10 Weird and Wonderful British and Irish Festivals
From dancing with Morris men to rolling cheese down a hill, the British and Irish love a good festival. But while some are well-known, there are also many quirky celebrations that are lesser-known but just as much fun. Here are 10 unusual festivals that you won’t want to miss!
1. World Black Pudding Throwing Championship
Every year in Lancashire, England, contestants gather to hurl black pudding at a pile of Yorkshire puddings on top of a 20-foot-high plinth. The aim of the game is to knock off as many Yorkshire puddings as possible using the black pudding.
2. Beltane Fire Festival
On the first of May, Edinburgh, Scotland hosts a celebration of the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane. The festival includes fire-dancing, drumming, and pagan rituals that welcome the summer months.
3. International Droop Nose Dog Championship
This annual event in Ireland celebrates the nation’s love of droopy-nosed dogs. The championship includes categories such as waggiest tail, best soup-strainer, and longest ears, and is judged by a panel of experts.
4. World Bog Snorkelling Championship
In Wales, competitors don scuba gear to swim through a 55-yard-long peat bog filled with cold, murky water. The fastest to complete the course wins the championship.
5. Appleby Horse Fair
This traditional gathering of travellers and gypsies has been taking place in Cumbria, England since 1685. The week-long event is an opportunity for horse-trading, socialising, and witnessing impressive displays of horsemanship.
6. The Cheese Rolling Festival
Every year in Gloucestershire, England, a giant wheel of cheese is rolled down a steep hill, and competitors race to catch it. The winner gets to take home the cheese.
7. The World Worm Charming Championship
In Cheshire, England, contestants use a variety of methods to coax worms out of the ground, including tapping on the soil and playing music. The person who can lure the most worms out of the ground in 30 minutes is crowned the champion.
8. Morris Dancing Festival
This traditional English folk dance is celebrated at various times throughout the year, with groups of men dressed in colourful garb and adorned with ribbons and bells. They dance through the streets and perform intricate routines to the beat of drums and pipes.
9. World Conker Championships
In Northamptonshire, England, competitors gather each year to play conkers, a game where participants attempt to smash each other’s conkers by swinging them on a string. The last conker standing is crowned the winner.
10. The Straw Bear Festival
Each year in Cambridgeshire, England, a man dressed in straw parades through the streets, followed by a group of musicians and dancers. The procession is said to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the town.
There you have it – 10 unusual and fun festivals that you can add to your itinerary on your next trip to the UK or Ireland. Whether you fancy competing in worm charming or just watching a giant cheese wheel roll down a hill, there’s something for everyone.