Festival Forecast: England
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
London : late March or early April
Join the crowds lining the towpath (that's where the horses used to walk) for this annual four-mile boat race that's been on since 1829. The Boat Race homepage has the lowdown on the annual competition.
London : mid-April
Join or just watch as 30,000 people run 26 miles in the marathon from Greenwich to The Mall, SW1. Visit the site for the specific date and time.
London Marathon Museums and Galleries Month
London : May
For the entire month of May, thousands of attractions all over Britain put on special exhibitions based on an annual theme.
May Fayre and Puppet Festival
London : Second Sunday in May
This puppetry event at St. Paul's Covent Garden honors the church where Samuel Pepys watched the first show in 1662.
Chelsea Flower Show
London : Late May
Tickets go on sale in November for this incredibly popular international floral show. This is Britain's chance to show off its gardening skills to the world and...you. Set on the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital. The Flower Show site has schedules and ticketing information.
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
London : June-July
The world's largest open art exhibition happens in London at this British academy of higher learning. Visit the Royal Academy's exhibition page for more information,
City of London Festival
London : Third Week of June
Over 100 events fall under the same musical spectacle umbrella when this festival gets under way at all sorts of venues. The COLF homepage has event calendars and information about free concerts throughout the year.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis
London : End of June-First Week of July
This is your chance to see a little tennis among your closest friends from the English jet set. Will you be sitting next to Posh, Sporty, or Elton? Visit the Wimbledon site to get your game on.
Pride in the Park
London : Last Saturday in July
This is London's annual gay pride event. The marching parade starts in Hyde Park and dances on down to Parliament Square where music sends merrymakers over the rainbow. The Pride London site has info about all the event's activities.
Great British Beer Festival
London : First Week of August
The Olympia Exhibition Centre spills over with more than 500 types of traditionally brewed beers, ales and ciders. Visit the festival's website to find out more. Cheers!
The Notting Hill Carnival
London : Late August
One of the largest street festivals in the world attracts half a million people. Expect an explosion of reggae, steel drums and lots of Caribbean food, mon. The Notting Hill Carnival website has practical info and a short history of the annual event.
London Open House Weekend
London : Third Weekend of September
See the inside architecture of British buildings usually closed to the public. With over 400 structures to choose from, one weekend isn't enough. The Open House website has information on the participating buildings.
Chelsea Crafts Fair
London : Last Two Weeks of October
The largest craft fair in Europe is ready and waiting for you to quilt. The website has information on all the participating artists.
Guy Fawkes Fireworks Night
London : November 5 and the closest Saturday
Here's the time to set the town on fire, well, effigies of Guy Fawkes anyway. The unique event punishes the most infamous conspirator of The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 over and over again, every single year. The charmingly straightforward site has more info on the event.
Reading and Leeds Festivals
Reading and Leeds : late August
These pricey weekend rock festivals held over the bank holiday share nearly identical lineups of big name headliners and small stage supporting acts. Campsites are available, but you won't have to travel far: the Reading Festival is held within walking distance from the train station and shuttles run from the station to the Leeds concert grounds. Book as soon as tickets go on sale or else your world will go unrocked. The festival homepage has some nifty info about the lineup and buying tickets.
Glastonbury : last weekend in June
This is it, the biggest open air festival in the world. In addition to the biggest names in music, the festival also boasts film, theater, cabaret, comedy, and even a freakin' circus! Though it draws over 100,000 attendees, tickets sell out in hours. Visit the Glastonbury site to learn more.
All Tomorrow's Parties
East Sussex : mid-May
Established in 1999 as an alternative to industry festivals, All Tomorrow's Parties invites a "curator" to select the lineup, often avant-garde musicians and underground hip-hop artists. Former curators include The Mars Volta, Matt Groening, Vincent Gallo, and Sonic Youth. It's a lesser known festival, but the in the know crowd snatches up tickets. The ATP site has everything you need to know.
Derby : late August
What do you do if two days of establishment AND underground metal at the affordable price of 50 GBP isn't enough for you? Attend Bloodstock Open Air ! Visit the site to see who's playing this year.
Donington : mid-June
So you don't have much cash, and you can't decide whether to hit the rock, metal, or punk festival? The Download Festival is your solution: 3 days of 3 genres, all of which your parents would classify as "that darn noise." The Download Festival website has everything you want to know, and then some.
Secret Garden Festival
Cambridge : mid-August
Picture yourself chilling to indie bands by day and dancing to after-hours techno by night, all on the bucolic grounds of a Georgian farm house. With tree houses and rope bridges, garden pubs and tea houses, this is the Neverland of festivals. Visit the too-cool site to learn more.
Summer Sundae Festival
Leicester : mid-August
If you're looking to hear some up and coming local British music rather than the Top 20 international acts, this is your festival. At 75 GBP for 3 days, it's more affordable as well. Visit the site for ticket and lineup information.
Steventon (near Oxford) : 3rd week of July
You know that kind of weird cousin you have? Well Truck Festival is that cousin's dream come true. Held on a farm, this is festival fare on a small scale: mellow indie acts during the day, jam sessions at night, and the notorious Barn That Cannot Be Named. The festival site has all the practical info.
Chelmsford and Staffordshire : 3rd weekend of August
The lineup for this annual Virgin Records-sponsored event reads like the VIP list at the most exclusive club in town. British and international pop artists perform at this well-organized two city weekend festival. Find out more about this year's show at the website.
Halton : late August
Since its inception in 1998, Creamfields has established itself as the premiere international dance festival, drawing the biggest DJs and spawning satellites across Europe and South America. Visit the Creamfields website to learn more.
Stratford-upon-Avon : last weekend of July
Over two days you can dance to music spun by world class DJs, bungee jump in the Adrenalin Village, ride roller coasters on the Fairgrounds, and dig in at the Beach Stage. The site has the scoop on who's spinning when.