Okay, so we all know there is more to the UK than a range of “olde-world” castles, winding roads and and rolling hills!  There is so much more to our great country than that…We have an array of other awesome traditions and places to see, with the likes of “Big Ben”, “Buckingham Palace” and even “Nandos” 🙂 being just a few!

Okay, so Nandos is much less of a tradition and more of a place to eat some spicy chicken, but there are lots of uniquely British traditions that will pique any visitors curiosity! All across the year, we have an array of festivals, events and gatherings that mark particular points of history in the UK – Most will guarantee you an awesome time, while others are downright funny and bizarre! 🙂

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1.) British Morris Dancing in Summer

The earliest records of Morris Dancing date back to the 15th Century where “peasants” would dance the evening away!  With over 500 years of tradition, passed down through generations, Morris Dancers can usually be found at most Summer Fetes dressed and dancing to impress the crowds! If you ask nicely, they will even let you join in at certain points so you too can try the tradition!

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2.) British Maypole Dancing On May Day

Predominant in Britain and other parts of Europe, the Maypole is a tall wooden poll that people traditionally dance around on May Day or Whitsun. The earliest records of Maypole dancing occurred in 14th Century Wales! Historians believe that people danced around the Maypole for a number of reasons. 1) To possibly promote fertility 2) To create a symbolic place where local villages (often feuding) could come together in peace, or, 3.) Due to the Pagan notion of the universe being related to a tree (which I had no idea)! Whatever the reason, it’s great fun…

…If you want to join in on the celebrations, head to any large city park, or village fete that will happen around Whitsun, you’re almost guaranteed to be dancing by the end of the day! So, grab your clogs…. what are you waiting for? 🙂

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3.) English Cheese Rolling In Spring 

Yup, as bizarre as it sounds! Cheese rolling is held every year at Coopers Hill in Gloucester, usually on the annual spring bank holiday – where thousands of people will literally roll and chase a 9lb barrel of  Gloucestershire cheese down the hill! It is though that this festival comes from the Pagan celebrations for the end of winter, whereby barrels and burning bush would be rolled down the hill. Anyone can choose to take part… just be prepared to have a tumble! 🙂

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4.) A British Bonfire Night In Winter

Bonfire Night is an event that is filled with fireworks, bonfires, sparklers and lots of toffee apples! Yum! Each year we celebrate the failed plot of Guy Fawkes in trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 17th Century London. He had filled the whole cellar with hundreds of barrels of gunpowder and was ready to ignite – thankfully his plan was foiled and the Houses of Parliament were saved! Now we celebrate by lighting the “gunpowder” (eg fireworks) and creating a big fire!

This is one of my favourite events in the UK. It’s held every year on November the 5th. Most villages, towns and cities will have a number of places to partake in “Bonfire Night”. You can even host your own too!

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5.) Welsh Bog Snorkelling In Summer

From my home country of Wales, Bog Snorkelling has to be one of the strangest of our traditions 🙂 Each year a competitive event, in Llanwrtyd Wells, is held where locals and visitors alike can be crowned a champion “bog snorkeller”! Usually, Bog Snorkelling happens in summer -just remember, if you want to take part make sure to pack a wet suit, the bogs are notoriously cold!

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6.) Cornish Hurling in Winter

Played only in Cornwall and derived from the Celts, “Cornish Hurling” is a truly unique past-time! St. Ives in Cornwall hold an annual event on the first Sunday of February. Everybody and anyone can join in… in truth thousands attend to play! Whoever ends up with the silver ball at 12noon gets to go to the town mayor and receive their 5 shillings (olde’ money) reward! 🙂

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7.) A Scottish Hogmanay In Winter

Celebrated each year on December 31st, Hogmanay is a Scottish tradition that has become famous around the world! Head to Cities like; Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen for some awesome celebrations. Expect lots of music, whiskey, street-parties and singing to “Auld Lang Syne” (a Scots poem by Robert Burns). Many Hogmanay events now charge an entry to partake in the festivals – if you are wanting to attend, don’t forget to book online!

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Read More on “12 Of The Worlds Finest Ways To Celebrate New Year!”

8.) A Scottish Burns Night Supper in Winter

Each year on January 25th, Scotland has its annual “Burns Night Supper” – celebrating the life and works of the famous poet, Robert Burns (aka, the gentleman that wrote Auld Lang Syne). Get yourself some haggis, a group of friends and a few of his world-wide famous poems and enjoy an evening supper!

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Read More On How To Organise Your Perfect Burns Night Supper, Here

9.) Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Summer

Each year, during the summer solstice (Monday 20th June in 2016), upwards of 40, 000 people head to Stonehenge to celebrate the rising sun! Take some hot chocolate, a picnic and enjoy a celebratory evening watching the sun-rise around 450am!  The event takes place to mark the believed importance of Stonehenge as a religious and seasonal site to early Pagans in Britain. If its a sunny day, you will have the most perfect evening ever! 🙂

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  • As a fellow brit, I love this post and can relate to a lot of it! Although I’m yet to experience the English Cheese Rolling and Welsh Bog snorkelling – perhaps in the future at some point! Great blog post.


    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks Roisin! 🙂

      I really want to try the bog snorkelling too! Although I think it might look more fun that it actually is. Haha
      Lloyd 🙂

  • Rebecca Sharp

    I’d read about the Cheese rolling and the bog snorkelling in a Lonely Planet ‘Best places to be for every day of the year’ book and I’d never heard about them before! I’m sure Scottish Highland games should be on this list though!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah! How did I forget about the Scottish Highland Games! Thanks so much for reminding us all, Rebecca. It most definitely should have made the list!
      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

      • Rebecca Sharp

        Though 9 is a much more original number, I hear everyone is doing top 10s!

  • Bonfire night is the best! I live in England so I get to see a big bonfire every year!

    Emma emhasrednails

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s great right!!! I get slightly too addicted to the toffee apples though 🙂

  • So fun! Most of these events I had never heard of before. I’m glad to know what to expect since I am moving to Wales for a 3 year school program. I’ll definitely try to participate in some of these traditions while I am there.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You will have an amazing time, Susanna! If you need any advice, just send us a message.
      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • I hadn’t heard of some of these! Cheese rolling sounds epic!!


    SilverSpoon London

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Right, Angie? Maybe we should organise it to go with our blogger outing to the ice hotel. Lol 😉
      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Bonfire night is my favourite night of the year, there’s something about fireworks that gives you such a feel good factor. They’re just so pretty and I love the whole experience of standing outside with friends with sparklers in our hands looking up into the sky 🙂

    Gemma x

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so totally right, Gemma! It’s so fun. Wrapping up warm and enjoying the fireworks. It’s magical. 🙂
      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Gotta love are wacky British traditions.

    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hahaha! So true! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Hardy and Hay

    Awesome post, guys! Posts like this make me feel super proud to be British…even though reading it from an ‘outsiders’ perspective makes some of the stuff we do seem really ridiculous! I’m so excited for bonfire night this year – I love the smell of smoke and sparklers, and best of all, that cold, wet earth underfoot! mmmm! Can’t wait to get wrapped up and celebrate!


    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah! That’s so great to hear Flora. Totally agree with you. We should be super proud. We have some amazing traditions and events that date back hundreds of years. We are very fortunate!
      I’m so with you on the smell. There is no other smell quite like a sparkler. It always brings back such warm memories of growing up! 🙂

  • Olga Rabo

    BOG SNORKELING!!! hahaha
    That just emphasizes the point I always make about the British culture – it’s THE funniest/weirdest thing ever!!!!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so right, Olga! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • I was convinced the cheese thing was Scottish! Damn.

    Thanks for the heads up about Hogmanay because I didn’t know you have to buy a ticket.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Haha! You’re welcome on both fronts Natalia! 🙂


  • MayBPhoenix

    I’ve been to the Solstice at Stonehenge and it was quite a thing to do in my life 🙂 We underestimated the weather, though, even though it’s summer solstice, the night was bloody cold and we had no sleeping bags, no nothing, just our clothes, so we were freezing and getting wet by the dew with my boyfriend. Also I was hoping to see some fireshow or some druid ceremony (I just couldn’t imaging solstice without at least a bonfire) and there was absolutely nothing! Just many people drumming all night long which was cool, but no fires. And the mobile toilets were crazily few for so many people, the ques could take up to half an hour. If I should go again, I’d definitely take a sleeping bag, or I’d sleep a bit in the parking spot in a car and then go to Stonehenge just for the sunrise (it’s cca 20 minutes walk away from where cars are). But even with the lack of comfort I’m glad I did it, it was a wonderful thing to share with so many people who travelled there just like us, just to see the sunrise.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Oh yeah, somehow that doesn’t surprise me at all. The temperature difference can be something else. It’s definitely one of those experiences to have at least once – really pleased (and impressed) to see that you have! 🙂

      • MayBPhoenix

        That makes two of us, I sometimes forget that I’ve done it until somebody asks 😀 I have a huge thing for England and in those few years I was here, I was lucky to experience few great things 🙂 Like bonfire night in a small village where everybody knows everybody and there was this long march with torches and likeness of Fawkes after dark, with the bonfire higher than two-store bulding, or a lovely Halloween. Not unique for Britain but I think it has the best feeling here. All the pumpkins, party with costumes and trick or treating… 🙂 All these celebrations and festivals somehow feel 100% more magical in Britain than anywhere else.

        • HandLuggageOnly

          I totally agree (though I am biased, being from Britain) hahaha!

          The whole festivities around Bonfire Night is so magical – the community getting together, the smells of roasted chestnuts, the fireworks and my very favourite…. Toffee Apples! I could eat these by the tray! 😉

          • MayBPhoenix

            Oh, there goes one thing that I haven’t done 🙂 Making a note to myself to fix that the next time I have the chance. They sound delicious 😉

            • HandLuggageOnly

              You must try them – but seriously, the are very ‘moorish’. I really do have a problem having just one. Hahaha!

              Lloyd 🙂

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  • Elle & Jay, xo.

    Loved this post! Our culture is very odd but oh so fabulous xo

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is isn’t it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • A few of these I have heard of and would LOVE to attend, but some are new and will be added to the list! 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yay! We do have some pretty unique traditions! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂