There is a Lancashire saying – Once in a Preston Guild – which means it's a rare occurrence. As Preston Guild only happens every 20 years it is indeed unusual but 2012 is a Guild year and the fun has already started.
Preston Guild dates back to 1179 and is the only Guild celebrated in the UK making this England’s oldest festival in England’s youngest city as Preston was only granted city status 10 years ago in 2002. It was all started to help local traders and while there are lots of ceremonial traditions to follow this year also has plenty to appeal to all ages such as the G Fest on Saturday 8 September with headliners Maverick Sabre, Labrinth and Dappy. Before that, on 1 and 2 September there is a Vintage Guild Weekend curated by Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway MBE. Saturday night has a Back to '42 Guild Ball and Sunday includes The Human League. Also on 1 and 2 September there's the first ever Square Food Festival, a giant, edible map of the Preston City will be built in Winckley Square for Preston Cake City. Proms in the Park, in Avenham Park, on 7 September will bring a world first with Katherine Jenkins and Jose Carreras singing together. Guild Proclamations On each of the three Saturdays before the main celebrations of the Guild, crowds pack into the Market Square to join in a tradition which gives them a direct link with medieval Preston. In accordance with ancient custom, a proclamation will be made announcing that a Guild is to be held and summoning all those who wish to attend. The first proclamation was on Saturday 18 August but you can still be there for the rest of the build up.
Preston, the UK European City of Sport for 2012, has so much going on right now and is around two hours away from London by train. Find out out all you need to know about the Preston Guild at www.prestonguild2012.com. Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site which is an online travel guide for visitors to the capital. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen's. You can follow her at @AboutLondon. See more articles by Laura on the VisitBritain Super Blog.