The Glastonbury Music Festival is Britain’s most attended, exciting and muddy music festival which takes place almost annually. Mainly held during the month of June, Glastonbury Music Festival attracts over 100,000 people each time. The festival is a performing art festival that promotes contemporary music as well as dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other art types. Beginning in 1970 and heavily influenced by hippie values of simplicity and being at one with nature, the Glastonbury festival takes place at Worthy Farm in south west England between the villages of Pilton and Pylle in Somerset just outside Glastonbury. Held during 3 or 4 days, those which attend the Glastonbury festival tend to camp in a tent in the different camping areas which exist near the site. These campsites are known as Limekilns, Hitchin Hill Ground, Pennard Hill Ground, Cockmill Meadow and Wicket Ground. A disabled campsite is also available in Spring Ground. The festival has had amazing line-ups in the past adding to the festivals popularity such as David Bowie, Van Morrison, The Cure, Sinead O’Connor, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, R.E.M, Skunk Anasie, The Chemical Brothers, Coldplay, Radiohead, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Simply Red, UB40, U2, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, The Prodigy, Shakira, Gorillaz, Muse, The White Stripes, The Verve, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Mumford and Sons, Stevie Wonder and the late James Brown, Amy Winehouse and Jeff Buckley. If you don’t mind going several days without a proper wash and being ankle deep in mud, if it rains, then the Glastonbury Music Festival is a definite must. They may not be attractive but be sure to purchase some wellington boots!
You might think that the Chinese New Year is an unusual event to celebrate in England, however in respect to the dozens of Chinese communities living in the city of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield for example, every year, large scale festivities and public celebrations are organised for everyone from any ethnic background to enjoy. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, celebrates the beginning of the New Year according to the Chinese calendar which alternates between January and February. It marks the beginning of new life and the season to plough and sow. Known to last up to 15 days, celebrations of the Chinese New Year are made up of wonderful Chinese traditions and superstitions. Chinese communities gather together to decorate English streets with a Chinese theme and perform entertaining lion dances in city centres and shopping centres as well as performing traditional and contemporary Chinese dance and music. During the event, you can catch other highlights consisting in communal meals and tasting sessions of traditional Chinese foods; short courses and lectures on Chinese history, language and culture; exhibitions of art and crafts from China and the most beautiful highlight of all, a display of lanterns and fireworks. The Chinese New Year celebrations across England are highly entertaining and regarded as the biggest Chinese event of its kinds outside of Asia.
Probably the world’s most prestigious horse race, the Grand National takes place at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England, sometime in April. A sheer test of stamina and endurance, its 30 high fences, 4 mile long distance, harsh bends and the number of competitors (usually 40) makes it the most challenging race of its kind. The Grand National is a nail biting annual event that grabs the whole nation’s attention and invites only the best of the best horses and jockeys from all over the world to battle it out for a big cash prize. You might remember the famous Grand National Horses of the past such as Red Rum and Foinavon. The Grand National is a formal event attended by many well-known faces as well as the royal family itself so make sure to book your tickets in advance if you want to get in on the action too! You can even try your luck and place a bet on what you think looks like a winning horse!
The Blackpool Illuminations is a longstanding annual event dating back to 1879 and runs from late August until early or mid-November at the popular English seaside resort of Blackpool in Lancashire. Claimed to be “the greatest free light show on earth”, this big-time event which is also known simply as “The Lights” or “The Illuminations” is a full-on six-mile display of lights starting from Starr Gate at the south end of the town to Bispham in the north end. The “Big Switch-On”, the moment when the lights are all lit for the first time, is usually carried out by an invited celebrity guest and is a moment which attracts thousands of people from all over England. Not to be missed also is the Blackpool Festival of Light which is held in conjunction with the Blackpool Illuminations and showcases a combination of art and light events throughout the whole town. This fantastic colourful event will certainly leave you feeling like a kid again, so don’t miss it! Be there!
Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night or Firework Night, is an exciting and fiery celebration that takes place annually on November 5 up and down the United Kingdom although some cities may choose to have their celebrations before or after this date or even over several days. Guy Fawkes Night marks the anniversary and failure of the famous Gunpowder Plot in 1605 planned by a group of Catholic conspirators whose aim was to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London and assassinate the protestant King James I of England; subsequently replacing him with a Catholic King. Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was found guarding the explosives under the House of Lords. Shortly after, he, plus the other members of the group, were arrested, tortured and executed. Upon the news that their King had survived an attempt on his life, people took to the streets of London lighting bonfires in celebration. Today, this historical event is celebrated throughout the country’s cities, towns and villages. People unite in large parks, some dressed up in scary costumes, to make and light up huge bonfires in addition to burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes (known as The Guy). The night sky is also decorated with dazzling fireworks as a reminder of the gunpowder hidden under parliament. Another tradition is to use the bonfire to cook toffee apples, cook potatoes wrapped in foil and heat up soup for the crowds that come to participate in the evenings’ events. You’re sure to have a blast!
- Top 10 places to be in during Bonfire Night/festivities:
Bristol Zoo, Bristol
Lewes, East Sussex
Inverness, Highlands - Scotland
Lord Mayor’s Fireworks, London
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, Somerset
Battersea Park, London
Leeds Roundhay Park, Leeds
Fireworks at the Fort, Segedunum
West Park, Goole
Ottery St Mary, Devon
Pride Parades for the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) are annual events held up and down the region on different dates much like in other countries across the globe. These annual events serve as demonstrations for legal rights and equality for LGBT persons such as same-sex marriage. The Pride Parades are also dedicated to remembering the victims of AIDS and anti-LGBT violence. Many parades still preserve a political and activist character but the majority in England are largely varied and have adopted a festive and carnival-like character with decorated floats, choreographed dancing, dressed up drag queens and lots of loud music. All different kinds of institutions and even non-LGBT persons participate in the Gay Pride Parades including local politicians, LGBT-friendly churches, Unitarian Churches and parents and friends of LGBTs all in favour of legal rights in their area and country as a whole. Spanning from February to October but mainly taking place during the summer season from June to August, various cities in England have their own Pride festivals, for example Birmingham Pride, Oxford Pride, Blackpool Pride, Pride Bristol, Newcastle Pride, London Pride, Liverpool Pride, Leeds Pride and Manchester Pride.
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in the city of Bristol is one of the few events in the world which showcases mass ascents of over 150 balloons over a four day period in the month of August. This absolutely beautiful spectacle and free event, held annually at Ashton Court country estate, sees crowds of up to 500,000 people come to watch mass launches, twice a day, from the crack of dawn at 6am and again at night from 6pm. One of the highlights of the event is its opening act after 9pm - the ‘night glow’ when all of the colourful hot air balloons are inflated and made to glow to music in the pitch black of the night. This is then followed by a stunning fireworks display. The popularity of the ‘night glow’ spectacle is so much so that a second ‘night glow’ performance has now been added to the event. As a result of the Fiesta’s high attendance rate, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta now offers its own campsite near the main arena so that you literally can’t miss a thing during this majestic event!
Top 10 events in England’s capital city - London