From literary festivals to royal celebrations, discover what's on in Britain this year with our round-up of annual events for 2021.
15 January - 2 February
With a fully online programme set for 2021, Celtic Connection is 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, and usually featuring concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, and workshops.
Burns’ Night, Scotland-wide
Every January Scotland celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns - the national poet of Scotland – traditionally marked with food, drams, dancing and verse. Don’t forget to address the haggis!
Dydd Santes Dwynwen, Wales-wide
This day is in honour of Wales’ patron saint of lovers, the Welsh version of St Valentine’s Day. The day exists due to St Dwynwen’s own experiences with lost love and her later commitment to becoming a nun.
RBS Six Nations Rugby, Cardiff, London, Edinburgh
6 February – 20 March
The Six Nations Championship for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will see matches take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Twickenham Stadium in London, and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh - cheer along at home!
Dark Skies Festival, Yorkshire, north England
12 -28 February
The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, which remain some of the darkest places in England, are once again running a joint Dark Skies Festival in February. 2021’s theme is nocturnal wildlife, with events aiming to reveal the lives of the animal world after dark, and how a light pollution-free environment is crucial to many species. The South Downs is also hosting a stellar Dark Skies Festival, celebrating the area’s dazzling night skies from 12 – 28 February 2021.
Artes Mundi, Cardiff, south Wales
13 February – 6 June
Best known for its biennial international exhibition and prize, which takes place in Cardiff, this is one of Wales’ biggest contemporary visual art shows. The UK’s largest art prize of £40,000 is awarded to one of the shortlisted artists, with 11 February 2021 seeing the prize announcement.
Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
24 February – 7 March
The fastest-growing and third-largest film festival in Britain, with more than 350 events, including new local and international film from all genres, from mainstream to art-house, classics to cult. 2021 will see GFF screen across Britain for the first time, in 22 partner cinemas.
St. David’s Day, Wales-wide
St David is the patron saint of Wales and this day is a celebration of all things Welsh. Expect plenty of red dragons adorning Welsh flags, as well as parades of daffodils, leeks and flags of St David himself. Traditionally, the capital of Cardiff holds a National St David's Day Parade.
Cheltenham Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England
16 – 19 March
Held close to the lovely Regency town of Cheltenham, this National Hunt race meeting attracts prize money second only to the Grand National. Famous for the roar arising from the stands as the tape is raised for the start of the first race, the excitement continues to build until its climax with Friday’s signature Gold Cup – one of the greatest of all jump-racing events.
St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland and parts of Britain
The national saint of Ireland is celebrated in traditional fashion with festivals, parades, carnivals and concerts taking place across Northern Ireland and around Britain, usually including a parade in London. 2021’s programme differs from tradition, and will see a variety of community-led events across the capital to show an appreciation for the perspectives and culture of the Irish generations in Britain.
Liverpool Biennial of contemporary art – Liverpool, England
20 March – 6 June
With cutting-edge modern art from more than 50 international artists, 2021’s Liverpool Biennial installation will showcase incredible works in galleries, museums and public spaces across the city. Now in its eleventh edition, and rescheduled from 2020, Ecuadorian curator Manuela Moscoso will use her expertise to shape the 2021 festival into something truly special.
Grand National meeting, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, north-west England
8 – 10 April
One of the most famous horse races 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 on 9 April.
Highland Games, across Scotland
17 April – 11 September
Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events and Highland dancing.
St George’s Day, across England
St George’s Day celebrates the patron saint of England with activities ranging from festivals to ‘dragon’ hunts and medieval banquets usually happening across England.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Scotland
28 April – 3 May
Spirited, inspiring, Scottish – this festival puts on hundreds of whisky-inspired events over six days. Discover the passion behind the world’s finest whiskies.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England
28 April – 3 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.
The Good Life Experience, Flintshire, north Wales
29 April – 2 May
The Good Life is created by Cerys Matthews, Steve 'Abbo' Abbott and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone who have put together the very best of music, books, food and the great outdoors. This festival will be a voyage of fun and discovery for the whole family.
Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool, north-west England
30 April – 2 May
Liverpool Sound City is an annual international music festival and industry conference taking place over the weekend. 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, Alt J and Calvin Harris.
Brighton Festival, Brighton, south-east England
1 – 23 May
Brighton is known as a place that welcomes diversity, creativity and innovative thinking, and its annual festival celebrates this pioneering spirit and experimental approach. 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.
The Emirates FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, London, England
The FA Cup, the oldest domestic Cup competition in the football world, is established as one of the country's great sporting institutions. The history and tradition of the competition, and the pageantry of the Cup Final, is familiar to millions.
Chelsea Flower Show, London
18 – 23 May
One of the best know Royal Horticultural Shows, the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show returns with even more unforgettable floral and horticultural displays.
Women’s FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium
The SSE Women's FA Cup Final returns to Wembley for a seventh consecutive year in 2021.
Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Brecon Beacons, south Wales
27 May – 6 June
The renowned Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, held annually in a tented village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, aims to bring together some of the greatest contemporary authors and the most exciting new voices in literature and the arts. Past speakers and performers have included Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Chelsea Clinton, Michael Woolf, Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula, David Walliams, Simon Schama, David Olusoga, Rose McGowan, Dara O'Briain and many more.
Birmingham Pride, Birmingham, central England
29 – 30 May
The second largest city in England hosts its annual gay pride, a technicolour spectacular celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender culture.
Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Oxfordshire, central England
29 – 31 May
Oxfordshire’s largest food festival brings food stalls, strolling jazz musicians, children’s storytellers and some of the biggest names in the foodie world to Blenheim Palace’s magnificent grounds. Raymond Blanc and MasterChef winners have attended in the past.
Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey, south-east England
4 – 5 June
The world’s most famous flat race will see riders and owners in pursuit of one of the richest prizes in British racing on 5 June, with the famous Ladies’ Day held the day before on 4 June.
Visitors can put their finger on the pulse of Bristol’s incredible street art scene during Upfest. Europe’s biggest street art and graffiti festival is set to feature even more inspirational pieces around the city. Past years have seen over 300 artists give a brand new look to 40 venues - plenty to inspire when exploring Bristol’s charming streets.
Man v Horse Marathon, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual 22-mile race, where runners compete against riders on horseback, in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells. The event started in 1980 after a pub landlord overheard two drinkers discussing the merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain. The course was changed in 1982 to provide a more even match between the man and the horse, but it took until 2004 before a man finally beat a horse.
Queen’s Birthday / Trooping the Colour, London, England
June – exact Saturday TBC
Trooping the Colour is the annual celebration of the Queen's official birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it’s a colourful display of military pageantry featuring impressive officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, as well as horses and musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, London.
Royal Ascot, Berkshire, south-east England
15 – 19 June
Royal Ascot has established itself as a national institution and a major focus of the British social calendar, as well as being the ultimate stage for the best racehorses in the world. Tradition, pageantry, fashion and style all mix together, as well as around 30 races over five days.
Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
17 – 20 June
This popular music festival on the famous island situated off the south coast of England has an impressive musical heritage stretching back to Bob Dylan (who performed here in 1969) and Jimi Hendrix (who took to the stage in 1970). Recent headliners have included Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, George Ezra and Biffy Clyro.
The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh, Scotland
One of Scotland’s most iconic events, the Royal Highland Show is a major highlight of the Scottish country calendar and firmly established as one of Europe’s most impressive celebrations of farming, food and rural life.
Jane Austen Regency Week, Hampshire, south England
19 – 27 June
This nine-day festival is packed with all things Austen. It takes place in and around the market town of Alton and nearby Chawton, the home of Jane Austen’s House & Museum. Expect Regency-style music, dining, drama, singing, talks and guided walks and tours, as well as the famous Regency Ball.
Stonehenge Summer Solstice, Wiltshire, south-west England
Every year visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight 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. The celebration brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans and Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travellers and party people.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships, London, England
28 June – 11 July
Arguably the most famous tennis tournament in the world, the Wimbledon Championships have been played since 1877 and tickets are always in fierce demand. The championships start at the end of June
, and last approximately two weeks, or until all events are complete. The club operates a public ballot (lottery) for advanced sales of Centre, No. 1 and No. 2 court tickets.
Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England
Dates not yet confirmed
Bristol Pride is a week-long series of events dedicated to the city’s LGBTQ+ community to spread the message of love and equality for all. The week’s finale is a Pride Parade through the city as part of a colourful outdoor music and arts celebration. Entertainment includes a funfair, market stalls, bars and a Community Area.
Taste of London Festival, London, England
Dates yet to be confirmed
Every year Regent's Park transforms into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. Past years saw around 40 of the city's best restaurants dish up their finest dishes for the ultimate alfresco feast, while 200 producers provide a bounty of the best food and beverages from Britain and around the world.
Eroica Britannia, Peak District, central England
Dates yet to be confirmed
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 festival hub will host live music, acres of vintage shopping, and specialist food stalls.
Pride in London, London, England
Dates yet to be confirmed
London hosts a huge party in the summer with Pride in London celebrating all aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. The festival usually comes to a close with a sizzling carnival of colour of music, floats and dancing.
Round the Island Race, Isle of Wight, south England
An annual one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, usually attracting more than 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world. Competitors come from all over the world and follow the 50 nautical mile course, which starts and finishes in Cowes.
Alice’s Day, Oxford, England
Each year on the first Saturday of July, Mad hatters can join the annual festivities celebrating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Oxford. Dress up as favourite characters at The Story Museum, take a walk through the story’s history, and explore the highlights of the city that inspired Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale.
Wales Airshow, Swansea, Wales
3 – 4 July
The show is visible along the entire five-mile stretch of Swansea Bay with spectacular views of the air displays that feature some of the world’s best military and civilian aviation display teams. Ground attractions include an interactive military village, trade stands, children’s entertainment, funfair and lots more.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Surrey, south-east England
6 – 11 July
The world’s largest annual flower show returns in 2021. A plant lover’s paradise, it’s packed with stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of garden inspiration.
The Open Championship, Royal St George’s, England
11 – 18 July
Marking its 149th year in 2021, the major golf championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, will be held at Royal St George’s, Kent.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, central England
16 - 18 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. Average cornering speeds are higher than at any other championship racetrack.
16 – 25 July
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival plays host to some of the finest jazz and blues talent from all corners of the globe. From bop to boogie-woogie to blues-rock, and from samba to swing to soul, the festival takes place over ten groove-packed summer days.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire, north-west England
21 – 25 July
This plant lover’s paradise is hosted at Cheshire’s historic neo-classical country mansion, Tatton Park, featuring stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of green-fingered inspiration.
Northern Pride, Newcastle, north-east England
23 – 25 July
This annual celebration of LGBTQ+ life on Tyneside is one of the biggest and most diverse free events in the North East. Taking place virtually in 2021, expect a day of music, education, fun and celebration.
Qatar ‘Glorious Goodwood’ Festival, West Sussex, south England
27 -31 July
Enjoy picnics, evening jazz and famous faces alongside flat racing at this small and sophisticated horseracing event held every year at the course owned by the Earl of March on his country estate near Chichester.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, south-west England
29 July – 1 August
Bestival consists of four family-friendly days of live music and premier DJs and is one of Britain's most colourful festivals, with dressing up encouraged and even a Roller Disco. Previous years have seen headliners such as The Cure, Rudimental and Hot Chip take the stage.
Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
29 July – 29 August
Britain’s largest annual celebration of visual art, Edinburgh Art Festival attracts a diverse and vibrant programme of exhibitions and events at the city’s galleries and museums.
Cowes Week, Isle of Wight, south England
31 July – 7 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.
Buckingham Palace Summer Opening, London, England
10 July – 19 September (open Saturdays and Sundays only)
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 admire some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.
The BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Summer (dates to be confirmed - 11 September, Last Night of the Proms)
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 traditionally consists of more than 70 concerts, with a wide range of classical music to choose from, at affordable prices, in an informal atmosphere. The famous Last Night performances include BBC Proms in the Park.
Leeds Pride, Yorkshire, north England
A ‘must-not-miss’ event on Yorkshire’s LGBTQ+ calendar, Leeds Pride is the biggest event of its kind in Yorkshire. Past years have been the city burst to life with a diverse line up of acts at Millennium Square, a march through the centre of Leeds and the biggest parties until the early hours.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland
6 – 28 August
The Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh institution, with music, dance and precision displays with the Massed Pipes and Drums, the Massed Military Bands, cultural troupes, singers and the poignant refrain of the Lone Piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Each year's Tattoo is very much a 'global gathering' - showcasing the talents of musicians and performers from every corner of the globe. Each Tattoo is different from the last and always embraces different themes; nature, creativity and Scotland's homecoming are just some of the concepts explored in recent times.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland
6 – 30 August
The world's largest arts festival transforms Scotland's capital every August, as thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the city to present shows of all kinds and for every taste. The work on show ranges from huge names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers. Audiences can enjoy theatre, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret, children's shows, physical theatre, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.
Kynren, Auckland Castle, County Durham, north-east England
7 August– 11 September (every Saturday)
During the summer, Auckland Castle will host Kynren - the movie-like open-air night spectacular that brings to life 2,000 years of Britain's history, from the Roman period to post-World War II. 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 professionally trained volunteers.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, south-west England
12 – 15 August
The city’s largest outdoor event, held annually at the city’s Ashton Court Estate, is the largest fiesta of its kind in Europe. The mass ascents at dawn and teatime are a sight to behold, with more than 100 balloons taking off, and after-dark firework shows to follow. The fiesta offers a packed four days of fun for the whole family.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
14 – 30 August
The Edinburgh International Book Festival programme offers more than 800 events featuring everyone from the rising stars of fiction to Nobel Prize-winners, plus events for children and young adults showcasing the finest writers and illustrators for young people. From author events and interactive workshops to lively debates and book signings, the Book Festival allows visitors to meet favourite authors.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
18 - 25 August
Established in 1947, the Film Festival is renowned for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema, and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. The festival seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent and brings a mix of red-carpet glamour, innovative and exciting cinematic discoveries and massive audience appeal.
Creamfields, Liverpool, north-west England
26 – 29 August
Regarded as an iconic dance music festival, every year this legendary event near Warrington showcases superstar DJs and artists from the music genres of EDM, house, trance, drum and bass and grime.
27 – 29 August
Britain's premier rock music festival features global acts uniquely performing at both locations over three days, usually allowing for 100,000 revellers at Reading and more than 80,000 at Leeds to experience global rock superstars. Previous headliners include the Kings of Leon and Kendrick Lamar.
World Bog Snorkelling Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells, mid Wales
This unusual sport consists of contestants swimming two consecutive lengths of a water-filled trench in the shortest time possible. Held annually in Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales, the championships attract visitors from all over the world. There are food and drink stalls, crafts, live music and a real ale and cider bar on the site, so it's a great day out even if you don't fancy taking the plunge.
Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, north-west England
3 September - 7 November
This annual light show has been a major part of Blackpool’s appeal since 1879. The Festival of Light complements the traditional Illuminations with a contemporary take on entertainment made from light and art. The Illuminations are usually bookended by a fantastic celebrity-packed Switch-on Festival Weekend with bespoke Illumination performances, and Lightpool Festival, a spectacular walking route linking Blackpool’s most iconic buildings and history through light installation artworks.
British Science Festival, Chelmsford, south England
7 – 11 September
Organised each year by the British Science Association, The British Science Festival shines the limelight on Britain’s top scientists. The Festival lasts over six days and past events have ranged from lectures and debates for adults, to hands-on activity for schools and families, to comedy, theatre and expeditions.
Jane Austen Festival, Bath, south-west
10 – 19 September
Visit Bath during the annual Jane Austen Festival for an immersive Regency experience. Walk alongside other Jane Austen fans in the spectacular, opening Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. Past events have included elegant guided walks and day trips, intriguing talks, music recitals and concerts, as well as workshops and dance classes.
Bristol Open Doors, Bristol, south-west England
10 - 12 September
This annual weekend event offers the chance to get inside more than 100 landmark buildings and curious spaces, many of which are usually closed to the public. Organised by The Architecture Centre, a registered charity, the weekend offers a mix of drop-in and must-book events including tours, talks, walks and visitor experiences that get under the skin of the city.
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.
Ironman Wales, Pembrokeshire, west Wales
A spectacular course, often called one of the most challenging races in the world, that takes in stunning beaches and medieval fortresses.
Great North Run, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
A series of professional and junior athletics activities for the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a 'virtual arena'. The run starts in the city centre, winds past several iconic sights, and ends at the sea.
Roald Dahl Day, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, south-east England
The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on the storyteller’s birthday, 13 September. A number of activities and events take place at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in his home village of Great Missenden.
TweedLove Bike Festival, Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders, Scotland
17 – 19 September
Britain’s fastest-growing cycling festival is held every year in the beautiful Tweed Valley. Past years have boasted three main races: Vallelujah, TweedLove International Enduro and Expo, and King and Queen of the Hill: Scottish Open Champs. Or, there’s the option for riders to enter all three – a challenge known as the Triple Crown.
London Fashion Week, London, England
17 – 21 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.
York Food and Drink Festival, York, north England
17 – 26 September
One of the biggest foodie festivals in Britain, York Food and Drink Festival celebrates the best local and regional food and drink. Past years have hosted a great variety of day and evening events, from wine and food tastings to cookery demonstrations and hands-on workshops in some of the city’s iconic historic buildings.
London Design Festival, London, England
18 – 26 September
This colourful annual festival has celebrated and promoted London as the design capital of the world since 2003. The festival showcases the work of contemporary designers, architects and artists, with striking large-scale installations and events popping up around the city.
Heritage Open Days, across England
Dates yet to be confirmed
Heritage Open Days 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.
London Marathon, London, England
The Virgin Money London Marathon is a phenomenal event to be a part of, as a participant and a spectator. 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.
Cardiff Half Marathon, Cardiff, south Wales
Competitors race right through Cardiff city centre past iconic locations, with beautiful scenery and historic buildings, starting at Cardiff Castle, and passing the Principality Stadium, Penarth Marina, before crossing the Cardiff Barrage and racing through Cardiff Bay before finishing close to Cardiff City Hall.
Iris Prize Festival, Cardiff, south Wales
5 - 10 October
A six-day celebration of LGBT film, including screenings of a series of short films competing for the Best of British Iris Prize.
BFI London Film Festival, Southbank, London, England
6 - 17 October
In 2021 London will host its 65th annual film festival organised with the British Film Institute. Past events have screened more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts in the capital from around 50 countries. Highlights included the world's best new films, and director and actor retrospectives. Previous A-lister guests have included Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Casey Affleck, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson, and director Tom Ford.
Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, west England
8 -17 October
This literary festival will celebrate its 72nd anniversary in 2021 and will see the launch of major books, as well as talks, workshops and performances touching upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion.
World Conker Championships, Northamptonshire, central England *Quirky*
The game of conkers has been a popular pastime of British schoolchildren for decades. 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, with many attempting to become the King or Queen of conkers.
Bonfire Night, Britain-wide
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 Fireworks 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 night celebrations.
London Jazz Festival, London, England
12 - 21 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. A number of key events will take place at Southbank Centre.
Lumiere Festival, Durham
18 - 21 November
Lumiere, the UK’s biggest light festival, will return in 2021. The biennial illuminating event will allow visitors to see the city transformed by an array of eye-catching light displays, with art installations giving a whole new look to architecture and public spaces.
Kendal Mountain Festival, Cumbria, north-west England
18 - 21 November
The world’s biggest Mountain Festival is a celebration of film, outdoor sports, literature, art and legends that hopes to inspire people to explore and enjoy mountains and the wilderness. The Mountain Film Competition is a main feature of the event, with entries competing to be the grand prize winner.
St Andrew’s Day, across Scotland
Events celebrating the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew, take place throughout the country. In the past, they have included some of Scotland’s historic attractions offering free entry for the day.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London, England
November – January, dates to be confirmed
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.
Longleat Festival of Light, Longleat, Wiltshire, west England
November, dates to be confirmed
This festive outdoor light festival boasts hundreds of illuminated characters and scenes that transform the estate into a winter wonderland; with each year boasting a new theme.
FilmBath Festival, Bath, south-west England
November, dates to be confirmed
Soak up the special atmosphere of packed auditoriums as you enjoy screenings of previews, documentary features, F-Rated films and talks with directors, producers and stars.
Leeds International Film Festival, Yorkshire, north England
November, dates yet to be confirmed
One of the largest film events in the UK, Leeds International Film Festival presents an incredible selection of the best new and classic films from around the world. Each year, audiences are invited to step in from the cold autumn weather and enjoy the power of cinema at some of the city’s favourite venues, including Leeds Town Hall, The Hyde Park Picture House and Everyman Leeds.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race – London & Brighton, England *Quirky*
One of the wackiest races you’ll ever see, teams race around a 150-metre course balancing a Christmas pudding on a flimsy paper plate. They have to navigate two slippery inflatables, balloons filled with flour, jets of foam and limbo poles. To complicate things even further, they do it all in fancy dress.
Christmas at Kew, London, England
December, dates to be confirmed
Learn to ice-skate against the picturesque background of Kew Gardens, which delivers a sparkling after-dark experience and a truly festive atmosphere every year.
NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve Carnival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
Dates to be confirmed
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
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.
Please note that events are subject to change, and visitors are strongly advised to check individual websites for the latest information.