at 12 noon there's a focus on the cross in the Liturgy of Good Friday (The Three Hours). Then finally on Easter Day, Sunday April 21, there's a series of services throughout the day, to which everyone is welcome:

5am: Dawn Liturgy with Initiation and the First Communion of Easter

8am: Holy Communion

10am: Matins

11.15am: Sung Eucharist

3.30pm: Evensong

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#6: Free table tennis, Prince Bishops Shopping Centre

Durham Ping Pong Parlour is a great way to pass the time when out shopping - and it's free. Just head along to Prince Bishops Shopping Centre - we've got all the details in our Durham tabletennis story.

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Feature image credit: Durham BID