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6 quirky events to try in the UK

If you’re planning a trip to the UK but want to take in some of the lesser known events and attractions, this list is perfect for you. The UK has a lot to offer:

Cheese-Rolling in the Cotswolds

Cheese-Rolling event at Cooper’s Hill in Cotswolds takes place every year on the May bank holiday. The event is so popular that every year it attracts thousands of people. The visitors, competitors and spectators often come from long distances to attend: America, Canada, Holland, Italy, Spain, Australia and even Japan. The roads around the area are closed for the safety of the walkers, and it is a long climb from the nearest car park. Most visitors choose to walk along the small cross-country footpaths. Visiting the Cotswolds for a weekend break and watching (maybe even participating in) the cheese roll would certainly be memorable.

There are four different races (men, women, boys under 14 and finally those over 14) in which the competitors run down the extremely steep Cooper’s Hill following a rolling round of Double Gloucester cheese which can pick up great speed. The one who crosses the finish line first wins. Later he performs a sprint back up Cooper’s Hill with the trophy.

The crowd goes crazy watching the competitors tumbling down the hill. Many of them return to the top and then go downhill all over again. Of course, every year there are usual bumps, scrapes, bruises and even sprained ankles. There is a lot of preparation work by enthusiasts and volunteers who spend hours clearing the hill of different obstacles. But the most important thing is that everybody has fun.


World Pooh Sticks Championships

This unusual event was first organised in Little Wittenham, but after an increase in popularity and participation it was moved to a new venue, the River Windrush in Witney, Oxfordshire.

The idea comes a game in a Winnie-the-Pooh book and is about racing sticks thrown into water from a bridge. Every year it attracts many visitors and players from different countries. The championship features two events: individual and a six-person team event and takes place on a cycle track bridge over the river. The sticks are in different colours and the competitors get different sticks. Their place on the bridge is the same colour as their stick, like lanes on athletics tracks are numbered. Everybody has a great fun and a nice day with their families and friends. Money is also raised for local and national charities.

The Maldon Mud Race

One of the most popular quirky events in the UK is The Maldon Mud Race held in spring at Promenade Park in Maldon, Essex. Traditionally contestants have to serve a meal on the riverbank dressed in a dinner jacket, but then they race across the river to a barrel of beer, drink a glass and then race back. Today the barrel doesn’t exist and the contestants wear fancy dress and compete in thick mud, over the bed of the River Blackwater. Thousands of visitors come to watch the race and lots of money is raised for charity. This probably isn’t the kind of event you would choose if you’re into luxury travel!

Dorset Knob Throwing Festival in Cattistock

In the picturesque centre of Cattistock village in West Dorset in England an unusual event is held every year. It is a competition where the participants try to throw a Dorset Knob biscuit as far as they can. The aim of this competition is to raise funds for 4 village organisations that actually prepare the event together.

The event has been attracting more and more visitor every year and it also offers different games and entertainment. At the same time the Frome Valley Food Festival takes place. This gives you opportunity to taste and buy a great range of finest food produced in the UK. You can try different cheeses, game and poultry meats, pies, breads, puddings, coffee and wine all locally available.

The World Bellyboard Championships

Surfing in the UK dates back in the early 1900s, but it became very popular at the end of World War I. The first World Belly Boarding Championship was dedicated to a man who frequently visited Chapel Porth with his board made of wood. In the beginning there were only a few competitors, but in years it has grown into the competition with a great number of surfers.

At first people didn’t wear wetsuits, and there weren’t any fins. You just needed a piece of wood and a swimming suit. Today the competition presents the very best in construction of wooden surf crafts, old swimming suits and wave riding skills. Enthusiasts and spectators and, of course, bold wave riders of different ages and skills attend this event at one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall. Hundreds of men and women have fallen in love with a great surfing in the strong Atlantic breakers enjoying a cup of tea and a sandwich after the race. The beach is beautiful and untouched and constantly inviting wave riders from all over the world.

Viking boat LerwickUp Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland

Up Helly Aa tradition originally started in the 1880s representing an authentic Viking celebration. It is held every year in January in Lerwick, Shetland. The celebration features a succession of marches from the early morning and finishes with almost a thousand burning torches being thrown into a replica Viking galley. Thousands of tourists come to Lerwick to attend the day-long celebrations since it offers various things to its visitors throughout the day: the sight of Guizer Jarl, the Chief Guizer and leader of the Jarl Squad, who are Vikings for the day, the historical scenes and the evening party. All the people of Lerwick wear horned helmets, carry flaming torches and walk along the streets with the Squad until the celebration ends at night when the galley is burned. At first galleys were made from a light wood frame covered with canvas or some old boats were converted into galleys, before being burnt and sent to Valhalla. Today galleys are built and painted by some local craftsmen and volunteers.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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