The 21st June signals the first day of Summer in the UK and though it’s more than likely our weather won’t give any indication of this, the optimistic nation that we are means that there’s still a huge number of open-air events planned across the country. Obviously, the London Olympics, which begin on 27th July, are very much the main event this year. But there’s also a huge amount of non-Olympics related activities going on, many of which are free. Hurray! So grab a bbq, fill a picnic hamper, round up family/ friends /pets and set off for one or all of our recommended events.
Our top tips for Summer…
BBC Radio 1 Hackney Big Weekend (24th – 25th June 2012)
This is set to be the biggest free event ever run by the BBC and replaces the usual Radio 1 Big Weekend for this year. There are six stages spread across Hackney Marshes with over 80 acts performing including such musical heavyweights as Plan B, Jack White, Lana Del Ray, Florence & The Machine and Chase & Status. Though admission is free, you still have to apply for a ticket, most of which will go to residents of Hackney and the surrounding area.
Round the Island Race, Cowes, Isle of Wight (30th June 2012)
Up to 1800 boats set sail with all levels of sailors competing in this yearly race around the Isle of Wight which covers 50 nautical miles. Cowes Esplanade provides a good view of all the action so put together a picnic and head down to the water to catch all the yachting action.
Paddle around the Pier, Brighton (7th – 8th July 2012)
Claiming to be the world’s largest free beach festival, Paddle around the Pier essentially involves contestants taking to all manner of floatable devices, be it a dingy, surfboard or homemade kayak, and paddling around Brighton pier to raise money for charity. There’s free music to boot. Grab your spot on the beach and get ready to observe the mayhem.
Royal Opera House BP Summer Big Screen (16th July 2012)
A huge screen is being erected in Trafalgar Square to show a live stream of the Royal Ballet’s latest production Titian: Metamorphosis. It’s a great introduction to ballet if you haven’t been before and promises to be big on atmosphere with up to 10,000 people packed into Trafalgar Square. Bring your own picnic to maximise on the summer evening vibe.
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (9th – 12th August, 2012)
One of the biggest free events in the country, the fiesta attracts over half a million people over the 4 days that it runs. Thousands of balloons take to the skies over the weekend including spectacular mass ascents and night time launches, known as ‘night glows’. Barbecues are permitted at the event as long as they’re away from the crowds.