The United Kingdom offers one of the most diverse tourism destinations on the planet. Filled with modern cities, gorgeous nature ranging from seaside cliffs to sprawling hill lands, and countless historical attractions, it has something to offer for every sort of traveller. We’ve covered a number of these attractions and destinations in our section on UK travel, but in this post we’re going to take a look at the region’s noteworthy events. More specifically, here are five of the very best things to do in the U.K. in any given year.
See The Boat Race
If you’re unfamiliar with the Boat Race, as it’s simply referred to, this may sound like a rather strange event. Once you get the idea, however, it quickly becomes exciting. Much like the high-profile collegiate rivalries that capture the attention of U.S. sports fans each year, the Boat Race is an annual rowing contest between leading universities Oxford and Cambridge. The race takes place on the Thames River in London in early April and was first held back in 1829. Uf you want to know why it’s such a big deal, just consider this: according to the Boat Race website, the tally stands at 81 wins for Cambridge to 78 for Oxford—a separation of just three contests after across 150 years!
Check Out The Isle Of Wight Festival
The U.K. is home to a number of spectacular annual music festivals, but the Isle Of Wight stands as perhaps the most well-regarded of the bunch. Located at Seaclose Park on the Isle of Wight, the event’s history is that it was essentially a party of monstrous proportions for a few years in the late 1960s before more or less being shut down. The festival has been back for over a decade though, and it’s become an excellent annual gathering of a diverse range of musical acts (albeit not as over-the-top as it was decades ago). This year’s show will feature acts ranging from The Black Keys and Pharrell Williams to Billy Idol and Fleetwood Mac!
Hike The Lake District
This is less of a scheduled or designed event, and more an activity that you simply shouldn’t miss if you’re looking to experience the best of the U.K. A mountainous region littered with lakes, the Lake District National Park is the definition of postcard beauty known to have inspired a number of famous poets throughout the years. It’s also become an interesting centre of outdoor activity without being overly commercialized or overrun by tourists. Go Lakes has a great deal of helpful information regarding activity in the area. It can help you find places to stay, ways to enjoy the outdoors, and even specific events taking place in the area at a given time.
Attend The Cheltenham Festival
Yet another annual sporting event in the U.K. well worth your attention, the Cheltenham Festival is just northwest of London and makes for an incredibly entertaining occasion. As is to be expected, the races are the main attractions, with some of the best champions in Europe there to compete. But as outlined in great detail by Betbright’s overview of the event, there’s much more to Cheltenham than the races. Traditional race day fashion exhibitions, beautiful grounds, a spectator base with a feel for history, a busy sports-betting scene, and even a wild St. Patrick’s Day party all combine to form a dynamic celebration around the tracks.
See England’s Medieval Festival
This could be construed as something of a dark horse pick, and it’s fair to say England’s Medieval Festival is a bit more gimmicky than some of the other items on this list. And yet, there may not be a better way to truly experience the famous medieval history of the region. This festival, held at Herstmonceux Castle in August, is essentially one big blend of reenactments and real, live jousts with plenty of additional entertainment. There are markets, banquets, jugglers, and even camping grounds for families or groups that want to stay for multiple days. It’s a fairly immersive festival, and the setting alongside an actual medieval castle lends a particularly authentic feel to everything.