4 of the Weirdest UK Festivals and Events

It is only after moving away from the UK that I realised how weird and wacky this country is. For a start, I haven’t found anywhere in the world where you can encounter such an amazing sense of humour from ordinary people in everyday situations.

However, perhaps what best shows the eccentric nature of the Brits more than anything else is the long and somewhat mystifying list of weird UK festivals and events.

Cheese Rolling near Gloucester

It only seems fair to start off with the famously bonkers cheese rolling competition at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester. This event takes place on the Spring Bank Holiday each year and has attracted worldwide fame in recent years. Basically, a giant block of Double Gloucester cheese weighing up to 9 pounds goes hurtling down a steep hill at up to 70 mph, while a group of presumably mad people chase after it. Of course, going to see this event is a wonderful excuse for seeing one of the most scenic and enchanting parts of England. Try spending some time in lovely Gloucester while you are here.

International Festival of Worm Charming in Devon

Who knew that the South West of the UK was a worm charming hotspot? Well, the grandly titled International Festival of Worm Charming brings all of the magic and mystery of subterranean invertebrates to Devon. The festival involves more than just trying to encourage some worms to come out into the sun, though.

Worm Charming Devon

There is also Morris dancing, fancy dress and possibly even some cider drinking to look forward to. While you are in Devon it is a wonderful opportunity to see what this lovely region has to offer, such as Devon’s best beaches. From the Dartmouth Steam Railway to the South West Path and some great castles, there is a lot more to Devon than just worms.

Up Helly Aa in Shetland

I have long had a burning desire to visit Shetland and maybe Up Helly Aa is the event I have been waiting on to finally get there. This magnificently named festival is all about Viking longv ships, horns, flaming torches and, well, fire.


The fantastic looking capital of Lerwick gets over-run by tourists and would-be Vikings at the end of January each year. It all ends in a blaze of glory, with a burning long ship and a rocking ceilidh. This is such a remote and fascinating looking place that I really hope to explore it one day, with or without a Viking helmet on my head.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales

Once you read about the sport of bog snorkelling for the first time it is pretty much impossible to get it out of your head. The deranged geniuses who invented this event really need a round of applause from all of us. It all started in Llanwrtyd Wells back in the 70s. Simply put, you need to do 2 lengths of a 55 metre peat bog as quickly as possible and only using flippers to propel yourself.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales

In case you are wondering, the world record is an impressive 1 minute 22.56 seconds. The World Championships take place in August each year and a lot of tourists now make the trip out to see what it all about. Llanwrtyd Wells is also allegedly the smallest town in the UK and sits in the pretty Powys region. It has a range of other bizarre events such as the Real Ale Wobble and the Man vs. Horse Marathon. It is also a great base for exploring the Brecon Beacons.

There are many other amazingly strange things happening all over the UK at any given time. From whole villages taking part in a massive football game to mud races, toe wrestling, egg throwing and gurning, they all offer a lot of fun and a good reason to explore a new area of this country.

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