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Are you looking for something a little bit different this summer? Forget bog-snorkelling and cheese-rolling championships; we've delved a little deeper for this guide, finding you the quirkiest festivals ranging from the inspiring to the totally ridiculous.
Now celebrating its 40thÂ Year, the Winchester Hat Festival was originally a busking festival, the hat being where you put your money if you liked what you saw. A cornucopia of weird and wonderful acts, this year look out for Betty Brawn, the Strongest Woman in the World, The Amazing Mr Fish, and Compagnia Circolabile, Poet of the Invisible. Stay atÂ Blackwood Forest.
Winchester Hat Festival street performers
Ready, Steadyâ€¦Slow! The highly trainedÂ competitors are placed on a damp mat and race from an inner circle to an outer circle. The winner is rewarded with a pewter tankard filled with finest Norfolk lettuce. Itâ€™s at Congham in Norfolk and there's also a fete and a barbecue to complete a grand day out fromÂ Thorpe Forest.
A truly family friendly festival, combining music, arts and science. The kids will love the massive sand pits, cardboard city and fully equipped sports field. Youâ€™ll love the eclectic music line up, Edinburgh Fringe acts and comedy shows. And youâ€™ll all love the science stuff where you can learn to solder, gaze at the night sky or explore Minecraft. Under an hour fromÂ CroptonÂ andÂ Keldy.
A quirky, chirpy little event at the Barley Mow pub in Bonsall, Derbyshire, just under one hour away fromÂ Sherwood Forest. If you happen to have your hen with you (and pets are welcome on a Forest Holiday!) you can enter them in the race. Otherwise, simply use the hen race as an excuse for a leisurely trip to the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District.
Hen racing in Derbyshire
The poor gooseberry, Britainâ€™s forgotten fruit lives on at Egton Bridge. Celebrating over 200 years of competitive gooseberry growing in the region, the aim of the game it to grow the heaviest gooseberry. A niche interest maybe, but pop in to the show at St. Heddaâ€™s Schoolroom and you may see records being broken! Just a half hour drive fromÂ CroptonÂ andÂ Keldy.
For weird and wonderful events, the World Alternative Games in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, takes the crown. An homage to the Olympic Games, but oh so very differentâ€¦60 events ranging from worm charming to bath tub racing and from husband dragging to gravy wrestling. Entries are still open for many events and spectators are warmly welcomed. Well worth the trip for guests staying at ourÂ Forest of DeanÂ location.
World Alternative Games in Llanwryd Wells, Powys
The Marymass Festival in Irvine is a little-known Scottish gem, and host to the Greasy Pole competition. The townâ€™s strongest folk vie for supremacy in the race toâ€¦the top of a greasy pole, where the prize of a ham from the local butchers awaits them. Visit the festival while you are staying atÂ ArgyllÂ orÂ Strathyre.
The highlight of the Newent Onion Fayre, the Onion Eating Competition, pits contestants against each other as they race to consume a 7oz peeled onion. The festival, which elevates the humble onion to superstardom for the day, is a lively event for all the family and itâ€™s just 18 miles from our cabins at theÂ Forest of Dean.
For three days in September, the usually sleepy harbour town of Looe in Cornwall wakes up with jolt, to high energy music, entertainment and culture. The festival on the beach, in the streets and in every nook and cranny is a joyous occasion and feels like no other music festival. Everybodyâ€™s welcome and itâ€™s perfectly situated close toÂ Deerpark.
Looe Music Festival
Stone skimming is the appropriate sport for the tiny Inner Hebridean island of Easdale, where the principle industry for over 500 years has been slate mining. Superb skimming stones are in abundant supply, as are skimmers willing to try for the championship. With access on the island via a 12 person motorboat, some forward planning might be in order. Â Your closest Forest Holidays location isÂ Argyll, where you can practice your technique on Loch Long.