19 Aug 10 British festivals you have to see to believe
Unique events for a full immersion in British culture. There are some deeply British festivals taking place in the UK, which you really can’t find in any other country. National history and folklore are celebrated in some truly bizarre ways. Seeing is believing!
Not all major events on the British calendar have an ancient historical origin. Some are in fact relatively recent, but in a short time, they have become famous all over the world. If you are intrigued, we advise you to book well in advance, as the availability of transport and nearby hotels runs out quickly.
Jorvik Viking Festival
The ancient city of York is understandably very proud of its history, particularly of the period when its name was Jorvik and it was the capital of Danelaw, as England was called at the time of Viking rule. The festival that remembers this glorious period is today the destination of thousands of people who come from all over the world and is one of the most important European events dedicated to the Vikings. If you love medieval history, don’t miss the re-enactments of the battles, the guided walking tours. and the reconstruction of the ancient artisan shops that once animated the city. Fun initiatives are also held during the festival, such as the competition for the Best Beard and the Showdown among Vikings. To book a hotel in York you can consult the hotels.com search engine and you will certainly be satisfied.
When: Second week of February
Jack in the Green
Jack in the Green, the legendary Green Man from pagan mythology. It is one of the symbols celebrating the return of spring. This very old and deeply rooted English folk tradition is celebrated in various parts of southeast England but is particularly popular in Hastings. During the festival dedicated to this icon, the main attraction is the parade led by a bizarre character covered by a structure sprinkled with leaves that makes it similar to a walking tree. Following him are Morris dancers and musicians who play ancient local folk music. The festival is very popular and is an opportunity to keep the old English traditions of the first day of May alive.
When: 1st May
This small village placidly set along the river, right on the border of Wales and England, is a true book lover’s paradise. In addition to hosting several bookstores that sell second-hand books. In fact, it is home to the annual Hay Festival, which has quickly transformed from a village party into one of the most important literary events of the year. This event sees the participation of prestigious authors and thousands of readers, who gather for a series of events lasting 10 days towards the end of May. Originally born with an exclusively literary vocation, it is now an opportunity to celebrate music and films as well. There aren’t many traveler accommodations in Hay, so hurry up if you plan to book for this festival.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling is a truly curious event. In fact, it is a question of chasing the Double Gloucester cheeses launched along the steep sides of a hill, a competition at the end of which the winner receives a form of cheese as a prize. The spectacle of the competitors throwing themselves headlong along the meadows is great fun, even if sometimes there have been serious injuries. This bizarre event draws spectators and participants from all over the world, so much so that some of the latest winners were from the United States, New Zealand, and Nepal.
When: last Monday in May
The Highland Games are an opportunity to relive a series of activities typical of the Scottish tradition. Among the most famous is the throwing of logs, which recalls the Olympic javelin discipline, except that in this case, it takes place with logs weighing 79 kg. There are also musical competitions, which see bands made up of bagpipes and drums, and typical Highland dance competitions. As with the Olympics, these competitions last all spring and summer and are held in various locations in Scotland. One of the main events in Dunoon’s Cowal Highland Gathering, usually held on the last weekend of August.
When: spring and summer
Notting Hill Carnival
This grand parade is an expression of London’s spirit of openness and cultural diversity. The Notting Hill Carnival was born from the initiative of the residents originally from the East Indies but quickly involved the other cultural minorities present in the English capital as well. With its flamboyant costumes, overwhelming music, and frenzied dancing, it is one of the largest and best-known parades in the world. Its extraordinary atmosphere attracts about a million people every year, who fill the city with a lively and colorful crowd. Despite the abundance of accommodation in Notting Hill, it may be difficult to secure accommodation around Carnival time.
When: 1st Monday in August and the previous Sunday
Robin Hood Festival
Although dedicated to a different historical period, the Robin Hood Festival is reminiscent of the Jorvik Viking Festival. It is in fact an opportunity for evocative re-enactments of the medieval atmosphere, exciting duels with period weapons, open-air markets and various types of initiatives. Sherwood Forest comes alive with costumed characters who recall the exploits of the famous hero with archery lessons, medieval jousting, and theatrical performances that will delight the little ones but not only.
When: First week of August
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Born as an alternative to the more traditional events of the Edinburgh International Festival, this event soon achieved great success. So much so that it became the largest arts festival in the world. In this period, up to 50,000 artists come to the city who perform in hundreds of venues, with modern theater, comedy, cabaret, dance, magic, and much more. The festival lasts throughout the month of August and animates the city with a lively and romantic atmosphere. Even Edinburgh has plenty of hotels and b & b but it is extremely crowded during the Fringe Festival, the accommodation must be booked in advance!
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