Tis is a very long story – about events in Britain from start January to the end of December
LONDON: From traditional and tasty to cultured and quirky, there are thousands of events of all different types happening every month of every year. Read on for our broad list of the best events going on in Britain in 2018.
1 January. London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars, with around 10,000 performers from across the world and a street-side audience approaching 500,000. The parade starts at 12pm and is filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, kites and more.
Stoats Loony Doom Edinburgh 1 January. New Year with a splash! Join thousands of ‘Dookers’ taking part in this annual dip in the freezing River Forth after their march along the High Street as part of the Dooker Parade. The tradition has been going for 30 years and participants raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities.
London Fashion Week Men’s London. January. The best of British menswear design comes to the capital, with catwalk shows, events, and presentations.
Celtic Connections Glasgow. January-February. Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, celebrating Celtic music and its connections to cultures across the globe. It’s the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and Britain’s premier celebration of Celtic music, featuring more than 2,000 artists and 300 events across 20 venues, including concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, and workshops.
Lumiere London London. January. More than 40 British and international artists will transform the city during this spectacular festival of lights featuring dazzling installations. Festival locations will include King’s Cross, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Westminster. New destinations added for 2018 include Covent Garden, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo.
Burns’ Night Scotland-wide. January. Every January Scotland celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns – the national poet of Scotland – with food, drams, dancing and verse. Don’t forget to address the haggis!
Up Helly Aa Shetland, Scotland *Quirky*. January. Up Helly Aa is a tradition that originated in the 1880s. This annual event is Europe’s largest fire festival and involves a torch-lit procession, the burning of a Viking long ship and a ceilidh that lasts late into the night.
RBS Six Nations Rugby Cardiff in Wales, London in England, Edinburgh in Scotland. March. The 19th Six Nations Championship for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Imagine Children’s Festival Southbank Centre, London. February. Imagine Children’s Festival offers a packed programme of free and ticketed events for all ages, from opera for babies to talks for adults – plus the chance for children to meet some of their favourite authors.
Jorvik Viking Festival York, north England. February. This annual city-wide celebration of York’s Viking heritage is recognised as the largest Viking Festival in Europe, attracting more than 40,000 visitors. It commemorates the traditional ‘Jolablot’ celebrations that the Vikings held each February.
Olney Pancake Race Buckinghamshire, south-east England *Quirky*. February. This unique race literally stops traffic as energetic local ladies in aprons run through the streets of Olney. The tradition supposedly began in the 15th century when a local housewife heard the ringing of the bell summoning the congregation to church while she was making her Shrove Tuesday pancakes – in a rush, she raced to church carrying her frying pan.
Chinese New Year London and around Britain. February. London hosts the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia each year, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in the festivities. They are free to attend and usually take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and across the West End.
London Fashion Week London, England. February. The ultimate fashion industry event, where the world’s top designers showcase their latest collections.
Glasgow Film Festival Glasgow, Scotland. February-March. The third-largest film festival in Britain, with more than 300 events.
National St David’s Day Parade Cardiff, Wales. 1 March. The streets of the Welsh capital celebrate St David and Welsh culture and music.
World Indoor Athletics Championships 2018 Birmingham. March. One of the biggest sporting events of the year, this indoor athletics championship will feature more than 400 competitors from 150 countries at the Arena Birmingham.
WOW – Women of the World Festival Southbank Centre, London. March – date TBC. WOW Festival celebrates the achievements of women and girls. A mix of talks and debates, concerts, performances, film, comedy, workshops, mentoring and networking.
The Big Cheese Festival Brighton, south England. March. Cheese lovers rejoice! Brighton Racecourse is hosting a dedicated festival showcasing the finest cheeses by international cheesemakers and cheesemongers.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival Glasgow. March. The largest event of its kind in Europe, this comedy extravaganza features a line-up of both big league players and emerging talent from around Britain and beyond.
Cheltenham Festival Gloucestershire, south-west England. March. Held close to Cheltenham, this National Hunt race meeting attracts prize money second only to the Grand National.
St Patrick’s Day Northern Ireland and parts of Britain. 17 March. The national saint of Ireland is celebrated in traditional fashion with festivals, parades, carnivals and concerts taking place across Northern Ireland, and around Britain, including a parade in London.
FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival Oxford. March. More than 350 writers flock to this famous university city to discuss literary, political, historical, environmental and culinary affairs for this eight-day festival, hosted in Christ Church College within its Tudor hall and cloisters.
Gateshead International Jazz Festival NewcastleGateshead. March – date TBC. The Sage Gateshead concert venue hosts this diverse jazz festival with four different performance spaces under one roof, including a free public area offering a mix of local acts and headliners.
The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race London. March. First raced in 1829, the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world located between Putney and Mortlake in south London.
Grand National Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, north-west England. April. The most famous horse race in the world sees competitors make two circuits of the Grand National course, tackling 30 fences as they cover four and a half miles. The event’s colourful, fashionista celebration, Ladies’ Day, will take place in April.
London Coffee Festival Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London. April. Arabica aficionados can celebrate London coffee culture at this dedicated festival, which brings together a range of coffee-related activities under one roof.
RHS Flower Show Cardiff south Wales. April. Cardiff hosts the Royal Horticultural Society’s first major outdoor show of the year. Getting the gardening season started, it’s packed full of amazing show gardens, fabulous floral displays, and lots of garden inspiration.
London Marathon London, England. April. It’s not just a monumental physical challenge, but also the world’s largest fundraising event – and one of the six top marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors.
St George’s Day across England. April. St George’s Day celebrates the patron saint of England with activities ranging from festivals, ‘dragon’ hunts and medieval banquets happening across England.
Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations Stratford-upon-Avon, central England. 22 – 23 April. The birthday celebrations are a tradition going back nearly 200 years and are held on the weekend closest to William Shakespeare’s birthday on 23 April.
Highland Games across Scotland. May-September (Dates TBC). Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year.
Whisky Month across Scotland. Throughout May. Events ranging from whisky tasting sessions to behind-the-scenes experiences and distillery tours.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival Gloucestershire, south-west England. May. Every year, Cheltenham Jazz Festival represents the start of the summer in Cheltenham and is a great way to spend the long weekend over May Bank Holiday.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Speyside, Scotland. May. This festival puts on hundreds of whisky-inspired events over five days.
Brighton Fringe Festival Brighton. May – June. As an open-access festival, anyone can put on an event and be included in the brochure and website listings on payment of a fee, enabling the development of both new and established work to attract fresh audiences, press and promoters.
Brighton Festival Brighton. May. Established in 1967 and now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, this celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate and family events takes place in a variety of venues across Brighton and Hove.
Tour de Yorkshire Yorkshire. May. This three-day road cycling race in Yorkshire started in May 2015, arising as a legacy event following the significant success of the visit of the 2014 Tour de France to the county.
Football Association Cup Final Wembley Stadium, London. May. The FA Cup, the oldest domestic Cup competition in the football world, is established as one of the country’s great sporting institutions.
The Late Shows NewcastleGateshead, north-east England. Dates TBC. The Late Shows is an inspiring, late-night culture crawl programme of events and exhibitions through cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening.
Hay Festival of Literature and Arts Brecon Beacons, south Wales. May- June. The renowned Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, held annually in a tented village on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park.
Birmingham Pride Birmingham, central England. May. The second largest city in England hosts its annual gay pride, a technicolour spectacular celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender culture.
Conwy Pirate Weekend Conwy, north Wales. Dates TBC. Ahoy there! Grab your shipmates and head down to Conwy Quayside for a weekend of pirate fun.
Liverpool Sound City Liverpool. Dates TBC.The event welcomes global stars, local artists and key industry figures. The festival has provided a platform for many future stars early on in their careers, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, The xx, Alt J and Calvin Harris.
Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill Gloucestershire, south-west England. May. A passion for cheese is a must for this annual event, which involves daredevils hurling themselves down the steep, grassy slopes of Coopers Hill, near Gloucester.
Investec Derby Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey. June. The world’s famous flat race will see riders and owners in pursuit of one of the richest prizes in British racing.
Walled City Music Festival Derry~LondonDerry, Northern Ireland. Dates TBC. 2018 marked the 10th year of hosting talented classical musicians of wide-ranging genres and styles.
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show Derbyshire, north England. June. The newest addition to the Royal Horticultural Society’s flower shows had its debut in 2017, joining the existing portfolio of shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace, Tatton Park, and Chelsea in London.
Festival of Voice Cardiff. June. As its name suggests, this biennial international arts event aims to build on the unique heritage of Wales as the ‘land of song’ – a nation that is celebrated for its tradition of choral singing and producing world-famous vocal artists such as Tom Jones and Charlotte Church.
London Fashion Week Men’s London, England. June. The best of British menswear design comes to the capital for the second time in the year, with catwalk shows, events, and presentations.
Queen’s Birthday / Trooping the Colour London, England. June.The Queen’s Birthday Parade and a colourful display of military pageantry featuring 1,400 officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place behind Whitehall.
Royal Ascot Berkshire, England. June. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style all mix together, as well as over £6.5 million in total prize money on offer and around 30 races over five days.
Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival Scotland. June. This midsummer walking festival stages events across Moray including walking challenges, gentle ambles and other outdoor events.
Eroica Britannia Peak District, central England. June. This unique three-day vintage cycling festival sees around 3,500 cyclists from all over the world don retro gear and hop on pre-1987 bikes for this special race, passing through some of the finest Peak District landscapes and villages en route.
The Great Exhibition of the North NewcastleGateshead. June-September. A major exhibition showcasing art, culture, design and innovation from the north of England. The exhibition will start with an opening ceremony at the Quayside, featuring a bridge of illuminated drones over the River Tyne.
TweedLove Bike Festival Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders, Scotland. Dates TBC. Britain’s fastest growing cycling festival. There are three main races.
Whole Earth Man vs. Horse Marathon Powys, mid-Wales. Dates TBC. Starting from the square in Llanwrtyd Wells (the smallest town in Britain), this unique race is run over 22 miles of mixed and very hilly terrain by up to 500 entrants each year. The Man vs Horse Race was the brainchild of local man, Gordon Green, when he was landlord of Neuadd Arms, after a discussion over a pint about the relative merits of man and horse. It took 25 years before a man finally beat a horse, when in 2004 Huw Lobb finished two minutes before the fastest horse.
Stonehenge Summer Solstice Wiltshire. June. Every year visitors from around the world gather to celebrate the Summer Solstice and watch the sun rise over the stones. It’s the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to visit.
Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight. June. This popular music festival on the famous island has impressive musical heritage stretching back to Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix,, who took to the stage in 1970).
The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh. June. One of Scotland’s most iconic events, and firmly established as one of Europe’s most impressive celebrations of farming, food and rural life.
Taste of London Festival London. Dates TBC. Every year Regent’s Park transforms into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment.
Round the Island Race Isle of Wight, south England. June. An annual one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, attracting more than 1,700 boats and 16,000 sailors. Competitors come from all over the world and follow the 50 nautical mile course, which starts and finishes in Cowes.
Pride in London London. June/July. A huge party in the summer with Pride in London – one of Europe’s largest non-ticketed events.
World Egg Throwing Championships Swaton, Lincolnshire, central England *Quirky*. Date TBC. Contestants have to construct a gravity-powered egg-hurling device to launch an egg to a waiting team member. Distances to be achieved start at 30 metres but can be extended up to 150 in the knock-out competition.
Goodwood Festival of Speed Sussex. Dates TBC. The largest car culture event in the world. Around 150,000 visitors attend three days’ worth of races to celebrate the history of motor racing, including a hill climb featuring classic Formula One cars, and a forest rally stage.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival Edinburgh. June-July. The only event of its kind in Britain, giving an audience the opportunity to enjoy a breath-taking spectacle of the finest acts in magic.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships London. July. Arguably the most famous tennis tournament in the world, has been played since 1877 and tickets are always in fierce demand.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Surrey. July. The world’s largest annual flower show returns. A plant lover’s paradise, it’s packed with stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of inspiration.
International Eisteddfod Llangollen, north-east Wales. July Every year more than 4,000 singers from across the globe descend on the small town of Llangollen to compete in 25 different competitions celebrating song, music and dance, closing with the prestigious ‘Choir of the World’
Henley Royal Regatta Henley-on-Thames. July. This five-day festival, which attracts international rowing crews, is one of the highlights of the British summer social calendar and offers up to 90 world-class races.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix Silverstone. July. The jewel in the crown of British Motorsports, Silverstone is a fast circuit with a series of complex high-speed turns, and a short straight to add to the excitement.
Bristol Pride, Bristol. July. Bristol Pride is a week-long LGBT festival that culminates in a massive outdoor music and arts festival which takes place in Castle Park.
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival Cardigan Bay, north Wales. July.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open Gullane Golf Club, east Scotland. July. Watch some of the world’s top golfers at their best during this major golf tournament on the European Tour.
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival Edinburgh. July. See jazz legends and rising stars in their element at this annual jazz and blues.
Liverpool Biennial: Festival of Contemporary Art Liverpool. July-October. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned 305 new artworks and presented work by more than 450 artists from around the world.
Kynren, Auckland Castle, County Durham, England. Dates TBC – July to September.The show take its audience on a 90-minute journey of epic storytelling, using pyrotechnics, lighting, and water effects across a seven-and-a-half acre stage, and starring more than 1,000 professionally trained volunteers.
The Open Championship Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, Scotland. July. The major golf championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire, north-west England. July.This plant lover’s paradise is hosted at Cheshire’s historic neo-classical country mansion, Tatton Park, featuring stunning show gardens and plenty of green-fingered inspiration.
World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk. *Quirky*. July. Ready, steady, slow! For more than 25 years, the World Snail Racing Championships have been held at Congham in Norfolk, where more than 300 snails slug it out for the title of ‘Fastest Snail in the World’.
SummerTyne Americana Festival Sage Gateshead, Newcastle. July. A popular weekend event that attracts visitors from across the world for a sizzling celebration of Americana music in and around the spectacular setting of Sage Gateshead, on the south bank of the river Tyne.
Secret Garden Party Cambridgeshire, east England. July. Secret Garden Party is no longer a secret – this fantastical festival in Cambridgeshire sells out fast. If a wild long weekend of partying to amazing live acts, dressing up in crazy costumes, fireworks and illuminations and wild swimming appeals.
The BBC Proms Royal Albert Hall, London, England. Dates TBC. The Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of more than 70 concerts, with a wide range of classical music to choose from, at affordable prices, in an informal atmosphere.
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival Cardiff. Date TBC. Every year the Welsh capital welcomes this popular festival, with hundreds of stalls offering delicious food and drink to try and buy, from Wales and all over the world. Highlights include Welsh cheeses, Norwegian smoked salmon, French wines and Persian snack foods.
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening London. Dates TBC. Explore the palace’s lavishly furnished State Rooms – where the Queen and members of the Royal Family receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions – and witness some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.
The Welsh Proms Cardiff. Dates TBC. The Welsh Proms feature the world’s top orchestras, soloists and conductors. There’s a strong classical programme, alongside jazz, soul, rock dance and world music.
The Big Cheese Festival Caerphilly, south Wales. TBC July. Caerphilly is home to this free weekend cheese festival. Highlights include the cheese market, with lots of samples to try and buy from top class producers including The Blaenafon Cheddar Company and Snowdonia Cheese. There are also street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, a traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry and fire-eating shows.
The Royal Welsh Show Llanelwedd, Powys, mid-Wales. July. A major event in the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show consists of four days of livestock competitions and wide range of activities including forestry, horticulture, crafts, entertainment, attractions, displays, countryside sports, and shopping.
Glasgow Mela Glasgow. Date TBC. Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival lights up Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park every summer in a kaleidoscope of colours, with music, dance, performance and tastes from around the globe.
Bristol Harbour Festival Bristol, south-west England. Dates TBC. One of Britain’s largest public festivals, where the city celebrates its rich musical and performance roots, alongside activities and markets galore.
Liverpool International Music Festival Sefton Park, Liverpool. July. This two-day celebration hosts big names in hip-hop, house and pop, while also promoting new talent, musical heritage and cultural diversity.
Edinburgh Art Festival Edinburgh. July-August. Britain’s largest annual celebration of visual art, attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year for exhibitions and events at the city’s galleries and museums.
#Upfest Bristol. Late July – Date TBC. Europe’s biggest, free, street art and graffiti art festival is now a firmly established annual event, attracting more than 250 cutting-edge graffiti artists from all over the world.
Merchant City Festival Glasgow. August. Glasgow’s cultural quarter comes to life with its annual celebration of live music, street performances, art, dance, theatre, comedy, food and drink.
European Championships Glasgow. August. Glasgow is part of a multi-sport event combining the existing European Championships for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon – plus a brand new Golf Team Championships. During 11 days of exhilarating sporting action, 3,000 of the best athletes on the continent will compete.
Royal Military Tattoo Edinburgh. August. The world famous military extravaganza with unforgettable displays of music, ceremony, theatre and dance.
Cowes Week Isle of Wight. August. As one of the sailing calendar’s biggest events, Cowes Week brings together the world’s biggest sailing stars, with more than 1,000 yachts and 8,000 competitors taking part.
Brighton Pride Brighton. Dates TBC. Britain’s biggest Pride festival kick offs with the annual Pride Community Parade, a dazzling visual spectacle that sees Brighton and Hove’s diverse community take to the streets in a show of unity and equality, with more than 200,000 people participating.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Bristol. Dates TBC. More than 150 hot air balloons take to the skies at dusk and dawn from Ashton Court Estate’s beautiful grounds.
Glorious Goodwood Festival West Sussex. Dates TBC. Enjoy picnics, evening jazz and famous faces alongside flat racing at this small and sophisticated horseracing event held every year at the course near Chichester.
Edinburgh Festivals Edinburgh. Throughout August. Edinburgh has been presenting performances of classical music, opera, theatre, dance and the visual arts from around the world each August since 1947. Since its inception, a host of other festivals – of which the best known is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – have sprung up in the city, many of them also running through much of August and into September.
Edinburgh Art Festival July-August
Race the Train Tywyn, mid-Wales *Quirky* August. This contest between man and machine takes place alongside, as far as practicable, the route taken by the Talyllyn Railway on its journey to Abergynolwyn and back. In order to do this, all courses use a mixture of public roads, lanes, tracks, agricultural land and rough grazing pastures.
World Bog Snorkelling Championships Powys, mid-Wales *Quirky*. August. The aim of the championships is to swim two lengths (about 115 metres) of a peaty, murky trench, which has been dug out of the Waen Rhydd peat bog, in the quickest time possible. Competitors come from as far afield as Australia, the USA and Europe as well as from Britain for the pleasure of taking part.
World Gravy Wresting Championships Lancashire. Date TBC- Teams competing for this quirky title slip and slide about in lukewarm gravy, and win points for pinning the opposition down in the gloop. The event was started in 2007 and brings out the crowds in force to laugh at the proceedings, while TV cameras and the press often record it for audiences all over the world from Australia to the USA.
Notting Hill Carnival London. August. Caribbean festival and the largest street party in Europe, with great music, outrageous floats and fabulous costumes.
Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House London. August – Date TBC. Every summer the beautiful Fountain Court at Somerset House hosts London’s most impressive open-air cinema: Film4 Summer Screen. The series features a range of films, all showing on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound.
Piping Live! Glasgow. August – Dates TBC. Piping Live! Brings more than 40,000 visitors and hundreds of pipe bands and soloists to Glasgow, showcasing the best piping from around the world.
The Garlic Festival Isle of Wight, south England *Quirky*. Dates TBC. Garlic ice cream, jelly beans, fudge and beer are just some of the unusual garlic-based produce that can be sampled at this unique festival. It attracts around 25,000 people and features live music and children’s entertainers alongside all the garlic!
Green Man Festival Brecon Beacons, south Wales. Dates TBC. Green Man music festival presents a live soundtrack to four days and nights of festival magic located among the otherworldly Black Mountains.
V Festival Essex and Staffordshire. Dates TBC. V Festival is one of the year’s most popular events and always attracts big commercial names to two different sites over one weekend: Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex, south-east England and Weston Park in south Staffordshire, central England. Previous headliners have included the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, Stereophonics and Calvin Harris.
Reading Festival & Leeds Festival, England. Dates TBC. Britain’s premier rock music festival features global acts uniquely performing at both locations over three days allowing for 100,000 revellers at Reading and more than 80,000 at Leeds to experience global rock superstars, with previously headliners including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Biffy Clyro.
The Braemar Gathering Aberdeenshire, Scotland. September. Enjoy the skills of the pipers and Highland dancers and the stamina of the hill runners as well as the international athletes taking part in the heavy events. Sample contemporary Scotland with live music, top-quality arts and crafts and local food and drink at one of The Queen’s favourite annual events.
British Science Festival Brighton. Dates TBC. Bring together hundreds of Britain’s top scientists, journalists and tens of thousands of members of the public. The Festival lasts over six days and events range from lectures and debates for adults, to hands-on activity for schools and families, to comedy, theatre and expeditions.
Festival Number 6 Portmeirion, Wales. Dates TBC. Stunningly-located Festival No. 6 takes place in Portmeirion Village, where cult 60s TV show The Prisoner was filmed. As well as big-name music acts, there’s entertainment of all kinds, from carnivals to comedians, as well as delicious street food to fuel the party.
Hull Freedom Festival Yorkshire. Dates TBC. Hull’s annual flagship arts and culture event, the Freedom Festival, brings three days of entertainment to Yorkshire’s waterfront city every September.
Bestival Lulworth Castle, Dorset. Dates TBC. Bestival consists of four days of live music and premier league DJ and is one of Britain’s most colourful festivals, with dressing up encouraged and even a Roller Disco.
Heritage Open Days across England. Dates TBC. Celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to places that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission. Every year on four days in September, buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life.
Roald Dahl Day Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, south-east England. September. The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on the storyteller’s birthday. A number of activities and events take place at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in his home village.
London Fashion Week London. September. The ultimate fashion industry event, where the world’s top designers showcase their latest collections via catwalk shows, plus curated talks, designer shopping and trend presentations.
Jane Austen Festival Bath. September. Every year hundreds of Jane Austen fans descend on the city of Bath for one of the biggest Regency re-enactments and gatherings of Jane Austen fans in the world. Lasting for 10 days, the annual event includes theatre, music, food, a ball, workshops, readings, dances and the famous Regency Promenade.
London Design Festival London. Dates TBC. The festival showcases the work of contemporary designers, architects and artists, with striking large-scale installations and events popping up around the city.
Great North Run Weekend NewcastleGateshead. Date TBC. A series of professional and junior athletics activities on the Saturday of the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a ‘virtual arena’.
Egremont Crab Fair & World Gurning Championships Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky*, 2018 Date TBC. The event dates back to 1267, celebrating the time when the local Lord of the Manor wheeled a cart of crab apples through the village of Egremont as a goodwill gesture to the poor.
World Stone Skimming Championships Argyll, Scotland *Quirky*. 2018 date TBC. Each competitor is allowed three skims using specially-selected slate skimming stones. For a skim to qualify, the stone must bounce at least three times; it is then judged on the distance achieved before it sinks. The championships were launched in 1983 and now attract more than 200 participants and many spectators, hailing from around the world.
Goodwood Revival Chichester, West Sussex. Dates TBC. Each September. Live music – from big band to jazz, and boogie-woogie to rock ‘n’ roll – all play a part in adding to the unique nostalgic atmosphere.
Abergavenny Food Festival Abergavenny, Wales-September – Date TBC. The annual festival returns to celebrate the exquisite produce of some 200 food exhibitors as well as featuring master-classes from top-flight chefs, tutored tastings and food talks with food writers and critics.
The Porthcawl Elvis Festival Porthcawl, south Wales *Quirky*. 2018 dates TBC. Every September thousands of Elvis fans descend on the south Wales seaside town of Porthcawl for a unique celebration of The King. One of the largest Elvis events in the world, it includes a leading show for Elvis tribute artists.
Dundee Food and Flower Show Dundee, Scotland. September-Date TBC. Dundee’s major annual events. With over two acres of marquees set in the magnificent grounds of Camperdown Country Park, the event has developed over the years to become a high profile, popular and very successful three-day lifestyle event.
Last Night of the Proms & BBC Proms in the Park Royal Albert Hall & Hyde Park, London. For a very British cultural experience, don’t miss the final night crescendo of the biggest classical music festival on earth, the BBC Proms. The legendary Last Night of the Proms is the culmination of an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral and classical music concerts taking place across London. Last Night of the Proms tickets are very popular, so plan ahead. The celebrations include BBC Proms in the Park, which take place in London’s Hyde Park.
Blenheim Palace Literary Festival Oxfordshire. October. Leading writers from the fields of politics, history, food and drink, architecture and design, music, literature and society assemble at the annual literary festival at historic Blenheim Palace, where Winston Churchill was born.
World Conker Championships Northamptonshire, central England *Quirky*. October. The rules are simple. Each player is given a conker attached to a piece of string and takes turns in trying to break their opponent’s nut using a swinging motion. The World Conker Championships are held on the village green in Ashton, Peterborough, and attract more than 300 competitors attempting to become the King or Queen of conkers.
Swansea Festival of Music and Arts Swansea. October. The programme has, in the past, included performances from the Welsh National Opera, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra plus a range of arts at venues across the city.
Creative Mackintosh Festival across Glasgow. October. The annual Creative Mackintosh Festival celebrates acclaimed Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his architecture, design, arts and crafts in Glasgow.
Melton Mowbray Food Festival Leicestershire. 2018. If you’ve never tried the traditional British delicacy that is a pork pie, then Melton Mowbray Food Festival is the place to go for your initiation. Now in its 14th year, it’s known as one of the top regional food events in the country.
BFI London Film Festival Southbank, London. London will host its annual film festival organized with the British Film Institute. The event screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts in the capital from around 50 countries.
Dylan Thomas Festival Swansea. October. The south Wales city of Swansea, 40 miles from Cardiff, is the birthplace of arguably Wales’ greatest poets, Dylan Thomas. Each year the city hosts its annual Dylan Thomas Festival.
Golden Spurtle Inverness, Scotland *Quirky*. October. The Golden Spurtle is the annual World Porridge-Making Championship, which tasks each competitor to produce at least one pint (200ml) of porridge, divided into three portions for the judges to taste. The championship title is awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional porridge, made from oatmeal. The event includes a pipe band, cookery demonstrations and product tastings.
Bonfire Night, Britain-wide. 5 November. Britain’s night skies light up with blazing bonfires and sparkling fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. This unique British tradition, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night or Firework Night, celebrates the foiling of the infamous Gunpowder Plot – a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5 November, 1605. It’s celebrated across Britain and most towns and cities host their own bonfire nights: here are seven of the best displays.
London Jazz Festival Southbank Centre. November. London Jazz Festival hosts world-class artists and emerging stars, packed into back-to-back concerts, workshops, talks, masterclasses and free events across London.
Skate at Somerset House London. November. Skate at Somerset House. During the day, visitors can skate in the splendour neoclassical courtyard and, after dark, the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at exclusive Club Nights.
World’s Biggest Liar Lake District, Cumbria. *Quirky*. November – Date TBC. This annual contest is held at The Bridge Inn pub in Santon Bridge, a hamlet of the Lake District. The competition is held in honour of 19th-century Bridge Inn landlord Will Ritson, who was famous for his incredible stories. Competitors are given five minutes to impress the judges with an outrageous but convincing lie.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park London. November – January. A true family favourite, Winter Wonderland returns to London’s Hyde Park with big top shows, the observation wheel and a huge Christmas market. As well as the ice rink, Winter Wonderland includes gentle rides for younger children.
St Andrew’s Day across Scotland. 30 November. Events celebrating the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew, take place throughout the country.
Christmas at Kew London. Learn to ice-skate against the picturesque background of Kew Gardens, which, each year, delivers a sparkling after-dark experience and a festive atmosphere.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race – London & Brighton. *Quirky*. December. One of the wackiest races you’ll ever see, teams from schools or companies – with competitors aged from 14 to 70 – race around a 150-metre course balancing a Christmas pudding on a flimsy paper plate.
NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve Carnival north-east England. 31 December. The annual New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival sees the Newcastle Ice Queen and her entourage of local community participants parading through the streets of Newcastle, culminating in an early-evening fireworks display.
Hogmanay across Scotland. 31 December. Hogmanay is what the Scots call New Year’s Eve and the arrival of the New Year is always celebrated in style across the country. Fireworks, open-air concerts and street parties make Hogmanay Scotland’s biggest party of the year.
Stonehaven Fireball Festival Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 31 December. This fireball ceremony is the traditional way to greet the New Year in the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven every year.