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.
1. Winchester Hat Fair
Now celebrating its 40th 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 at Blackwood Forest.
2. World Championship Snail Racing in Norfolk
Ready, Steady…Slow! The highly trained 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. It’s at Congham in Norfolk and there's also a fete and a barbecue to complete a grand day out from Thorpe Forest.
3. Deer Shed Festival in Yorkshire
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. You’ll love the eclectic music line up, Edinburgh Fringe acts and comedy shows. And you’ll all love the science stuff where you can learn to solder, gaze at the night sky or explore Minecraft. Under an hour from Cropton and Keldy.
4. Hen Racing in Derbyshire
A quirky, chirpy little event at the Barley Mow pub in Bonsall, Derbyshire, just under one hour away from 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.
5. Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show in Yorkshire
The poor gooseberry, Britain’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. Hedda’s Schoolroom and you may see records being broken! Just a half hour drive from Cropton and Keldy.
6. Bath Tub Racing in Wales
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 different…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 our Forest of Dean location.
7. Climbing the Greasy Pole in Scotland
The Marymass Festival in Irvine is a little-known Scottish gem, and host to the Greasy Pole competition. The town’s strongest folk vie for supremacy in the race to…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 at Argyll or Strathyre.
8. Onion Eating Competition in Gloucestershire
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 it’s just 18 miles from our cabins at the Forest of Dean.
9. Looe Music Festival
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. Everybody’s welcome and it’s perfectly situated close to Deerpark.
10. World Stone Skimming Championships in Scotland
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. Your closest Forest Holidays location is Argyll, where you can practice your technique on Loch Long.