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Bonkers yet brilliant: that sums up our style. Where else can you parade like a Viking, chase cheeses down-hill, or race in boats made from Yorkshire puddings? From centuries-old dance moves to fancy-dress swims, there are countless ways to get involved. Britain’s quirkiest traditions and events are open to everyone – so grab your friends and join in the beautifully bizarre fun.

Quirky festivals and events

Maldon Mud Race

The annual Maldon Mud Race sees around 300 competitors complete a 400 metre dash over the muddy bed of the River Blackwater in Promenade Park. Taking place at low tide, the runners – often kitted out in fancy dress – have to make their way to the opposite bank of the river and back again. In addition to the main race, the event is accompanied by numerous promotional stalls and a charity duck race.

Find out more about Maldon Mud Race.

A child playing with a conker at the World Conker Championships in Northamptonshire

World Conker Championships

Played using the large woody seeds of horse chestnut trees, the World Conker Championships will see competitors smash their way to victory in the picturesque Northamptonshire village of Southwick. Hosted by the Ashton Conker Club, the competition has taken place since 1965 and involves players using a conker threaded on a piece of string to break their opponent’s. Competitors take it in turns to strike, the winner being the person who’s conker stays intact.

Find out more about World Conker Championships

Olney Pancake Race

Olney Pancake Race

The ladies of Olney in Buckinghamshire traditionally mark Shrove Tuesday by running through the town while tossing pancakes into the air. The Olney Pancake Race dates back to 1445, and participants must have lived in Olney for at least three months to compete. A Shriving Service follows the race, which includes a prize giving to all runners.

Find out more about Olney Pancake Race

World Pea Shooting Championship

The World Pea Shooting Championship sees competitors go head-to-head trying to hit a set of  targets with maple peas. Innovative peashooters are welcome, with past winners using laser sights in addition to their 30cm long blowpipes. If you want to enter you’ll need to hit the target – comprised of three circles of putty – from 3.5 metres away, and if you’re a top scorer you’ll progress to the championship. In addition to pea shooting, the event in Witcham, Cambridgeshire, has a number of animal experiences, novelty games and other stalls for those of all ages to enjoy.

Find out more about the World Pea Shooting Championship

World Snail Championships

Ready, steady, slow! Set to return in 2023, the World Snail Racing Championships usually involve around 200 snails and are part of the Congham Fete, near King’s Lynn, in Norfolk. The region is an ideal breeding ground for snails and has hosted snail racing for more than 25 years. Entrants creep over a 13-inch course in the fastest time possible, with a Snail Trainer to the World Championships watching over proceedings to ensure fair play all round. Find yourself a snail to participate, or just watch on as the molluscs slide off in search of glory.

Find out more about the World Snail Championships

A competitor neck deep in a water-filled trench.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships

Dive in at the deep end with a visit to the annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales. Taking place at the Waen Rhydd bog on the outskirts of the town, competitors take the plunge to snorkel two lengths of the bog – around 110 metres – as quickly as possible while swimming doggy paddle and keeping face down in the water. For those who want to test themselves, a Bog Triathlon runs the day before the main event and includes an eight-mile run, 12-mile cycle and 60-yard bog snorkel.

Find out more about the World Bog Snorkelling Championships

World Gurning Championships

Established in 1267, Egremont Crab Fair and Sports features an abundance of traditional and bizarre events, including the stand-out World Gurning Championship. Found on the West Cumbrian coast, a matter of miles from the western fringe of the Lake District National Park, you can look forward to watching on as people distort their faces to pull grotesque poses through a horse collar, known as a braffin.

Find out more about the Egremont Crab Fair

Join the fun

Women, in elaborate costumes, dancing at music festival

If you plan to visit an event or festival, always check in advance whether tickets are required. Car parking may be tricky on the day, but there are often extra buses and trains to cope with demand. If the event is fancy dress, local people will appreciate the effort you put in – so don’t hold back.