Summer in Britain

Summer includes the months of June, July and August.  It is the traditional holiday period, when schools close for several weeks, so places can be a little more crowded. Note that school holidays vary across the country; Scottish schools break up for summer, and return for autumn term, before their English and Welsh counterparts.  Summer in Britain is the warmest time of year.  On average, July is the warmest month and June the sunniest, but rainfall has been known to ruin many a festival or fete.  Heatwaves are possible and there are generally more thunderstorms in summer than at other times of year.  As with Spring, it tends to be cooler in the north and warmer in the south.

Croquet, Wells, Bishops' PalaceSo what’s on during summer in Britain?  Here is a selection of notable dates and events for June, July and August.  Wherever possible, a link takes you to another website or page for more information.  You might even fit in a game of croquet.

June in Britain

1 June – Dorset Day (the feast day of St Wite), celebrates the county whose county town is Dorchester.

The Trooping of the Colour, marking the official birthday of the British Sovereign, takes place in Westminster, London, normally on a Saturday in early June.  More information on the Royal website

4 June – Devon (St Petroc’s) Day, celebrates the county of Devonshire (county town Exeter).

5 June – Wiltshire Day, celebrates the county (county town Trowbridge).

16 June is Sussex Day, celebrating the old county of Sussex, once the kingdom of the South Saxons.  The county town is Chichester, in West Sussex.

Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk – The Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts was founded in 1948 by the composer Benjamin Britten, the singer Peter Pears and the librettist/producer Eric Crozier. It takes place from mid-late June in the Aldeburgh area of Suffolk, centred on Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

Trooping the ColourRoyal Highland Show – The Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s biggest annual agricultural show, showcasing farming (of course!), livestock (well…), food, drink, rural life..arts..crafts – all sorts of stuff.  It dates from 1822 and is held in June at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston, on the edge of Edinburgh. Royal Highland Show website

Glasgow Jazz Festival – The Glasgow International Jazz Festival is held in June in the up-market Merchant City area, an open-air stage in George Square and fringe events in bars, restaurants and hotels nearby. Glasgow’s jazz festival website

The Summer Solstice – the longest day and shortest night of the year – takes place on or around 21 June.  Thousands of people gather at ancient sites to witness sunrise.  The biggest gathering is at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire.

Shetland Day is on 21 June, celebrating the Shetland Isles.  So is Suffolk Day, celebrating the East Anglian county (county town Ipswich).

Fathers’ Day – is the third Sunday in June. Don’t forget old men need pampering too.

Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts – held most years, except for “fallow years”, over 5 days in late June, at Worthy Farm, Somerset. Tickets sell out in minutes – but something you should do at least once in your life. Other festivals are available – but here is the Glastonbury Festival website

Armed Forces’ Day is normally held on the last Saturday in June.  Find events and get involved on the Armed Forces Day website

July in Britain

British Formula 1 Grand Prix.  The British F1 Grand Prix race has been held annually since 1948, most recently sometime in July at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.  All you need to know at the Formula 1 website

F1, British Grand Prix, HamiltonWimbledon – the tennis championships at Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world and the only major one played outdoors on grass, takes place over two weeks (Wimbledon Fortnight) in early July. People have been known to take it as holiday in front of the TV.  Wimbledon’s website (the tennis place, not the area in London SW19).

Hampton Court Flower Show – The Hampton Court Garden Festival (to give its formal name) takes place in early July and is (apparently) the largest flower show in the world. It is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and features show gardens, marquees and more along the banks of the Long Water in Hampton Court Park, south-west of London.  As well as the obvious exhibits, the show is famous for highlighting home-grown food and cookery. RHS Hampton Court Flower Show website

15 July is Hampshire Day, celebrating the old county of Hampshire, whose county town is Winchester.

Llangollen Eisteddfod – The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is held during the second week of July in Llangollen, North Wales.  The tradition of eisteddfod, a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance, dates from the middle ages, at least.  Llangollen Eisteddfod website

Guitar man, what's on, summerCambridge Folk Festival – The Cambridge Folk Festival is a 3½ day music festival, established in 1965, which takes place in July on the site of Cherry Hinton Hall on the outskirts of Cambridge.  As well as legends and newcomers in folk music, the festival is renowned for a broad definition of what might be considered ‘folk’ and has included artistes like Wilko Johnson and Patti Smith in its lineup. Cambridge Folk Festival website

Tatton Park Flower Show – the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park is held at the historic Tatton Park, near Knutsford, Cheshire, in late July.  It includes show gardens and prize exhibits, as well as young designer and national flower bed competitions.  RHS Tatton Park Flower Show website

Henley Regatta – Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event held over five days in late July at Henley-on-Thames, England. First held in 1839, it is a traditional ‘social season’ event, where strict dress codes apply in certain places. So a good place to spot people with more money than is good for them.  Henley Royal Regatta website

Norfolk Day is on 27 July, celebrating the county (county town Norwich).

Buckinghamshire Day is on 29 July, celebrating the county (county town Aylesbury, not Buckingham).

The Three Choirs Festival, involving a triumvirate of English Cathedrals – Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, takes place in late July.  It is the longest running non-competitive classical music festival in the world, believed to have begun in 1715. Website for the Three Choirs Festival

The Proms – The BBC Proms, more formally The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, were founded in 1895 and now take place over an 8-week period from July to September, providing a programme of internationally renowned daily orchestral concerts mainly, though not exclusively, in London’s Royal Albert Hall in central London. The Last Night of the Proms in September is a hugely popular event which, though intensely patriotic, is also seen as slightly tongue-in-cheek and attracts people from all over the world. Tickets for the Last Night in London’s Albert Hall sell out way in advance.  However, outdoor concerts are held simultaneously in London’s Hyde Park, as well as in Belfast, Glasgow and Swansea.  BBC Proms website

August in Britain

1 August is Yorkshire Day, celebrating England’s largest county.  The county town – of course – is York.

The first Monday in August is Summer Bank Holiday in Scotland.

15 August is VJ Day, the anniversary of Victory over Japan in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. There may be local events taking place.

Edinburgh FestivalsThe Edinburgh International Festival is one of several festivals that take place in the City during August.  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.  Alongside the International Festival is Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an open access event that 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 immensely buzzy during this festival, with street performers on almost every corner.  Edinburgh International Festival website   Edinburgh Festival Fringe website

Edinburgh TattooEdinburgh Tattoo – the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held every August alongside the Edinburgh festivals. It features military bands and displays from all over the world and attracts thousands of visitors from overseas as well as all over the UK, and takes place against the dramatic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, overlooking the city.  Edinburgh Tattoo website

Football season – the football (soccer) season normally runs from mid-August to May.

Beatles’ Festival – International Beatles’ Week is held in late August in and around various venues in Liverpool, particularly the Cavern Club. It features tribute bands as well as acts that are famous in their own right, from all over the world.  Beatles’ Week website

The last Monday of August is the late Summer Bank Holiday in England and Wales.

Notting Hill Carnival – The Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street carnival and takes place in London over the August bank holiday weekend. Carnival information from the Visit Britain website

Notting Hill CarnivalIf you spot any errors in these details, or want to suggest a summer event you feel has been missed, please get in touch using the contact page.

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