August is one of the hottest months of the year in the UK, and not just because the temperatures are soaring. This month plays host to Britain’s biggest LGBTQ+ celebration, the world’s largest arts festival, and a Caribbean carnival that’ll have you dancing in the streets. It’s the best of summer, all in one month.
When: 2-4 August
Where: Brighton, East Sussex
Cost: Parade is free; tickets to the main event, Pride in the Park, start at £39.95
LGBTQ+ Pride events are happening all across the UK this summer, but if you only have time to go to one, choose Brighton & Hove Pride. It’s one of the biggest LGBTQ+ event in the UK and it attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year thanks to its colourful street parade, its hilarious dog show, and its superstar acts. This year, the festival is being headlined by Kylie Minogue and Clean Bandit.
When: 2-26 August
Where: Various venues throughout Edinburgh
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Dubbed “the world’s largest arts fest,” Edinburgh Festival Fringe lasts 25 days and features over 50,000 performances across the Scottish capital. Acts include comedy shows, cabaret, circus acts, contemporary dance and everything in between. Theatre is one of the highlights of the festival; more than 1500 plays will make their world premieres here.
The “Fringe,” which literally means the edge, started life when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. They wisely thought to take advantage of the large number of people that would assemble to showcase their alternative theatre.
A truly cultural extravaganza, the Fringe is not to be missed.
When: 8-11 August
Where: Ashton Court, Bristol
The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest hot air ballooning event. This amazing (and free!) spectacle regularly attracts half a million visitors to the idyllic rolling hills of Ashton Court.
This year over 130 hot air balloons from around the world will take off from dawn until dusk and light up the night sky. Late night visitors on Thursday the 8th and Saturday the 10th can take in the spectacle of the famous Nightglow and Firework Finales.
And the fun isn’t just in watching the balloons – you can actually go on up in one and get a bird’s-eye view of the gorgeous countryside. If you’d rather spend the day on the ground, there is also plenty of entertainment, including fairground attractions, performances from local bands and talents, and plenty of food.
When: 16-17 August
Where: Glasgow Green, Scotland
Cost: Student tickets start from £3
The beautiful city of Glasgow is once again playing host to the World Pipe Band Championships. Over 200 bands from all around the world will take part this year. Whilst you’re strolling through the streets of Glasgow, enjoy a spectacular march of over 100 outstanding pipers and drummers.
When: 24-26 August
Where: Herstmonceaux Castle, East Sussex
Cost: Day tickets start from £16
If you’re fascinated by castles and knights in shining armour, and you wouldn’t mind a go at archery, then put the Medieval Festival in your diary. This three-day festival plays homage to England’s medieval past. You’ll see plenty of people dressed up in clothes of that era, making it Instagram gold.
There will be feasting, jousting, falconry, weapons demonstrations, and even a reenactment of a castle siege.
When: 25-26 August
Where: Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park, West London
When it comes to street festivals nothing beats the Notting Hill Carnival in West London. It started in 1964 as a local street party to celebrate London’s Caribbean culture. Over the years it has gone from strength to strength to become Europe’s largest street festival, attended by a million people.
The parade’s route is lined by 38 static sound systems. Performers will dance to the music in colourful costumes as they parade around the area. DJs at the carnival play everything from reggae to R&B to house music – whatever your taste is, you will find something you like.
*Lead image photo credit: VisitBritian/Jon Spaull