50+ unmissable spring and summer events in 2022
Fill your diary with these major events in 2022
After almost two years of disappointments and last-minute cancellations, one welcome sign that life is nudging back to normality is that live events and festivals are well and truly back on the radar.
From full-to-the-brim sporting stadiums hosting the Commonwealth Games to local arts festivals celebrating the best in dance, music and theatre, here are the biggest events of 2022 you’ve been waiting so patiently for.
May events 2022
2022's biggest event, UNBOXED, aims to showcase British creativity and innovation in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics spaces through ten incredible festivals, eight of which are taking place across England. Challenge the way we live here on Earth with Tour de Moon, a two-month festival of live shows, night-time events and immersive experiences in Leicester, Newcastle and Southampton; follow a sculpture trail through our solar system in Cambridge with Our Place in Space; explore renewable technologies aboard See Monster, a former North Sea offshore platform in Weston-Super-Mare; or wander among PoliNations, a city-centre forest garden in Birmingham with giant architectural trees that drink rainwater and create electricity using wind power.
Birmingham 2022 Festival
Birmingham, West Midlands
Accompanying the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, this six-month festival aims to shine a light on creativity in the West Midlands by commissioning hundreds of playful, inclusive and ambitious works. The Birmingham Festival, which finishes on 31 October, includes Wondrous Stories, a spectacle of dance, circus and aerial display, as well as an exciting array of events including Generations – a large-scale photographic portrait exhibition celebrating the diverse people of the West Midlands. The best part? All the events, exhibitions and shows won’t cost a penny to see.
Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival makes its way to Bristol’s Bedminster over the weekend of 28 and 29 May. Originally founded in 2008, Upfest has grown year on year and now welcomes over 400 artists from around the world to paint the walls of the city with incredible murals. Serenaded by some of Bristol’s finest DJs and musicians, you can scout out the newly painted masterpieces, chow down on street food and peruse the crafts and clothing stalls. There are loads of family-friendly workshops too, where kids can create their own street art or learn spray skills at Miss C’s Graffiti Academy.
Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe
Brighton, East Sussex
On the 6 May, Brighton Fringe, a month-long arts festival, will open its doors to 250 events spanning stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre and even silent disco walking tours. A day later, on 7 May, the city celebrates the start of The Brighton Festival. The southeast’s biggest festival, this three-week event opens with its traditional Children’s parade, before hosting a vibrant mix of music, theatre, dance, circus, debate and more.
Norfolk and Norwich Festival
A festival for a fine city (and county), the Norfolk and Norwich Festival is back for its 250th year between 13 and 29 May for two weeks of quirky, spellbinding performances. A flagship arts festival for the East of England, the festival collaborates with artists and communities across Norwich, Norfolk and beyond to transform public spaces, venues, parks, forests and beaches into a sensory feast of music, theatre, dance and visual arts.
Jorvik Viking Festival
York, North Yorkshire
Dive into five days of living history, hands-on fun, bustling banquets and more at the Jorvik Viking Festival taking place between 28 May and 1 June. Many events are set to return at this year’s festivities, including the Strongest Viking Competition, the Best Beard Contest and the Traders Market, many of which are free to attend. The Battle Spectacular (complete with pyrotechnics) will also return, as will the March to Coppergate and the popular Viking Banquet.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The world’s greatest flower show returns to west London between 24 and 28 May this year, full of cutting-edge garden designs, seasonal floral displays and endless shopping. Head to the Great Pavilion to see the latest discoveries in horticultural science and gardening’s impact on climate change before exploring this year’s Show and Sanctuary Gardens like The New Blue Peter Garden, the Zen Garden and the Circle of Life.
More events in May 2022:
• Unleash your inner Dancing Queen at ABBA Voyage, a series of holographic concerts at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park between May and October
• Attend The Padstow Obby Oss, an ancient festival steeped in mystery on 1 May
• Groove along to Sounds From the Other City, Salford’s biggest day festival, on 1 May
• Take a swing at 2022’s Betfred British Masters, held at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield from 5 to 8 May
• Enjoy swashbuckling fun and family-friendly activities at Plymouth Pirates Weekend on 7 and 8 May
• Stop by Photo London at Somerset House, the leading international photography fair between 12 and 15 May
• Get ready to feast and party at Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, a series of nationwide foodie festivals on selected dates between 12 May and 18 September
• Celebrate music and literature at The Bath Festival between 13 and 22 May
• Experience the roar of Wembley’s crowds at the FA Cup Final on 14 May, or at the Women’s FA Cup Final on 15 May
• See the biggest stars of GB Taekwondo (like Jade Jones and Lutalo Muhammad) in action at the European Taekwondo Championships in Manchester from 19 to 22 May
• Cheer on the world’s best hockey teams at the FIH Hockey Pro League taking place in London between 21 May and 19 June
• Treat your four-legged friend to a day out to Goodwoof - a brand-new canine festival filled with trails, treats, competitions and wellness workshops on the 28 and 29 May
• Chase (or watch people chase) a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down Coopers Hill on 30 May
June events 2022
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
This year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne, so it’s only right that we’re in for a huge dose of celebrations to mark this historic milestone. Alongside an extended bank holiday weekend (2 to 5 June), the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will treat us to an assortment of events, including the annual Trooping the Colour – featuring over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians; the Platinum Pudding Competition, a nationwide bake-off to find a brand-new pudding dedicated to the Queen; and a Platinum Party at the Palace, which you can even apply for an invite to.
On top of all that, there’ll be hundreds of Jubilee Lunches taking place across the country over the bank holiday weekend – from family garden barbecues to street parties stretching miles – and, as a permanent legacy of Her Majesty’s service, 20 million wildflower seeds will be sown in the moat at the Tower of London. Named Superbloom, this horticultural delight will be open to the public and will highlight the value of nature on our well-being.
West End Live
Trafalgar Square, London
Shimmy on down to Trafalgar Square for a free weekend of musical theatre in the heart of London’s Theatreland. You’ll get to enjoy live performances by the cast of the capital’s most celebrated musicals, like Hamilton, Jersey Boys, Matilda The Musical and Disney’s The Lion King. Tickets aren’t required either, so you can choose when to pop by for a spontaneous sing-song. Dates to be confirmed.
Formally known as The Championships, Wimbledon is the oldest tournament in the world, dating back to 1877. As one of the biggest tennis competitions on the planet, you’re guaranteed to glimpse some of the sport’s biggest stars in action, including Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray and Alfie Hewitt. This year’s Open will take place between 27 June and 10 July, and will be the first in its history to play on the Middle Sunday, traditionally a rest day at this tournament. And even if you can’t get courtside tickets, be sure to pop by Wimbledon’s grassy viewing area to watch a match with a tub of strawberries and cream.
The Cambridge Club Festival
With stars like Diana Ross, Nile Rogers, Gabrielle and Trevor Nelson performing, we can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t want to snap up tickets to The Cambridge Club Festival. Taking place at Childerley Orchard from 10 to 12 June, there is also a range of camping and glamping options on The Field of Dreams campsite. With camping tickets, you’ll also be able to boogie under the stars in the After Dark area and take advantage of different wellness activities like yoga, exclusively available to campers.
This is Tomorrow Festival
Newcastle, Tyne & Wear
This is Tomorrow Festival brings the best musical talents to Newcastle’s Exhibition Park from 3 to 5 June this year. A fairly new music festival, previous years have seen the likes of Dermot Kennedy, The Kooks, Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi grace its stages, and is committed to bringing a diversity of live music to the northeast. This year’s line-up is yet to be announced so be sure to check its website for the most up-to-date details.
The jewel of the crown of the British social season, Royal Ascot will be held between 14 and 18 June this year. With world-class racing, a stylish dress code, fine dining and plenty of pomp and pageantry, this annual racing event is revered across the globe and is steeped in tradition. Get front-row seats to the Royal Procession, book in a champagne afternoon tea or three-course luncheon, and get dressed to the nines for Ladies Day – and once that’s all sorted, remember to get your bets in!
More events in June 2022:
• Dig into food fit for a queen at Blenheim Palace Food Festival, filled with celebrity masterclasses and samples galore between 2 and 5 June
• Pitch a tent next to elephants and tigers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's Nature Nights from 4 June to 3 September
• Discover over 100 private gardens and hidden green gems across the capital at the Open Garden Squares Weekend, over 11 and 12 June
• Devour five days of feasting at the delicious Taste of London, at Regent’s Park from 15 to 19 June
• Be amazed at the tricks and flips of the world’s best freestyle canoers at the ICF 2022 Freestyle World Championships in Nottingham from 27 June to 2 July
• Dress to impress and enjoy iconic pageantry at this year’s Epsom Derby Festival, taking place on 3 and 4 June
• Hop along the Hares of Hampshire trail to see the cities of Southampton and Winchester from a different angle between 16 June and 25 August
• Celebrate diversity, equality and human rights at the 25th Exeter Respect Festival on 11 and 12 June
• Fill the bank holiday weekend with epic live music and quality entertainment at Truro’s The Great Estate Festival, from 2 to 5 June
• Uncover two thousand years of history at the Chester Heritage Festival between 17 and 27 June
• Sing along to Arlo Parks and Bombay Bicycle Club at Live at Leeds on Saturday 4 June
• Learn the rules of shin-kicking at this year’s Cotswold Olimpick Games on Friday 3 June
• Be the belle of the Regency Ball at Bath’s Jane Austen Regency Week from 18 to 26 June
• Explore arts and crafts fairs, drink Becket beers and catch live performances of the new musical, London's Turbulent Son, at the Becket Pageant for London, taking place just steps from Thomas Becket's birthplace in Guildhall Yard on 17 and 18 June
July events 2022
Pride in London Parade
Wave your rainbow flag with the loud and proud crowds on 2 July to celebrate love, triumph and a whole 50 years since the country’s first Pride took place. The UK’s biggest and most diverse Pride provides a platform for every part of London’s LGBTQ+ community and helps campaign for rights and freedoms for all. Made up of more than 300 floats, countless dancing troupes and show-stopping performers, The Pride in London Parade weaves its way through the West End before culminating in Trafalgar Square for more free performances. After the sun sets, head over to Soho for an array of parties and events in the area’s many gay-friendly pubs, bars and clubs.
The Commonwealth Games
Birmingham, West Midlands
Birmingham will be the home of this year’s Commonwealth Games, an international multi-sport event that brings athletes, para-athletes and communities from around the world to the West Midlands for a celebration of sport. The games, which kick off on 28 July and wrap up on 8 August, will include swimming and diving, cricket, gymnastics, athletics, cycling, judo and netball. Events will take place not only in Birmingham but across the West Midlands too, from Coventry and Solihull to Royal Leamington Spa and Wolverhampton.
Leading up to the games, the Queen’s Baton Relay makes an epic journey across the 72 nations and territories in the Commonwealth followed by a 25-day stint covering the length and breadth of England, before finishing up at the Opening Ceremony on 28 July where the baton will be returned to Her Majesty The Queen.
UEFA Women’s EURO
The UEFA Women’s EURO tournament will be hitting our shores for the first time since 2005 between 6 and 31 July, with England’s Lionesses joining 15 other European nations for three and a half weeks of world-class football. You can watch the 31 matches at nine host cities across the country, including Brighton, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Sheffield.
The tournament will kick off at Manchester’s Old Trafford on 6 July and sees the Lionesses take on Austria.
British Summertime Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Since it started back in 2013, British Summertime (BST) has become one of London’s biggest summer festivals – so much so that it’s now split across two weekends, with six incredible concert days filled with legendary headliners. Held in one of London’s biggest Royal Parks, Hyde Park, from Friday 24 June to Sunday 10 July, this year’s line-up includes the likes of Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Adele and Duran Duran.
Sandwiched between the weekends will be a four-day midweek programme called Open House, featuring a range of free activities and entertainment for all ages.
More events in July 2022:
• Feel the roar and vibrations at the fastest sporting event in the UK, The Formula 1 British Grand Prix, when it returns to Silverstone between the 1 and 3 July
• Sing along to Supergrass, The Human League, Razorlight, Happy Mondays, Belinda Carlisle and many more at Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire on 23 and 24 July
• Explore gorgeous gardens packed with beautiful blooms at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, between the 4 and 10 July
• Join a celebration of gender identity at The Sparkle Weekend in Manchester from the 8 to 10 July
• Watch skies filled with aerobatics, take on army assault courses and dive into a diving tank with a real-life Marine at Liverpool’s Southport Air Show, Liverpool from 9 to 10 July
• Put on your dancing shoes and have the time of your life at Kellerman's with Secret Cinema's Dirty Dancing: The Immersive Experience, on selected dates between 13 and 31 July
• Prepare for four unique days of music, science and cosmic culture at Bluedot Festival in Macclesfield from 21 to 24 July
• Be part of Sheffield’s biggest ever party and sing along to Sam Fender and Kasabian at Tramlines, a three-day festival taking place from 22 to 24 July
• Remember, resist and rise up at Newcastle’s UK Pride event, from 22 to 24 July
• Discover the best new music, theatre and comedy on England’s largest island at Ventnor Fringe from 22 to 31 July
• Put your glad rags on for the glorious Qatar Goodwood Festival, a major highlight of the British equine racing season, taking place between 26 and 30 July
• Dress up as your favourite comic-book character for MegaCon, at its Manchester debut on the 30 and 31 July
• See the world’s most exciting race on water at the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix in Plymouth on 30 and 31 July
• With up to 750 boats and 40 daily races, experience the largest sailing regatta of its kind at the Isle of Wight’s Cowes Week, between 30 July and 5 August
• Enjoy live music, dance lessons, circus tricks and more against a backdrop of a harbour full of vessels at Bristol Harbour Festival between 15 and 17 July
• Witness the lighting of a legacy flame to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the London 2021 Olympic Games alongside activities, performances and workshops across the Olympic sites in East London on 22 July
• Step inside the colourful pallet of Gustav Klimt at Klimt: The Immersive Experience, opening at a secret London location in July
• See hundreds of colourful kites take to the skies at the 30th International Kite Festival in Portsmouth on the 30 and 31 July
• Watch 1,000 transplant athletes from around the UK compete in archery, basketball, long jump and more at The British Transplant Games, held in Leeds between 27 and 31 July
• Dig into mouthwatering dishes cooked by legendary London chefs at the first-ever Savour London Food Festival, arriving at Royal Hospital Chelsea on 30 and 31 July
August events 2022
After packing out stadiums last year, The Hundred – cricket’s revolutionary new competition – is back this summer. The rules are simple… there are 100 balls per team and the team with the most runs wins. These edge-of-your-seat matches will take place across August with both men’s and women’s games, and will see big-name cricket teams like Leeds’ Northern Superchargers, London Spirit and Birmingham Phoenix take to the field. Perfect for a family-friendly day out, there are even free tickets available for the littlest of supporters.
Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill, London
For the first time since 2019, the streets of west London will come alive with a huge Caribbean party over the August bank holiday weekend. Elaborate floats, thousands of colourfully costumed performers and energetic steel bands will wind their way through Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove for Europe’s biggest street festival. Dance along to Mas, Soca and Calypso music and try traditional Caribbean dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, Trinidadian roti or Guyanese Pepper Pot from one of the tempting food stalls along the route. There’ll be live music and DJs too, and plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy.
Visiting Liverpool between the 24 and 30 August? Well, you’re in for a treat. International Beatleweek is an annual festival which celebrates the music of the most famous pop group in the world, in the city where it all began. Alongside exhibitions, guest speakers and tours, you’ll get to see 70 cover bands from over 20 countries sing iconic hits like Hey Jude, All You Need Is Love and Yellow Submarine (among so many others) live on The Cavern’s three stages as well as a variety of venues throughout Liverpool including the Adelphi Hotel, the Marina Yacht Club and the Philharmonic Hall.
Brighton Pride’s 30th birthday
Brighton, East Sussex
The UK’s biggest Pride festival celebrates its 30th birthday between 5 and 7 August this summer – meaning the party will be bigger and better than ever before. Thousands of people will flock to the streets of Brighton for this year’s theme of Love, Protest & Unity, for an all-singing, all-dancing rainbow-coloured carnival of diversity, inclusion and tolerance. Start by following the Pride LGBTQ+ Community Parade – a highlight of the weekend that showcases the city’s charities, services and small businesses – as it shimmies its way to WE ARE FABULOSO in the Park, where you can catch Christina Aguilera, Paloma Faith and Ella Henderson gracing the stage. Then sashay your way to the Pride Village Party in Kempton, for cabaret, drag performances and so much more into the small hours.
British Firework Championships
Join the throngs of people on Plymouth Harbour this summer for the night-sky spectacular that is the British Firework Championships. Taking place on 17 and 18 August, this large-scale pyrotechnic competition will see six professional displays (three on each evening) show off their colourful choreography in the hopes of being crowned 2022 champion. There’ll be a funfair, live music and lots of street food, but the real entertainment is up in the sky, with the shows guaranteed to leave you awestruck.
More events in August 2022:
• Catch a wave at Cornwall’s own surf festival, Boardmasters, with performances from George Ezra and Kings of Leon, alongside silent discos, surfing competitions and epic afterparties from 10 to 14 August
• Head to Goodwood on the 6 and 7 August for Eroica Britannia, a two-day vintage cycling festival that sees cyclists in retro gear race on pre-1987 bikes
• Immerse yourself in a labyrinth of adventure and international music acts at Boomtown’s brand-new chapter, The Gathering, at Matterley Estate, Winchester between the 10 and 14 August
• Be wowed by Europe’s largest hot air balloon event, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, between 11 and 14 August, to catch a glimpse of over 100 balloons flying together over the city
• Raise a pint glass for London Craft Beer Festival’s 10th birthday at London’s Tobacco Dock on 12 and 13 August, where over 100 breweries and London’s top chefs will serve tasty tipples and treats to a backing track of top DJ sets
• Sink your sweet tooth into a ball pit filled with candy, a sweet and savoury bao stand and lots more in the 10 sugar-coated zones of The London Dessert Festival, taking place in Islington, London between 12 and 14 August
• Celebrate all things garlic at the quirky Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. The island’s biggest show, taking place on 20 and 21 August, is filled with fantastic food, live music and endless entertainment
• Enjoy free outdoor theatre and sensory spectacles (including mountains of rainbow-coloured foam) at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, from 26 August to 11 September
• Sing along to Sam Fender, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini on Southsea’s seafront at Victorious Festival, over the weekend of the 26 to 28 August
• Explore the vibrant shopping bazaar or get stuck into Asian music, dance and food at Sandwell & Birmingham Mela, Europe’s biggest South Asian music festival, taking place on 27 and 28 August
• Move those hips to the sound of steel pan drums and try signature Caribbean dishes at Leeds West Indian Carnival, taking place at Potternewton Park on 29 August
• Take part in sandcastle competitions and ooh and ahh at the fireworks display at Shanklin Town Regatta, a yearly highlight of the town’s calendar that’s been running for 161 years
• Learn new survival skills and push your mum down a 50-metre mudslide at Bear Grylls’ Nature Valley Gone Wild Festival, taking place at Exeter’s Powderham Castle between 25 and 28 August
• Ooh and ahh at thrilling aerobatics and twilight flight displays over Clacton's coastline at Clacton Air Show on 25 and 26 August