As we move away from January, the weather is getting colder and the nights are still dark - but there's plenty to do with your weekend.
Durham University Botanic Garden: Signs of Spring
If you missed the Big Garden Birdwatch which happened last weekend, don't worry: you can still keep your eyes peeled for our feathered friends and other Spring-related animal and plant life with this event in Durham University Botanic Garden. Pick up a sheet from the reception and see which of the Spring signs you can find as you wander around the wintry garden. While there might not be much plant life to see at this time of year, at least the lack of foliage means birds are easier to spot.
When: Friday February 1-28, 10am-4pm
Where: Durham Botanic Garden, South Road, DH1 3DF
How much: £4 adults, £3 concessions
This event, part of Durham Vocal Festival, should be pretty spectacular. Durham Cathedral will be lit by 2,000 candles and all are welcome to join the congregation as the Durham Cathedral choir sings music for a special service. If you're still pining after Christmas, then maybe this event will give you a bit of closure, as it marks the end of the liturgical season of Christmas. Candlemas is also known as the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and marks an early stage in Jesus' life.
When: Saturday February 2, 5.15pm
Where: Durham Cathedral
How much: Free
Durham University Oriental Museum - Homelands: Documenting Centuries of Cham Migration
This event is an exhibition of the work of James Sebright, a photographer who has documented the Cham people. The Cham people had a rich culture and kingdoms in what is modern day Vietnam. But defeats in the 15th and 19th Centuries saw a period of decline, with migration dispersing the Cham people. Today, they are recognised as one of Vietnam and China’s minority ethnic groups, and live in tight-knit communities.
The exhibition starts this weekend and shows his work as he travelled around the South China Sea meeting the Cham people.
When: Friday February 1-September 16, Monday-Friday 10am-5pm and weekends 12-5pm
Where: Durham Oriental Museum, Elvet Hill DH1 3TH
How much: £1.50 adults, 75p children and over 60s, £3.50 family (two adults three children)
Beamish Museum stargazing
Head out of Durham city centre to Beamish this Friday night for an evening of stargazing with Sunderland Astronomical Society. Making the most of County Durham's dark skies, They'll have a selection of telescopes available to look through at Pockerley Waggonway and in the Colliery Yard, along with several activities such as expert talks, making Planispheres and glow-in-the-dark constellations, and a mobile planetarium in The Colliery Band Hall. You can also find out about local Georgian astronomer, Temple Chevallier.
When: Friday February 1, 6.30-9.30pm. The Planetarium showings (£1 per ticket) are at 6.45pm, 7.15pm, 7.45pm, 8.15pm and 8.45pm, and prebooking is advised.
Where: Beamish Museum, Beamish DH9 0RG
How much: £5 per person