2019 is set to be another huge year for Britain with tons of annual events returning across the year. From quirky traditions to world-class sporting tournaments, there's plenty to see and do in the United Kingdom next year. Plan a trip around one of these top events, or simply stop by when you're visiting!
New Year’s Day Parade, London, England
London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars, with around 10,000 performers from across the world and a street-side audience approaching 500,000. The parade starts at 12pm and is filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, kites and more.
Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Scotland
17 January – 3 February
Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival celebrates 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.
Burns’ Night, Scotland
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.
RBS Six Nations Rugby, Cardiff, London, and Edinburgh
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
5 February (London Parade date 10 February)
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.
Jorvik Viking Festival, York, 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.
St. David’s Day, Wales
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
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.
Cheltenham Festival, Gloucestershire, England
12 – 15 March
Held close to the lovely Regency town of Cheltenham, this National Hunt race meeting attracts prize money second only to the Grand National. Famous for the roar arising from the stands as the tape is raised for the start of the first race, the excitement continues to build until its climax with Friday’s signature Gold Cup – one of the greatest of all jump-racing events.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
14 – 31 March
The largest event of its kind in Europe, this comedy extravaganza features a line-up of both big league players and emerging talent from around Britain and beyond, performing in venues throughout the city.
St Patrick’s Day, Northern Ireland and parts of Britain
The national saint of Ireland is celebrated in traditional fashion with festivals, parades, carnivals and concerts taking place across Northern Ireland, and around Britain, including a parade in London.
Gymnastics World Cup, Birmingham, England
Held at Birmingham’s Genting Arena in March, some of the biggest gymnasts from across the globe will be competing to win the prestigious title.
Isle of Wight Walking Festival, Isle of Wight, south England
4 – 19 April
The Isle of Wight’s popular walking festival has a full schedule of walks for all ages and abilities. Thousands of local and visiting walkers explore trails across the island, taking in chalky cliffs and rolling hills, sand dunes and pebbly beaches, bustling towns and sleepy villages of thatched cottages.
Grand National, Liverpool, England
5 – 7 April
One of the most famous horse races in the world sees competitors make two circuits of the Grand National course, tackling 30 fences as they cover four and a half miles. The event’s colourful, fashionista celebration, Ladies’ Day, will take place on 5 April.
Edinburgh International Science Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
6 – 21 April
Edinburgh International Science Festival delivers one of Europe's largest Science Festivals, giving audiences amazing experiences through a programme of innovative and inspiring discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, special events and exhibitions. The Science Festival brings great minds together for a programme that fosters dialogues about the future of our culture, our nation, our planet and our understanding.
The Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, London, England
First raced in 1829, the Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world. Watched by thousands along the banks of The Tideway, located between Putney and Mortlake in south London, this unique sporting event sees two strong squads of athletes competing against each other.
Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, Stratford-upon-Avon, 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
St George’s Day, across England
St George’s Day celebrates the patron saint of England with activities ranging from festivals, ‘dragon’ hunts and medieval banquets happening across England.
London Marathon, London, England
The Virgin Money London Marathon is a phenomenal event to be a part of, as a participant and a spectator. It’s not just a monumental physical challenge, but also the world's largest fundraising event - and one of the six top marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Gloucestershire, 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, 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.
Brighton Fringe Festival, Brighton, 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, London, England
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?
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norwich, 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.
Football Association Cup Final, London, England
The FA Cup, the oldest domestic Cup competition in the football world, is established as one of the country's great sporting institutions. The history and tradition of the competition, and the pageantry of the Cup Final, is familiar to millions.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London, England
21 – 25 May
One of the best known Royal Horticultural Shows, the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show returns with even more unforgettable floral and horticultural displays.
Birmingham Pride, Birmingham, 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.
Blenheim Palace Food Festival, Oxfordshire, 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.
Cricket World Cup, various locations (England and Wales)
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, Surrey, England
31 May – 1 June
The world’s most famous flat race will see riders and owners in pursuit of one of the richest prizes in British racing on 1 June, with the famous Ladies’ Day held the day before on 31 May.
The Bath Festival, Bath, England
May – June TBC
Bath’s flagship festival consists of 17 days of music and literature in the city’s most beautiful venues. With more than 180 live events to choose from, highlights include Bath’s biggest night of free music, Party in the City, and the highly anticipated Finale Weekend.
Cheese rolling at Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire, England
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.
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. And if you're travelling with family, there are plenty of attractions for everyone to enjoy, from watching the competitions to visiting the various stalls and exhibitors on site.
Highland Games, across Scotland
19 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.
Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales, Wales
Dragon Ride L’Etape Wales by Le Tour de France is one of the most iconic sportives in the UK, organised by Human Race and ASO to offer an inspiring Tour de France riding experience to UK cyclists. With a selection of four distances to choose from ranging from the Macmillan 100 over 100km, to the gruelling 305km Dragon Devil, the famous route features epic climbs. Signature climbs include Devil’s Elbow, Rhigos, Bwlch, Black Mountain and Devil’s Staircase.
Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, 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.
Royal Ascot, Berkshire, 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.
Stonehenge Summer Solstice, Wiltshire, England
Every year visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge overnight to celebrate the Summer Solstice and watch the sun rise over the stones. It’s the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to visit. The celebration brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans and Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travellers and party people.
Jane Austen Regency Week, Hampshire, 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.
Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury, England
The world-famous Glastonbury returns in 2019 after a regularly scheduled "fallow year" to help restore the ground. This five-day celebration of music and art is the UK's biggest festival with over 130,000 attendees. Stormzy is the first headliner confirmed for the 2019 bill, but the full lineup of contemporary, exciting acts is due shortly.
Major League Baseball London Series, London, England
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, County Durham, England
29 June – 14 September
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.
Pride in London, London, England
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.
Taste of London Festival, London, England
June (exact dates to be confirmed)
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.
Queen’s Birthday / Trooping the Colour, London, England
Trooping the Colour is the annual celebration of the Queen's official birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it’s a colourful display of military pageantry featuring 1,400 officers and men on parade in ceremonial uniform, 200 horses and 400 musicians. The Queen always attends the ceremony, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, London.
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.
Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, 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.
Manchester International Festival, Manchester, 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.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 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, 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.
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.
World Snail Racing Championship, Norfolk, England
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, 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, Dorset, 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.
The BBC Proms, 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.
Brighton Pride, Brighton, 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 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.
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 if you have a passion for the arts and Welsh heritage.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol, 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.
The Garlic Festival, Isle of Wight, England
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!
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.
Notting Hill Carnival, London, England
24 – 26 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.
World Gravy Wresting Championships, Lancashire, England
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.
Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire, 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 installations.
Ironman Wales, Pembrokeshire, Wales
A spectacular course, often called one of the most challenging races in the world that takes in stunning beaches and medieval fortresses.
British Science Festival, Coventry, England
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.
Jane Austen Festival, Bath, 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.
York Food and Drink Festival, York, 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.
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 2019 – 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.
Wales Rally GB, Flintshire, 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.
World Shore Angling Championships, Conwy, 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, 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.
World Conker Championships, Northamptonshire, England
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, England
October (exact dates to be confirmed)
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, 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.
Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham, 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.
Bonfire Night, Britain-wide
Britain’s night skies light up with blazing bonfires and sparkling fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. This unique British tradition, also known as Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night or Firework Night, celebrates the foiling of the infamous Gunpowder Plot - a plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5 November, 1605. It’s celebrated across Britain and most towns and cities host their own bonfire nights: here are seven of the best displays.
Lumiere 10th anniversary, Durham City, England
14 – 17 November
The Lumiere light festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Durham with its most ambitious festival yet. A selection of favourites from the previous five festivals will be on show alongside some brand new artworks.
St Andrew’s Day, across Scotland
Events celebrating the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew, take place throughout the country and, in the past, have included some of Scotland’s historic attractions offering free entry for the day.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London, England
21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020
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, Wiltshire, England
9 November 2019 - 5 January 2020
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.
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.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
December (exact dates to be confirmed)
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
7 December 2019
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.
The annual New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival sees the Newcastle Ice Queen and her entourage of local community participants parading through the streets of Newcastle, culminating in an early-evening fireworks display.
Hogmanay, across Scotland,
Hogmanay is what the Scots call New Year's Eve and the arrival of the New Year is always celebrated in style across the country. Fireworks, open-air concerts and street parties make Hogmanay Scotland’s biggest party of the year.