New Year’s Day Parade, London, England
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 Dook, Edinburgh, Scotland
Welcome the New Year with a splash! Join thousands of ‘Dookers’ at the Loony Dook (also known as the ‘daft dip’!) 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 more 30 years and participants raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the Dookers at various vantage points along the route or down on the beach.
London Fashion Week Men’s, London, England
5 – 7 January
The best of British menswear design comes to the capital, with catwalk shows, events, and presentations.
Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland
17 January – 3 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.
Slapstick Festival, Bristol, England
18 – 20 January (and 10 February)
Start the year in good humour with the Slapstick Festival, Bristol’s annual celebration of silent comedy that brings guest comedians, experts and film historians together in a passionate and hilarious celebration of classic silent and visual comedy. Its Silent Comedy Gala has a standalone date in February and moves to Bristol Hippodrome for 2019. A super-sized HD screen will show classics with the 40-piece Bristol Ensemble playing Chaplin’s own score during the screening of his masterpiece Modern Times (1936).
Burns’ Night, Scotland-wide
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! Burns Night 2019 marks the 260th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.
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 Dwynwen’s own experiences with lost love and her later commitment to becoming a nun.
Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland *Quirky*
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. The festival heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Lumiere London, London, England
More than 40 British and international artists will transform the city during this spectacular festival of lights featuring dazzling installations. Festival locations include King’s Cross, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, Leicester Square, Mayfair, Piccadilly, St James’s, Fitzrovia and Westminster, Covent Garden, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo.
RBS Six Nations Rugby, Cardiff in Wales, London in England, Edinburgh in Scotland
1 February – 16 March
The Six Nations Championship for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales will see matches take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Twickenham Stadium in London, and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.
Chinese New Year, London and around Britain
5 February (celebration parade date TBC)
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.
Dark Skies Festival, Yorkshire, north England
15 February – 3 March
The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors national parks, which remain some of the darkest places in England, are running a joint Dark Skies Festival in February 2019. The 2018 Festival included stargazing, night zips, wildlife and ghost walks, starlight runs and bike rides, games, activities and more, from Hawes to the Moors and shores!
London Fashion Week, London, England
16 – 20 February
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.
Great British Beer Festival Winter, St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, east England
19 – 23 February (The Fringe 1 – 23 February)
The medieval City of Norwich hosts the Great British Beer Festival Winter 2019. Beer of all kinds, from popular light ales to ruby and dark ales, foreign beers and ciders, is served in magnificent medieval friary halls in the heart of Norwich, where pubs also host The Fringe, with special events 1 – 23 February.
Derby Winter Beer Festival, Derbyshire, central England
20 – 23 February
Dubbed the ‘Real Ale Capital’ of Britain, Derby hosts this four-day festival in one of its iconic railway buildings, the world’s oldest Roundhouse. The annual celebration of real ales, lagers and ciders has live bands and tutored beer tastings, with visitors exploring the city as they sample the produce of the city’s respected microbreweries.
Jorvik Viking Festival, York, north England
20 – 27 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. Now in its 35th year it commemorates the traditional ‘Jolablot’ celebrations that the Vikings held each February to herald the coming of spring and the survival of winter hardships.
Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
20 February – 3 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.
Keswick Film Festival, Cumbria, north-west England
28 February – 3 March
Keswick Film Festival’s annual celebration of cinema set within stunning mountain scenery celebrate its 20th birthday in 2019. This is your chance to experience some of the best UK independent and international films.
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, London
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, who will bring much-loved characters to life.
Olney Pancake Race, Buckinghamshire, south-east England *Quirky*
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. The course is 415-yards long and the pancakes must be tossed at the start and finish.
St. David’s Day, Wales-wide
St David is the patron saint of Wales and this day is a celebration of all things Welsh. You’ll find parades of leeks, daffodils, flags of Saint David himself and herds of red dragons – on flags of course. The capital, Cardiff, holds a National St David's Day Parade.
European Athletics Indoor Championships, Glasgow, Scotland
1 – 3 March
Glasgow will welcome more than 600 athletes from 50 nations to the tracks at the city’s Emirates Arena for the 35th European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Belfast Children’s Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
8 – 13 March
Expect a packed programme of theatre, visual art, music, dance, literature, workshops and talks at Belfast’s annual international festival for children aged 0 - 17 years.
Cheltenham Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England
12 – 15 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.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
14 – 31 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, performing in venues throughout the city.
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, including a parade in London.
Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival, Bristol, south-west England
21 – 24 March
The Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival has been host to many legendary names, including the founder father of Jazz Louis Armstrong. With previous line-ups seeing workshops led by James Brown’s former bandmates, and performances from the likes of Melody Gardot, Maceo Parker and Martin Taylor, the 2019 line-up for the world’s most thrilling and ground-breaking jazz and blues festival promises to be great.
Gymnastics World Cup, Birmingham, central England
Held at Birmingham’s Genting Arena in March, some of the biggest gymnasts from across the globe will be competing to win the prestigious title.
London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
28 – 31 March
Arabica aficionados can celebrate London coffee culture at this dedicated festival, which brings together a range of coffee-related activities under one roof, as well as art and food spin-off events.
FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford, south-east England
30 March – 7 April
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. Visitors can also book to join guided literary walks, lunches and dinner parties with prominent authors. A creative writing course also forms part of the programme.
Gateshead International Jazz Festival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
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.
WOW – Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London, England
Southbank Centre’s WOW Festival celebrates its ninth year in 2019 and returns to champion the incredible achievements of women and girls. It will explore the most pertinent topics for women today through a mix of talks and debates, concerts, performances, film, comedy, workshops, mentoring and networking opportunities.
Bath Comedy Festival, Bath, south-west England
March – April TBC
Featuring famous household names and the stars of tomorrow, Bath Comedy Festival brings a mix of stand-up, sketch comedy, cabaret, music and magic.
Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
4 – 19 April
The Isle of Wight’s popular walking festival has a full schedule of walks for all ages and abilities. Thousands of local and visiting walkers explore trails across the island, taking in chalky cliffs and rolling hills, sand dunes and pebbly beaches, bustling towns and sleepy villages of thatched cottages.
Grand National, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, north-west England
5 – 7 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 5 April.
Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
6 – 21 April
Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers one of Europe's largest Science Festivals, giving audiences amazing experiences through a programme of innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. The Science Festival brings great minds together for a programme that fosters dialogues about the future of our culture, our nation, our planet and our understanding.
The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, London, England
First raced in 1829, the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. Watched by thousands along the banks of The Tideway, located between Putney and Mortlake in south London, this unique sporting event sees two strong squads of athletes competing against each other.
RHS Flower Show Cardiff, Cardiff, south Wales
12 – 14 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.
St George’s Day, across England
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
Every year a unique event takes place in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the birth of the world’s greatest playwright. 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.
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.
Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, Stratford upon Avon, west England
28 April – 5 May
This Stratford-upon-Avon festival is one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share a love of books, writing and reading. Alongside the debates, celebrity author events and workshops that make up the adult programme is a series of education events designed to entertain and inspire children aged 2 to 18.
Bath in Fashion, Bath, south-west England
Bath in Fashion sees fashionistas descend upon the World Heritage City for a week-long celebration of fashion that promises stimulating debate, in-store events and fast-paced catwalks. Expect red carpets with a line-up of stellar designers and global fashion experts.
Whisky Month, across Scotland
May is Whisky Month, taking in a diverse range of events ranging from whisky tasting sessions to behind-the-scenes experiences and distillery tours.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Gloucestershire, south-west England
1 – 6 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.
Tour de Yorkshire, Yorkshire, north England
2 – 5 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.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyside, Scotland
2 – 6 May
Spirited, inspiring, Scottish – this festival puts on hundreds of whisky-inspired events over five days. Discover the passion behind the world’s finest whiskies.
Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool, north-west England
3 – 5 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, The xx, Alt J and Calvin Harris.
Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Machynlleth, Wales
3 – 5 May
The Machynlleth Comedy Festival has quickly gained a reputation as a hidden gem, featuring as-seen-on-TV comedy acts. The town is known for its quirky venues, which helps to make it popular with both the acts and audience alike.
Brighton Fringe Festival, Brighton, south-east England
3 May – 2 June
As part of Brighton Festival, this fringe celebration of all things creative consists of hundreds of events and performances across a hugely eclectic range of art forms. 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.
Women’s FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium
The SSE Women's FA Cup Final returns to Wembley for a fifth consecutive year in 2019.
Chelsea lifted the trophy for a second time in 2018, will they triumph again in 2019?
Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, Llandudno, north Wales
4 – 6 May
Over the May Bank Holiday weekend Llandudno will be packed full of steam engines and Victorian musical organs, vintage cars and costumes, curiosities and sideshows, and people dressed as they were back in the Victorian days.
Brighton Festival, Brighton, south-east England
4 – 26 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.
Stratford Festival of Motoring, Stratford-upon-Avon, west England
5 – 6 May
More than 300 cars zoom through the countryside around Stratford-upon-Avon before parking up in the town centre, as part of the popular Stratford Festival of Motoring. Expect plenty of family friendly activities as well as all sorts of classic and special-interest cars to gawp at.
Crimefest, Bristol, south-west England
9 – 12 May
Whether you’re a die-hard crime fanatic or you simply like to read an occasional crime novel, this annual convention is an opportunity to celebrate the genre in a friendly, informal and inclusive atmosphere. Drawing crime novelists, readers, editors, publishers and reviewers from around the world, the programme consists of: interviews with its featured and highlighted guest authors; over 40 panels with more than a hundred participating authors; a gala awards dinner; and one or two surprises.
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, east England
10 – 26 May
The internationally renowned Norfolk and Norwich Festival is a highlight of the region’s cultural calendar. Held over 17 packed days in various locations across the county, the festival presents more than 100 performances in a superb line-up of companies and ensembles from all over the world. There’s music, theatre, dance, circus and visual arts as well as a host of spectacular free outdoor events and plenty of opportunities to get involved in the range of festival workshops.
Museums at Night, Britain-wide
15 – 18 May (and October TBC)
Britain’s major museums, historic sites and cultural venues open their doors after dark with a variety of torchlit tours, live music and new exhibitions.
Football Association 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
21 – 25 May
One of the best know Royal Horticultural Shows, the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show returns with even more unforgettable floral and horticultural displays.
Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Brecon Beacons, south Wales
23 May – 2 June
The renowned Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, held annually in a tented village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, brings together some of the greatest contemporary practitioners and the most exciting new voices in literature and 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.
HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, Hay on Wye, Wales
23 May – 2 June
On the banks of the River Wye, you'll find the festival where the world's leading thinkers come together to debate the most cutting-edge ideas. HowTheLightGetsIn, the world's largest philosophy and music festival, returns to Hay for the Bank Holiday weekend of May 2019. Confirmed speakers include political theorist Noam Chomsky, physicist Lawrence Krauss, Diane Abbott and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. All of this alongside a programme of music, comedy, culture and performance.
Bath Fringe Festival, Bath, south-west England
24 May – 9 June
Expect the unexpected in this festival featuring dance, music, visual arts, comedy, a children’s festival, street theatre, and plenty more.
WalkFest 2019, North York Moors, north England
24 – 27 May
Walks for all ages and abilities, expert guides, children’s treasure hunts, moorland hikes, afternoon tea strolls and steam train rides characterise this walking festival in the beautiful North York Moors National Park. In 2019, all of the walks will be themed around the Cleveland Way National Trail as the trail marks its 50th anniversary.
Birmingham Pride, Birmingham, central England
25 – 26 May
The second largest city in England hosts its annual gay pride, a technicolour spectacular celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender culture.
Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
25 May – 2 June
The Edinburgh International Children's Festival presents the world’s best theatre and dance for young audiences with performances that are engaging, innovative and inspiring, and places an emphasis on striking visual productions.
Mersey River Festival, Liverpool, north-west England
25 – 27 May
Explore Liverpool’s maritime heritage during the annual Mersey River Festival.
Loves Saves The Day, Bristol, south-west England
25 – 26 May
This two-day love-in in Eastville Park is an eclectic blend of the original UK pioneers of the UK dance scene with some of the most exciting emerging artists. It’s from the people behind the Wow! Stage at Glastonbury, so expect a fantastic line-up of over 300 acts playing dance, hip hop, dub and reggae.
Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Oxfordshire, central England
25 – 27 May
Oxfordshire’s largest food festival brings 150 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.
Urdd National Eisteddfod, Cardiff Bay, south Wales
27 May – 2 June
The Urdd National Eisteddfod is one of Europe’s largest youth touring festivals that attracts around 100,000 visitors each year. More than 15,000 children and young people will be competing during the Eisteddfod week in various competitions such as singing, dancing and performing. There is plenty of attractions for the whole family at the Eisteddfod from enjoying the competitions, to visiting the various stalls and exhibitors on site.
Cricket World Cup, various locations
30 May – 14 July
England and Wales host the Cricket World Cup for the fifth time in 2019. Hosting venues include Birmingham’s Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Bristol’s County Cricket Ground, Riverside Ground at Chester-Le-Street, Headingley in Leeds, The Oval and Lord’s in London, Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Southampton’s Rose Bowl, and Taunton’s County Ground.
Investec Derby, Epsom Downs Race Course, Surrey, south-east England
31 May – 1 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 1 June, with the famous Ladies’ Day held the day before on 31 May.
The Bath Festival, Bath, south-west England
May – June TBC
Bath’s flagship festival consists of 17 days of music and literature in the city’s most beautiful venues. With more than 180 live events to choose from, highlights include Bath’s biggest night of free music, Party in the City, and the highly anticipated Finale Weekend.
Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, south-west England *Quirky *
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, in pursuit of Double Gloucester cheeses. There are downhill races throughout the afternoon including ones for men and for women. The race starts with the master of ceremonies rolling a 7- 8 lb (4kg) Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. Dozens of competitors run, roll and somersault down the hill after it.
The Late Shows, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
The Late Shows is an inspiring, late-night programme of events and exhibitions through cultural venues in NewcastleGateshead that are usually closed in the evening. Museums, galleries and visitor attractions stay up late to encourage people to do something cultural with their evening – in celebration of the international event ‘Museums at Night’.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh International Magic Festival is one of the fastest-growing festivals in Edinburgh and 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.
Highland Games, across Scotland
May – September TBC
Around 100 Highland games and gatherings take place in Scotland each year. Each one has a mix of piping, athletic events and Highland dancing.
Conwy Pirate Weekend, Conwy, north Wales
1 – 2 June
Ahoy there! Grab your shipmates and head down to Conwy Quayside for a weekend of pirate fun. This annual celebration consists of three days of swashbuckling entertainment, including boat races, live music, a market, pirate costume competitions and more.
Festival of Nature, Bristol and Bath, south-west England
1 – 9 June
One of the UK’s greatest free celebrations of the natural world, Festival of Nature features hundreds of free events, including lectures, tours and film screenings on the subjects of science, natural history and the environment. In 2019 the theme will be A Trail of Two Cities, and will take place across Bristol and Bath.
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire, north England
5 – 9 June
This Royal Horticultural Society’s flower shows made its debut in 2017, joining the existing portfolio of shows at Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park and is hosted in the expansive 1,000-acre grounds of stunning Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
Open Garden Squares Weekend, London
8 – 9 June
This special weekend event sees more than 200 green spaces and urban gardens across London, many of which are usually closed to the public, open up for the public to explore.
Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales, Wales
Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France is one of the most iconic sportives in the UK, organised by Human Race and ASO to offer an inspiring Tour de France riding experience to UK cyclists. With a selection of four distances to choose from ranging from the Macmillan 100 over 100km, to the gruelling 305km Dragon Devil, the famous route features epic climbs. Signature climbs include Devil’s Elbow, Rhigos, Bwlch, Black Mountain and Devil’s Staircase.
Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
13 – 16 June
This popular music festival on the famous island situated off the south coast of England has 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 Kasabian, The Killers and Liam Gallagher.
Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival, Scotland
14 – 23 June
This midsummer walking festival stages events across Moray including walking challenges, gentle ambles and other outdoor events. From the foothills of the Cairngorms to Moray’s award-winning coastline, participants can enjoy long summer days exploring coastal, hill, forest, river and town walks.
Royal Ascot, Berkshire, south-east England
18 – 22 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.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
19 – 30 June
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.
The Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh, Scotland
20 – 23 June
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.
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.
Jane Austen Regency Week, Hampshire, south England
22 – 30 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.
Yorkshire Sculpture International triennial, Yorkshire, north England
22 June – 29 September
Four Yorkshire galleries have secured £750,000 funding from Arts Council England for a new large-scale triennial exhibition. The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, the Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – which together form the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – will host Yorkshire Sculpture International every three years, starting in 2019. The project will be characterised by collaborative artistic programming, talent and audience development, new outdoor commissions and international commissioning partnerships. Sculptor Phyllida Barlow will be the ‘provocateur’ for the inaugural triennial.
Round the Island Race, Isle of Wight, south England
An annual one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, 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.
29 – 30 June
The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be held in Europe, the London Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will host the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
Kynren, Auckland Castle, County Durham, north-east England
29 June – 14 September TBC
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 more than 1,000 professionally trained volunteers.
Swaton Vintage Day & World Egg Throwing Championships, Swaton, Lincolnshire, central England *Quirky*
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. Another activity that takes place on the day is the Russian Egg Roulette where two participants select from five hard boiled eggs and one raw egg; they have to smash them onto their own foreheads.
Pride in London, London, England
June / July TBC
London hosts a huge party in the summer with Pride in London - one of Europe’s largest non-ticketed events. The festival usually comes to a close with a sizzling carnival of colour of music, floats and dancing, drawing a huge crowd of spectators.
Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England
Bristol Pride is a week-long series of events dedicated to the city’s LGBT+ 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 hosting over 60 organisations.
Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths, Bath, south-west England
June – August (date TBC)
Every summer, the Roman Baths opens its doors until 10pm every evening, giving visitors the chance to explore the awe-inspiring attraction by torchlight.
Taste of London Festival, London, England
Every year Regent's Park transforms into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking and entertainment. 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.
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.
Eroica Britannia, Peak District, central England
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. Bakewell Showground, in the heart of the Peak District, hosts the festival’s live music, acres of vintage shopping, and specialist food stalls.
London Fashion Week Men’s, London, England
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
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 1,400 officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, London.
TweedLove Bike Festival, Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Britain’s fastest-growing cycling festival is held every year in the beautiful Tweed Valley. There are 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.
Walled City Music Festival, Derry, Northern Ireland
The Walled City Music Festival hosts talented classical musicians of wide-ranging genres and styles.
West End LIVE returns to Trafalgar Square in summer 2019, offering the chance to see the best of the London stage performed over one weekend, all for free.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Surrey, south-east England
1 – 7 July
The world’s largest annual flower show returns in 2019. A plant lover’s paradise, it’s packed with stunning show gardens, floral displays, and plenty of garden inspiration.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships, London, England
1 – 14 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 beginning of July, 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.
Llangollen Eisteddfod, Llangollen, Wales
2 – 7 July
The annual festival will be held at the Royal International Pavilion in Llangollen. Six days of music and folk dance from all over the world in one place.
Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, central England
3 – 7 July
The picturesque market town of Henley-on-Thames is transformed into a cosmopolitan hub of rowing when the Henley Royal Regatta comes to town. 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. The races are head-to-head knock-out competitions, raced over a course of one mile 550 yards (2,112m) from Temple Island upstream towards Henley Bridge.
Goodwood Festival of Speed, Sussex, south England
4 – 7 July
Along the Sussex coast lies the Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester. Each summer the circuit is the venue for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, 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.
Manchester International Festival, Manchester, north-west England
4 – 21 July
Staged every two years at venues all over the city, Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events – and it’s the biggest event on Manchester’s cultural calendar. The 2019 festival will be the last before it takes up permanent residence in brand new venue The Factory (see entry below). Over the next few years, MIF will be presenting a series of pre-Factory events that will exemplify the energy and ambition of the work to be presented at The Factory.
Barclaycard presents British Summertime, Hyde Park, London
5 – 14 July
Returning to London’s Hyde Park, Barclaycard presents British Summertime will once again see some of the world’s greatest bands and musicians take to the stage for six days (over two weekends) of amazing performances.
Wales Airshow, Swansea, Wales
6 – 7 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.
Stratford River Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon, west England
6 – 7 July
Stratford’s largest free family friendly event welcomes over 70,000 visitors, with market stalls, entertainment and events both on and off the river. There will be live music and dance, local ales and Pimm's, an artisan craft market, and a spectacular illuminated parade of boats and a grand firework display.
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, Cardigan Bay, north Wales
A well-established seafood festival in picturesque Cardigan Bay. Previous participants have included Michelin chefs Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park and Roger Jones of the Little Bedwyn.
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Gullane Golf Club, east Scotland
11 – 14 July
Watch some of the world’s top golfers at their best during this major golf tournament on the European Tour.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, central England
12 – 14 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.
Netball World Cup, Liverpool, north-west England
12 – 21 July
England Netball and the City of Liverpool will host 16 teams for the 2019 Netball World Cup. The tournament will be held at ACC Liverpool, which has already successfully staged international netball on several occasions. Host nation England are second seeds, following their Commonwealth Games gold medal in April 2018.
12 – 21 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, from samba to swing to soul, the festival takes place over ten groove-packed summer days.
The Open Championship, Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland
14 – 21 July
This year the major golf championship, often referred to as The Open or the British Open, will be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, Cheshire, north-west England
17 – 21 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.
Llangollen Fringe Festival, north-east Wales
18 – 28 July
The Festival includes an eclectic mix of performance-based events including punk, reggae, rock, folk, flamenco, poetry, drama, art and film. Main events take place in Llangollen's town hall, as well as on a narrow boat, steam train, at the ancient ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and in the atmospheric setting of Vale Crucis Abbey.
World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk, east England *Quirky*
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’. Anyone with a snail can enter and a number of heats are held before the final. The winner receives a silver tankard stuffed with lettuce.
The Royal Welsh Show, Llanelwedd, Powys, mid-Wales
22 – 25 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.
Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
25 July – 26 August
Britain’s largest annual celebration of visual art, Edinburgh Art Festival attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year for a diverse and vibrant programme of exhibitions and events at the city’s galleries and museums.
Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, south-west England
26 – 29 July
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. Previous years have seen headliners such as The Cure, Rudimental and Hot Chip take the stage.
Glorious Goodwood Festival, West Sussex, south England
30 July – 3 August
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.
The BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Summer 2019 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. The famous Last Night performances include BBC Proms in the Park.
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, Cardiff, Wales
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, England
July – September 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, Wales
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.
Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England
Bristol Pride is a week-long LGBT festival that culminates in a massive outdoor music and arts festival that takes place in Castle Park. Kicking off with the Pride parade through the city, the festival also features entertainment, a family area, funfair, market stalls, food stalls, and bars.
Bristol Harbour Festival is a free weekend of music, markets and maritime fun based around Bristol’s historic harbourside. Packed with live performance, artists, musicians, circus acts, children’s events, dancers, food markets and street stalls. On the water, hundreds of sailing vessels provide a vibrant backdrop to the activities.
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
See established jazz legends and rising stars in their element at this annual jazz and blues celebration in Scotland’s festival city.
The Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly, south Wales
The town of Caerphilly comes to life as people of all ages come to The Big Cheese, a free extravaganza including street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, troubadours and much more.
SummerTyne Americana Festival, Sage Gateshead, Newcastle, north-east England
SummerTyne Americana Festival is 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.
Glasgow Mela, Glasgow, Scotland
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.
Liverpool International Music Festival, Sefton Park, Liverpool, north-west England
This two-day celebration in Liverpool hosts big names in hip-hop, house and pop, while also promoting new talent, musical heritage and cultural diversity.
National Parks Week, nationwide
Britain’s 15 national parks do their bit for National Parks Week with plenty of events to celebrate everything that’s great about the nation’s “breathing spaces”. There’s a different theme every year, and all sorts of activities take place, from cycling and walking to stargazing – and many of them are free.
Northern Pride, Newcastle, north-east England
This annual celebration of LGBT life on Tyneside is one of the biggest and most diverse free events in the North East. It starts with a Pride march through Newcastle and ends with a day of music, education, fun and celebration.
Brighton Pride, Brighton, south-east England
2 – 4 August
Brighton’s 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. The party carries on with The Pride Festival in Preston Park, featuring main stage entertainment, dance tents, cabaret, a funfair, a family area, and a market. The Pride Village Party brings the festivities to St James Street and the city's iconic seafront Marine Parade.
RideLondon, London-Surrey, south-east England
3 – 4 August
Developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies in 2013, Prudential RideLondon is a world-class festival of cycling that wants to encourage more people to cycle more safely, more often. TfL anticipates tens of thousands of spectators and participants every year will take up regular cycling after each event. There is no other closed-road event quite like it, combining a fun and accessible free family ride in central London with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
2 – 26 August
Every August, the Edinburgh International Festival presents three exhilarating weeks of the finest creators and performers from the worlds of the arts. Edinburgh's six major theatres and concert halls, a few smaller venues and often some unconventional ones too, come alive with the best music, theatre, opera and dance from around the globe.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland
2 – 26 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.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh, Scotland
2 – 24 August
The Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh institution, with music, dance and precision display 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 but always embraces different themes; nature, creativity and Scotland's homecoming are just some of the concepts explored in recent times.
Leeds Pride, Yorkshire, north England
A ‘must-not-miss’ event on Yorkshire’s LGBT calendar, Leeds Pride is the biggest event of its kind in Yorkshire. Thousands flock to the city for a diverse line up of acts at Millennium Square, a march through the centre of Leeds and the biggest parties until the early hours.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, south-west England
8 – 11 August
The city’s largest outdoor event, held annually at the city’s Ashton Court Estate, is the largest event 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. More than half a million people attend the fiesta, which offers a packed four days of fun for the whole family.
Cowes Week, Isle of Wight, south England
10 – 17 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.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
10 – 26 August
The Edinburgh International Book Festival programme offers more 800 events featuring rising stars of fiction to Nobel Prize-winners plus events for children and young adults featuring 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.
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, south Wales
15 – 18 August
This wonderful family-friendly festival takes place on the Glanusk Estate in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park and features far more than just great music. Visitors can also enjoy live comedy acts as well as watch films, theatre and live poetry.
RiZE Festival, Chelmsford, Essex, south-east England
16 – 17 August
RiZE is a new multi-genre music festival that launched in 2018, taking over from the annual V Festival held at Chelmsford's Hylands Park. The music genres range from indie and pop to dance and urban.
The Garlic Festival, Isle of Wight, south England *Quirky*
17 – 18 August
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!
Creamfields, Liverpool, north-west England
22 – 25 August
Regarded as an iconic dance music festival, every year this legendary event in Liverpool showcases superstar DJs and artists from the music genres of EDM, house, trance, drum and bass and grime.
Pride Cymru, Cardiff, south Wales
23 – 25 August TBC
LGBT Mardi Gras, trading as Pride Cymru, returns to Cardiff for Wales' biggest celebration of equality and diversity. The variety of entertainment will continue along with a funfair, a cultural market with arts and crafts, plenty food and drink, and a social hub, offering advice and support to LGBT communities and their friends and family.
23 – 25 August
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 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, a bouncy castle, 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.
Notting Hill Carnival, London, England
24 – 25 August
London’s famous free Caribbean festival and the largest street party in Europe, with great music, outrageous floats and fabulous costumes. Hear everything from traditional steel bands, Soca and Calypso to the latest dub, drum ‘n’ bass, R&B and reggae blasting out from pumping sound systems and moving floats. Live stages also feature local bands, top international artists and sounds from around the world, plus hundreds of Caribbean food stalls.
Piping Live! Glasgow, Scotland
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.
Merchant City Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow’s cultural quarter comes to life with its annual celebration of live music, street performances, art, dance, theatre, comedy, food and drink.
Race the Train, Tywyn, mid-Wales *Quirky*
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. To do this, all courses use a mixture of public roads, lanes, tracks, agricultural land and rough grazing pastures.
World Gravy Wresting Championships, Lancashire, north-west England *Quirky*
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.
Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, London, England
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.
The Braemar Gathering, Aberdeenshire, north Scotland
End August/beginning of September TBC
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.
Dundee Food and Flower Show, Dundee, Scotland
6 – 8 September
The Dundee Flower and Food Festival is the premier show of its kind in Scotland and has developed over the years into a three-day extravaganza with a host of attractions. It is also one of Dundee’s major annual events. With more than 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.
Great North Run Weekend, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
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'. 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
13 September TBC
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.
Goodwood Revival, Chichester, West Sussex, south-east England
13 – 15 September TBC
Each September the famous historic Goodwood Motor Circuit recreates the golden era of its glorious heyday, bringing together the most historically significant, priceless machines, along with legendary drivers from past and present. Vintage fashion is at the heart of the event, with many visitors going to great lengths to dress in period style. 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.
Heritage Open Days, across England
13 – 22 September
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.
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.
UCI Road World Championships, Yorkshire, north England
22 – 29 September
Yet another major sporting event will arrive in Yorkshire in 2019. One of the world’s most prestigious professional cycling events, the UCI Road World Championships will see 1,000 riders from 75 different countries compete in 12 races over eight days. The routes will take in Yorkshire’s spectacular countryside and no doubt be packed by crowds waving on the athletes. Provisional race start venues include Beverley, Bradford, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon and York. All races will finish in Harrogate, the event’s focal point.
Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, Bristol, south-west England
This is the longest-running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK. Based at Watershed in Bristol’s historic floating harbour, the week-long programme pulls together some of the best short films from around the world alongside a series of special big screen events, a comprehensive industry programme and free public screenings. This is a chance to see films from 90 seconds to 20 minutes, across all film-making genres and made by film-makers and animators from 60 countries.
Bristol Open Doors, Bristol, south-west England
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.
British Science Festival, 2019 location TBC
The British Science Festival is organised each year by the British Science Association to 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.
Hull Freedom Festival, Yorkshire, north England
2019 dates TBC
Hull's annual flagship arts and culture event, the Freedom Festival, brings three days of entertainment to Yorkshire's waterfront city.
London Fashion Week, London, England
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, south-west England
Visit Bath during the Jane Austen Festival for an immersive Regency experience. Walk alongside 500 Jane Austen fans in the spectacular, opening Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. Throughout the rest of the festival, join other Jane Austen fans on guided walks and day trips, sit back and enjoy talks, music recitals and concerts or get hands on at workshops and dance classes.
Bath Children’s Literature Festival, Bath, south-west England
September – October TBC
Featuring the best children’s and teen authors, incredible illustrators, favourite characters, professional storytellers and the biggest names in children’s literature from across the world.
York Food and Drink Festival, York, north England
One of the biggest foodie festivals in Britain, York Food and Drink Festival celebrates the best local and regional food and drink. There’s 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.
Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, north-west England
September – November TBC
This annual light show has been a major part of Blackpool’s attraction 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.
The Good Life Experience, Flintshire, north Wales
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 will be a voyage of fun and discovery for the whole family.
Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny, south Wales
One of the biggest events on the UK foodie calendar. A packed menu of celebrity chefs, master-classes, mouth-watering street stalls and entertainment.
Elvis Festival, Porthcawl, south Wales
Elvis lives, thanks to the thousands of fans and the tribute artists who attend this annual gathering of blue suede shoes, Vegas jumpsuits, and whopping sideburns in Porthcawl.
London Design Festival, London, England
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.
Egremont Crab Fair & World Gurning Championships, Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky*
Gurning consists of contestants putting their heads through a horse collar and contorting their faces into the scariest, most grotesque, silliest expression possible! The person who gets the most applause for their ugly face wins. 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. Crab apples have a sharp taste and it is said the gurning competition originates from the faces the locals made when they bit into them.
World Stone Skimming Championships, Argyll, Scotland *Quirky*
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.
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.
Wales Rally GB, Flintshire, north Wales
4 – 7 October
The British leg of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place over four thrilling days based at the Rally Village in Deeside, Flintshire.
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
9 – 14 October
A six-day celebration of LGBT film, including screenings of 35 short films competing for the Best of British Iris Prize.
World Shore Angling Championships, Conwy, north Wales
20 – 27 October
This prestigious international event, held in a different venue each year, features the world’s top shore anglers competing for World Championship titles for men and women. There will be fishing from the shoreline on five competitive days.
Artes Mundi, Cardiff, south Wales
27 October – 24 February
Best known for its biennial international Exhibition and Prize, which takes place in Cardiff, this is Wales’ biggest contemporary visual art show. One of the shortlisted artists is awarded the prize of £40,000, the largest art prize in the UK and one of the most significant in the world.
Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea, south Wales
27 October – 9 November
An annual two-week festival that starts on Dylan's birthday and finishes on the date of his death with talks, performances, exhibitions, readings and music with a Dylan Thomas theme.
Blenheim Palace Literary Festival, Oxfordshire, central England
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*
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, and attract more than 300 competitors attempting to become the King or Queen of conkers.
Swansea Festival of Music and Arts, Swansea, south Wales
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, Scotland
The annual Creative Mackintosh Festival celebrates acclaimed Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his architecture, design, arts and crafts in Glasgow. The events programme showcases the Mackintosh buildings and legacy, as well as focusing on Glasgow and its creativity through the work of contemporary artists.
Melton Mowbray Food Festival, Leicestershire, central England
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; it’s known as one of the top regional food events in the country. Around 200 stands showcase some of the region’s finest food and drink, alongside a Street Food area serving hot food from around the world.
BFI London Film Festival, Southbank, London, England
In 2019 London will host its 63rd annual film festival organised with the British Film Institute. The event screens more than 300 films, documentaries and shorts in the capital from around 50 countries. Highlights include 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.
Golden Spurtle, Inverness, Scotland *Quirky*
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.
Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, west England
This literary festival will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2019 and will see the launch of major books, as well as more than 500 talks, workshops and performances touching upon subjects as diverse as history, politics, sport, food and fashion.
Belfast International Arts Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
October – November TBC
This Belfast-based festival covers theatre, dance, classical and roots music, visual, film and digital arts and literature in the Northern Ireland capital.
Turner Prize 2019, Margate, Kent
October – January 2020
The Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate will host the famous Turner Prize in 2019. Both venue and event are named after the innovative landscape artist JMW Turner, who was a regular visitor to Margate and inspired by the east Kent coast. The gallery is built on the site of a boarding house where Turner stayed when he visited the seaside town. Margate was also the childhood home of Tracey Emin, whose controversial My Bed artwork was shortlisted for the prize in 1999. Exact dates TBC; the winner will be announced at a major awards ceremony in December 2019.
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 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.
Lumiere 10th anniversary, Durham City, north-east England
14 – 17 November
The Lumiere light festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Durham with its most ambitious festival yet. A selection of favourites from the previous five festivals will be on show alongside some brand new artworks.
St Andrew’s Day, across Scotland
Events celebrating the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew, take place throughout the country and, in the past, have included some of Scotland’s historic attractions offering free entry for the day.
London Jazz Festival, London, England
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.
Skate at Somerset House, London, England
Skate at Somerset House offers a complete festive experience in the capital. During the day, visitors can skate in the beautiful splendour of Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard and, after dark, the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at exclusive Club Nights. For those looking to relax after taking to the ice, the Skate Lounge offers delicious rink-side refreshments.
World’s Biggest Liar, Lake District, Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky*
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.
The Cary Grant Festival, Bristol, south-west England
This is a favourite for fans of the Bristolian star as a weekend of events is dedicated to celebrating the life and work of the Hollywood actor and style icon Cary Grant.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London, England
November – January TBC
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
This festive outdoor light festival boasts hundreds of illuminated characters and scenes once again transforming the estate into a winter wonderland; each year has a new theme.
FilmBath Festival, Bath, south-west England
Soak up the special atmosphere of packed, yet quiet, auditoriums as you enjoy screenings of previews, documentary features, F-Rated films and talks with directors, producers and stars.
Bath Mozartfest, Bath south-west England
Celebrate Mozart’s music, and that of his contemporaries or those influenced by him, in a glorious feast of classical music performed in some of Bath’s most beautiful and inspiring buildings.
CS Lewis Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The CS Lewis Festival celebrates the legacy of Belfast-born author Clive Staples Lewis, famous for creating The Chronicles of Narnia.
Kendal Mountain Festival, Cumbria, north-west England
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.
Leeds International Film Festival, Yorkshire, north England
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.
Christmas at Kew, London, England
Learn to ice-skate against the picturesque background of Kew Gardens, which, each year, delivers a sparkling after-dark experience and a truly festive atmosphere.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race – London & Brighton, England *Quirky*
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. 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.
Enchanted Parks, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
Early December TBC
Every year, a themed trail of art installations with lights, performances, sculptures and projections transforms Gateshead’s Saltwell Park into a winter wonderland. Enchanted Parks is part of Light up the North, a series of seven light festivals in seven cities in north England. Don’t delay buying tickets – they sell out quickly.
NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and New Year’s Eve Carnival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England
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.
Stonehaven Fireball Festival, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
This fireball ceremony is the traditional way to greet the New Year in the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com