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British Isles Festivals

No matter what part of the United Kingdom you are visiting there is bound to be festival or event of some description taking place during your stay. These are some of the larger events, dates can vary slightly. Local tourist information centers will hold details of exact dates and other smaller events in the area. The year starts with the Lord Mayor’s Parade in Londonin January followed by colourful Chinese New Year celebrations in London, Liverpool and Manchester. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday with street events and theatre. May sees the famous Chelsea Flower Show followed by Trooping the Colour (Horse Guards Parade) in June outside Buckingham Palace. Also in June is the huge Three Counties Show in Malvern, Worcestershire and the East of England Show in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. June also sees the famous music festival at Glastonbury, Somerset. The Great Yorkshire Show is held in Harrogate in July meanwhile the Royal International Agricultural Show takes place in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. Don’t miss the vibrant Notting Hill Carnival if you are in London during August. Birminghamhosts an Artsfest in the month of September. Nottingham has an annual Goose Fair (fun fair) in October. Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated throughout the country with bonfires and fireworks on November 5th. Finally on Boxing Day you can see a Mummer’s Play and Morris Dancing in Moulton, Northamptonshire.
 
Glasgow in Scotland hosts the world’s largest festival of Celtic music known as Celtic Connections in mid-January/early February with venues are across the city. Shetland hosts a Folk Festival in April each year with superb Scottish fiddle-playing. Lanimer Day is celebrated in the town in early June with a week of fun events culminating in a parade of floats decorated with paper flowers. The Glasgow Jazz Festival takes place in late June/early July. Meanwhile the St Magnus Festival in Orkney in midsummer attracts some of the world’s best musicians. Mid-July sees T in the Park, Scotland’s biggestrock concertin Kinross. Edinburgh hosts the well attended International Festival, Fringe and Military Tattoo during August– an extravaganza of music, opera, dance and theatre.
 
Wales celebrates St David’s Day with events throughout the country on March 1st. May sees the popular Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival and Swansea holds its Annual Show. Criccieth in North Walesholds its Festival of Music and the Arts in June or July followed by the Royal Welsh Show in Builith Wells – Wale’s largest agricultural event. Cardiffhosts the Welsh Proms and Fishguard hosts its International Music Festival, both in July. The Brecon Jazz Festival takes place in August followed by the Tenby Arts Festival in September. Cardiffholds an International Film Festival in November.
 
In Northern Ireland, Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal has an International Folk Festival in August followed by the Oul’ Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, Co Antrim. The Belfast Arts Festival takes place in November.
 
The Channel Islands celebrate Liberation Day May 9th. Guernsey has an annual Viäer Marchi (old Guernsey market) in July and a Seafood Festival throughout July. Jersey and Guernsey hold a Battle of Flowers with a parade of decorated floats in August. Spectacular Air Displays including the Red Arrows are held every September in both islands as part of Battle of Britain Week. A must for aviation enthusiasts!