From Edinburgh to London, Britain hosts some of the most excellent festivals throughout the year. If you are planning a trip across the pond, consider planning around one of these events. They are some of the best and well worth a visit. Here are the five best festivals to be found in the UK this year:
Noting Hill Carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival is also known as Europe’s largest street festival. It is a grand spectacle that represents the multicultural past of London, as well as the present. It takes place during the August Bank Holiday, meaning this carnival will run from Sunday, August 28th to Monday, August 29th. So what is it exactly? A two day celebration of all things Caribbean. Be prepared to hear some fantastic live reggae music, dub music and salsa! If you are a jerk chicken fan, this is where you want to be. Plus, there are fried plantains. Who can say no to that?
Robin Hood Festival
If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be Robin Hood or the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham, here is your chance. The Robin Hood Festival takes place annually during the first week of August, and celebrates the legendary outlaw himself. It takes place in Sherwood Forest, which is themed and decked out in 13th-century style. This pop up booth festival offers many attractions housed in various stalls. It takes about an hour to walk the half mile square of forest, but it’s well worth it. Activities vary slightly each day, but you can always expect to find archery and jousting, as well as the main attraction, a showdown between Robin Hood and the Sheriff himself. Very family-friendly, your kids will have a blast. For a good laugh, let them participate in a reenactment with the actors. It is hilarious!
Royal Ascot Festival
If horse racing is more your speed, this is a must see event. The Royal Ascot is the most important race week for Britain, and one of the most esteemed horse races in the world. Various races are held on the grounds during the year, but the crown jewel is the Royal Ascot which takes place this year during the week of June 14-18. Definitely formal in style, be prepared to dress the part. Take heart though. All of the haberdashery might be well worth it if you wind up meeting the Queen. She is a dedicated attendee, and race horse owner. The royal procession is one of the most iconic events during the week. There are different sitting areas to choose from, and the food and drink selections are excellent. Just don’t forget to place your bets.
Lewes Bonfire Night
This event takes place annually on November 5th. The best part about it? Funds are raised the entire year by the seven Bonfire Societies of Lewes. That might not mean much until you understand that the sole purpose of the festival is to have a massive bonfire celebration complete with fireworks. There are parades through the street, featuring blazing torches and drumbeats, as well as stirring speeches offset by the noise of loud, colorful fireworks. It is a celebration of history and heritage that runs deep in the veins of those who are part of the Bonfire Societies. This is a long-standing tradition that Lewes is quite proud of. However, be forewarned, there is no street parking on that night. All of the streets in the city are closed to accommodate the massive amounts of people.
This festival is actually five festivals in one. There is a Book festival, an International Festival, the Art festival, and the Fringe. The latter is a comedy troupe from which the festival draws its name. There are various street performers and events held throughout the day, from book readings to performances and parades. Yet you can also have a good time simply by crawling from pub to pub. After the performers finish their shows, many of them can be found inside one of the pubs having a drink. It’s a great way to meet them and strike up conversation. The pub crawl, by the way, is the fifth unofficial festival of the Fringe festival. If you attend, you will definitely see why the Fringe would be incomplete if the pubs and pop up bars were not part of it. You can catch the Fringe this year on June 8th.
No matter your taste, one of these picks will sate your palate. Some of the festivals are iconic; are off the beaten path. All are entertaining. Visit one and slang terms like “saucy minx” or “knackered” will have full meaning. Exciting and engaging, they will definitely keep your social media feeds full of pictures and videos so friends and family can experience them vicariously through you. Pick one and plan a trip. You won’t be disappointed.
Featured photo credit: Giuseppe Milo via flickr.com