Six of the Best: Diary dates for 2016

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Christmas and new year might be over and done with but there’s plenty to look forward to in the new year. Here are six dates for your diary, with something to take you off the beaten track.

Winter Steam Gala

February 26 to 28

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is holding a three day steam extravaganza. Children can get up close to rare locomotives and everyone can experience a slice of history wandering through the vintage coaches.

Billed as being “perfect for everyone, whether old or young, big or small”, it has up to eight different steam locomotives in action, vintage carriages, goods trains, express trains … plus your chance to get up close and have a look on the footplate.

For the adults there is also a real ale bar car.

See kwvr.co.uk for more information.

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Ilkley Film Festival

February 17 to 21

The festival is approaching its third year and Dame Judi Dench is their patron. This year it promises 40 screenings across seven genres, opening with feature film Suffragette and closing with cult classic Run Lola Run accompanied by live jazz band The Bays.

Dame Judi said: “Film plays such an important part in our everyday lives and the opportunity to celebrate it through festivals such as Ilkley is something to be grasped.

For more infoamtion about the event see: ilkleyfilmfestival.co.uk

York Literary Festival

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'The Christmas `Santa Special' steam train makes its way along the track on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway at Keighley, West Yorkshire. The specials run this weekend (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th) December 2015, and next weekend. The line is famous for where the iconic film `The Railway Children' was filmed.

Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian'The Christmas `Santa Special' steam train makes its way along the track on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway at Keighley, West Yorkshire. The specials run this weekend (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th) December 2015, and next weekend. The line is famous for where the iconic film `The Railway Children' was filmed.

March 10 to 23

W H Auden, Andrew Martin and Kate Atkinson were born here. The Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were regular visitors to the city, and Collins set part of his novel ‘No Name’ in York. Daniel Defoe’s world famous character Robinson Crusoe was from York... the list goes on.

Organisers have announced its headline speaker, former Tory MP and rail enthusiast, Michael Portillo, who will talk about his career and arts and TV work. March 10 to 23, yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk

Coastival

Febrary 12 to 14

With more than 100 events, the majority of which are free, this year’s big names include Cast, Asian Dub Foundation, Snake Davis and Rory Bremner. The opening event Polar Quest takes guests on a journey inspired by explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew.

One of seven ice sculptures of a child, shown here at Bradford City Park, which are being placed at locations across the north of England by artists from Sand in Your Eye to raise awareness physical and emotional vulnerabilities of homeless people in the run up to Christmas. Each child will hold a cardboard plaque with the words ��#PleaseLookAfterMe I am without a home.�"  People may then engage and follow the progress of the sculptures in social media. Other locations include York Minster, St Peter's Square Manchester and Liverpool's Albert Dock.'WORDS BY GUZELIAN

One of seven ice sculptures of a child, shown here at Bradford City Park, which are being placed at locations across the north of England by artists from Sand in Your Eye to raise awareness physical and emotional vulnerabilities of homeless people in the run up to Christmas. Each child will hold a cardboard plaque with the words ��#PleaseLookAfterMe I am without a home.�" People may then engage and follow the progress of the sculptures in social media. Other locations include York Minster, St Peter's Square Manchester and Liverpool's Albert Dock.'WORDS BY GUZELIAN

There will be films, music, public art and performance art, comedy, there’s even a ‘Coastival Fringe’ starring Rory Bremner. So, more than you could reasonably shake a piece of driftwood at.

For more information on th event, see: coastival.com

Huddersfield Literature Festival

Labour MP Alan Johnson will present a Harold Wilson lecture to coincide with the centenary of the former Prime Minister’s birth in Huddersfield. He will be joined at the festival by author Joanne Harris and explorer Levison Wood, the first person to walk the entire length of the River Nile.

Actor and festival patron Patrick Stewart OBE said: “Words – whether storytelling, poetry, drama, novels or discussion – are a powerful way of exploring issues. Whatever your sphere of interest, you are likely to find something here.” March 3 to 13, litfest.org.uk

Doncaster Blues, Rhythm &Rock Festival

Now in its fifth year, this festival has slowly gathered momentum to the point where it is now able to attract some of the most interesting and diverse acts from across Europe. Organisers have tagged it ‘Festival 5’ and have big hopes.

Stan Webb and Chicken Shack show no sign of slowing down, continually touring the UK and Europe and next year they will headline this lively folk festival. Other acts include rock band The Brew, The Rainbreakers, Rebecca Downes, drawing influences from blues, soul, jazz to rock, Peoples Republic of Mercia and Southbound. Sunday February 28.

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