The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) is an aerial display team flying historic aircraft. They appear at shows throughout the country, state occasions and at events commemorating the Second World War. The aircraft normally flown are an Avro Lancaster, a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane. The flight is administratively part of No. 1 Group RAF, flying out of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. It is possible to see the aircraft at a visitor centre at Coningsby, though it is recommended you check which ones can be seen before making a special trip.
"They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace - Christopher Robin went down with Alice". (A A Milne).
This is the ceremony when the old guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham and St James's Palaces to the new guard. It normally takes place at 1130 hours, pretty much daily from April to July and on alternate days from August to March. BUT - check first and bear in mind that arrangements are subject to alteration, often without notice. It is free to attend and it is one of the most popular events in London - so get there early. The best place to see it is in front of Buckingham Palace, by the Victoria Memorial.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of several festivals held in the City, and the largest. It is an open access event that takes place every August alongside the Edinburgh International Festival and includes comedy, theatre, cabaret, children's shows, circus - pretty much anything - and ANYONE can take part. Edinburgh Festival Fringe began in 1947 when eight groups arrived in Edinburgh hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival but were refused entry. They went ahead and performed on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now the largest arts festival in the world.
Beyond the Fringe (as it were), Edinburgh is immensly buzzy during this festival, with street performers on almost every corner.
The Edinburgh International Festival is one of several festivals that take place in the City. Beginning in 1947, it aims to offer the best in the performing arts - theatre, music, opera, dance, film etc - from around the world, as well as talks and workshops.
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts was first held in 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died, when the headlining act was T Rex (who replaced the Kinks). It was the brainchild of farmer Michael Eavis and is now a regular event, the largest of its kind in the world. Though best known for its music (as well as its mud and awful toilets), the festival, as its name implies, covers all performing arts - such as dance, cabaret and comedy. For 5 days during June, Worthy Farm is transformed into a major conurbation of 175,000 people - it is a masterpiece of logistics and organisation. Headline acts over the years have included the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Adele and Dolly Parton.
Attendance is ONLY possible by allocated ticket obtained via the festival website.
The Lord Mayor's Show has been an annual event in London's calendar for 800 years. It is a festival of pageantry and colour, free to see, which begins with a flotilla of boats and barges on the Thames, a river pageant. Next comes the parade, a procession of something like 7,000 participants in the region of 3 miles long, crammed into a 1.7 mile route from Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s official residence in the City, near Bank, to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in Westminster. In the evening, the grand finale is a spectacular firework display over the Thames.
The Lord Mayor’s Show always takes place on the second Saturday of November. Most roads in the City are closed all day and the Embankment is closed until the evening.
Hundreds of open garden events take place in Britain every year, mainly during the summer and mostly, though not exclusively, in rural villages. The gardens belong to private homes and are often quite modest. The open garden event normally involves 10 gardens or so, sometimes more, sometimes less, and can either be a local event in its own right, or part of a larger village show of some kind. If you enjoy looking at gardens, a local open gardens can be an enjoyable way of spending an hour or three. Entry fees are usually just a few pounds. Check the UK National Directory for events near you.
Remembrance Sunday falls annually on the second Sunday of November, closest to 11th, to mark the Armistice, the day the guns fell silent, at 11am on 11th November 1918. The red poppy, which seemed to thrive on the Western Front, has become a symbol - worn by people throughout the UK as a mark of respect. Services take place in towns and villages all over the land, to honour all who have suffered or died in war. The National Service of Remembrance is held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. In addition to a march past by veterans and troops from each of the armed forces, tributes are paid by the Monarch or a representative, other members of the Royal Family, members of the Government, political and faith leaders, senior representatives of the armed and civilian services and high commissioners of Commonwealth countries.
The National Service is coordinated by a Government Department, but a good starting point for more information is the Royal British Legion.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place over several nights each August, coinciding with the Edinburgh Festival. It began in 1949/1950 and consists of military displays and music performed by British, Commonwealth and other nations' armed forces. The event takes place in a dramatic setting on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade at the top of Castle Hill, with audience stands erected high over the City. The Edinburgh Tattoo is seen by in excess of 200,000 people every year, with a high proportion of visitors coming from overseas. It is also televised and viewed by audiences worldwide. Tickets sell out fairly quickly. Though international in nature, there is a strong Scottish feel to the Tattoo. The traditional ending is a performance by the massed pipes and drums, the National Anthem and, finally, a floodlit lone piper playing a lament.