Events in the UK

The following events are a few that I have attended or have received favourable information about.

Late December - January 1

  • Hogmanay (Edinburgh) - The biggest party of the year. You will need a pass to even get into the city during the festival. If you like drinking and partying – this is THE event.
  • New Year's Day Parade - London - A very American parade with many US marching bands and the like. Generally starts from Westminster through Trafalgar Square to Piccadilly Circus.

New Year's Day Parade in London

Early February

  • Masters Snooker - One of the biggest snooker tournaments of the year held at the Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre with the top 16 players in the world. See World Snooker's web site at for further information.


Embasssy World Snooker Championships

  • Embassy World Snooker - The World Championships for Snooker held every year at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre. Tickets go on sale up to half a year in advance and sell out early (preference is given to those booking “season tickets”). Ticket returns are possible to obtain during the event at the box-office and free outside screen is provided for key matches.



  • FA (Football Association) Cup Final - The biggest UK football event of the year with the best two teams in the premier league fighting it out for the title. Tickets are EXTREMELY difficult to obtain and often go for 100s of pounds. See the FA's web site at for further information.


Wimbledon - Court One

  • The Lawn Tennis Championships - Wimbledon - The big tennis tournament of the year held in London at Wimbledon (TUBE Wimbledon). Tickets can be purchased up to six months before the tournament but NOT during the competition itself. Queues for the show courts (centre, 1 and 2) start the day before the competition and tickets for the final days are simply NOT available. Queuing for the tournament is notorious and you should expect to wait at least three hours for a ticket simply to get on the grounds. Grounds tickets include admission to any and all courts EXCEPT the show courts (and are VERY reasonably price). Recommendation: If you get a grounds ticket you can queue for 'returned' tickets (in 1999 costing £3) to the show courts once inside the grounds.

The Championships

  • Goodwood Festival of Speed - A big classic and modern weekend of racing in West Sussex. For true fans of motor racing. Another event in September, the Motor Circuit is not as big but also worth a visit.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

June - July

  • BP Big Screens - Live opera and ballet from the Royal Opera House (London) shown on big video screens in parks and public spaces throughout the country.

July - September

  • BBC Proms - The big classical concert event of the year held at the Royal Albert Hall in London (TUBE South Kensington). With concerts every night, so-called 'prommer's' can queue for tickets for the evenings performance on the day at VERY reasonable prices. The Last Night at the Proms is the famous finale with rousing British music (without advance tickets you will NOT get in – there is another last night event, Proms in the Park in Hyde park close by with a capacity of 35,000 – OR you can watch it on television). See Steve's Guide to the Proms.


  • British Grand Prix - The big racing event of the year held to the north-east of London at Silverstone. EXTREMELY expensive to not quite see VERY fast cars. Go for the atmosphere more than the race (parking and getting there is a nightmare). See the link for my guide…


  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe - THE big fringe festival with hundreds of events (both in the guide and not). An assortment of entertainment including comedy (mostly comedy), music, plays, ballet and cinema. The popular events sell out VERY quickly so tickets should be purchased in advance (a show guide is also VERY useful since the web site is not necessarily easy to look for shows unless you know EXACTLY what you are looking for).
  • Edinburgh International Festival - The arts festival held later in August every year.
  • Edinburgh Military Tattoo - The big tatoo event of the year in the Castle in Edinburgh. If you like big military bands (and ESPECIALLY bagpipes), this is the event for you. If you want to go, purchase tickets in advance.
  • Glyndebourne (throughout the summer) - Probably the biggest annual opera event in England held in a purpose-built opera house on the South Downs (Lewes, East Sussex). Tickets sell out very quickly since the quality is truly exceptional. Concerts occur over the summer months, be sure to bring your picnic! Black tie only. 1,200 seats, 42 standing, demand is SERIOUS! Other country operas include: Longborough, Garsington and Grange Park.


  • Heritage Open Days (The Civic Trust) - A large number of buildings open their doors for one weekend only all around England. Places that would NOT normally be open to visitors. Definitely something to see.
  • Open House London - Similar to the Heritage Open Days, this event held in London, typically the weekend after Heritage, showcases a large number of normally non-accessible buildings and other places of interest. Read more about my experiences in 2016 and 2018.

St Pancreas


  • 5th - Bonfire Night - Celebrating the capture and execution of a British traitor, events are held all around the country and typically include fireworks, food stalls and a large bonfire (admission is charged to many though the largest, and some say the best, bonfire night held in Lewes is free and has a parade).
  • Lord Mayor's Show - Held on a Saturday in the middle of the month, this is an event celebrating the installing of the new Lord Mayor of London, which includes the biggest parade in London and fireworks.

Other Events

Additionally, throughout the year there are other events whose locations vary. Most notably are the travelling circuses. Most of these do NOT include animals and are held under the traditional big-top outside. Watch for signs for circuses as they visit local areas. The following circuses have been attended:

  • Moscow State Circus - I attended their performance in 1999 in Brighton. Their small tent was filled with a magnificent array of athletes and wonderful displays of artistry. Great music.
  • The Chinese State Circus - I attended their performance in 2000 in Addlestone (Surrey). In a larger tent, which was not as full of people as it should have been for such a wonderful performance. They take the ordinary and turn it on it's head - making things 10 times more difficult. Absolutely incredible. Music is a bit hollow, being recorded, but the young athletes certainly know what they are doing - you will NOT believe your eyes!

Note: TUBE Indicates closest London Underground station, see London Transport for further information.