As the temperatures rise and the nights get longer, the summer season becomes the social season. From the races, to flower shows and international food markets: you name it – the UK and Ireland have it! So in the spirit of summer, and sharing, here’s a sneak peek at our favourite summer-social events…
22nd – 25th March: BELFAST FASHION WEEK
West Coast Cooler Belfast FASHION WEEK returns this March for its 25th season! The popular ‘Designer/Boutiques’ show returns once again to the catwalk on the Thursday followed by firm fashion favourite, the ‘High Street’ show on the Friday. The weekend events continue the celebration of all things fashion, fitness and food, as well as new addition ‘BFW Goes To The Boulevard’.
24th March: THE BOAT RACE
The annual rowing contests pips rowing crews from Oxford University against its historical rival, Cambridge, in a 4 mile race up the Thames to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. Spectators can enjoy the classic British sporting atmosphere, a drink or two and (hopefully) some sunshine.
5th-7th April: THE HOUSE OF PERONI PRESENTS: LA PRIMAVERA BELFAST
The sights, sounds and scents of springtime in Italy are set to take over the heart of Belfast this April in St. Anne’s Square. The three day pop-up market will offer visitors the chance to sample and savour the flavour of Italian springtime, thanks to some of Belfast’s finest Italian eateries – all washed down with a bottle of Peroni. Bliss!
12th-14th April: THE RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL
The most anticipated annual event in horse racing! This year the 171st Grand National will begin with the classic celebration that is ‘Grand National Thursday’ followed by #FabulousFriday on Day Two (when all things fashion are in the spotlight), and will close with ‘Grand National Day’ – the most iconic of all horse racing events in the world.
2nd-6th May: MITSUBISHI MOTORS BADMINTON HORSE TRIALS
Badminton is one of the top ten UK sporting events of the year, and it’s no wonder. The four day event takes place on the stunning and historic parkland of the Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire and provides world-class equestrian eventing with top-notch shopping and delicious food – an amazing family day out!
9th-13th May: ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW
If you need a measure of this event’s success then consider that this year the Royal Windsor Horse Show will be celebrating its 75th year. The five day events include the spectacular Land Rover International Carriage Driving Grand Prix, national and international show jumping competitions, extensive showing classes and exciting equestrian displays – not to mention exclusive fashion exhibitors.
22nd-26th May: RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW
The world’s most prestigious flower show returns on the 22nd May, set to inspire millions once again and lead the way in innovative garden design. This year’s show will include ‘Gardens to Enhance Wellbeing’ and ‘Chelsea at Twilight’ – two extensions to the programme.
25th-28th May: BBC MUSIC’S THE BIGGEST WEEKEND
Previously known as Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the popular festival is now travelling across the UK to Belfast (25th-26th), Perth (25th-26th), Swansea (26th-27th) and Coventry (27th-28th). The line up is truly incredible and includes Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Liam Gallagher and Snow Patrol, to name but a few!
8th-10th June: CHESTERTONS POLO IN THE PARK
This three day action-packed polo eventing programme takes place at Hurlington Park where guests can witness the talent of international renowned polo players, enjoy exceptional entertainment and indulge in equally amazing food and shopping.
9th-10th June: GLOUCESTERSHIRE FESTIVAL OF POLO
If you can’t get enough of the polo then the Gloucestershire Festival is for you! A mainstay of the British and South West’s calendar thousands flock every year to the stunning Beaufort Polo Club for two days of world-class matches, a tented shopping village and a plethora of arena attractions and family fun.
14th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 28th and 30th June: NEVILL HOLT OPERA
The award-winning summer opera festival returns to Leicestershire this year with a brand new theatre opening in a beautiful historical setting. The festival is a mesmerising combination of world-class opera, breathtaking gardens, panoramic views and gourmet dining – a truly magical experience.
16th June: BELSONIC 2018
Belsonic Music Festival returns this year to Ormeau Park in Belfast promising incredible music that includes headliners Liam Gallagher, Carl Cox and Picture This (more to be announced soon). Belsonic is the perfect opportunity to mark the beginning of the summer season and show off your festival threads!
19th-23rd June: ROYAL ASCOT
One of, if not, the most anticipated event of the season. The world-famous racecourse is not only home to five days of quintessentially British equestrian eventing, but an extensive plethora of annually anticipated fashion from royals, celebrities and the ever-stylish general public.
2nd-15th July: WIMBLEDON
One of the longest-running, most famous, and highly-anticipated sporting events of the year returns at the beginning with July, along with the iconic strawberries and cream. The biggest name in Tennis will take to the court in the hopes of winning the coveted Wimbledon title.
26th-29th July: WOMAD
WOMAD: The World’s Festival returns at the end of July to it’s UK home in Charlton Park, Wiltshire for a world without borders, a global fiesta of music, international food, dance and art. This year’s music line-up includes Amadou & Mariam, Camille and Django Django.
4th-8th July: HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA
Henley Royal is undoubtedly the best-known regatta in the world. Every year thousands of visitors travel across the globe to be thrilled by over 200 international standard races across five spectacular days of sporting excellence. Spectators can also enjoy the unique ambiance of the enclosures, restaurants and shops available as well as charming views of Henley and the River Thames.
3rd-5th August: GATCOMBE FESTIVAL OF BRITISH EVENTING
The spectacle that is Gatcombe returns this August to Gatcombe Park, home of HRH The Princess Royal and her family and truly one of the most beautiful areas in the Cotswolds. This unique equestrian festival incorporates the British Open, Intermediate and Novice championships and Amateur championships – not to mention delicious West-Country food and exhibitors such as Dubarry, Land Rover and House of Tweed.
26th-27th August: NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL
The famous Notting Hill Carnival is a two day explosion of culture, artistic talents, community spirit and cultural diversity. No ensemble is too ‘out there’ for this carnival! This year’s programme will play host to Panorama, featuring an open-air steel band, and the ever-popular Sunday Parade – a huge hit with families.
30th August-1st September: SALON PRIVE
An example of elegance in the truest sense, Salon Prive is the most luxurious of garden parties set against the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Palace. Presenting the finest collection of supercars, hypercars and classic cars, as well as a luxury retail village and exquisite cuisine, this is definitely one to note in your diary.
14th-18th September: LONDON FASHION WEEK
LFW returns this September with with another fashion-filled programme. Exact details of events and venues have not yet been confirmed but, if last season is anything to go by, then LFW is a MUST for all fashionistas.
30th March – 2nd April: GALWAY FOOD FESTIVAL
The 7th annual Galway Food Festival returns this March and falls nicely on Easter Bank Holiday weekend. The festival promises a programme that hopes to position Galway as the food capital of the Wild Atlantic Way. Expect exquisite food, open air markets and heaps of family fun.
4th-7th May: KILKENNY ROOTS FESTIVAL
This year the Kilkenny Roots Festival will celebrate its 21st birthday! The festival has gone from strength to strength and now attracts over 10,000 music fans from across Ireland and Europe. Each year’s line up features a unique mix of Irish and international roots / American talent and Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne and Alabama Shakes are just a few of the names who made their Irish festival debut at Kilkenny Roots.
10th June: DUBLIN YOGA AND VEGAN FESTIVAL
This year you can join the first ever Yoga and Vegan Festival on the beautiful campus of Trinity College, Dublin. The day will provide an abundance of all-day yoga, delicious vegan food, vegan product stalls and free workshops and talks from experts – a truly innovative and modern festival!
4th-8th July: BUNCRANA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2018
The 2018 Buncrana Music Festival will return to Donegal this summer with a bang! The four day festival will incorporate a unique combination of the very best of Ireland’s up-and-coming young talent, family activities and delicious food and drink – which will all culminate with a stunning firework display on the Buncrana Shore Front.
7th-8th July: GROOVE FESTIVAL
The ever-popular, family friendly Groove Festival returns to Kilruddery Estate in Co. Wicklow this July with a line up that is sure to delight 90s Pop and Rock fans alike. Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Heather Small have been announced as this year’s headliners to top a bill that includes HamsandwicH and the Riptide Movement.
30th July – 5th August: THE GALWAY RACES
The iconic summer equestrian festival returns to Galway at the end of July. The event boasts seven days of superb racing, stunning fashion, entertainment, hospitality and an exceptional atmosphere that draws spectators from Ireland and beyond to experience the magic of the Emerald Isle.
24th-26th August: A TASTE OF DONEGAL FOOD FESTIVAL
A Taste of Donegal Food Festival returns this year and celebrates its 10th anniversary. The three day event celebrates the very best of food and drink and is located in a beautiful tented village on the pier in Donegal town. The programme will include cookery demonstrations from celebrity chefs, gin, beer and cocktail masterclasses, as well as mouth-watering food to try and buy.