2018 UK Festivals Listings, incl. Ireland

Glastonbury Festival hillside, England, UK Festivals

UK Festivals: Glastonbury Festival hillside, England. Photo Edward Simpson.

 UK Festivals dates, information and links:

England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Calendar Dates are sometimes unconfirmed and occasionally unreliable, so check before booking. TBC/A = To Be Confirmed/Announced

January Events 2018

30 Dec – 1 January

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – one of world’s best New Year Celebrations, a truly wild and wooly underwear occasion, with a torchlight procession, a Fire Festival, fireworks, concerts and much insobriety, in a city dark yet strangely light. . . Edinburgh Pictures Guide and some bad attitude from a newspaper.

31 Dec – 1 January
(Same days every year)

ENGLAND, London, New Year’s Eve, awesome fireworks. The best position is on the north bank of the Thames River, opposite the Millennium Wheel, get there 2/3 hours beforehand.
The New Year’s Day Parade and Festival – the latter one at 12 noon, 1st January. Sadly the best part of the parade is the non-English marching bands and floats!

29 January 2019
the last Tuesday in January

SCOTLAND, Up Helly Aa – ‘Europe’s largest fire festival’, a spectacular community tradition celebrating their rich Viking heritage, annually held in Lerwick, Shetland. Costume marches, torchlight parades, burning a viking boat and the parties go on and on long after the last flames fade away. Scotland Guide, Islands Pictures

February 2018

5 February 2019

England, China Town, London, Chinese New Year (5 Feb. in 2019) – the largest New Year celebration outside Asia, at Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue and Chinatown, with traditional costumes, spectacles, fireworks and processions.

March Events 2018

15 – 19 March
(Parade at 9:00am on 17th)

IRELAND, Dublin St Patrick’s Festival and St Patrick’s Day Parade – a wild, green five days, including a huge parade. PS What’s the difference between an Irish wedding and a funeral? There’s one less drunk person at the funeral. Ireland Travel

April 2018

May Events 2018

1 – 6 May 2019

ENGLAND, Gloucestershire, Cheltenham International Jazz Festival – the UK’s top jazz fest in a lovely location.

5 – 27 May

ENGLAND Brighton Festival – a 3 week annual outdoor celebration of all kind of arts. It is regarded as England’s biggest curated mixed arts festival which attracts some of the most innovative artist and companies from UK and the would as well as some of the most adventurous audiences.

22 – 26 May

ENGLAND, London, RHS Chelsea Flower Show – 11 acres of the UK’s (and arguably Europe’s) best flowers and gardens event, with plenty of original, even wacky ideas.

26 May – 10 June
2017 but takes break in 2018

ENGLAND Ageas Salisbury International Festival – an high-standard, award winning multi-arts festival, ending with fireworks display in the Cathedral Close. It is one of UK’s leading arts festivals known for its creative program and the excellent economic value, despite over half the audience enjoying the festival through free events and activities.

26 May – 8 June
25 May – 7 June ’19
30 May – 12 June ’20

BRITISH ISLES, Isle of Man TT Races. The ultimate of UK Festivals for bikers. Watch racers on 37 miles of narrow, winding, stone walled roads travelling at way over 150mph, then get out there yourself. Death is no stranger to this event.

28 May
(Late Spring Bank Holiday Monday)

ENGLAND, Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling near Brockworth in Gloucester, Gloucestershire – dozens of brave and/or insane people fling themselves down a precipitous hill (1-in-2 gradient ) attempting to catch huge, rolling rounds of Gloucester cheese. Bones get broken regularly, a few people faint just watching the event, so this is a remarkable sight in the nanny state of England, but parking is a nightmare – 15, 000 spectators rolled up in 2009. This is the craziest of crazy UK Festivals.

June 2018

26 May – 8

BRITISH ISLES, Isle of Man TT Races, as above until late June.

2 – 4 June TBC

SCOTLAND, near Inverness, RockNess – an annual music fest in a picturesque setting at Clune Farm on the banks of Loch Ness in Dores. With a spectacular view of the lake, this is considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful festival environment.

12 – 16 June 2019

ENGLAND, Download Festival – the UK’s largest rock and metal music festival, held at Donington Park, Derby, near East Midlands Airport.
Download is known for its relaxed community feel. Weekend tickets include camping; also available are Day tickets, Family tickets, Kids offers and Early Bird specials.

18 – 22 June 2019

ENGLAND, Ascot, Berkshire Royal Ascot Horse Racing – this 250 year old horse racing/social occasion is the poshest of posh UK events, with mad hats de rigeur for ladies and tails for gents.

22 June – 7

ENGLAND, GDIF Greenwich and Docklands International Festival – a 9-day free outdoor arts festival in southeast London, with the 3-day Greenwich Fair, a jamboree of street performances.

21 June
(same date
every year)

ENGLAND, Wiltshire Stonehenge Summer Solstice – one of the weird and unique UK festivals involving a midsummer night ritual with all sorts of druids, hippies and new age wackos. Fascinating and this is your ONLY chance to touch the neolithically transformed stones, normally they’re out of bounds.

13 – 16 June 2019

ENGLAND, Isle of Wight Festival – the revived legendary festival of the late 60’s is now held annually at Seaclose Park, Newport since 2002.

26 – 30 June 2019

ENGLAND, Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, England – a massive, multiple music event and the biggest UK festival, with different stages featuring different music, but heavy on rock variations. The closest to Woodstock most of us will ever get. Camping is fine. . . but why does it always rain? Tickets are VERY difficult to acquire so book many months ahead!

July Events 2018

2 – 15 July

ENGLAND, London, Wimbledon Tennis Championships – one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, is the oldest and most prestigious one in the world. The games are played on the grass courts at the All England Club.

16 – 29 July

IRELAND, Galway Galway Arts FestivalIreland‘s biggest arts jamboree, with all kinds of entertainment, street, theatre, music, kid’s, exhibitions, concerts. . .

Sadly 2017 was the last one!

ENGLAND, Cambridgeshire, near Huntington, Secret Garden Party – an artistic, independant music/art festival where visitors walk around in fancy dress. The event has a theme each year and develops into a temporary community, featuring several music stages, theatre shows, films, games, talks, workshops and art installations. Secret Garden Party offers original and extraordinary activities similar to USA’s Burning Man. Kids love it too!

26 – 29 July

ENGLAND, Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire WOMAD – (World of Music Arts and Dance) impressive world music festival, with 70 artists from 30 countries on 7 stages. Family friendly.

August 2018

2 – 5 August

ENGLAND, Cambridge, Cambridge Folk Festival – one of world’s longest running folk events – the real deal for the folks who like the music. ‘A festival with a prestigious reputation for quality music in intimate surroundings’ in Cherry Hinton Hall. Family friendly.

3 – 27 August
(Both festivals)

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh International Festival, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe – over a thousand shows of all kinds, ranging from opera to stand-up comedy, from near porn to mere corn. A true European art attack in great Edinburgh city. Our personal favourite out of all UK Festivals. Edinburgh Festival Pictures

3 – 5 August

IRELAND, Waterford Spraoi Street Festival – 3 days of free music, street theatre, parade and fireworks in Ireland’s biggest street party. Ireland Travel

9 – 19 August

IRELAND, Kilkenny Arts Festival– music, theatre, dance, exhibitions set in superb surroundings.

11 – 12 August

ENGLAND, Bognor Birdman in Bognor Regis, West Sussex – wildly costumed nutters jump-fly off Bognor pier attempting to win a big distance prize, or just 15 seconds of celebrity. Audiences chill on the beach. England Travel Guide

10 – 12 August
every year

IRELAND, Puck Fair in Killorglin, County Kerry. A large and loony street fair with plenty of singing, dancing and horse shows, and all overseen by King Puck – a goat. Ireland Guide

12 – 19 August

IRELAND Fleadh Cheoil – a huge celebration of Ireland‘s music, dance and arts, with over 10, 000 musicians roaming and playing all over the place. It is also know for its Irish music competition run by Comhaltas. Hosted by a different town every year: 2015 was in Sligo, 2016 & 2017 were in Ennis, 2018 will be in Drogheda.

16 – 19 August

WALES, Brecon Beacons, Green Man Festival – a 3 day live music fiesta held annually at the Glanusk Park Estate in the Usk Valley. This no-sponsors event is environmentally conscious and modestly anti-establishment. The line-ups vary from folk to dance, Indie to Americana but also feature comedy, film and theatre. UK Travel

17 – 21 August

IRELAND, Tralee, Country Kerry, Rose of Tralee International Festival – a massive party celebrating Irish communities and romance!

23 – 26 August
(Bank holiday weekend)

ENGLAND, Daresbury, Creamfields in Cheshire – the UK’s biggest dance music festival, also held in other European places such as Andalucia, Prague and Lisbon (dates vary). Creamfields has been so successful that it stages events across the world – Sydney, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and more. England Map

24 – 26 August
(Bank Holiday

ENGLAND, Reading Festival, Richfield Avenue in Berkshire – the oldest of all UK festivals of popular music. It started in 1961 as the National Jazz and Blues Festival. Reading attracts more than 80, 000 people annually, has campsites and weekend tickets that include camping, but day tickets are also available.

24 – 26 August
(Bank Holiday

ENGLAND, Leeds Festival in West Yorkshire – a rock and pop music festival, held in Bramham Park near Wetherby, with campsite. It is run by the same organization as the Reading Festival. The weekend tickets include camping; day tickets are also sold.

25 – 27 August
(Bank Holiday

ENGLAND, London, Notting Hill Carnival – fiesta with music, dance, and parade by London’s Caribbean community. Sponsored by the London Pickpocket Support Group.

September Events 2018

1 September
(1st Saturday in Sept. )

SCOTLAND, the Braemar Gathering (Highland Games) – traditionally odd Scottish sporting events and massed pipers in a scenic setting in Scotland.

2 – 5

ENGLAND, Lulworth, Dorset, Bestival – a 4-day boutique music festival and party set at the Lulworth Estate,  a wooded country estate on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Bestival is one of the best UK festivals for the range of weirdly dressed participants, so make sure to dress suitably strangely. It is kid-friendly, too.

October 2018

19 October – 4 November

IRELAND, Wexford Opera Festival – a small but perfectly formed and positively regarded event in a brand new Opera House on a new date. Ireland Guide

November Events 2018

19 October – 4 November

IRELAND, Wexford Opera Festival – a small but perfectly formed and positively regarded event in a brand new Opera House on a new date. Ireland Guide

4 November

ENGLAND, London to BrightonVeteran Car Run (LBVCR) – the world’s longest running motoring event and best vintage car UK festival. Ancient car lovers will need to find a comfortable viewing location for this London (Hyde Park) to Brighton (Madeira Drive) event for hundreds of pre-1905 vehicles; it starts at dawn and motors will begin to fart across the finish line from about 10 am.

4 November
Saturday before 5 Nov.

ENGLAND, Devon, Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels – huge flaming barrels are carried around this little rural town. The procession and fireworks are on the Saturday before the 5th of November.

5 November
(same day every year)

UNITED KINGDOM, and some of its former colonies including Canada and New Zealand, Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night – an annual nationwide event with fireworks displays and lighting bonfires.

December 2018

29 Dec – 2 Jan
(Same days every year)

SCOTLAND, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – one of world’s best New year Celebrations, a truly wild and wooly underwear occasion with a torchlight procession, a Fire Festival, fireworks, concerts and much insobriety, in a city dark yet strangely light. . . Edinburgh Guide, Edinburgh Pictures

31 December

ENGLAND, London, New Year’s Eve awesome fireworks. The best position is on the north bank of the Thames River, opposite the Millenium Wheel, get there 2/3 hours beforehand.
The New Year’s Day Parade and Festival – the latter one at 12 noon, 1st January. Not one of the best UK Festivals! Sadly the best part of the parade is the non-English marching bands and floats! London Photos