Padstow May Day, Cornwall – 1 May
No one celebrates the arrival of May like Cornwall’s Padstownians. ‘Obby Oss’ day sees local decorate the town with flags and flowers before two ‘osses’ are led from their stables and paraded through town with music, singing and dancing.
This event attracts thousands of visitors to the small town, so getting there early is advised. You can catch the ferry from Rock, and there’s plenty to do in the surrounding area on a short break – including some of the most beautiful coastal scenery.
Dippy in Dorset – Until 8 May
The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton is on tour in 2018, and few of his stops are as scenic and rewarding as his springtime visit to Dorset.
‘Dippy’ is at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester from late February. He’s free to visit but you have to book your tickets in advance, and when you’ve finished there’s the stunning Dorset stretch of the Jurassic coast to explore.
Bath Festival – 11-27 May
Bath has a fantastic cultural heritage with musical celebrations taking place in the city since the 19th century and the first annual festival starting in 1948.
That makes 2018 the 70th year, and the musical and literary line-up is great. Robert Plant, Alison Moyet, Sophie Ellis-Bexter and home-town heroes Tears for Fears join many other musical acts, while lovers of literature can hear readings from Maggie O’Farrell, Kate Mosse and many more.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – 3-7 May
With around 500 themed events taking place over the five days, the Speyside Festival is one of the world’s largest celebrations of whisky and a must for connoisseurs and newcomers alike.
Events include tastings and talks around Speyside’s finest distilleries with food, music and much merriment.
Haworth 1940s Weekend – 19-20 May
Party like it’s 1945 at the wonderful Haworth ‘40s weekend. Live music, evening dances, stalls, parades and WW2 machinery will all help you travel back in time amongst the cobbled streets and quaint shops.
With the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the surrounding beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, you won’t be short of things to do on an amazing weekend.
Liverpool Sound City – 5-6 May
2018’s festival season kicks off in early May with Sound City returning to Liverpool’s historic Baltic Triangle in the city centre.
The best upcoming and underground acts from around the world will be performing in venues around the city. With previous years featuringFlorence and the Machine, The xx, Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Paloma Faith, who knows which of tomorrow’s megastars will you might see in cosy surroundings?
Hay Festival – 24 May-3 June
Bringing readers and writers together in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, the Hay Festival is a highlight of the literary calendar.
2018’s event offers Margaret Atwood, Phillip Pullman and more in conversation, with loads more events, signings and activities for all ages.
Tour De Yorkshire – 3-6 May
It may have started to commemorate the Tour De France’s visit in 2013, but ‘Le Tour’ grows from strength to strength, with some of the most stunning scenery testing some of cycling’s greatest competitors.
The women’s race is doubling in size to two days while the men’s race covers all four days, visiting Scarborough, Hull, Leeds, Doncaster and plenty of lovely locations in-between.
Brighton Festival – 5-27 May
Incorporating music, film, books, dance, art and much more, the Brighton Festival is England’s largest multi-arts festival and a highlight of the cultural calendar. Brighton’s cultural atmosphere has helped the festival thrive, and its scenic setting on the UK’s south coast certainly helps.
The 2018 festival’s Guest Director is artist and satirist David Shrigley. With an amazingly varied programme, there really is something for everyone.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival – 11-19 May
In just eight years ‘MagicFest’ has broken Guinness World Records, produced the UK’s largest magic event and attracted over 12,000 people each year to 80 different events around the city.
Whether huge theatre shows or close up installations, there’s no better place in the UK to witness mind-blowing displays and celebrations of magic.