It’s July and summer has officially arrived. Often the warmest month of the year, it’s a fantastic time to soak up the sun and make lasting memories. And luckily, there are many exciting events coming up and places to visit to help you do just that.
With that said, here are 12 things to do and places to visit in the UK this July.
1. Connect with artists at Cowes Open Studios, Isle of Wight
Artists working in Cowes, Gurnard, and Northwood on the Isle of Wight will be displaying their incredible talents during Cowes Open Studios between the 14th and 24th July.
Thirty-four artists who work across a range of different artistics styles and practices – from painting, drawing, and printmaking to jewellery, woodworking, and ceramics – will be celebrating and sharing their work with the public.
Open Studios offers the unique chance to visit artists in their studios, homes, and community spaces to learn more about how they draw inspiration from the beautiful Isle of Wight.
Since all venues are within about three miles of the centre of Cowes, you could always turn your trip into a walking or cycling trip too.
2. Look to the sky at Portsmouth International Kite Festival, Hampshire
If you’d like to feel uplifted by a sky filled with colourful kites this summer, then it’s worth taking a trip to Portsmouth International Kite Festival.
Portsmouth International is recognised as one of the best and most popular kite festivals in the world, with a magnificent range of uniquely designed kites taking to the sky.
The theme for 2023 is ‘East meets West’, so expect to see kites celebrating the wonderful culture of the East. Held on the beautiful backdrop of Southsea common overlooking the Solent, the wide open spaces and good winds are the ideal location for this beautiful and exciting day out.
There’ll also be craft stalls, refreshments, and kite making workshops, so everyone can get involved.
Portsmouth International Kite Festival will take place on the 29th and 30th July 2023.
3. Learn something new at Penzance Literary Festival, Cornwall
The 12th edition of the Penzance Literary Festival is on its way in 2023. Over four days, the festival will host a fantastic array of talented authors, poets, performers, and more.
Immerse yourself in engaging seminars, listen to your favourite creatives speak, or brush up your own skills at one of the many writing and poetry workshops. Topics will include everything from sea poetry to tips for dramatic writing and advice on publishing.
You can find the full 2023 festival programme on the Penzance Literary Festival website. The festival will run from 5th – 8th July 2023.
4. Watch amazing aerial displays at the Wales Airshow, Swansea
Everybody loves a free day out, so why not head to Swansea Bay this July to watch the Wales Airshow?
This two-day event is held annually and attracts some of the best pilots in the world, who put on a show unlike any other. Expect to see huge jets and magnificent aerial acrobatic displays by the infamous Red Arrows.
And, with various food and drinks stalls, VR experiences, rides, family activities, live bands, and much more, it’s no surprise that over 200,000 attend the Airshow every year. So why not be one of them this year?
The Wales Airshow will take place from the 1st – 2nd July 2023.
5. Embrace culture at Birmingham Mela Asian Music Festival, Birmingham
It’s been 10 years since Europe’s biggest South Asian music festival was launched, so the 2023 event is set to be one to remember.
Held in Victoria Park, Smethwick, Birmingham, Mela Asian Music Festival will run over two days from 22nd – 23rd July.
Over 150 artists will take to the stage – plus, more than 30 food stalls, an arts and crafts village, a children’s funfair, mind blowing visual arts, and plenty of shopping opportunities will be there to enjoy too.
Day tickets are only £2.25, with the opportunity to book VIP too.
6. Celebrate Pride, UK-wide
London Pride is an organisation dedicated to celebrating the diversity of LGBTQ+ communities and is proud to run the UK’s largest and most diverse Pride event.
This year on Saturday 1st July, over 500 groups and 30,000+ participants are expected to march in the iconic London Pride Parade from Hyde Park Corner to Whitehall Palace.
There’ll be various stages dotted throughout the city – including in Trafalgar Square and Golden Square – with outstanding performances from unique entertainers and musicians, as well as a selection of delicious food and drink trucks, and fun stalls from major brands and small businesses alike.
If you’re coming with children, St Giles in the Fields will have family-friendly activities running all day too.
You might like to take part in the parade yourself, or buy grandstand tickets for the best views of the parade.
7. Watch a medieval battle at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, Gloucestershire
Tewkesbury Medieval Festival has been the highlight of Tewkesbury’s summer since 1984. Today, it’s widely regarded as the largest free medieval gathering of its kind in Europe.
The festival’s central attraction, a re-enactment of the Battle of Tewkesbury itself, is held on part of the site of the original 1471 battlefield. And there’s a wide range of period entertainment – including music, dance, archery, food and drink stalls, and the opportunity to meet fascinating characters from the past – to enjoy too.
Tewkesbury town centre also bustles with associated events and the streets are lined with dozens of authentic medieval banners for the entirety of the festival period.
Best of all, despite its size and popularity, entry to the festival is free, thanks to a team of hardworking volunteers. Tewkesbury Medieval Festival will take place from 8th – 9th July 2023.
8. Immerse yourself in music, comedy, and poetry at Stendhal Festival, Derry
Northern Ireland’s biggest and best-loved independent music and arts festival is back for another year.
Since its beginnings in 2011, Stendhal Festival in Limavady, Derry, has seen guests welcome the summer season with singing, dancing, and laughter. The programme of music, comedy, and poetry is designed to cater to the whole family, and has won Stendhal various awards naming it Ireland’s best family festival over the years.
Across the 72-acre site, which holds eight stages and five main entertainment areas, a dedicated family programme has been designed for everyone to enjoy. This year’s musical lineup includes legendary reggae band The Wailers, award-winning jazz musician Yazz Ahmed, and the festival’s first ever headline act back in 2011 – Turin Brakes.
With diverse and delicious food scattered throughout the festival, Stendhal is a treat for foodies too.
Plus, at the start of the famous Causeway Coastal route and just a stones’ throw from Derry, Portrush, and Donegal, the festival’s location is an excellent entry point to the wider Northwest.
9. Enjoy a day by the seaside at Seafest Scarborough, North Yorkshire
A trip to the beach is the epitome of summer and, this July, the West Pier on Scarborough’s beautiful south bay will come to life with an exciting programme to help you make the most of the sun.
The jolly musical lineup will get your feet tapping, and the delicious food and drink offerings – along with local chef cooking demonstrations – will make your tastebuds sing.
There’ll be street entertainers, rides, children’s activities, and a range of local businesses stalls for food, drinks, crafts, and much more. A fantastic fireworks display is also held over south bay on the Saturday evening to round off the first day of the festival.
With salty sea air, music, food, entertainment, and (hopefully) plenty of sunshine, what better way to kick off the summer season? Seafest Scarborough will take place from 14th – 16th July 2023.
10. Wander among beautiful blooms at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, Surrey
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the world’s largest festival of flowers. Spanning 34 acres, it takes festival organisers a staggering 21 days to set up for the show. And once you’ve seen the breathtaking displays for yourself, it’s not difficult to see why.
Alongside the fine displays, visitors can enjoy engaging talks and demonstrations – including tips on how to spruce up your own garden – as well as specialist insights from the likes of Dame Mary Berry.
Shop until you drop for excellent garden accessories, homeware, and gifts; or sit back and take in the live music, tasty street food, and entertainment with friends and family.
The RHS Hampton Court Flower Show will take place from the 4th – 9th July 2023.
Alternatively, if Hampton Court is a bit far away from you, another RHS flower show is also set to take place at Tatton Park, Cheshire, between 19th –23rd July. For more information, head over to the RHS website.
11. Enjoy jazz and blues music, Edinburgh
If you’re a lover of jazz and blues music, then the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is one to add to your calendar this July.
This ever-popular festival first started back in 1978 and has since become one of the most iconic and highly regarded jazz festivals in Europe. The programme is designed to span the entire history of music – from ragtime to Chicago blues, modern jazz, and beyond.
To find out more about what you can expect at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, check out the lineup on their website. This year, the festival will take place from 14th – 23rd July.
12. Step back in time with English Heritage July events, UK-wide
This year, English Heritage has a Roman-focused year, and this July, there are plenty of immersive events taking place where everyone can enjoy a taste of the Roman Empire.
At Birdoswald Roman Fort you can learn about 2000-year-old Roman building techniques; and at Chesters Roman Fort, re-enactors will demonstrate the techniques which made the Roman military the most formidable force in the world.
Towards the end of the month, Chesters Roman Fort will also host breathtaking falconry displays, with an opportunity to learn more about birds in the Roman era.
July is officially summer time and an ideal opportunity to get outside and enjoy the best that the UK has to offer. And with so many fun and interesting events taking place this year, you’ll be stuck for choice.
For more ideas and inspiration for things to do this July, head over to the travel and art and culture sections of our website. Here you’ll find everything from cultural and historic hotspots to staycation ideas in the UK.