The last bank holiday of the year is just around the corner and, as we all know, if it’s a bank holiday it’s likely to rain. With our guide on suggestions for what to do over the weekend, whatever the weather, one thing is guaranteed for certain: fun.
Here’s how to make the most of your August bank holiday weekend, come rain or shine…
Dancing at the Notting Hill Carnival, 29 – 31 August
Exotic costumes, hypnotic samba, a sound system on every corner, the occasional dancing policeman…you’ve guessed it. The streets of Notting Hill dazzle and delight when it’s Carnival time. This Caribbean festival is one of the largest street festivals in Europe, with around 50,000 performers and one million people attending. For 2015, the theme is ‘Emergence of Carnival’.
Friday kicks off proceedings with a free concert at the London Calypso Tent. Sunday is Family Day and a day for children when floats are smaller and the vibe is lower key, while Monday is when the area really steps up a gear. This is the main event with 60 colourful and vibrant bands dancing and weaving through the streets.
Carnival bands are on from 10am with the parade due to end at 8.30pm, but those after-parties will carry on long, long into the night. Our two tips: wear comfy shoes and book Tuesday off!
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Every year the Edinburgh Fringe gets bigger and better. It’s the largest arts festival in the world, with cabaret, comedy, musicals and much, much more taking place across a whole variety of venues in Edinburgh. There’s talent all around you – in 250 places in fact.
Anything goes with absolutely any type of performance able to take part as there’s no selection committee, which often results in some wild and whacky stuff. In previous years, plays have been performed in a parked bus, a lift, and a swimming pool. (In 2005, audiences for one show were kidnapped and taken blindfold in a blacked-out van to a secret venue.)
But the venue has also made stars and seen many a show win awards or transfer to London’s West End. John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and Graham Norton all appeared at the Fringe before they became household names – some while still at university.
It’s a brilliant way to see the actors, comedians and theatre directors of tomorrow.
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Building sandcastles in Cornwall
Cornwall has something for everyone over the Bank Holiday. For foodies, there’s The Big Produce Market in Truro, 28 – 30 August, with 50 mouthwatering food stalls and cooking demos by top chefs. Or head along to the Newlyn Fish Festival on the Monday for the finest seafood, with money going towards the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen
For the family, there’s a working steam vintage rally near the small village of Morval over the whole weekend, where you can also see falconry displays and have a go at clay pigeon shooting. The Cornwall Folk Festival takes place in Wadebridge with street entertainment and ceilidhs, while the Cornish Country Fair at Stithians on Sunday has craft and local produce marquees and even a donkey derby and Punch and Judy show.
For the active, the Portscatho Regatta on Saturday is in stunning Gerrans Bay. Spectators can indulge in canoeing and raft racing, or simply enjoy the live music and sandcastle-building. Or why not join in the fun with the beach tag rugby tournament on Lusty Glaze beach, Newquay?
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Feasting on a picnic
A leisurely drive into the glorious British countryside, complete with a laden basket of goodies and a flask of tea (or something stronger) – it’s the perfect getaway without having to go too far.
A great picnic isn’t reliant so much on weather as on a stunning location. Yes, ideally you want to spread a blanket to lie on under a clear blue sky but it doesn’t have to be the case: if the weather’s on the inclement side, there’s something traditional about admiring the views – especially crashing waves – from the dryness of inside your car. Alternatively, nip into the bird hides at South Walney nature reserve, Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Or shelter inside one of the lofty glasshouses at Kew Gardens, or under the leafy canopy of a shady tree in the New Forest National Park.
But if you’re lucky to have sunshine with your sarnies, some of the UK’s best scenery for picnics is Barafundle Beach in Pembrokeshire, with its golden sands, or the little castaway island of St Herbert’s in the middle of Derwentwater with its peaceful Lake District views. Feeling historical? Sit in the shade of the ruins of imposing Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire. Feeling romantic? Hold hands at the Falls of Bruar, outside Blair Atholl, Perthshire.
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If you have any suggestions on how to spend August Bank Holiday, do let us know – we’d love to hear them!