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Beat the January Blues

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For the pessimists of us out there, January can be a pretty miserable month. Tighter than usual waistbands, empty wallets, continuously cold weather, winter sniffles, back-to-work blues; the list goes on.

And if that list isn’t long enough, something even gloomier will be thrust upon us. In 2018, 15 January has been named as the official most depressing day of the year. Yep that’s right - a whole 24 hours dedicated to feeling blue.

But with January comes a new year, a fresh start, a time to embark on new endeavours. So, why not look at your glass as “half-full” and make the most of your January with these uplifting events?

If you’re travelling by train, we’ve included the easiest ways to get to each place from the nearest train station. For great discounts on train tickets, book Advance tickets with CrossCountry.

Laugh out loud at Bristol’s Slapstick Festival

An event guaranteed to make you crack a smile in the most depressing month of the year is Bristol’s annual Slapstick Festival. Named as Europe’s biggest and best festival of comedy, there’s no way you’ll leave feeling blue.

The festival is a unique celebration of silent slapstick comedy films, live music and guest appearances by legends of British comedy.

Christopher Biggins, Jo Brand, Ade Edmondson and Lee Mack are among the stars who will be brightening up Bristol in January.

Comedian Tim Vine, best known for his quick-fire puns and his role on the BBC series Not Going Out, will host the event. Tim will introduce an incredible triple-bill of laugh-out-loud comedy classics, all with a world class live musical accompaniment. We’re confident he will crack a few of his own jokes too!

Buster Keaton’s best loved and innovative film Sherlock Jr (1924) joins Charlie Chaplin’s A Dog’s Life (1918) as the show’s big screen entertainment.

Held at Colston Hall on 26 – 28 January, this funny festival is sure to brighten up your January.

Whilst you’re there, why not experience what else Bristol has to offer? Check out our Bristol city guide.

Getting there: From Bristol Temple Meads Station, Colston Hall is a pleasant 20-minute walk crossing the River Avon. Alternatively, a bus takes 15 minutes and a taxi will take 10.

Comedian Tim Vine leans against his microphone stand as he takes the stage at Slapstick2017.

Manchester Beer & Cider Festival

With over 750 beers, ciders and perry, ranging from traditional cask bitters to cutting edge craft beers, you’re sure to find a taste you like at this year’s Manchester Beer & Cider Festival.

The north’s biggest beer festival returns to Manchester Central in January 2018 and is set to show just how diverse and complex beer can be. A range of special tasting sessions and talks will be taking place at the festival, so real ale lovers can not only enjoy the taste of their favourite drink, but learn what makes it so special.

Three of the country’s leading beer experts will be running tutored tastings, showcasing the breadth of taste and history of real ale in the UK and further afield. Their subjects will range from the dark art of milds, porters and stouts, and even include how beer can be matched with cheese.

Getting merry isn’t just for Christmas and a day out at a beer festival is sure to keep you merry. The festival is open from 25 – 27 January 2018.

 To discover more things you can do in Manchester, read our city guide.

Getting there: From Manchester Piccadilly Station, you can either walk to Manchester Central in 20 minutes, then catch a connecting train, the Metrolink or take a taxi.

Six men lean against a bar as they learn about the beer they’re drinking in a tasting session at the festival.

The Great Edinburgh Winter Run

 Releasing endorphins is one way to make yourself feel great this winter and what better way to do this than in the stunning landscape of Edinburgh’s countryside?

On the 13 January, why not kick start your New Year running plans and head to Scotland’s capital city for a crisp 5k running challenge?

The Great Edinburgh Winter Run takes in some breath-taking scenery. Starting in Holyrood Park, participants will pass through Dunsapie Loch before snaking up and around the iconic Arthur’s Seat. Runners will enjoy views over Edinburgh Castle, the River Forth and Holyrood Palace.

Once you’ve completed the run, treat yourself to a hot drink at the vibrant event village before watching some of the world’s best athletes take on the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Cross Country. The race pits the best of Team GB & NI, against Europe and the USA.

There’s lots more to explore in Edinburgh and you can read our city guide to find out more.

 Getting there: From Edinburgh Train Station, Holyrood Park is accessible via foot, bus or taxi, making it convenient for you to get to.

 A large group of runners stand warming up at the start line of the Great Edinburgh Winter Run with their hands in the air

Be a Big Kid

 Every once in a while, it’s nice to forget your responsibilities, enjoy some alcohol-free fun and feel like a kid again. We don’t think there’s a better way to do that than bounce, spin and flip your way around a trampoline park.

AirHop in Guildford, Surrey, houses over 50 interconnected trampolines, that go across the floor and up the walls. Whether you can just about manage a seated bounce or you’re doing parkour flips; everyone will enjoy losing their inhibitions at AirHop.

It’s not just great fun but also fantastic exercise, and is hugely beneficial to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Plus, its low impact on the joints, so no excuses! As you bounce around, you can burn up to 1000 calories in one hour, without even realising it.

As well as the 50 interconnected trampolines in the Main Court, AirHop provides a foam pit where visitors can practice their aerial tricks, whilst landing on a soft cushion of foam cubes. There’s even a chance to join in a dodgeball game on a field of trampolines or why not try perfecting your basketball slam dunk with the height and spring that you always dreamed of.

Thrill-seekers should get off the sofa and into the air this January. You’ll literally be bouncing off the walls!

AirHop’s Main Court is huge with 50 interconnected trampolines that go across the floor and up the walls, plus a pit of red and blue foam cubes to jump into.

 Getting there: Getting from Guildford Train Station to AirHop couldn’t be easier. A 20-minute journey can be done by foot or bus, whilst a taxi will take just 5 minutes. 

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