I absolutely adore festivals—I really do think they are the most fun events in the world. I would even go as far as to say that, besides travel, festivals can offer a sense of freedom like nothing else can. One of the greatest festival nations, together with my native Belgium, is the United Kingdom, home to Glastonbury, one of the world’s most iconic music festivals.
There are dozens of other reasons that travelers flock to the UK every year, including historic sights, beautiful and fascinating cities, sporting events, etc. But among the best reasons to visit are the many incredible festivals that occur there throughout the year. Here are four in particular to put on your list if you’re travelling to the UK any time soon.
1. Isle Of Wight Festival
This annual summer music festival takes place at Seaclose Park in Newport, Isle Of Wight, and brings some of the biggest names in rock, indie and alternative music to the UK. Taking place in June, the festival will feature world-class headliners, along with less-known rising talent. You can view the full list of confirmed bands at their website. This is arguably the best music festival in the UK and well worth a visit if you’re there in the summer!
2. Cheltenham Festival
A bit different than what one ordinarily thinks of in connection to the word “festival,” the Cheltenham Festival is primarily a four day sporting event featuring a number of top level horse race and hurdle competitions in mid-March. It’s a festive, casual racing atmosphere that’s great for sports fans, and also a popular betting event for those who like to get a bit more personally involved. Personally, I love horse races, having worked at one and attended one myself when I was backpacking in Australia. I like placing the occasional bet and the thrill you get from winning. Highlight races to catch include the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase, and the Gold Cup.
3. Wilderness Festival
This is a late summer festival at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, England. And if the name sounds a bit strange, you should think of it instead as an apt description. This festival is truly about getting to the park and enjoying the wilderness all day and all night. They are outdoor concerts and theatre performances, late night dances and masquerade balls, and hiking, camping and boating experiences. It’s essentially an outdoor immersion experience with artistic performances built in and the music lineups tend to be quite good.
Another outdoor festival that includes a great music lineup, Latitude has a bit of a hipster reputation, and tends to feature a younger crowd. However, the atmosphere is very cheerful and enjoyable, and there’s artistic celebrations of all kinds throughout the festival. Latitude takes place in mid-July at Henham Park in Suffolk, and you can check the festival website for updates on the music lineup.