July is packed with quintessentially British events that are famous around the world, such as the Wimbledon tennis tournament, but lesser-known and quirkier gatherings are equally worth checking out. Hastings Pirate Day, Skipton Sheep Day, and the Whitstable Oyster Festival are all good summer fun. And don’t forget July is also when Buckingham Palace opens to the public for the summer months.
Wimbledon Tennis Tournament
When: 1–14 July
Where: All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Church Road, Wimbledon
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Wimbledon is the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world and has been held in the South London suburb since 1877, and regularly attracts more than 470,000 fans, including royalty.
Every year hundreds of professional tennis players from all over the world compete to win the top prize of £30 million.
The summer drink popular at Wimbledon is Pimm’s and spectators feast on strawberries and cream. If you’re not able to make it to the tennis tournament you can still enjoy these treats at home – check out our video tutorials here and here.
Understandably tickets to Wimbledon sell out very quickly but if you really want to go you can queue on the day.
Independence Day Fair and BBQ
Where: The American Museum, Bath
When: 6 July
For those who don’t know, American Independence Day commemorates the Declaration of Independence, which was signed in 1776. This marked the separation of the USA from the UK.
Thankfully the USA and the UK now have a friendly relationship and it is possible to find Independence Day celebrations in Britain. The American Museum hosts an annual celebration including bluegrass music and delicious American-style barbecue.
Henley Royal Regatta
When: 3–7 July
Cost: From £27
This five-day rowing event in the pretty town of Henley-on-Thames is about as British as it gets. First held in 1839 it is a traditional summer sporting event as well as part of the English social season. You will find men in blazers, bow ties and boaters (a kind of straw hat) by the riverside.
No time to be there? Watch the event live on YouTube.
Skipton Sheep Day
Where: Skipton High Street, Skipton
When: 7 July
Skipton has always been fond of sheep – it used to be called “Scaep Tun,” meaning Sheep Town. Its annual Sheep Day is one of its most popular events. This year’s Sheep Day will feature different breeds of sheep, demonstrations of sheep shearing, and even sheep dancing. There will also be birds of prey, such as falcons, a petting zoo where you can pet farm animals, and art and craft stalls.
Hastings Pirate Day
Where: Hastings, The Old Town, Sussex
When: 14 July
Want to see hundreds of Jack Sparrow lookalikes? Aye! Then put on your favourite pirate costume and head to the annual Hastings Pirate Day. This annual Clean Seas event holds the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of pirates. This year, they’re trying to set another record for the largest human image of a boat. Shiver me timbers!
Buckingham Palace summer opening
Where: Buckingham Palace, London
When: From 22 July – 29 September
Cost: Concession tickets start at £13.50
Don’t miss your chance to check out where the Queen lives. Buckingham Palace is Her Majesty’s official London residence and parts of it are open to the public for just a few months of the year.
Buck House, another name for the Palace, is one of the world’s few remaining working royal palaces where visitors can explore the lavishly furnished State Rooms, containing some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection. The one treasure you won’t see? Her Majesty. The Queen spends her summers at Balmoral in Scotland.
Whitstable Oyster Festival
Where: Tankerton Slopes, Whitstable
When: 27-29 July
Save the date, seafood fans! The Whitstable Oyster Festival goes back hundreds of years and pays tribute to the town’s fishing heritage with a ceremonial thanksgiving for a good oyster harvest. The day kicks off with the Landing of the Oysters and the Oyster Parade.
Spend the rest of the day enjoying the local food, drink and music in this idyllic town. And as the night falls see the beach light up with hundreds of lanterns that have been created using oyster shells.