After a whole season of cold and snow, the end of winter and the very early days of spring is a particularly awaited time in the United Kingdom making it a great time to explore the countryside and beyond. Here are just a few events to be sure to catch this year as the weather slowly starts to warm!
Flowers and Gardens
The coming of the snowdrops in particular is always eagerly visited by gardening enthusiasts. Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire alone hosts 240 varieties of them! A wide number of gardens and stately homes also host their own snowdrop events; check for listings on the Scottish Snowdrop Festival. And even a late winter chill doesn’t have to get in the way of enjoying the UK’s gardens. The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is putting its hothouse orchids on display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory from February to March.
Pancakes and Football
Festivities in the lead-up to Easter are still an important part of village life. Traditional Pancake Races all over England celebrate Shrove Tuesday; apparently the event began when a housewife from Olney nearly forgot to attend church, she was so engrossed in making pancakes. She ran out of her house with the frying pan and pancake still in hand, and thus started the yearly race where participants have flip a pancake while running through the streets of the town. Olney still holds its own race, though participants have to be residents of the town. Mob football games, a tradition dating back to the 12th century, are also played around Easter. Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire, Atherstone in Warwickshire, Sedgefield in Country Durham and St Columb Major in Cornwall all continue to hold these games after the practice nearly died out in the 19thcentury after the 1935 Highway Act.
A New Year
Chinese New Year is always a widely celebrated time of year throughout the UK’s Asian communities. The colourful parades, interesting performances and, of course, good food, make this a must-visit event for everyone touring the UK. London’s Chinatown holds the biggest celebration, though the ones in North England such as Manchester and Liverpool are definitely worth checking out too.
For something well off the beaten path, 2013 is the 1450th anniversary of St Columba arriving on Iona, a tiny island in the far north of Scotland. To celebrate, the island is holding its Columba 2013 Festival, featuring shows from Scotland’s folk art and music scene well into the summer. However, if your journeys are due to take you further afield than the UK, you may find some inspiration at one of the season’s travel shows. Destinations: The Holiday and Travel Show in London is scheduled in for the beginning of February at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, and already has a full schedule of live entertainment that will excite everyone feeling a bit of wanderlust after the winter.
The UK’s late winter and early spring calendar is positively packed with interesting events and festivals to explore all throughout the country. Sort out a car hire and explore all the interesting events the UK has to offer as spring begins to lift its head.
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