Along with July, August is one of the warmest months in the UK – and many of us will be wanting to make the most of the sunnier weather before autumn rolls around.
The good news is that there are plenty of fun events taking place across the country this month, and many simple ways to enjoy the great outdoors too. From performing arts and foodie festivals to hot air balloon fiestas, river carnivals, and scenic walks, we hope there’s something for everyone.
With that said, here are 10 things to do and places to visit in the UK this August.
1. Look to the sky at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, Bristol
If four days of free family fun sounds good to you, then you might be interested in Bristol’s International Balloon Fiesta.
The fiesta was founded in 1976 when a small group of like-minded balloonists came together to showcase their balloons. And today, the fiesta hosts over 100 hot air balloons and attracts around 500,000 people.
Early birds will enjoy the fiesta’s morning ascents, where hot air balloons are sent into the sky around 6am. A highlight for many is grabbing a coffee from one of the traders on site, and settling in to watch the balloons inflate up close and fly over the sunrise.
However, if you’re more drawn to evening entertainment, there are evening balloon ascents too, and ‘night glows’ – where 25 tethered balloons are lit up in time to a soundtrack provided by BBC Radio Bristol. There’s also entertainment throughout the day to enjoy, including live music.
The Fiesta has become a significant icon of Bristol and remains free of charge to the public – in line with the ethos of how it was founded. This year, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta will run from 10th to 13th August.
2. Watch inspiring performances at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, London
Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is London’s leading festival of outdoor theatre and performing arts.
Here, you can expect to see groundbreaking displays of art, dance, and circus set against the backdrop of some of the most iconic places in London.
Some of this year’s events include a swan ballet on water and an immersive dance performance on a stage made of trampolines. The festival’s centrepiece is the world premiere of The Architect – a theatrical performance designed to take its audience on an uplifting and inspiring journey through the experiences of Black Londoners over the three decades since the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.
With such meaningful performances, it’s no wonder that the Guardian described the festival as an “unrivalled contribution to the happiness of the people of London”.
To find out more about what to expect, check out the events lineup on the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival website. The festival will take place from 25th August to 10th September 2023.
3. Immerse yourself in an epic tale of England at Kynren, County Durham
History buffs won’t want to miss the unforgettable performance of Kynren: An Epic Tale of England in Bishop Auckland, County Durham this month.
Presented by 11 Arches, this 90-minute outdoor theatrical performance vividly brings to life two thousand years of history, myth, and legend with breathtaking use of choreography, equestrianism, stunts, special effects, and pyrotechnics.
From Boudicca’s battles with the Romans all the way through to two world wars (with plenty of Vikings, Tudors, Stuarts, and Victorians in between!), Kynren is a truly spectacular display of our nation’s rich history. To find out more about what to expect, head over to the 11 Arches website.
There are various performances of Kynren: An Epic Tale of England throughout August and in early September 2023.
4. Uncover myth and legend at Wake the Giant Festival, County Down
Located on the picturesque shores of Carlingford Lough, Warrenpoint is a charming Northern Irish town steeped in history and culture.
The tales of Fionn Mac Cumhaill (a Scottish giant who was led to the creation of the Giants Causeway in County Antrim) are deeply woven into the history of Warrenpoint. And the town’s annual Wake the Giant Festival, where residents re-enact epic tales, is the ideal opportunity to experience it all.
At this vibrant festival, you can learn about Warrenpoint’s unique heritage and legends; immerse yourself in live music and performances; and enjoy delicious food worthy of a giant at speciality food stalls.
Then, during the festival’s most popular attraction, The Giant’s Parade, get ready to watch and cheer giant puppets as they go by.
The year, Wake the Giant Festival will take place on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August.
5. World Bogsnorkelling Championships, mid Wales
If you fancy doing something a bit different this August, there’s a chance you’ll be intrigued by the World Bog Snorkelling Championships held in Wales.
Forget typical sports for the day, as this highly entertaining – if not slightly unorthodox – event is one to add to your sporting calendar.
A unique test of skill and endurance, bogsnorkellers must complete two consecutive lengths of a 55-metre water-filled trench wearing snorkels, masks, and flippers (and a wetsuit if desired!) in the shortest time possible.
Over 40 years since its beginnings in 1976, the World Bogsnorkelling Championships now attracts competitors from all over the world – including Germany, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and even Australia.
Held in the small town of Llanwrtyd wells in mid Wales, this weird and wonderful sport makes for a fun – and definitely unique – day out. In fact, Lonely Planet described it as one of the world’s top 50 ‘must-do experiences’. Plus, if you decide to get involved, there’s a world title up for grabs.
The World Bog Snorkelling Championships will take place on Sunday 27th August, 2023.
6. Explore some of the UK’s most beautiful walking routes, UK-wide
Most of us enjoy a summer walk on a bright blue sky day. Feeling the sun on your face and breathing in the fresh air is enough to leave anyone feeling rejuvenated.
In the UK we’re blessed with an amazing range of beautiful and wonderfully varied walking routes, and there’s never been a better time to start exploring them. From magnificent coastal paths and vast forests to peaceful countryside meadows and stunning national parks – there’s something for every kind of walker.
Whether you decide to challenge yourself with a hike or prefer to stroll gently with a picnic in hand, walking is good for the soul. If you’d like some walking inspiration this month, check out our articles; 11 different types of walks to enjoy this summer and 12 rewarding activities to do while walking.
Or, if you’d like to make a staycation of it, one of these 5 remote destinations for a UK walking holiday might spark your interest.
7. Brush up on your culinary skills at Oxford Foodies Festival, Oxford
If eating tasty food, dancing to live music, browsing artisan markets, and ordering from pop-up bars sounds like your kind of day out, then Oxford Foodies Festival is one to add to your calendar this month.
Learn how to make magnificent cakes with experts bakers and Great British Bake Off stars; sample new wines, cocktails, and champagnes; or watch MasterChef Champions, and Michelin-starred and top local chefs cook up their signature recipes. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not join in one of the chilli eating competitions too?
Once you’re full up, head over to the live music stage for a dance where you’ll find performances from the likes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Scouting For Girls.
There’ll also be plenty of fun events hosted in The Kids Cookery Theatre if you’re bringing little ones along.
Oxford Foodies Festival takes place in South Parks, Oxford, between 26th and 28th August.
If Oxford is too far for you, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Foodies Festivals are also taking place in August. You can find out more on the Foodies Festival website.
8. Reminisce over great music at International Beatleweek, Liverpool
If you’re a fan of the legendary music band, The Beatles, then you might be pleased to know that there’s a festival dedicated to celebrating their music in Liverpool.
Liverpool is the city where it all began for the Beatles, and International Beatleweek is the ideal way to celebrate their legacy.
Live music is the central focus on International Beatleweek, and with 70 bands from 20 different countries and fans from 40 countries, you don’t actually need to be a Beatles fan to enjoy this festival.
At The Cavern Club (famously the birthplace of the Beatles), three stages will come alive with music all day, everyday – with a different band appearing every hour. There’ll also be performances across various other venues across Liverpool, so guests can get a real taste of the city.
To find out more about what to expect, check out the festival lineup on the International Beatleweek Festival website.
9. Celebrate art and culture at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Fringe Festival is known for being one of the greatest celebrations of arts and culture in the world.
For three weeks, Edinburgh comes to life with new energy, as various artists and performers take to the stage to showcase their talents. The festival has a mixture of free and ticketed events, ranging from comedy and theatre to dance and circus.
The city’s streets will also come alive with buskers, street performers, living statues, and delicious food vendors.
To find out more about what to expect, check out the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Festival calendar. The festival will take place from 4th to 28th August.
10. Hereford River Carnival, Herefordshire
Hereford is the only city on the River Wye. As the UK’s fifth-longest river – stretching some 215km – and previously voted Britain’s favourite river, the city celebrates this claim to fame with an annual river carnival.
Since it was reintroduced in 2014, the Hereford River Carnival has grown to become Herefordshire’s largest feel-good, community event – and the good news is that it’s entirely free.
Over 60 floats take to the river and 85,000 attendees enjoy music, dance, arts and crafts, sports, and old fashioned games beside the beautiful river.
This year, the event will take place on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th August 2023.
With plenty of (hopefully!) sunny weather, August is the ideal time to make fun plans and enjoy lasting memories with loved ones. And luckily, with various events taking place this month and plenty of opportunities to explore the best of the UK, you’ll be spoilt for choice.