50+ unmissable 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.
September events 2022
Chichester, West Sussex
Travel back in time to the mid-20th century to experience the romance and glamour of classic motor racing. Goodwood Revival, taking place from 16 to 18 September, is the only sporting event of its kind to be staged entirely in a period theme. It’s an immersive celebration of a less disposable time, where make-do-and-mend was a way of life. As well as motor racing, you’ll have the chance to snap thousands of classic cars at the Revival Show, skate around Butlins Roller Rink and enjoy all manner of festivities at the fairground. If you’re rocking your best 40s, 50s and 60s-era outfits, you’ll be able to take part in the Best Dressed Competition, while over in The Revive and Thrive Village, you can get to grips with reusing, repairing and repurposing pre-loved belongings. Don’t forget to pick up vintage trinkets at the glamorous Revival Car Boot Sale and shop for unique memorabilia on Revival High Street.
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.
York Food Festival
York, North Yorkshire
September is chock-a-block with tasty food festivals including the gourmet York Food Festival, which is taking place this year from 23 September to 2 October. This 10-day foodie spectacular celebrates local and regional retailers and restaurants all the while establishing York as a culinary hotspot. As well as fun workshops and cookery demonstrations on Parliament Street and St Sampsons Square, you can join wine tastings and food trails, dig into street food and stock up on goodies (including some indulgent York chocolate) at the festival market. The kids can cook up a storm too at the Junior Chefs Competition, where young food enthusiasts show off their skills to be crowned Junior Chef of the Year.
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.
Open House Festival, London
Get exclusive access to some of London’s most remarkable buildings for free between 8 and 21 September as part of the capital’s annual Open House Festival. A celebration of the city’s housing, architecture and neighbourhoods, the festival sees a range of special events, family-friendly activities and behind-the-scenes tours of iconic places like City Hall, Keats House and even 10 Downing Street (tickets for which can only be secured by an open ballot). You can also join guided walking tours that delve into the hidden histories of London, from discovering secret spies in Victoria to the lives of London’s black Tudors.
Jane Austen Festival
Don your best Regency get-ups and make your way to Bath for the largest and longest-running Jane Austen Festival in the world. The 10-day programme, between 9 and 17 September, begins with a Regency costumed parade where over 500 people in Regency dress make their way through the honey-hued Georgian city, before hosting a range of events inspired by the timeless works of Jane Austen including guided walks, costumed balls, theatrical performances, concerts, talks and more.
With six miles of world-famous festoons along the coastline, Blackpool Illuminations is known as the greatest free light show on Earth. Dating back over a century, this dazzling light show shimmers for another year from 2 September to 2 January 2023 with brand-new installations (including one created by Blackpudlian designer Jack Irving in collaboration with computer scientists from Lancaster University) and plenty of old favourites. Drive, walk or hop on a Heritage Tram tour to see the lights glittering along the promenade, with illuminated tours running every evening.
The switch-on event will be held at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom, complete with live music performances and an audience of more than 2,000 ballot winners.
More events in September 2022
• FREE: Strap on your boots and enjoy a whole host of guided walks for all abilities – from urban strolls to hilly climbs at Sheffield Walking Festival, taking place between 10 and 18 September
• FREE: From 10-18 September 2022, in an experience like no other, over 150 events across the country, including training yards, studs and retraining centres, will open their doors to the public for National Racehorse Week.
• Get involved with fun activities taking place on, beneath and along the 45-mile River Thames at Totally Thames festival, on throughout September
• Chow down on freshly caught and sustainable fruits from the sea and see chefs cooking up a storm at Plymouth Seafood and Harbour Festival, on 17 and 18 September
• FREE: Be part of the unbeatable atmosphere of the Great North Run as over 50,000 runners take part in the world’s biggest and best half marathon between Newcastle and South Shields on 11 September
• Navigate over 200 events promoting London as the design capital of the world at the 20th iteration of the London Design Festival between 17 and 25 September
• Listen along to spoken word or get involved with workshops at Black Fest, Liverpool’s grassroots black arts festival that empowers work by black artists, throughout the month of September
• Sample gin masterclasses, wine tastings and food photography workshops, and tuck into foods from Shropshire and beyond at Ludlow Food Festival from 9 to 11 September
• Spend time outdoors climbing trees, building rafts and embarking on foraging walks at Into the Trees Festival in East Sussex between 9 and 11 September.
• FREE: Admire hundreds of vintage, classic, custom and retro cars from all over the UK and Europe at the Isle of Wight Classic Car Extravaganza, on 3 and 4 September 3-4
• FREE: Get to know the stories, ideas and people at the heart of science at Europe’s longest-standing science festival, the British Science Festival – held at Leicester’s De Montfort University between 13 and 17 September
• Learn all about the art of beekeeping, snap up the best artisan honey and get your beekeeping supplies at the Festival of Bees, held at the University of Greenwich on 3 September
• FREE: Treat your eyes to epic flying displays from the Red Arrows and RAF Typhoon, alongside fireworks, funfair rides, marching bands and more at the Bournemouth Air Festival between 1 and 4 September
• Bust some moves to house, techno, reggae, jazz and more before catching circus shows and children’s open mic at the fully vegan Audio Farm Festival between 1 and 6 September
• FREE: Watch hundreds of kites of all shapes, sizes and colours fill the sky for a superb spectacle at St Annes International Kite Festival between 2 and 4 September
• Celebrate all things ginger – from hand-iced gingerbread to boozy ginger cakes and ales – at the Ginger and Spice Festival, held in the home of ginger, Market Drayton in Shropshire, on 24 September
• Hear sets from rousing big bands and up-and-coming acts in the grand Victorian setting of Scarborough spa at the Scarborough Jazz Festival from 23 to 25 September
• Bring the countryside to life with country clothing, rural crafts, horse shows and much more at the National Country Show Live Essex, held at Hylands Park on 17 and 18 September
• FREE: Watch an ancient grudge between Yorkshire and Lancashire play out before your eyes as players hurl black puddings at a pile of Yorkshire puddings at the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships on 11 September
• Attend a mouth-watering street party filled with freshly cooked food, drinks tents, live music and streams of artisan vendors at Taste Cumbria Cockermouth on 24 and 25 September
• Savour mouth-watering dishes cooked up by more than 60 of the world’s best live-fire chefs at Meatopia, held at London’s Tobacco Dock from 2 to 4 September
• Be part of the ultimate end-of-summer party with music from Madness and Rudimental, magic and mayhem at Lindisfarne Festival between 1 and 4 September
• Treat your pooch to a fun-packed day out at DogFest at Harewood House on 24 and 25 September. From dog diving and agility courses to big dog walks in the grounds, it’s guaranteed to have their tails wagging
• Rock down to Rock in the Bowl in Sheffield for a weekend of full-scale rock and roll music from local, national and international artists on the 9, 10 and 11 September
• Spectate one of the world's most unusual cricket matches - Bramble Bank Cricket Match - played on a triangular sandbar in the centre of the Solent for one hour (or until the tide rises) on Monday 12 September
• Delight in witnessing a selection of vintage locomotives and travel through the scenic countryside by steam train at the North York Moors Railway Annual Steam Gala from 22 to 25 September
• FREE: Meet the stars of British horse racing at hundreds of stables across the country and learn about what it takes to rear and train a world-class racehorse during National Racehorse Week, taking place from 10 to 18 September
• Celebrate the diversity of food from across the world and its power to bring people together at the new RHS Festival of Flavours, hosted at five RHS gardens from 30 September
• Enjoy an evening with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, devour wood-fired feasts, meet the flour miller and top up your tan with vineyard picnics at this year's Taste East Devon Food and Drink Festival, taking place between 3 and 18 September
• Gear up for four weeks of offers, events and delicious local dishes at the Steyning & District Food and Drink Festival between 3 September and 1 October
• Get stuck into a week-long programme of events, workshops and activities aimed at young people aged between 15 and 25 at the Natural History Museum's new climate-focused event, Generation Hope: Act for the Planet, from 12 to 16 September
• Prepare for an out-of-this-world adventure filled with intergalactic dance-offs, extraterrestrial entertainment and epic food and drink at Secret Cinema's Guardians of the Galaxy experience, held at a secret location in Wembley between 31 August to 30 October
• Be guided through the history of open captioning and accessibility in the arts in a world-first exhibition 'Captions Speak Louder' at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester between 3 and 29 September.
• Go face-to-face with life-sized roaming dinosaurs, including the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, at Jurassic World: The Exhibition, held at London's ExCel from August until early 2023.
• Be transported to Hawkins and immerse yourself in 80's nostalgia at the brand-new Stranger Things: The Experience, in Brent Cross, London. Do you have what it takes to survive the Upside Down?
• FREE: Enjoy free outdoor theatre and sensory spectacles (including mountains of rainbow-coloured foam) at Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, until 11 September.
• Nab a ticket or two for a stellar line-up of classical concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for this year's BBC Proms, taking place until 10 September.
• Unleash your inner Dancing Queen at ABBA Voyage, a series of holographic concerts at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
• Get ready to feast and party at Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park, a series of nationwide foodie festivals on selected dates until 18 September
October events 2022
Leicester’s Festival of Lights
Celebrating new beginnings and the triumphs of good over evil, light over darkness, Diwali is observed by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world – including those living in Leicester. Starting on Sunday 9 October with a dazzling light switch-on, Leicester’s annual Festival of Lights will span two weeks, filled with a wealth of activities, parades, performances and mouth-watering food before wrapping up with an epic finale on Diwali Day. See the Belgrave Road bathed in twinkling lights, explore the Fire Garden, bop along to Bollywood dancing and feast your eyes on fabulous fashion – it’s a street party like no other.
Rugby League World Cup
Missed out on the summer of sport? Don’t fret – one of the most anticipated rugby league tournaments will be arriving in England this autumn. Playing at stadiums across the country, from St James’ Park in Newcastle to the Eco-Power Stadium in Doncaster and The Emirates Stadium in London, the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup will be held from 15 October to 19 November. And for the first time ever, men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments will be played in one big main event and will feature the best players from nations like Australia, Brazil, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and, of course, England, Scotland and Wales.
BFI London Film Festival
Between the 5 and 16 October, the BFI Film Festival will return to Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for an 11-day showcase of UK and international 160 films. With a kaleidoscope of events covering new and exclusive screenings; immersive art and XR projects; book launches and panel discussions with industry experts and big names in film, it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Tulley’s Shocktober Fest
Crawley, West Sussex
It wouldn’t be October without some good old Halloween fear – and if you’re in the market for some harmless scares, then Tulley’s Shocktober Fest will be right up your street. Located in the West Sussex countryside, Europe’s largest scream park takes place on selected dates from 1 October to 5 November and will have you quaking in your boots with its dazzling special effects, immersive scenery and live actors. Face your fears in The Creepy Cottage, escape The Island or survive Wastelands Penitentiary alongside a bunch of other haunts and attractions with differing scare ratings, before jumping on the ghost train or trying your hand at axe throwing. If that wasn’t enough, the final day of the season (Bonfire Night) will also round off with an epic fireworks display.
More events in October 2022:
• Prepare for the spookiest night of the year by picking your own pumpkin at one of the country’s many pumpkin farms throughout October.
• Brave the House of Clowns, take part in The Exorcism and witness an infamous fire show during the thirteen nights of frights at FEAR at Avon Valley Scream Park between 7 and 31 October.
• Work your way through spine-tingling scare mazes and take on some of the country’s most thrilling rides in the dark at Thorpe Park Fright Nights between 1 and 31 October.
• Enjoy a tipple or two from a variety of brewery bars at the Robin Hood Beer Festival, held at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground between 12 and 15 October.
• Back after a two-year hiatus, the Nottingham Goose Fair dates back over 700 years and will feature over 500 family attractions at the Forest Recreation Ground from 30 September and 9 October.
• Unleash your steering skills on the dodgems, tuck into brandy snaps and have your palm ready at Hull Fair, one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe, from 7 to 15 October.
• Enjoy talks, workshops and book launches at the 73rd edition of Cheltenham Literature Festival between 7 and 16 October.
• Treat your tastebuds to local cheese, chocolate, charcuterie, cider and more at the East Midlands Food Festival on 1 and 2 October.
• Settle in for an eclectic literary programme at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, which includes readings from Richard Ingrams, Tracy Borman and Alan Johnson from 6-9 October.
• Laugh along to a hilarious line-up of big-name comedians and local talent (previous years have seen the likes of Alan Carr and Joanna Lumley grace the stage) at this year’s Birmingham Comedy Festival between 7 and 16 October.
• See the New York Giants go up against the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Denver Broncos play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley on 30 October for the NFL 2022 London Games.
• Watch the biggest names in goth and alternative music at Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival in Whitby on the 28 and 29 October.
• Cheer on the runners as they race their way through the capital’s streets at this year’s The Virgin Money London Marathon on 2 October.
• Watch as hopeful players attempt to become the King or Queen of conkers at the quirky World Conker Championships in Ashton, Northamptonshire on 9 October.
• Discover the distinctive heritage of Cornwall’s music, dance, songs and storytelling, alongside its Celtic links to Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man at Lowender Peran between 26 and 30 October.
• Get hands-on with cutting-edge developments, enjoy an out-of-this-world dance experience and discover the science of music at Manchester Science Festival from 21 to 30 October.
• Journey through the earth, sea and sky at Rochester Cathedral as it hosts a dazzling light show depicting life on planet Earth in a single 24-hour period from 4-8 October.
•Head to Canterbury Festival for a three-week extravaganza of music, talks, acrobatics, comedy and drag at venues across the city from 15 October to 5 November.
• Immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring outdoor art gallery by exploring the River of Light trail in Liverpool from 21 October to 6 November.
• Listen in to lively discussions, innovative ideas and political debate, and see Succession’s Brian Cox in the flesh, at Cliveden Literary Festival, hosted at Cliveden House in Berkshire on 15 and 16 October.
• Journey into the underbelly of Britain’s cultural psyche through the maverick, monstrous, magical and mystic art of Somerset House’s The Horror Show! Exhibition, on between 22 October and 19 February 2023.
• Join DJs, artists, vocalists and acoustic bands and BBC Music Introducing's biggest new names at Camden's Roundhouse Rising Festival, between 4 and 8 October. Anyone under 30 years old can also bag tickets for just £1.
• Get lost in the world's most visited immersive experience at Van Gogh Alive, a stunning multi-sensory display of the life and work of the legendary Dutch artist, at Bradford's Regency Hall between 13 October and 8 January 2023.
• Sip on sweet local cider and apple juice, and get involved with tons of themed trails, activities and tastings, at Hereford's brand-new AppleFest, from 1 to 16 October.