Where to find the best post-Christmas sales in Britain

Coincide your visit to Britain during one of the major sales seasons and you could make huge savings on shopping during your trip. Post-Christmas is a brilliant seasonal sale period as shops offer great discounts and incentives, usually from Boxing Day (26 December) onwards. You’ll find them everywhere, from major department stores and high-street shops, independent boutiques and outlet centres.

CITY SHOPPING

London

England’s capital is, without doubt, one of the best places in the world to shop! Legendary shopping haunts such as Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street, Westfield in Stratford, east London and Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge, plus pretty much every other street in the capital, are teeming with shops that offer post-Christmas sales. If you’re searching for great prices at high-end stores, why not start at the ‘grande dame’ of them all, Harrods in Knightsbridge. Its Winter Sale is a real show-stopper of an event, opening with great fanfare on Boxing Day – in previous years, the Boxing Day sale event has featured live reindeers and a performance by Florence + The Machine. Also head to Selfridges on Oxford Street where, across six floors, you’ll discover fantastic sales on designer wear (its sale also kicks off on Boxing Day), while over in Knightsbridge, Harvey Nichols is a must-visit for luxury brands at sale prices. Homewares, fashion and beauty bargains can be found at the elegant designer department store Liberty on Regent Street and, if it’s a good deal on foodie treats you’re looking for, head to Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly, where sales tend to start on 27 December. 

Birmingham, central England

Jump on a train from London and 90 minutes later you’ll find yourself in another shopper’s paradise. The city of Birmingham has a wonderful mix of shopping experiences, from luxury department stores and independent boutiques to historic markets and high-street favourites. Check out the post-Christmas sales at its branches of Harvey Nichols, found at the Mailbox shopping venue, which is also home to brands such as Armani and Calvin Klein. The Birmingham branch of Selfridges is located in one of the city’s most distinctive buildings and is part of The Bullring & Grand Central shopping destination. It boasts upscale brands such as Michael Kors and the British institution that is department store John Lewis, which kicks off its famous sale on 27 December. Close by is Birmingham’s New Street, which has a myriad of narrow streets leading off it where you’ll find sales events at the independent boutiques and high-street favourites that have their home there. And don’t forget to explore the city’s renowned Jewellery Quarter, packed with historic buildings and jewellery boutiques to hunt for that gem of a post-Christmas bargain.

Manchester, north-west England

Whatever style you’re into, you’ll find it in Manchester’s shops – and at great prices too during sales season. Like London and Birmingham, Manchester has branches of luxury department stores Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, each home to a raft of designer concessions. If you’re looking for high-street bargains all under one roof, check out the city’s fantastic shopping centres; the intu Trafford Centre (where Selfridges is located) is home to Zara, Victoria’s Secret, John Lewis and that British favourite, Primark. For shopping in a historic destination, visit The Royal Exchange – once the hub of the world’s cotton trade and a Grade II-listed building – where premium high-street brands (think French Connection and Molton Brown) sit alongside independent boutiques and luxury retailers. The venue is also close to Manchester Arndale, where bargains can be found at leading British high-street fashion stores such as TopShop, River Island and Next. It’s also worth exploring Manchester’s creative, bohemian hub, the Northern Quarter, for vintage boutiques and independent record stores and head to Afflecks, where bargains can be picked up at independent designers trading across four floors – it’s a labyrinth of treasures.

Glasgow, Scotland

Home to one of the UK’s largest retail hubs outside of London, Glasgow is a shopaholic’s dream destination. Its world-famous Style Mile in the city centre means an easy route around all your favourite shops – good news, as hunting for bargains can be tiring work! The ‘Style Mile’ is home to well-loved British high-street stores, as well as luxury retailers, but it’s also the place to go to explore the city’s shopping centres and department stores. More than 80 retailers have made their home at the Buchanan Galleries, including a branch of John Lewis, the classically British Jones the Bootmaker, and beauty shops such as Bare Minerals. The West End of the city is the place to shop if you’re looking for sales bargains in more avant-garde and independent boutiques.

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff’s main shopping area in the city centre is mainly pedestrianised, meaning the hunt for post-Christmas bargains is all concentrated in an easy-to-navigate district. The Welsh capital is well-known for its Victorian arcades and no less than six have been transformed into shopping venues. The Castle Quarter alone comprises three; Castle Arcade, High Street Arcade and Duke Street Arcade, and it’s here you’ll find a raft of vintage shops, clothes stores and jewellery shops worth exploring during the post-Christmas sales. Contemporary British brands, such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, have made their home at the St David’s Centre and there are high-street names galore throughout the city centre.

 

OUTLETS

Grab even bigger bargains at Britain's outlet stores – they offer deals all year round, but you can discover even bigger discounts during the main sale periods as items are marked down further.

Bicester Village, Oxfordshire, central England

Less than one hour from London, Bicester Village is one of Britain’s best-known luxury shopping destinations and bargain hunters can explore more than 160 famous brand-name boutiques, including Oscar de la Renta, Hugo Boss, Tods and Mulberry. Year-round they offer savings of up to 60% and may often discount further during the post-Christmas sales period. New designer boutiques are constantly opening at the Village, with recent additions including Roland Mouret, MonnaLisa, Amanda Wakeley and British brand Shrimps. Bicester Village now also offers an exclusive by-appointment-only space where guests can retreat for private shopping consultations and, to complete the VIP shopping experience, can take advantage of valet parking, hands-free shopping and on-site tax refunds and money services. There’s also a Bicester Village app packed full off shopping tips, important information and exclusive offers, that you can download before you hit the shops.

McArthur Glen

McArthurGlen has designer outlets in six locations across Britain, including York (a two-hour train ride from London) and Cheshire, a 45-minute train journey from Liverpool. Cheshire Oaks is Britain’s largest designer outlet, with more than 145 boutiques, restaurants and cafés, and shoppers can find bargains from popular high-street names such as Marks & Spencer and Next, and high-end brands such as Burberry and Michael Kors. McArthur Glen’s other destinations include Ashford in Kent (40 minutes from London), Bridgend in south Wales (around 30 minutes from Cardiff), East Midlands (around 25 minutes from Nottingham) and Swindon (around 45 minutes from Bath). A new outlet is due to open in 2020 in Cannock in the West Midlands (30 minutes from Birmingham).

London Designer Outlet

Close to the world-famous Wembley Stadium in north London is the London Designer Outlet, where visitors will discover more than 50 outlet stores offering regular and seasonal discounts of up to 70% on top fashion and lifestyle brands – it’s ideal for post-Christmas sales! If you’re into sportswear, this is where you’ll find top sporting brands such as Nike and adidas, while if you’re searching for stylish homewares, check out lifestyle stores that include Villeroy & Boch, Sony and Procook. The outlet also offers services such as multi-lingual staff and overseas shoppers can claim an immediate VAT refund at the outlet’s currency exchange service.

ICON Outlet at the O2

New to the outlet scene – it opened in late October 2018 – the ICON Outlet at the iconic O2 arena in Greenwich, south-east London, has brought together a huge range of fashion and lifestyle brands at accessible prices all under the famous tented roof. It's home to retailers including Kurt Geiger, Aspinal of London, Jack Wills, Cath Kidston, Hackett, Guess, G-STAR Raw and Ted Baker, as well as a host of other shops and restaurants. Customers can take advantage of services such as a concierge luggage drop and hands-free shopping. 

Discover Britain's best restaurants for vegans

Veganuary is upon us, kickstarting a month-long campaign to promote the benefits of a plant-based diet. If you’re vegan - or trying to be - and travelling to the UK, you’ll discover an ever-growing number of restaurants, cafés and bars serving up delicious sweet and savoury vegan treats this January and throughout the year – from high-end healthy cuisine to jaw-dropping junk food. Here are a few of our favourites below.

 

London

Mildreds, Soho

Whether you’re looking for vegan-friendly cocktails or cuisine, London is no slouch when it comes to plant-based restaurants and bars. One of the best is Mildreds. Originally established in Soho in 1988, the restaurant now boasts branches in Camden, King’s Cross and Dalston too. Airy, bright and stylish, the chain is loved for its delicious cuisine which includes warming winter dishes like smoked tofu, apple and white bean sausages and mash, and toffee apple crumble. Diners can also savour vegan cocktails including popcorn martinis and blood orange margaritas and enjoy a special brunch menu at weekends.

Manna, Primrose Hill

Located in leafy north-west London, Manna is one of the capital’s most popular vegan restaurants. With a menu displaying influences as far flung as India, Mexico and Japan, this elegant restaurant prides itself on using sustainable produce throughout the year. Diners can choose from seasonal specials including roasted root vegetable masala or buffalo cauliflower tostada, enjoy protein-rich Sunday roasts or splash out and savour the chef’s special five-course custom menu.

Wulf & Lamb, Sloane Square

“Run with the wolves, eat with the lambs” is the mantra of Wulf & Lamb, one of the newest additions to the London vegan scene. It’s 100% plant-based menu focuses heavily on comfort food, so expect fabulously filling dishes including an open burrito with sautéed ackee, green coconut curry with sweet potato mash and the seitan Wulf Burger complete with cashew aioli and wedges.  Sweet-toothed diners can also choose from deliciously decadent desserts including tiramisu with raw almond cream or dairy-free mango and passionfruit cheesecake. 

Quaglino’s and The Meet, various locations

If you’re looking for cocktails over cuisine, Quaglino’s Bar in St James’s is offering a Science of Sustainability cocktail menu. Divided into past, present and future, the menu reveals the history of sustainability via a range of delicious drinks including The Green Revolution, which combines Matchers Rye, yellow chartreuse, lime, beer, honey and matcha tea served with a pistachio foam. Alternatively, head to The Meet, a stylish pop-up that offers vegan cocktails, including a delicious rhubarb and vanilla custard martini, comfort food and even a bottomless vegan brunch, all in a memorable setting under the railway arches of Clapham North.

 

Manchester

The Allotment, Lloyd Street

Named best vegetarian restaurant of 2018 by the Times, award-winning restaurant The Allotment offers 3, 7 and 10-course tasting menus in the heart of Manchester. All its dishes are also 100% gluten, dairy and egg free, making it perfect for coeliacs in addition to those following a plant-based diet. Visit during the holiday season and you can also enjoy its Christmas menu featuring festive delights including cranberry and red wine parfait and pan fried cauliflower roast with all the trimmings.

V-Rev Vegan Diner, Edge Street

A mecca for vegan junk food lovers, V-Rev offers gloriously greasy delights at a price that won’t break the budget. From loaded southwest fries with smashed avocado and southwest chipotle mayo to buffalo mac and cheez made with homemade cheez sauce, beacon and buffalo sauce, this is the perfect venue for post-party pick me ups and cheat days. Can’t decide between savoury and sweet? Look out for Donut Stop Me Now – a mouth-watering medley of buttermilk fried seitan chckn, cheez, baecon, maple syrup and crispy fried onions between two fried donuts, for a decadent burger experience with a difference.

Greens, Didsbury

Set up by Simon Connolly and Simon Rimmer, now one of the UK’s top TV chefs, Greens has been ‘terrifying carnivores’ since 1990 with its inspiring menu of delicious plant-based dishes. Influenced by cuisines from around the world, the menu features dishes including deep-fried oyster mushrooms, pancakes with plum sauce and sage gnocchi with roasted squash and horseradish crumb. Visiting this winter? Enjoy a festive feast of dishes including red lentil and walnut loaf and vegan Christmas pudding, available throughout December.

Edinburgh

Holy Cow, Elder Street

Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, quirky independent café Holy Cow prides itself on using organic local produce to create its 100% vegan menu. Dishes change according to the season and you can expect tasty treats including spicy butternut squash soup in addition to staples such as vegan burgers, open sandwiches and seasonal salads. Much loved for its cakes, the café has an ever-changing selection of sweet delights including chocolate and peanut butter cake, pumpkin pie and spiced pear and walnut cake.

The Ivy on the Square, St Andrew Square

One of the newest restaurants in the city, The Ivy on the Square has swiftly become a staple on the Edinburgh dining scene. Its specially designed vegetarian menu features vegan-friendly options, while non-vegans can also choose from the à la carte menu. With delicious dishes including sweet potato Keralan curry, warm Asian salad and roasted butternut squash with grains, this chic and stylish restaurant is the ideal spot for vegan and vegetarian celebrations while in the Scottish capital.

The Auld Hoose, St Leonard’s Street

Home to some of the best rock, metal and punk music in Edinburgh via their legendary jukebox, The Auld Hoose is also one of the city’s best venues for vegans in search of a little comfort food. From huge plates of nachos dripping in vegan cheese to crunchy onions rings, vegan falafel burgers and even a vegan sorbet sundae, this is the ideal spot for meat-free visitors and music lovers alike.

 

Brighton

Purezza, St James’s Street

The UK’s first vegan pizzeria, Purezza take animal-friendly Italian cuisine seriously. Having spent two years developing their dairy-free mozzarella (made from brown rice), the restaurant uses innovative recipes and ingredients to create delectable vegan pizzas, pastas and desserts – from meltingly moreish macaroni to cheesesteak calzone and vegan oreo pizza. With a second branch in London and many gluten-free options available, it’s the perfect pit-stop for vegans looking for a taste of Italy in the UK.

Food for Friends, Prince Albert Street

Established in 1981, the award-winning Food for Friends is one of Brighton’s longest-running vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Boasting a seasonal menu made with local and organic produce, diners can enjoy Middle Eastern, Japanese and British-inspired vegan dishes including courgette kofta and black olive polenta in addition to a selection of mouth-watering desserts and vegan cocktails.

Terre à Terre, East Street

A haven of vegan indulgence, Terra à Terra prides itself on its marvellous meat-free creations made with ethically sourced ingredients. Playfully named dishes range from KFC, Korean fried cauliflower with sweet and sour sesame, to Snap, Crackle and Choc, a rich chocolate mousse with praline and chocolate shortbread. With a range of organic vegan wines, beers and ciders on offer as well as cocktails and non-alcoholic options, this is the perfect spot for special vegan suppers by the sea.

7 of the best Christmas markets and winter activities

Twinkling lights, mulled wine, festive atmosphere and fabulous gifts – Britain’s Christmas markets are back this year bigger and better than ever before. Set in some of Britain’s loveliest cities, a visit to a Christmas market is equal parts shopping experience, equal parts destination discovery.

Bath Christmas Market, south-west England (22 November – 9 December)

There’s a lovely historic-ambience-meets-winter-style at Bath Christmas Market, as more than 200 pop-up chalets set up on Bath’s pretty Georgian streets. Visitors can expect a real treasure trove of gifts to take home, whether that’s jewellery, homewares or decorations. Last year more than 80% of stallholders came from Bath and south-west England, while 99% of all products were handmade in Britain or abroad with Fairtrade certification, so this is very much an eco-savvy shopping experience. There’s always new stalls to explore as well as the perennial favourites, while you can fill empty bellies with a range of food sold from The Lodge in the heart of the market.

Also check out: Bath on Ice, the festive ice rink that runs from 16 November – 6 January 2019, and Glow in the Dark mini golf; a Christmas Trail at Prior Park Landscape Garden during December; and Shoppers’ Carols at Bath Abbey on various dates throughout the festive season.

 

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, central England (15 November – 23 December)

A firm favourite on Birmingham’s Christmas calendar, this yuletide market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria, and you can peruse all the lovely stalls right up until just before Christmas itself. Expect a fine range of traditional gifts and products on its 120 stalls and get into the German spirit while feasting on schnitzels, bratwursts, gluhwein and weissbeer. While you may be getting a flavour of Germany in the middle of Birmingham, a huge draw is its location in Victoria Square and the programme of live music that’s set to bring the party atmosphere to festive shopping.

Also check out: Birmingham Cathedral’s new outdoor market and Santa’s Grotto plus a full programme of music and film events during the festive season; outdoor skating at Ice Rink Birmingham plus the Big Wheel Experience from 15 November to 27 January 2019; a new event for 2018 (14 – 22 December), Enchanted Weston is an illuminated, after-dark experience in stunning parkland with live music and food.

 

Edinburgh Christmas Market, Scotland (16 November – 5 January)

Even if you pay a visit after Christmas you’ll still get the chance to enjoy some festive treats as Edinburgh’s Christmas market continues – as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas, a six-week programme of entertainment in the city centre – until early January. While it’s not open Christmas Day it is open until 8pm on Christmas Eve so bring plenty of bags to fill up with treats such as arts and crafts, foodie treats and traditional or bespoke Christmas products. The market itself takes place in East Princes Street Gardens, so you’re guaranteed some gorgeous views of Edinburgh Castle in the background and you’re close by to some of the city’s major attractions.

Also check out: The Big Wheel and funfair rides on East Princes Street Gardens; performance company the multi award-winning La Clique with its show La Clique Noel Part Deux; and 24 Hours of Advent, a real-life advent calendar where Edinburgh opens its doors from 1 – 24 December to showcase the city’s unique buildings. 

 

Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland (17 November – 22 December)

Set against the backdrop of one of the Northern Ireland capital’s most iconic buildings, Belfast City Hall, this yuletide market returns in 2018 with its enviable mix of artisan products and stalls groaning with tasty treats from international cuisines in its outdoor food court. Indulge in crepes, a hog roast, Gluhwein and continental cheeses but make it a truly Northern Irish experience and visit Lavery’s traditional Irish bar for some fantastic live music to really get you in the Christmas spirit. Kids will love to take a ride on the vintage carousel or zip down the helter skelter as well as a trip to visit Santa in his magical grotto.

Also check out: Festive Fables at arts and culture hub The Mac (16 – 24 December) for festive storytelling; Christmas Wonderland at outdoor adventure centre The Jungle throughout December; and The Music Box at Belfast Waterfront, a festive music show celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

 

South Bank Winter Festival, London (9 November – 27 December)

The popular Winter Market returns to London’s Southbank Centre, a seasonal pleasure that sits alongside a range of family shows and festive fun as the banks of the River Thames become a winter wonderland. All along the South Bank are strings of decorations and cute wooden cabins lit up with fairy lights will sell Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional, as well as mince pies, spiced cider and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Global cuisines are available too, in the form of festive treats to gift or to eat there and then. Make sure you grab a selfie by the huge Christmas tree!

Also check out: As you’re in one of the capital’s cultural hotspots, book onto one of the fantastic performances available at the Southbank Centre, from Christmas concerts and choir performances to the fairy tale spectacle of Rumpelstiltskin (13 December – 6 January 2019) and Belle Epoque (turn of the century) circus entertainment with Circus 1903 (19 December – 5 January 2019). There are also a number of workshops such as the Winter Knees Up, storytelling and music for all generations.

 

Cardiff Christmas Market, south Wales (15 November – 23 December)

Set across five streets of Cardiff’s pedestrianised city centre, Cardiff’s Christmas Market will be in full swing from mid-November, leaving plenty of time to find the perfect gift among its stalls. Its ethos is hosting stallholders selling original, hand-made products and artists and crafts people selling their work. There are plenty of food and drink options available among the 200+ stallholders and there’ll be music, festive lights, entertainment transforming the streets.

Also check out: Once you’ve shopped you’re in the perfect location to head over to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland (15 November – 6 January), including an undercover ice rink and Santa’s Grotto, which will be in the spectacular setting of Cardiff Castle; unique Santa Tours at the Principality Stadium (dates TBC); and choose from four Christmas ballets at St David’s Hall (19 – 31 December).

 

Manchester Christmas Markets, north-west England (9 November – 22 December)

Not one, not two, not even three but TEN locations will be hosting Manchester’s award-winning Christmas markets, meaning wherever you are in the city you won’t be far from festive gifts and delicious food and drink stalls selling traditional bratwurst, hog roast, paella and much more. There will be more than 300 stalls and chalets across the city; follow the market trail as you pick up jewellery, toys, plants, bags, homeware and quirky, fun gifts. Each has its own character; as well as the traditional style market there will be a French market, a German market, a World Christmas market and a dedicated Arts & Crafts market.

Also check out: Winter Funland, which will be held at an indoor venue and include fairground attractions, ice rink, circus and other fun performances (7 December – 1 January 2019); Manchester orchestra Halle’s Christmas music extravaganza at Bridgewater Hall (21 December); and visit Ice Village Manchester, the UK's biggest-ever ice attraction which will include an Arctic Bar, Santa's Grotto and ice rink (9 November – 5 January 2019).

Five luxurious ways to travel around Britain

Get from A to B with these seriously glamorous ways to travel, which turn exploring British destinations into an upper-class experience all the way.

Train

One of the greatest travel experiences has to be while relaxing with a glass of Champagne, savouring luxurious surroundings while gazing out of the window at ever-changing, beautiful scenery. Train travel on board the lavish Belmond Royal Scotsman (sister train of the Venice Simplon Orient Express) evokes the romance of travel from a bygone era and is all about delivering an exclusive experience; only a maximum of 36 guests are on board on any journey. There are a number of routes available; whisky lovers should check out its Malt Whisky Trail or fans of history can book onto a journey that takes you to visit castles and country estates. But it’s the experience on board that’s just as unforgettable as the stops. Visit its on-board spa for an indulgent treatment, enjoy fine dining across its two elegant dining cars and relax in the Edwardian Observation car.

Even if you only have one day to spare, you can experience the thrill of luxury train travel by dining on board the Northern Belle, which departs from regional stations throughout the UK and takes you through some of the most stunning countryside. Enjoy Champagne receptions, grand dinners or sumptuous afternoon teas in its gorgeous carriages, each of which is named after a British castle or stately home.

Hot-air balloon

Admire the exceptional beauty of the British countryside as you float above the landscapes on an exclusive trip in a hot-air balloon. Visitors have their pick of companies across the destination offering these trips; one example is Kent Ballooning, which offers ballooning over the ‘Garden of England’ – the county of Kent – in south-east England. Take it to a more exclusive, luxurious level with its VIP flights. Two passengers board their own private balloon – after watching its inflation – and enjoy Champagne during the flight.  

Alternatively, why not take part in Britain’s most famous hot-air balloon festival by booking a once-in-a-lifetime hot-air balloon trip with Virgin Balloon Flights at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, which returns in August 2019? You’ll take to the skies over the gorgeous Somerset landscapes for three-to-four hours and witness all the other balloons taking part in the fiesta beside you, while sipping on Champagne!

Helicopter

See Britain from a different angle as you cruise above it by helicopter…all piloted of course! You just have to sit back and enjoy the scenery. If you’re in England’s capital, one of the most exclusive ways to see the city is on board The London Helicopter on a trip that takes in all the iconic landmarks from the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. For an extra special journey tie in a luxury chauffeur service to and from your helicopter flight and, on arrival back at the heliport in Battersea, complete the trip with a glass or two of Champagne at neighbouring ‘The Pad’ at the Crowne Plaza. Helicopter flights can, of course, be more than sightseeing. Aerial Charter Scotland, for example, offers Helicopter Distillery Tours, where whisky lovers can travel between distilleries across the five distinctive whisky producing regions of Scotland. Spot the magnificent lochs, dramatic mountains and vibrant cities as you soar overhead en route to the distilleries.

Cruise ship

Britain is an island – so what better way to explore it than on board a luxury cruise ship? There are a wide range of cruise companies operating itineraries, from around the remote Scottish islands to cruises around the whole of Britain. You’ll find all-inclusive luxury – think butler service, gourmet dining, fine wines, Champagne, suites with private verandas and indulgent spas – with companies such as Regent Seven Seas, Six Star Cruises and Silversea. A two-week cruise by Silversea departs from London and stops at ports such as the spectacular Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall at the south-western tip of England; the exciting city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, the stunning Scottish islands of Lewis, Shetland, Orkney and Mull as well as the vibrant Scottish capital Edinburgh. Six Star Cruises offers a ‘British Isles Legacy’ route, with stops in Fowey in Cornwall, Liverpool in north-west England and Scotland, while Regent Seven Seas’ offers a ‘Treasures of the British Isles’ cruise, departing from Bristol, heading up to the Scottish islands and across to Aberdeen, before taking in Guernsey in the Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

Chauffeur-driven luxury car

Enjoy the VIP treatment by visiting some of Britain’s top attractions and most beautiful destinations via chauffeur-driven luxury vehicle. There is a wealth of companies across Britain offering this type of service but to enhance the experience further, ensure your driver is also a knowledgeable guide. British Chauffeur Tours offers tailor-made tours to suit individual interests but check out popular journeys such as its Harry Potter tours, football tours and tours of the Cotswolds. Ever wanted to channel your inner James Bond? Book onto its Espionage London tour to discover the secret world of the spy – all, of course, from the comfort of a luxury car. Visitors can also have multi-day bespoke tours created. British Heritage Chauffeur Tours, for example, offers entire trips around Wales, England or Scotland – which include five-star accommodation along the way – as well as tours across a range in themes, from Poldark to Queen Victoria.

Celebrate Global Champagne Day with a sparkle in the UK

October 19th is Global Champagne Day and there are lots of places to celebrate in and around the capital. But for wine connoisseurs in the know, it’s also a chance to enjoy one of the UK’s lesser-known but much-loved tipples – English sparkling wine. Read on to discover our favourite locations to savour a bit of the English spirit.

 

Searcys Champagne Bar, St Pancras

Located within the majestic interior of St Pancras Station, which celebrates its 150th birthday this year, Searcys is Europe’s longest champagne bar. In addition to an extensive list of fine French champagnes, the bar proudly stocks a number of acclaimed English sparkling wines including Greyfriars Cuvée Brut NV from Surrey and Nyetimber Classic Cuvée Brut NV from West Sussex. Savour a glass of bubbles as you admire Tracy Emin’s ‘I want my time with you’ installation or relax on the terrace and watch the world go by. Alternatively, refine your palette at Searcys Champagne School. One of the first schools in the UK dedicated to bubbly, it offers masterclasses in both champagne and English sparkling wines at a range of ticketed events. https://stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk

 

Skylon Restaurant, Bar and Grill, Southbank

One of London’s best-known bars, Skylon is also a proud retailer of one of its lesser-known delights and sells a range of English sparkling wines such as Nyetimber Rosé from West Sussex and Blanc de Blancs from the Gusbourne Estate in Kent. Located at the top of the Royal Festival Hall, a short distance from Waterloo Station, the bar also offers one of the best views of the London skyline, the perfect accompaniment to your evening tipple. https://www.skylon-restaurant.co.uk/at/grill-south-bank/

 

George’s Bar, King’s Cross

From its buttery leather sofas to its decorative Victorian ceilings, George’s Bar is a lamp-lit oasis of luxury located within the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Owned by British chef and Masterchef presenter Marcus Wearing, the bar is steeped in British history. The ideal location in which to enjoy afternoon tea, George’s offers gourmet cocktails and an extensive champagne list. It also boasts several notable English sparkling wines including Gusbourne Rosé, a delightfully crisp sparkling wine with notes of strawberry that hails from the heart of Kent. https://www.georgesbar.co.uk/

 

Iris Bar at The Gherkin, City of London

The only bar in London with 360° views over the city, Iris is located on the 40th floor of The Gherkin and is one of the newest drinking establishments to grace the capital’s ever-changing skyline. The perfect place to celebrate Global Champagne Day, the bar offers an extensive London-themed cocktail menu, an excellent selection of champagne and some of the UK’s finest sparkling wines, including Nyetimber Rosé MV from West Sussex. https://searcysatthegherkin.co.uk/iris-bar/

 

The 10 Cases, Covent Garden

Nestled in a quiet side street in the bustling heart of Covent Garden, The 10 Cases is an unassuming bistro and wine bar that is proving one of the most popular additions to the area. Originally starting out as a bistro serving 10 white, 10 red and a selection of rose, sparkling and sweet wines, in 2013 the owners opened the adjacent Cave a Vin wine bar, shop and cellar. Offering an ever-changing range of vintages from around the world, English sparkling wines such as Gusbourne Brut Reserve Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Kent regularly make an appearance. https://www.10cases.co.uk/

 

Want to discover more about English sparkling wines? Why not venture out of the city and explore the locations forging the way for the UK wine scene, with our round-up of England’s most amazing vineyards.

Five family-friendly activities in London fit for royalty

The Duchess of Sussex is three-months’ pregnant and expecting her first baby in spring 2019, Kensington Palace revealed today.

Announced this morning, as Prince Harry and Meghan began their first official tour to Australia and New Zealand, the world reacted excitedly to the news that the royal family will once again be expecting the patter-patter of tiny feet. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a round-up of five of our favourite family-friendly attractions in and around the capital, for a right royal day out.

Spitalfields City Farm

Hidden away in the heart of vibrant Shoreditch, Spitalfield’s City Farm is home to farm-yard favourites including rabbits, pigs, chickens, geese and cows. Kids can discover the wonderful world of creepy-crawlies at The Bug Hotel and harvest their own vegetables during Kids’ Kitchen cookery lessons. There’s even the Oxford and Cambridge Goat Race – held annually on the same day as the University boat race, when goats Oxford and Cambridge compete for that extra bale of hay. https://www.spitalfieldscityfarm.org/, cost: free

LEGOLAND Windsor

Located a short distance from Windsor Castle, this world-famous amusement park is a bucket-list activity for many families visiting the capital. Divided into fantasy-themed lands based on the iconic brands most famous collections, there are 55 different activities to choose from, including the Atlantis Submarine Voyage in Adventure Land and the Splash Safari water park at Duplo® Valley. https://www.legoland.co.uk/ cost: Tickets from £32, children under two go free.

V&A Museum of Childhood

The nearby V&A Museum of Childhood is a must-see for London-bound families with an interest in history. Home to a range of fascinating permanent displays including the UK’s largest collection of dolls, the museum also hosts a range of special exhibitions such as A Pirate’s Life for Me – exploring the legends of pirates in history, which runs from this month until April 2019. https://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/ , cost: free

The making of Harry Potter – Warner Brothers Studio Tour

This perennially-popular Warner Brothers Studio Tour gives kids the chance to delve behind the scenes and experience the magic of Harry Potter for themselves. They can wander creepy Diagon Alley, discover how the goblins of Gringotts were created and learn the secrets of the special effects behind the Whomping Willow and Harry’s invisibility cloak. https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/, cost: Adults £45, Children £35, Children under five go free.

The Tower of London

A former palace and prison, The Tower of London is one of the city’s most intriguing spots. See the glittering Crown Jewels and meet the famous Yeoman Warders, known as Beefeaters, who have protected the Tower since the time of the Tudors. You can even hear its grisly history during a spooky twilight tour. https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/, cost: Adults from £22.70, Children from £10.75, Children under five go free.

The World of Mr Banks

The world of ‘banks’ is at the very heart of the story of Mary Poppins; aside from the magical nanny herself, the main characters are the Banks family and Mr Banks is preoccupied with his work at a…you’ve guessed it, a bank! Britain itself has a long history of banking, with many branches once residing in the grandest buildings of a city that have now been transformed into elegant hotels and restaurants. As new feature film Mary Poppins Returns hits screens this winter it’s the perfect time to seek out your very own ‘Banks’ experience in Britain.

Stay

The Ned, London

A City of London landmark since 1925, the building now occupied by luxury hotel The Ned was once the headquarters of Britain’s Midland Bank, a striking building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens – one of Britain’s greatest architects – that was the largest clearing house bank in the world at the time it was built. Now a five-star hotel, part of the Soho House & Co Group and Sydell Group, its banking legacy means guests stay in a super-stylish building dominated with high-vaulted ceilings and grand doors. Its rooms range from the cosy ‘Crash Pad’ to Grand Heritage suites on the Grade I-listed fifth floor, while its pièce de résistance is its spectacular restaurant hall. Eight restaurants, ranging in cuisine from Italian to British, American to French, sit within the former banking hall, each with its own space separated by 92 verdite columns and walnut banking counters.

The Old Bank Hotel, Oxford, central England

Surrounded by the impressive architecture of ancient Oxford University colleges as well as the Bodleian Library, The Old Bank Hotel still manages to stand out in Oxford thanks to its stunning design. It fully became a bank in 1808, and had strong links with the University, counting author of Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll as one of its customers. Now a five-star property with 42 bedrooms, many with gorgeous views of Oxford landmarks, The Old Bank Hotel has recently undergone a refurbishment, resulting in the creation of a rooftop bedroom and terrace overlooking Oxford’s ‘dreaming spires’ skyline.

Harbour Hotel & Spa, Bristol, south-west England

Situated in the heart of Bristol, the Harbour Hotel & Spa is housed in not one, but two former Lloyds Bank buildings. Designed by famed Victorian architect William Bruce Gingell, who was inspired by the 16th-century Venetian Library, the hotel has a stunning façade and beautiful interiors. The former banking hall is particularly grand and often hosts events, while what were once the bank vaults are now the hotel’s luxury spa. Indulge in a treatment or two or a dip in the hydrotherapy pool knowing that you’re relaxing in the location where a lot of money was once guarded!

Inn on the Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland

It may not be on the same grandiose scale as some buildings that were formerly bank headquarters, but this gem of a boutique hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile has lovingly conserved many of the building’s original features from when it was the British Linen Bank, built in 1923. The hotel’s nine bedrooms include large sash windows, high ceilings and original cornicing, while its pub also nods to its banking heritage in its décor and style.

Hotel Gotham, Manchester, north-west England

Sir Edwin Lutyens left his mark in Manchester when he designed the building of a former bank that is now home to Hotel Gotham. The architecture is quite breathtaking and the luxury hotel pays homage throughout to the building’s original purpose, maintaining elaborate period touches such as the polished wooden counters so synonymous with banks from the last century. The five-star hotel offers 60 rooms, including five Inner Sanctum Suites – two of which are named ‘Bank Manager’s Suites’ – all of which are decadent in style. Guests (and members) have access to its VIP Club Brass lounge, which is accessed through two vault-like doors.

Eat

Old Bank of England, London

This pub and restaurant’s name sums up its past…it sits in the former Law Courts branch of the Bank of England, on the historic Fleet Street in the City of London. Stunningly renovated, the Old Bank of England has updated the ornate interior of the venue where the Bank of England traded from 1888 until 1975. When you’re enjoying your hearty British meals (think hand-made pies and fish and chips) you’ll be doing so surrounded by history; the basement still contains the original vaults used to store bullion and some of the Crown Jewels during the First World War. The two safes are now the venue’s cellars and kitchens.

The Corinthian Club, Glasgow, Scotland

Five floors of what was once a former bank and high court in the heart of Glasgow now house the restaurant, bar and event spaces of The Corinthian Club. One of the city’s most elaborate buildings, the Club has retained many of the original features of the Glasgow & Ship Bank (which was built in 1842) such as the impressive 26-foot glass dome and delicate, elegant plasterwork. Book into Teller’s Brasserie at the Club for a French-influenced dishes created using Scottish produce.

The Wolseley, London

Situated on Piccadilly, The Wolseley is run in the style of the European Grand Café, serving everything from breakfast to lunch, afternoon teas to dinners – it’s also very much a place to see and be seen. As well as the food, people come for the prestigious surroundings of the building that started life as a car showroom – Wolseley Motors – in 1921 and became a branch of Barclays Bank in 1927. Architect William Curtis Green created an opulent building, with marble pillars and archways, later adding banking counter and managers offices, which now serve as the bar and tea salon. When it became The Wolseley many aspects of the original design, including the domed ceiling and marble flooring, were kept.

The Dome, Edinburgh, Scotland

Dine on traditional Scottish favourites at this Edinburgh restaurant, which was once one of the city’s most striking bank branches and its décor remains as opulent to this day. Located in Edinburgh’s New Town, an elegant Graeco-Roman façade and Corinthian Portico greet its guests. You can dine under the dome itself in the Grill Room, among wood-panelled walls and Art Deco-inspired mirrors in The Club or take afternoon tea under the crystal chandeliers of The Georgian Tea Room.

Potted Pig, Cardiff, south Wales

Modern British cuisine and French/American culinary influences are on the menu at Cardiff’s Potted Pig, situated in a former Lloyd’s Bank vault beneath the city. Regularly changing seasonal menus are served in this underground restaurant that has retained a raft of original features, such as cast-iron cage doors and shallow-arched ceilings. The exposed brickwork, wooden floors and comfy sofas of its Gin Lounge make it the perfect place to experience its huge range of bespoke gins.

Play

Bank of England Museum, London

The Bank of England itself may not be open to visitors but you can explore its fascinating museum in the City of London. Five different galleries will take you through economic history and that of the Bank of England, from the origins of paper money and examples of forged notes to explaining why modern banknotes are difficult to counterfeit.

Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant, south Wales

The Royal Mint makes and distributes British coins and official medals for around 60 countries every year and its location in south Wales, 30 minutes’ drive from Cardiff, also offers a visitor experience. Take a guided tour of the manufacturing areas to discover how coins are created and the chance to strike your own coin. The experience concludes with an interactive exhibition divided into six zones, which include the history and origins of the Mint and the roles coins play in our lives.

Museum on the Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland

Close to Edinburgh’s Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle, the Museum on the Mound is located in the historic Bank of Scotland Head Office and takes visitors through the story of money. You’ll be able to see Scotland’s oldest banknote, come face-to-face with a million pounds, see how safes are cracked open and learn much more about the design, technology and security of money at this free museum.

Michelin Guide 2019 – ten winning British restaurants you have to eat at

The MICHELIN Guide has spoken; Britain & Ireland welcomed three new two-star restaurants and 21 new one-star establishments to the 2019 guide, bringing the destination’s total to an incredible 155 one-Michelin star restaurants, 20 two-star, five one-star and 143 Bib Gourmands. We take a look at ten of the first-time winners in their categories, demonstrating how Britain continues to be a must-visit gastronomic destination thanks to its ever-evolving culinary scene.

Two Stars

Core by Clare Smyth, London

As Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth was the first and only female chef to run a three-star Michelin restaurant in Britain; and now, with her debut restaurant Core gaining a coveted two stars it may not be long before she’s doing the same with her own restaurant. It might be located in the well-heeled London neighbourhood of Notting Hill but Core veers away from being showy or stuffy and is instead informal and welcoming. The key focus is on gourmet meals created from sustainable ingredients from UK producers and farmers, and include dishes ranging from Sharpham Park spelt, morels, asparagus and wild garlic to duck and nectarine with thyme, honey and Timut pepper.

Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, London

Tucked away at the back of Bubbledogs – a restaurant where hot dogs are paired with Champagne – in London’s elegant Fitzrovia is a discrete entrance that will lead you into Kitchen Table, which has been awarded two Michelin stars. And with just 20 seats there’s plenty of interaction between customers and chefs, led by Head Chef James Knappett, who will talk through and serve a daily changing menu created from sourced and foraged British ingredients. Its 12-course tasting menu is influenced by Knappett’s previous roles at noma and Per Se but remains true to British traditions and flavours. Sandia Chang, James’ wife, is general manager and sommelier, selecting a wine list with more than 100 choices, including wines made by small producers.

Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall, Lancashire, north-west England

When Lancashire born-and-bred Mark Birchall became Chef Patron at Moor Hall, a luxury restaurant with rooms in the beautiful Lancashire countryside (only 30 minutes from Liverpool), he brought with him his vast experience gained as Executive Chef of the two-Michelin star L’Enclume in Cumbria, and from his role at three-Michelin star El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. Home-grown ingredients and produce inspired by the countryside surroundings are an important focus for Mark, who creates menus of modern British cuisine. Sample menus feature creative dishes such as turnip and crab with anise hyssop and sunflower seeds, and Westmorland chicken, hen of the woods, with candisa cabbage in ham fat.

One Star

Brat, London

Proving the Shoreditch scene is still attracting the cool chefs, Brat was opened earlier this year by ex-Kitty Fisher’s chef Tomos Parry, who has brought a bold blend of Welsh and Basque cuisine to east London. So how does that translate onto a menu? Gorgeous dishes such as Herdwick lamb, pork and laverbread salami, wild rabbit with blood sausage and beans, and whole turbots.

Roganic, London

What first opened as a two-year pop-up in Marylebone is now a firm fixture in London’s culinary scene. Owned by top British chef Simon Rogan, it brings elements of L’Enclume – Rogan’s two Michelin-star restaurant in the Lake District – to the capital and is run alongside its development kitchen and eight-seat chef’s table Aulis London. Expect to find the best produce from the UK used in its dishes – including from Rogan’s ‘Our Farm’ in the Lake District – that feature on its long and short tasting menus. The dishes may list just a few ingredients (such as ‘almond, scallop, apple’ or ‘tomato, seatrout, farm offerings’) but you know they will be of the highest quality and be part of something spectacular. (Simon Rogan’s Rogan & Co in Cumbria was also awarded a Michelin star in this year’s guide.)

Chris Simpson’s Gidleigh Park, Devon, south-west England

When Chris Simpson joined luxury country house hotel Gidleigh Park at the start of the year, he came with an outstanding CV, having worked as as Head Chef at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Cornwall for seven years, which has held two Michelin stars since 2011. Taking a modern approach to classical cooking, Chris is a keen advocate of using local ingredients to create his inspirational dishes, which are refined, yet simple. As well as à la carte, there are two seven-course tasting menus (one of which is vegetarian), that feature beautiful dishes such as Cornish turbot with leeks, purple sprouting broccoli and caviar hollandaise.

Olive Tree, Bath, south-west England

Located below the gorgeous boutique Queensberry Hotel in the historic city of Bath, The Olive Tree is headed up by Chris Cleghorn who, during his career, has worked under the guidance of three Michelin-star chefs, including Heston Blumenthal. Now, at The Olive Tree (which also has three AA rosettes for culinary excellence), he delivers a regularly changing menu created from local produce, menus that feature either five or seven dishes, known as The Five or The Seven, as well as the Vegetarian Seven, the Vegan Seven and the Dairy Free Seven.

Salt, Stratford-upon-Avon, west England

Run by Paul Foster and his wife Rhiain, Salt was created after they launched a crowdfunding campaign for Paul to fulfil his dream of having his own restaurant. They’re now the proud owners of fine-dining establishment Salt, which focuses on using top-quality, seasonal produce. Come Friday or Saturday evening to experience either its creative five- or eight-course tasting menu, while the à la carte during the week is equally innovative. Choose from starters such as St Austell mussels with confit tomato, tomato juice, basil, samphire, mains such as roast partridge with salt-baked celeriac, black shallot pureé and grelots and desserts such as quince and rose geranium custard tart with a celery sorbet.

Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent, south-east England

One of the few pubs to have gained a Michelin star this year, the Fordwich Arms is located in Fordwich, Britain’s smallest town. Chef patron Daniel Smith – who’s also been awarded The Observer’s Young Chef of the Year – showcases the best of Kent’s seasonal ingredients throughout all his menus. Starters include native lobster, butternut squash with pumpkin seed and orange and mains of venison sourced from a local farm with celeriac, damson and smoked bone marrow. There are also tasting menus and short tasting menus for vegetarian customers. The food is complemented by the restaurant’s lovely surroundings, with views over the River Stour.

Bulrush, Bristol, south-west England

Chef George Livesey opened this independent restaurant after a career in several high-end establishments, such as St John Restaurant, Roux Fine Dining under Dan Cox, Club Gascon and White Rabbit in Dalston, London. Mid-week customers can choose from à la carte and an eight-course tasting menu while Friday and Saturday evenings are about the show-stopping nine-course tasting menu. This is where you’ll find dishes such as starters of Highland grouse with cherries and sunflower seed and creative desserts such as butternut squash ice cream with hops, blackberries and cornflake crisp.

Find the full list of Michelin-star restaurants in Britain and Ireland here.

London rocks!

Bohemian Rhapsody hits the big screen at the end of this month, telling the tale of rock band Queen’s meteoric rise and revolutionary sound, up until their appearance at Live Aid in 1985, as well the story of the life of their extraordinary frontman Freddie Mercury. Queen formed and lived in London, recorded their music and played legendary gigs in the capital. Let the film inspire you to visit the city to pay homage to your music heroes, whether that’s Queen or Bowie, Pink Floyd or Amy Winehouse, The Beatles or Oasis – London has been a home, and a muse, to them all. Here’s how to follow in their footsteps.

 

Tour

To mark Bohemian Rhapsody’s release, Queen fans can book onto a rock tour to get their fix of Freddie and the band. London Rock Tours runs a half-day tour in the capital that’s fully focused on Queen, taking you to the places where they were formed – such as the pub where Freddie first met Brian May and Roger Taylor – where they recorded and where they lived. You’ll visit the sites and locations that played a significant part in the band’s history, as well as where some of their videos were shot and the site of the last-ever Queen performance.

Alternative walking tours that include Queen sites along with other historic sites of some of Britain’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll bands, include Rock Walk and Classic Rock Legends tour. You can also walk to Freddie Mercury’s final home, Garden Lodge Mansion in the upmarket neighbourhood of Kensington. Although it remains a private home you can read some of the letters that people have written in memory of Freddie and posted on the wall.

London is a must-visit on any music pilgrimage; London Rock tours also offer music adventures such as the Classic Rock & Beatles Tour and Punk and New Wave tour, plus many others; the Rock ‘n’ Roll London Tour takes you around the sites made famous by the likes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols, Blur and Oasis. Undiscovered London offers the Camden Markets and Music Legends Tour, where you’ll learn about the lives and music of Amy Winehouse, Pink Floyd and other artists who lived and worked in the north London neighbourhood of Camden; David Bowie fans should check out the David Bowie Musical Walking Tour around the artist’s home neighbourhood in south London, Brixton; or go time travelling in the Swinging 60s bus tour, which transports you back to the music-defining decade.

A simple stroll around the streets of London will reveal sites that British rock legends have made famous. Soho’s Berwick Street is the location for Oasis’ seminal album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory cover shot; download the Blue Plaques app to discover where eminent musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, lived or played. Take a walk down Soho’s Denmark Street – affectionately known as Tin Pan Alley for its large number of musical instrument shops that have served famous customers over the decades. Visit the Handel & Hendrix Museum at 23 Brook Street, where you’ll learn about the lives of two very different musicians who lived at this address centuries apart. And you can’t come to England’s capital without recreating The Beatles’ legendary Abbey Road album cover – head up to the neighbourhood of St John’s Wood and pose on the zebra crossing they made famous (watch out for the traffic!). Which Beatle will you be?

 

Shop

Are you a fan of vinyl records? London is a haven for vinyl addicts. Flip through the albums at Rough Trade West (the original, which opened in 1976) near Portobello Road, or its UK flagship, Rough Trade East at the Old Truman Brewery (also home to live performances). Rekless Recordcs has been selling second-hand records for more than 40 years and has a huge vinyl – and CD – collection. Flashback Records has three stores across London – Shoreditch, Islington and Crouch End – bursting with second-hand vinyl as has Sister Ray Ace in Shoreditch, which also hosts live music performances. And if you’re in London for Record Store Day (13 April 2019) you can catch a huge range of free gigs at independent record shops.

 

Stay

Scheduled to open in Spring 2019, the Hard Rock Hotel, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, will pay tribute in its memorabilia collection to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. Hard Rock Hotel London will boast around 1,000 stylish rooms and suites, together with two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Cafe®. In the lobby, the world-famous Rock Shop® will feature Hard Rock’s iconic merchandise.

K West Hotel & Spa may be a four-star retreat in west London but it also prides itself on its cutting-edge style and ambience. And that’s down to its location within former recording studios where legends such as The Kinks and Bob Marley laid down tracks. Its Studio Bar is all chic furnishings and chandeliers, playing host to a cool urban crowd at the weekends.

Notting Hill-based boutique property The Portobello Hotel has a 24-hour honesty bar, which may be one of the reasons behind why so many famous musicians and bands have stayed here. Book a room here and you’ll be in the company of guests that have included U2, Mick Jagger, Blur, Alice Cooper, Oasis and the Sex Pistols – although not all at the same time (now that would be some party!)

Karma Sanctum Soho invites you to ‘live the rock star life’ – and how can you not when it has a 24-hour bar and hot tub? Two Georgian townhouses were converted into 30 boutique hotel rooms and the hotel certainly nods to Soho’s artistic and avant-garde history. The likes of Motorhead are said to have checked in here.

 

Play

Fancy ordering a pint in the same venues your rock heroes drank in or played at? London is packed with pubs and bars where your favourites kickstarted their careers – head to The Dublin Castle pub in Camden, which has hosted The Killers, Blur and Amy Winehouse both as performers and customers! Check out the Camden Assembly, (formerly known as The Barfly), a bar where Oasis, Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand crafted their art, as well as The Good Mixer, still a live-music venue and a pub Amy Winehouse, Blur, Pulp and Oasis were regularly seen at. In Earl’s Court, The Troubadour is a historic music venue where Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix both played, while in Islington, pub The Hope & Anchor has played host to bands such as U2, The Police and The Stranglers while they were cutting their teeth in the music industry. Rolling Stones’ fans can grab a bite to eat at Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers restaurant in Kensington.

 

Annual events in Britain - 2019

JANUARY

New Year’s Day Parade, London, England

1 January

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

1 January

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

25 January

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

25 January
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*

29 January

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. 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY  

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

13 - 24 February

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.

 

 

MARCH  

St. David’s Day, Wales-wide
1 March

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.

Olney Pancake Race, Buckinghamshire, south-east England *Quirky*

5 March

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. 

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

17 March

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
23 March  

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. 

WOW – Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre, London, England

March TBC

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.

 

 

 

APRIL 

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. 

Gateshead International Jazz Festival, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England 

6 - 8 April

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. 

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

7 April

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

23 April 

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

28 April

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

April

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.

National Parks Fortnight, nationwide
April

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.

 

 

 

 

MAY  

Whisky Month, across Scotland

Throughout May

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

4 May

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. 

Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
4 – 19 May
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.

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

18 May

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.

The Bath Festival, Bath, south-west England

17 - 26 May

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.

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.

Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, south-west England *Quirky *

27 May

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

17 - 18 May

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’. 

Highland Games, across Scotland

12 May – 21 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. 

 

 

 

 

JUNE  

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. 

Man v Horse Marathon, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

8 June 
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.

Pride in London, London, England

8 June - 6 July 

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. 

Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales, Wales

9 June
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

21 June 

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

29 June  

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. 

Major League Baseball London Series, London

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*

30 June 

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. 
Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths, Bath, south-west England
21 June – 31 August 
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

19 - 23 June 

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. 

London Fashion Week Men’s, London, England 

8 - 10 June

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

8 June

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

7 - 8 June

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.  

West End LIVE at Trafalgar Square, London

22 - 23 June

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.

Glasgow Mela, Glasgow, Scotland

23 June

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.  

 
 

 

 

JULY 

Walled City Music Festival, Derry, Northern Ireland

1 - 10 July

The Walled City Music Festival hosts talented classical musicians of wide-ranging genres and styles. 

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. 

Bristol Pride, Bristol, south-west England

1 - 14 July

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.

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

7 July 

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.

Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

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*

20 July

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

19 July - 14 September

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

5 - 7 July

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

20 July – 29 September

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

20 - 27 July

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 

1 - 14 July 

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

19 - 22 July 

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

12 - 21 July

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
26 - 28 July 
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

19 - 21 July

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. 

Liverpool International Music Festival, Sefton Park, Liverpool, north-west England 

20 - 21 July

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.
Northern Pride, Newcastle, north-east England

19 - 21 July

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.

Merchant City Festival, Glasgow, Scotland

25 - 28 July

Glasgow’s cultural quarter comes to life with its annual celebration of live music, street performances, art, dance, theatre, comedy, food and drink.  

 

 

 

AUGUST  

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.

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.

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.

National Eisteddfod, Llanrwst, Conwy County, Wales

3 - 10 August

Dating back to 1176, the National Eisteddfod is an annual extravaganza and celebration of Welsh culture, language and traditions. Held in a different location each year, 2019 will see more than 6,000 competitors descend on Llanrwst, County Conwy, to compete in fields as diverse as music, visual arts, dance, comedy and literature. Having played host to many of the country's best-known poets, writers and musicians throughout the years, the week-long festival is a vibrant, must-do experience for anyone with an interest in the arts and Welsh heritage.

Leeds Pride, Yorkshire, north England

4 August

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! 

Eroica Britannia, Peak District, central England

18 August

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.

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.

Reading Festival & Leeds Festival, England

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
25 August
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

10 - 18 August

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.   

Race the Train, Tywyn, mid-Wales *Quirky*

17 August

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*

26 August

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

9 - 22 August

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. 

Hull Freedom Festival, Yorkshire, north England 

30 August - 1 September

Hull's annual flagship arts and culture event, the Freedom Festival, brings three days of entertainment to Yorkshire's waterfront city.   

Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, north-west England
30 August – 3 November
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.

 

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER  

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.

The Braemar Gathering, Aberdeenshire, north Scotland

7 September

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. 

Great North Run Weekend, NewcastleGateshead, north-east England

8 September

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

15 September
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

24 - 29 September

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

13 - 15 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. 

British Science Festival, University of Warwick

10 - 13 September 

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.  

London Fashion Week, London, England

13 - 17 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. 

Jane Austen Festival, Bath, south-west England

13 - 22 September

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

27 September – 6 October
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
20 - 29 September
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.

The Good Life Experience, Flintshire, north Wales

12 - 15 September
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

21 - 22 September

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

13 - 23 September

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

15 - 23 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.  

Egremont Crab Fair & World Gurning Championships, Cumbria, north-west England *Quirky* 

20 - 21 September 

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*

29 September

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.

Last Night of the Proms & BBC Proms in the Park, Royal Albert Hall & Hyde Park, London

14 September

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.

Turner Prize 2019, Margate, Kent

28 September – 12 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.

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 

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
7 October

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
10 - 23 October

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*

13 October

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. 

Melton Mowbray Food Festival, Leicestershire, central England

October TBC 

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

5 - 6 October 

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*

12 October

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

4 - 15 October

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

15 October – 3 November

This Belfast-based festival covers theatre, dance, classical and roots music, visual, film and digital arts and literature in the Northern Ireland capital.

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER

Bonfire Night, Britain-wide  

5 November

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

30 November

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

15 - 24 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. 

Skate at Somerset House, London, England

13 November 2019 - 12 January 2020

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*

November TBC

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

November TBC

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

21 November – 5 January

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

9 November - 5 January

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
7 - 17 November
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

8 - 16 November

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

November TBC
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
14 - 17 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.

Leeds International Film Festival, Yorkshire, north England

6 - 21 November

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

20 November 2019 - 5 January 2020

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. 

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 

Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

December

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. 

The Great Christmas Pudding Race – London & Brighton, England *Quirky*

7 December

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

31 December

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,

31 December

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

31 December

This fireball ceremony is the traditional way to greet the New Year in the Aberdeenshire town of Stonehaven.