Bank Holiday in Blighty
Photo by Andrew Measham on Unsplash
It’s August, which means there is a bank holiday on the horizon. And since it’s the last one you'll get until December rolls around, you’ll want to make it count.
Consider this your ultimate guide to planning the perfect long weekend.
BBC Proms (25th - 27th August)
Britain’s most celebrated classical music series continues into the bank holiday weekend, with performances from some of the world’s greatest orchestras and performers. The mammoth celebration runs for eight weeks over the summer, with most concerts taking place at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. The series marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landings with special space-themed concerts. Classical is the main focus of the Proms, although there is plenty of contemporary music as well.
While you might find that some of the more popular Proms are booked up, a limited number of standing tickets are released on the day of each performance.
Notting Hill Carnival (25th & 26th August)
Europe’s biggest street party needs no introduction. What started out as a small festival attracting just 500 people, has grown into a huge spectacle that now draws over one million people each year.
Every August bank holiday, dancing, music and masquerades fill the streets of West London in celebration of the city’s Caribbean communities. Elaborately decorated floats and costumed performers wind their way through the streets to the sounds of steel bands and calypso music. For any party lovers, the Carnival is a key date in the calendar.
Cool Off In The Lake District
Famous for its glacial lakes and rugged fell mountains, the Lake District is an outdoor lover’s playground. England’s largest national park has more mountains, forest paths, lakes and wildlife hotspots than you can possibly imagine. Each lake has its own distinct character, but many regard Ullswater – a sinuous lake that stretches for seven and a half miles – as the most beautiful.
Further south, ambitious hikers can take on Scafell Pike where they will be rewarded with spectacular views over the surrounding fells. For water-bound activities including paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, and swimming, head to Derwentwater, dubbed the water sports capital of the Lake District.
August bank holiday also brings a calendar of exciting events to the Lakes, from traditional country fairs to music festivals. The Keswick Agricultural Show, guided nature hunts in Naddle Forest and Solfest Music and Arts Festival are just a few of the events that visitors can look forward to.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2nd - 26th August)
The world’s largest arts festival transforms Edinburgh every August with 30,000 performers and more than 2,000 shows. Performances include everything from theatre, dance, cabaret and comedy, to exhibitions, opera, children’s shows and musicals.
The festival is open to everyone, so every year, up-and-coming artists flock to Edinburgh to try out new material, while established names return time and time again to soak up the atmosphere. The festival spreads its wings wide with over 300 venues across the city ranging from big players like the Pleasance, Assembly, Gilded Balloon and Underbelly, to small basements and bars. You can visit the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website to view the full lineup.
Leeds and Reading Festivals (23rd - 25th August)
One of Britain’s most popular festivals will return to Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds this August bank holiday weekend.
With some of the most revered artists from across the globe, including the Foo Fighters, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975 and Post Malone, the festival is a summer highlight. Besides big-name artists, festival-goers will also have the chance to discover emerging talent, as well as comedy acts in the alternative tent.
Oxford Foodies Festival (24th - 26th August)
The UK’s biggest food festival returns to South Park, Oxford, on the 24th August for a three-day event. Foodies can watch Michelin-starred chefs and MasterChef winners cook live in the Chef’s Theatre, take part in workshops and masterclasses, and sample delicious street food from around the world.
If you are feeling competitive, the chilli eating contest will challenge your mind and your stomach. However, if that’s not your thing, grab a beverage and settle in to enjoy an afternoon of live music, with acts including the Hoosiers, Dodgy and Toploader. Families can enjoy the extended Kids Zone with Kids Cookery theatre, the slime challenge and a new Dog Arena.
Manchester Pride Weekend (24th - 26th August)
Manchester Pride Festival is a colourful four-day celebration of the LGBT+ community and is one of the longest running pride celebrations in the country.
This year’s event is made up of Manchester Pride Live, the Candelit Vigil, the Superbia Weekend, the Gay Village Gathering, Manchester Pride Parade and Youth Pride MCR.
The Parade, held on Saturday from Midday, is one of the Festival’s most highly anticipated events, with tens of thousands of revellers showing their support each year. Just a short walk from the Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Live will play host to a lineup of 30 international artists including Ariana Grande, Pixie Lott, Bananarama, Basement Jaxx, Faithless and more. The ticketed charity event helps to raise essential funds for LGBT+ causes in Greater Manchester.
Whatever you choose to do this bank holiday weekend, you will want to be ready to enjoy warm-weather activities without the hassle of switching between specs and sunglasses.
Even if you’ve left it until the last minute to stock up on lenses, there’s still time. Order by 11pm on a weekday and we’ll deliver a fresh batch of lenses the next day, at no extra cost.