Great Exhibition of the North: best days out in the north-east

With the summer-long arts festival kicking off next week, singers, artists and curators share their favourite places in Newcastle and the wider region

For the birds … an RSPB volunteering break in Northumberland

Seeking sanctuary among terns and puffins, our writer volunteers for two weeks of manual work on a remote island run by the RSPB

Capability Brown gardens Northumberland and sites across the UK

Our land may have been green and pleasant before Lancelot “Capability” Brown started rearranging its hills and lakes, but the UK’s most celebrated landscape gardener was so prolific – he is associated with 260 sites in England and Wales – that many of the landscapes we think of today as typically English are, in fact, typically Lancelot. In 2016, designated the Year of the English Garden by VisitEngland, around 150 of the landscapes Brown designed will be open to the public, with organisations such as the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society contributing to a nationwide programme of events marking 300 years since his birth. Some of the sites will open specially for the occasion; others, such as Harewood House near Leeds, are upping their Capability credentials with events and exhibitions.