Festivals in the UK

10 Bonkers Festivals in the UK You Absolutely Have to See to Believe

Get ready to dive headfirst into the wonderfully wacky world of festivals in the UK ! These quirky celebrations are steeped in history and folklore, offering a one-of-a-kind glimpse into British culture. Whether you’re a history buff, a thrill-seeker, or just someone who loves a good parade, these festivals have something for everyone. Book early, as hotels and transport fill up faster than you can say “Cheese Rolling!”

1. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling

When: Last Monday in May
Where: Near Gloucester

Kicking things off with a bang (and a few tumbles), Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling is as eccentric as it gets. Picture this: a round of Double Gloucester cheese is hurled down a steep hill, and brave souls dash after it, often ending up in a heap at the bottom. It’s a race to win the cheese, but honestly, it’s the spectators who really score big with the laughs. Beware: this event isn’t for the faint-hearted or the poorly balanced!

2. Jorvik Viking Festival- Festivals in the UK

When: 2nd week of February
Where: York

Next, we time-travel back to the Viking Age with the Jorvik Viking Festival in York. This ancient city embraces its Norse heritage with gusto, drawing tens of thousands of history enthusiasts. Expect battle reenactments, historical crafts, and quirky contests like the Best Beard Competition. It’s history with a side of hilarity!

3. Jack in the Green– Festivals in the UK

When: 1st May
Where: Hastings

Celebrate the arrival of spring with Jack in the Green, a festival with Pagan roots. The main attraction is a parade led by a walking, talking tree (okay, it’s a man in a foliage-covered wicker frame, but it’s still cool). Followed by Morris dancers and musicians playing traditional English folk music, this festival is a verdant celebration of May Day traditions.

4. Hay Festival- Festivals in the UK

When: May
Where: Hay-on-Wye

Bookworms, unite! The Hay Festival in the charming village of Hay-on-Wye is a bibliophile’s dream. This literary extravaganza has grown from a small village fete into a major event, attracting famous authors and thousands of readers. Beyond books, enjoy music and film celebrations, making it a cultural cornucopia.

5. Highland Games- Festivals in the UK

When: Spring and Summer
Where: Various locations across Scotland

Think you’ve got what it takes to toss a caber? The Highland Games, held throughout Scotland, feature traditional Scottish sports like the caber toss (flipping a giant log) and musical competitions with pipe and drum bands. The Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon is the biggest event, offering a robust dose of Scottish culture and athleticism.

6. Notting Hill Carnival- Festivals in the UK

When: 1st Monday of August and the Sunday before
Where: London

London’s Notting Hill Carnival is a kaleidoscope of cultures, music, and vibrant costumes. This massive street party started with the British West Indian community and has grown to embrace a multitude of minority cultures. With over a million attendees, it’s one of the world’s largest and most colorful carnivals.

7. Robin Hood Festival- Festivals in the UK

When: 1st week of August
Where: Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham

Grab your bow and arrow, and join the Robin Hood Festival in the legendary Sherwood Forest. This festival brings the iconic outlaw’s tale to life with period weapon duels, archery lessons, jousting, and folkloric theater. It’s a medieval adventure that’s perfect for families and fans of British folklore.

8. Edinburgh Fringe Festival- Festivals in the UK

When: August
Where: Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival, showcasing everything from modern theater and comedy to cabaret and dance. With around 50,000 performers at hundreds of venues, the city transforms into a bohemian paradise for an entire month. It’s creative chaos at its finest!

9. Bonfire Night- Festivals in the UK

When: 5th November
Where: Lewes

Remember, remember the 5th of November! Lewes takes Bonfire Night to explosive levels, celebrating the foiled Gunpowder Plot with massive bonfires, fiery street parades, and dramatic effigy burnings. Add rolling barrels of flaming tar and spectacular fireworks, and you’ve got an unforgettable night.

10. Hogmanay

When: New Year’s Eve – 31st December
Where: Anywhere in Scotland

Scotland’s Hogmanay is the ultimate New Year’s Eve party. With origins in old Gaelic traditions, it’s a night of whisky, hugs, and the world’s best rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.” Edinburgh is the epicenter, featuring ticketed street parties and fireworks, but Hogmanay celebrations across Scotland promise a warm welcome and a hangover to remember.

Start Planning Your Trip

Ready to join the madness? These festivals are waiting for you! Pack your bags, grab your tickets, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure through the UK’s quirkiest celebrations. Don’t forget to book your hotels and transport early to secure your spot in the heart of the action. Cheers to festival fun!