UK events: May 2019
May Day Celebrations
Various celebrations across the UK mark the advent of May with Morris dancing, drinking and much merriment! Head to Oxford or Padstow (Cornwall) for traditional celebrations or to St Andrews to partake in a chilly morning dip at the East Sands.
London and the South East
4 May – London
The Women’s FA Cup Final returns to Wembley for the fifth consecutive year. Chelsea lifted the trophy for a second time in 2018, with both successes coming under the arch. Who will triumph in 2019? Adult tickets £15.
17 to 19 May – Brighton
The Funk & Soul Weekender offers a carefully curated blend of some of the world’s finest music and takes place on the iconic Brighton Beach. This very special festival site will offer a buzzing centre of music venues, food and drink stalls and social spots all upon one of the UK’s most famous beaches to create the ideal summer atmosphere.
21 to 25 May – London
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the place to see cutting-edge garden design, new plants and find ideas to take home. The Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars.
(For those on a budget you can also check out the Chelsea Fringe, an alternative festival of flowers, gardens and gardening where events are free and volunteer-run!)
4 to 6 May – Exeter
Whatever the weather, the festival’s three marquees are always full of a huge variety of food and drink from the South West available to buy. Producers from across the region flock to sell their wares – from asparagus and vegetable boxes, artisan cider and craft gin, thirst quenching soft drinks and gourmet marshmallow, to award-winning ice cream and world-champion cheeses – a true foodies’ paradise.
25 to 26 May- Bristol
Soon to be rolling into its eighth year, Love Saves the Day Festival has come off the back of its biggest and most ambitious weekend to date. Love Saves the Day continues with its aims to combine the best of Bristol’s thriving underground scene with pioneering artists from around the globe in one vibrant, unified space. With exceptional music being a pillar of the festival there is also an equal emphasis on truly inspiring production as well as a host of non-musical entertainment.
27 May – Cooper’s Hill Gloucestershire
Join in or simply spectate the hurling of people down a steep hill in the pursuit of a bouncing cheese wheel. The slope on Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester, the setting for the world-famous event, is in fact so steep that very few contestants manage to stay on their feet, instead tumbling head-over-heels down the hill in a desperate effort to catch the coveted dairy prize – a weighty 8lb Double Gloucester.
23 May – 2 June
The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in a tented village at Hay-on-Wye, on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. Bringing readers and writers together for a global series of sustainable events, Hay Festival is one of the world’s most recognisable cultural brands, reaching millions through its live events, projects and digital platforms annually. Different from many other festivals, you do not pay to enter the site, but for each event you wish to attend. Scholars, make the most of the free student access to educational events over these ten days!
9 to 12 May – Keswick
A four-day celebration of the best of New Orleans, swing, hot club, classic, traditional, mainstream jazz and blues in Keswick surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Lake District. This year’s Festival will bring music from days of jazz when it began – Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and from the glory days of traditional jazz in the UK, to the fat and hip-swinging music of New Orleans, intimate gypsy jazz, soulful gospel and blues, powerful and inspiring vocalists, hot pianists, cool saxophones, trumpets, trombones, banjos, clarinets… the list goes on.
The Sir Richard Wallace Exhibition: the life and legacy of a philanthropist, art collector and landlord
21 May – Lisburn
Celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Sir Richard Wallace (1818-90), the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum’s major new exhibition tells the story of the famed philanthropist, art collector and landlord, and his lasting legacy in Lisburn. Through photographs, prints, original artefacts, 3D-printed reproductions, dioramas, and objects from Castle House – which have never been publicly displayed – this exhibition documents the life of Sir Richard, his gifts to the town and Lisburn’s connection to the ‘greatest ever single’ bequest of art to a nation: the Wallace Collection.
25 to 26 May – Birmingham
The UK’s biggest two-day Pride Festival for the LGBT community attracts around 75,000 people. The event begins with a parade from the city centre to the Gay Village in Hurst Street where a festival site hosts music acts, a dance arena with DJs, funfair, cabaret and stalls.