The festivals which are celebrated in England vary from delightful, pleasing, antiquated village fêtes to gorgeous and great programs and events that lasts for many days, thus attracting more than 100,000 people from all over the world. The festivals in this country is not just about traditions and cultures, but it also consists of various amazing and fun activities such as competition for cake baking, to guess the total number of sweets such as candies in a jar or flower arrangement and many more fiesta taking place in beautiful sceneries like village greens, playing fields filled with orchids, rectory gardens, etc. This country of Europe is the land for the most distinguished, reputable and magnificent festivals. So people, if you want to know about ancient British culture, their lifestyle as well as to dwell yourself with the most dazzling and modernized performances of the English people, then there’s no better way than visiting some of their festivals. Well, not only the festivals, but there are lot many things to enjoy like stunning views, ethos, vibrant traditions, mouth-watering local foods and yes, cherishing the ethnicities. You can also see other country’s traditions which are also celebrated as festivals in England, so you will not only get to know about the British people customs but also have taste of other nations festivals too.
Notting Hill Carnival (25-27 August)
This annual festival is celebrated throughout London, and started since the year 1966. This event is considered as one of the largest and most famous street festivals in the whole Europe. It features a lot of glamorous and fascinating events such as live musics, cultural dances and mouth watering delicacies. The festival is celebrated at Notting Hill, which is situated in Kensington. It influence people from all over the world thus attracting tourist, viewers, participants which are more than a million in number and is led by West British-Indian communities. It is also considered as a one of the most important events in Caribbean heritage and Black British culture. Some of genres of musics you will find are Steelpan music, Calypso music, Soca music. People come out of their houses to the streets in a colourful attire and there will no less than 40,000 volunteers along with 2 million attendees.
The festival is not only celebrated in Notting Hill, but also held in various other places such as Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Kensal Road and Ladbroke Grove. Well, let’s go back to the time of 1960s, the era which gave birth to such a dazzling and cheerful festival. The first event took place on 1959 and the main purpose of celebrating was to settle down the disputes related to race connection and relations between Caribbean locals and native British inhabitants. It took placed in London at St. Pancras Town Hall.
Coming back to this year, the festival will be on August 25th, 26th and 27th. This enormous jollification will include tropical drinks, zouk music, local foods such as callaloo, goat stew, etc. Children dance and parade in well elaborated and fancy costumes. The Sunday will be light crowded with vendors selling delicious foods and children dancing around whereas the Monday will be the final day of this celebration with various programs such as steel drum musics, Notting Hill’s Final Parade, street performances, dancing, good foods and a lot of entertainment. So people, what are you waiting for? Come visit England and be a part of this glaring and phenomenal festival.
Bonfire Night (November 5)
This festival will give you a soothing vibe. It doesn’t matter in which place of London you are staying, you will get a good viewing site of the bright and colourful fireworks, which the local people set off. Well, along with the fireworks, there are also some amazing and delicious foods which is associated with this festival. The festival is celebrated all over England, where people are found eating jacket potato, gingerbread cakes(parkin), treacle toffee, toffee apples and dapple peas. During cold night, people and families have hot soups and marshmallows while sitting against the bonfire. So basically, this festive is portrayed by bonfires and fireworks. The other name of this festival in UK is “Guy Fawkes Night” and people celebrate it to pay their commendation in the glory of great historic event.
Let’s go back to the 17th century, to know about the interesting history of this bright festival. During the ruling period of King James I, in 1605 there was a plan made by a group of men to blow up the parliament house in London, in the month of November of the same year. The plan was known as “Gunpowder Plot” and it was decided by the group leader, who was known by the name “Guy Fawkes”, to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5, the date on which the king decided to open the parliament. The group was ready with 36 barrels of gunpowder by sneaking inside the Parliament. But before any explosion could be done, police found and captured all of them at the right time. The men were later executed. Thus, the King as well the people celebrated the King’s survival that night with bonfire and fireworks. From that day, this festival continued known as one of the brightest.
People wear exciting and traditional clothes to make this day a memorable and cherishing one. Women wear scarves, men were found with hats and gloves and spend their evening and night outside of the house. In the cold nights, the toasting marshmallows are the most eaten food. All over England, the hand made model of Guy Fawkes dressed in old clothes and burned down in the honour of the history. The massive and the most biggest firework display is in Kent. So if you want to see the most beautiful view of night sky filled with colourful fireworks and want to enjoy some traditional food, then you should attend this festival at least once in your lifetime.
Totally Thames/ Mayor Thames Festival (1-30 September)
This festive is hugely celebrated throughout England, in the whole month of September. Many events such as artist making cultural and traditional arts, sporting events, races along the river, etc. This festival is an annual celebration of River Thames and it is managed and organized by Thames Festival Trust. The length of this river is 42 mile where various events are held like river races, artist making surprising and mesmerizing arts. Not only this, the festival also consists of social works such as cleaning up the river, boating competition, nature workshops, live programs and performances, etc.
This festival history says that it was started in the year 1997 by Adrian Evans which was then organized by Thames Festival Trust. At the time when it was first celebrated, many breathtaking occurence happened at that time such as at a height of 1,200 feet above the river, two rope walkers crossed the river. Gradually as over the years, the organization passed numerous projects in order to enhance singing in schools.
Apart from the events that takes place in the river and its alongside, there is something else to visit. The immense and huge space underneath Tower Bridge, “Bascule Chambers” are built to maintain the movements of the bridge as it opens. Thus, this festival pays a tribute to Thames River, and how significant it is in the life of habitants of London. So, if you want to see a natural scenery where festivals are celebrated with a great joy, entertainment as well as promote natural resources preservation,then there’s nothing better than Totally Thames Festival or Mayor Thames Festival.
Would you like to hear some stories about the experience at those festivals? Then you should check out Sun-Dried Icicles for the best travel stories.
List of other major festivals
- 1st January- New year’s celebrations
- February 20–27- Jorvik Viking Festival
- February 21–24- London Fashion Week Festival
- April 7- Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race
- April 19–April 22- Easter Weekend
- May 2–12- Leeds International Festival
- May 4–6- Chimney Sweeps Festival
- Early May–early June (4 weeks)- Plymouth History Festival
- May 9–12- Keswick Jazz Festival
- May 17–June 2- Bath Festival
- May 24–June 9- Bath Fringe Festival
- June 8–9- Keswick Beer Festival
- June 21–30: Golowan Festival
- July 5–13- Early Music Festival
- July 19–21- Tramlines Festival
- August 1–4- Cambridge Folk Festival
- August 2–4- Pride Festival
- August 10–18 (likely)- Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival
- August 24–26- Notting Hill Carnival
- September 1–30 (likely)- Totally Thames
- September 13–22 (likely)- Jane Austen Festival
- September 20–29- York Food and Drink Festival
- October 9–20 (likely)- BFI London Film Festival
- November 5- Guy Fawkes Night
- November 9- Lord Mayor’s Show
- November 16- Glastonbury Carnival
- August 30–November 3 (likely)- Blackpool Illuminations
- December 24–26- Christmas holidays