My regular look ahead to events happening next month that would probably be in my events guide, if only they weren’t happening outside the psychological barrier of the M25 motorway.

Singing from the Great Tower 1st May
For over 500 years, the choir of Magdalen College climb to the top of a tall tower and sing at 6am to greet the rising sun. Oxford, Oxfordshire

Sunrise Morris Dancing 1st May
Revived in the 1970s, old tradition to dance at sunrise on the local castle mound. Laxton, Nottinghamshire

May Garland Service 1st May
Children from the Church of England St Mary the Virgin Primary School form an annual procession to the parish church for a unique May Garland Service. Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxfordshire

Dorset Ooser Parade 1st May
Local Morris men parade a huge wooden statue from the Cerne Abbas Giant into the local town at sunrise. Cerne Abbas, Dorset

‘Obby ‘Oss Day 1st May
Huge annual May Day festival, with the 6ft wide Obby Oss paraded through the streets. Padstow, Cornwall

Springfields Festival and Tulipmania 1st-2nd May
The weekend will feature bulb displays in the gardens, a craft fair, trade stands and other displays. Spalding, Lincolnshire

Sailors Hobby Horse 1st-3rd May
Parade by decorated ‘obby horses around the town over several days/ Minehead, Somerset

World Pilot Gig Championships 3rd-5th May
Rowing boat races around the islands Isles of Scilly

Todmorden Folk Festival 3rd-5th May
A weekend of folk music and dancing across the town. Todmorden, West Yorkshire

Abbey Hill Steam Rally 3rd-6th May
On display steam engines, classic cars, vintage tractors, commercial vehicles and buses, military and emergency vehicles, organs, fair, crafts, stalls and more. Yeovil, Somerset

Hastings Jack in the Green 3rd-6th May
A traditional May Day weekend festival, with parades through the town by the Green Man and Morris Dancers. Hastings, Sussex

Butser Beltain Festival and Wicker Man 4th May
You can expect am afternoon/evening of entertainment and refreshments culminating with the burning of the giant Wicker Man at dusk. Petersfield, Hampshire

Riding the Bounds 4th May
Ancient ceremony where locals ride around the parish boundary to reassert their rights over the land. Berwick upon Tweed,
Northumberland

Bristol Jack in the Green 4th May
Bristol’s Jack in the Green welcomes the Summer each year, in a lively procession through the city’s streets, accompanied by Bristol

Downton Cuckoo Fair 4th May
Over 250 craft and other stalls on the greens and in marquees – along with parades and May Day themed events Downton, Wiltshire

Eastbourne’s Magnificent Motors 4th-5th May
More than 900 vintage and classic cars, motorbikes, buses, and more expected to display, with live music entertainment in tow throughout the weekend. Eastbourne, Sussex

Urchfont Scarecrow Festival 4th-6th May
Each year 45–50 scarecrows are made by locals, and the laid out in a walking trail around the area. Devizes, Wiltshire

Rochester Sweeps Festival 4th-6th May
The 19th century chimney sweeps annual holiday – today a local fair. Highlights include Morris dancing, folk music, folk art stalls, produce fair. Rochester, Kent

Llandudno Transport Festival 4th-6th May
Held in conjunction with the Victorian Extravaganza, where costume, vintage fairground and a host of attractions combine in a unique annual celebration of transport and entertainment heritage within the town. Llandudno
North Wales

Urchfont Scarecrow Festival 4th-6th May
Each year 45–50 scarecrows are made by families, groups and individuals in the village. This is the oldest such festival in the county. Urchfont, Wiltshire.

Beltane at Thornborugh 5th May
Each year, people gather at Thornborough Henge for the Celtic Festival of Beltane. A celebration of the arrival of Summer in the merry month of May. Ripon, North Yorkshire

Annual Bluebell Service 5th May
A church service held outdoors in the woods surrounded by the bluebells. Loughborough, Leics

Spalding Flower Parade 5th May
Spectacular tulip-decorated flower floats on the theme of British icons, marching bands music, dance and all the fun of the Parade. Spalding, Lincolnshire

Abingdon Air and Country Show 5th May
Three hour classic air display above a traditional country fair with static aircraft displays. Abingdon Airfield, Oxfordshire

Festival of Wormcharming 5th May
Contest where people try to charm earthworms out of the ground in an array of bizarre methods. Blackawton, Devon

Dorset Knob Throwing 5th May
Beside Knob Throwing there will be Knob Eating, Knob Painting, a Knob & Spoon Race, Guess the weight of the Big Knob, Knob Darts and a Knob Pyramid. Kinston Maurward, Dorset

Glastonbury Dragons May Fayre 5th May
A parade through the streets with moris dancers and a “dragon fight”, as part of a town-centre fair. Glastonbury, Somerset

Penzance May Horns 5th May
At sunset, people dressed in green and white start blowing horns and whistles, and banging drums to drive away the devil. Penzance, Cornwall

Truckfest 5th-6th May
Annual event with huge parade of road trucks and associated entertainments. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Randwick Wap 5th-11th May
The WAP is a series of events during spring which culminates in a traditional procession and festival dating back to the Middle Ages. Randwick, Gloucestershire

Wray Scarecrow Festival 6th May
This years attractions will include the 10k road race, Car Boot Sale, Giant Scarecrow Parade, Vintage Market and Classic Car Show, Classic Bike Night, Ball Race, Fun Fair plus much more. Wray, Lancashire

Helston’s Flora Dance 8th May
The whole town is decorated with flowers as parades, mumers plays and parades take place thoughout the town in a spring festival. Helston, Cornwall

West Lindsey Churches Festival 11th-12th and 18th-19th May
Nearly 100 churches across the region open over the two weekends with events and tours. West Lindsey, Linconshire

The Maldon Mud Race 12th May
Around 300 people run, as much as is possible, through the mud of the River Blackwater during its low tide. Maldon, Essex

Shaftesbury Byzant Ceremony 12th May
A parade that dates back to 1364, coming about because Shaftesbury had no water source. Various gifts were given to the owner of Enmore Green in exchange for the water, traditionally a Calf’s head, seven silver pennies, penny loaves, a gallon of beer, a pair of gloves. Shaftesbury, Dorset

Mayor Weighing 18th May
A tradition that can be dated back to 1678, the current Mayor is publicly weighed on their last day in office to check they haven’t got too fat on the public purse. High Wycombe, Bucks

Alresford Watercress Festival 19th May
A parade by the Watercress King and Queen along with a large town festival. Alresford, Hamsphire

Harwich Kichel Throwing 23rd May
The newly elected mayor of Harwich will stand at an open window of the council chamber in the town’s guildhall and will throw specially baked torpedo-shaped currant buns to the waiting crowd. Harwich, Essex

Bedworth Bun Day 24th May
Victorian tradition to hand a bun to each child who turns up to the local Almshouses. Bedworth, Warwickshire

The Hunting of the Earl of Rone 24th-27th May
Over four days, the Grenadiers, Hobby Horse, Fool and villagers hunt through the village for the ‘Earl of Rone’, finally finding him on the Monday night. He is mounted back-to-front on a donkey and paraded through the village to the sea. Combe Martin, Devon

Arbor Tree Festival 26th May
Each year, a large tree is ceremonially decorated in memory of the 1786 wedding of a local squire. Aston on Clun, South Shropshire

Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling 27th May
World famous chasing of cheeses rolling down a perilously steep hill. Coopers Hill, Gloucestershire

Tetbury Woolsack Races 27th May
Teams race through the village whilst carrying a 60lb sack of wool – up and down a hill that reaches a gradient of 1 in 4 Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Court of Array and Greenhill Bower 27th May
An assembly of men in medieval amour is inspected by the Mayor, Sheriff and City Officials who then bear the reports of the Dozeners as to the state and preparedness of the defences of their area of the City. The Mayor, Sheriff and High Constables then join the Bower Procession through the City. Lichfield, Staffordshire

Castleton Garland Day 29th May
An ancient parade through the town with a garland – a beehive shaped head-dress, covered with wild flowers and greenery, which is worn by the May King over his head and shoulders. Castleton, Derbyshire

St Neot’s Oak Apple Day 29th May
A procession through the village followed by hauling an Oak up the church tower. St Neot, Cornwall

Great Wishford’s Oak Apple Day 29th May
Great Wishford villagers claim their ancient rights to collect wood from Grovely Wood. Great Wishford, Wiltshire

The Cotswold Olimpick Games 31st May
Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpick Games is a unique continuation of early rural sporting events, combining informal, amateur sporting events for competitors, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire


Article last updated on July 18th, 2019 at 08:39 pm

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