What’s on in Britain: May 2018

    Jack in the Green Parade Hastings England. Carolyn Clarke / Alamy
    Jack in the Green Parade Hastings England. Credit: Carolyn Clarke / Alamy

    Stuck for ideas to keep the family entertained this month? Here are our top tips for things to see and do in the glorious month of May


    Jack in the Green Festival – 4-7 May

    In Georgian England, May Day celebrations became so competitive that garlands would cover a person, leading to the name ‘Jack in the Green’. Today, the Jack in the Green Festival in the Sussex town of Hastings sees a long weekend of music and Morris dancing culminate in a May Day procession. 



    Ely Eel Festival Weekend – 4-7 May

    Taste traditional smoked and jellied eels at the Ely Eel Festival Weekend. The festival includes the World Eel Throwing Competition (using stuffed toys, rather than live eels) and an Eel Trail through the Cambridgeshire cathedral city.



    Well Dressing – 10 May

    The Derbyshire village of Tissington prides itself on holding the first Well Dressing of the season. This ancient tradition sees villagers throughout the Peak District and beyond decorate the local wells and springs with leaves and petals to give thanks for the fresh water springs.



    May Fayre and Puppet Festival – 13 May

    The Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival is held outside St Paul’s Church, near where diarist Samuel Pepys spotted Punch and Judy in 1662. The day includes a sermon taken by Mr Punch and an afternoon of puppet shows.



    Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – 19 May

    The Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on Saturday 19 May at midday, and will be conducted by the Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd. David Conner. The Most Revd. and Rt Hon. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will officiate as the couple make their marriage vows.

    At 1pm, following the service, the couple will travel around Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage, providing an opportunity for members of the public to see them and join in with the celebrations.



    The RHS Chelsea Flower Show – 22-26 May

    The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22-26 May. www.rhs.org.uk) was first held in 1862 as the Great Spring Show. Today, some of the leading names in gardening compete to create innovative designs that dazzle the crowds.



    Hay Festival – 24 May-3 June

    Hundreds of big-name writers descend on a small Welsh town for the Hay Festival, described by Bill Clinton as “the Woodstock of the mind”.



    The Hunting of the Earl of Rone – 25-28 May

    The Hunting of the Earl of Rone goes back to the 17th century when, legend has it, the Earl of Tyrone escaped from Ireland to Combe Martin in Devon. He hid for some time, surviving on biscuits, before being captured. Locals now hunt for the ‘earl’ who is then thrown into the sea.



    The Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming – 27 May

    Worm charming. Two words rarely seen together – for obvious reasons. Except, that is, in another small corner of Devon. The Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming was borne of a drunken conversation in 1983 and continues at The George Inn, as competitors coax worms from their own little patch of earth.



    Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and the Wake – 28 May

    Just as daft is Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and the Wake, which sees competitors race down a hill after a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese.



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