The best festivals and outdoor events for a summer of fun

UK summer festivals are back in vogue: Amazing outdoor events for fans of film, fireworks, music and vintage fashion

  • Bath will be among the first places to welcome visitors with live events planned
  • In August, Plymouth harbour will light up for the British Firework Championship 
  • The Vintage Nostalgia Festival comes to Stockton Park, Wiltshire, in September

Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Festivals and outdoor events for a summer of fun.

Fans of film, fireworks, music, vintage fashion and more can all find the perfect summer festival to attend as lockdown eases.

In May, Bath will be among the first places to welcome back visitors with a series of live events.

Dressed to impress at the Nostalgia Festival in Stockton Park, Wiltshire

Socially distanced audiences can sit below the high ceilings of the Georgian Assembly Rooms to hear all 16 works that Beethoven wrote for string quartets, or step inside Bath Abbey and the unlikely setting of the old Green Park railway station for concerts by the festival orchestra, founded by Yehudi Menuhin in 1959.

Prefer to be outdoors? Try the new Frankenstein In Bath walking tour to learn where Mary Shelley wrote her Gothic novel in 1816. Book tickets for all events at

June sees the start of the year’s first festival aimed squarely at families. The Chalke Valley History Festival will take place in two huge marquees in the fields of Wiltshire, with socially distanced talks on everything from Norman treachery to life as a lady-in-waiting.

The outdoor programme includes demonstrations of 16th Century cookery and historical storytelling in front of crackling fires, while fully costumed Iron Age Celts and Romans amble by. There’s even a podcast called Chalke Talk if you want more tales from history. For more details see

Also in June, Cardiff kicks off a four-day film and food festival that will then tour across the country to cities including Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Newcastle.

At each venue, outdoor screens will show singalong classics and family favourites such as Grease and The Greatest Showman (

Festivals move up a gear in July with the rescheduled Classic Bike Show at Staffordshire County Showground. Described as the world’s biggest festival of speed, the hugely popular annual event regularly attracts 30,000 visitors to watch riders roar around the parade circuit (

In August, the skies above Plymouth harbour will light up for the British Firework Championship. Over two colourful, noisy nights, six manufacturers will compete for the crown.

Sparked into life: Plymouth’s fireworks show is scheduled to take place in August 

Later in the month, the city also hosts 1 Big Summer, a three-day music festival that will feature DJ sets and a 26-piece orchestra playing classic Ibiza dance tunes.

Plymouth is also set to host The Great British Sausage And Cider Festival on the final Sunday of August. Details of all three events are at

Step back in time in September at the Vintage Nostalgia Festival in Stockton Park, Wiltshire. Guests are invited to dress to impress in clothes from their favourite era.

Organisers say the 1940s and 1950s tend to be the most popular, and dancing shoes are essential – expect jive, swing and other classes during the day, and big band, boogie woogie, skiffle among the live music at night.

Need a break? Grab a Pimm’s in the Top Deck Bar, a 1963 Leyland double-decker. It’s a two-day festival and you can book a glamping site if you want to stay overnight (

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