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Arts + Lifestyle

It's Festival Season: These Are The Places To Be This August

With summer-season in full swing, there are still plenty of festivals in the UK to visit. Get your fix of summer entertainment and culture at seven of the best.

This August, enjoy everything from classical music in one of London’s most iconic parks to a weekend spent partying at a Norfolk stately home.

Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Dates: 3 – 6 August 2023 

A four-day party like no other, Wilderness is a fusion of the best music, chic accommodation and cultural gatherings. This year, musical performances include Fatboy Slim, Honey Dijon and the Sugababes. An eclectic mix of experiences; brush up on your salsa, learn how to weave baskets using willow, create one-off silver jewellery pieces, put pen to paper in a life-drawing class, or listen to one of the many talks for your cultural fix. If you need respite from the dancing and music, check into a yin class taught by one of London’s most respected yogis, Adam Hustler, or try paddle boarding and aerial yoga. Lastly, refuel at one of the food stalls or restaurants: Quo Vadis’ Jeremy Lee and Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules are just two of the chefs serving up dishes this year. Finish your meal off with an experimental tipple at The Cat’s Whisker’s Cocktail Bar.


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Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
Dates: 4 – 28 August 2023

This August, Scotland sees a month-long spectacle of arts and culture at its annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival showcasing comedy to cabaret – and everything in-between. Don’t miss: Chloe Petts’ “If You Can’t Say Anything Nice” (a follow up from her debut last year); acclaimed absurdist, Geoff Sobelle’s interactive show tackling the subject of food; or Sophie Zucker’s debut performance at Fringe. When you’re not attending one of the shows, wind your way around Edinburgh’s historic streets which, at this time of year, are transformed into outdoor arenas laced with street performers. The city is packed with top dining spaces too: The Outsider offers an incredible whole-roast lobster complete with garlic butter, fries, and aioli. A must visit. If you’re simply looking for a pit-stop between the madness head to Fortitude Coffee for a cup of their house batch-brewed coffee and freshly made cinnamon buns.


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Houghton Festival, Houghton Hall, Norfolk
Dates: 10 – 13 August 2023

Head to the Norfolk countryside for a weekend of art and music hosted at an iconic and elegant stately home. The festival takes place at Houghton Hall, the exquisite Neo-Palladian home to the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley, and provides a picturesque backdrop for the most notorious techno DJs. The pretty woodlands and lakes, accompanied by cultural events and tours of the sculpture garden, make Houghton a festival like no other, This year, Houghton has teamed up with Italian restaurant Osteria Wolf to host Turntable & Napkin, an alfresco floating dining experience on the Houghton Lake: expect to be transported to Italy with a feast of fresh, locally-sourced dishes. Choose from a delicious three or four course menu, accompanied by a range of signature cocktails and Italian sparkling wines. Take a break from the music and visit Trevino’s, Houghton’s very own record store, named after an alias of the late drum and bass producer Marcus Kaye, and don’t miss The Orchard – an oasis of teachers, therapists and healers hand-picked to restore and energise guests in-between the non-stop dancing.


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Greenman Festival, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Dates: 17 – 20 August 2023

Gilestone Farm is once again transformed into a sustainable oasis of music and culture. This year, there are 10 different areas to explore, including the Walled Garden and Mountain’s Foot with sweeping views over the Welsh valley. Musical headliners include Devo, First Aid Kit and Spiritualized. If you prefer comedy, visit the Babbling Tongues tent for a hilarious line up featuring unmissable acts such as Dylan Moran and Tarot, or relax at one of the many independent films on show, or by listening to a new piece of literature. Greenman prides itself on its efforts towards a more responsible festival, banning all single-use plastic and optimising hydrogen and solar power, resulting in a 90% reduction of greenhouse emissions. All catering will be locally-sourced, too: Powys-raised chef Danny Jack and eco-chef Tom Hunt will offer a three-course feasting farm-to-table menu with highlights including slow roast Welsh-lamb shoulder and a Brecon Gin pavlova with cream.


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Notting Hill Carnival, London
Dates: 27 – 28 August 2023

Summer in London isn’t complete without its annual Notting Hill Carnival. Be transported to the Caribbean with a three-day parade of steel-pan-drums, dancing, and all-round good vibes on the streets of West London. This is a celebration of freedom and Caribbean culture, with an iconic parade made up of vibrant costumes and masquerades. Sunday is children’s day where families can join in the party with face-painting and workshops but Monday is where the real party starts. From as early as 10AM, the music gets into full swing, winding its way through the streets of Portobello to Ladbroke Grove, a vision of bright and bold colours. While here, immerse yourself into Caribbean cuisine by trying some of the tasty dishes served up street-side: think jerk Jamaican chicken and fresh mango smoothies. You’ll need all the fuel you can get in order to keep dancing into the night.


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Battersea Park In Concert, London
Dates: 26 – 28 August 2023

Battersea Park In Concert returns for another magical three-night open-air concert series this bank holiday. Featuring performances from the internationally-celebrated Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, enjoy a menage of jazz, soul, and classical music in one of London’s most iconic parks. For those who don’t want the hassle of packing their own picnic, The Luxury Picnic Co are offering ticket holders a luxury picnic hamper to tuck into: choose from either the Plush Ploughman’s Picnic or the Pitch Perfect Picnic – both include a gourmet selection of fine cheeses, antipasti platters and delicious desserts. There will also be a selection of street-food stalls offering international food and drink options. This is the perfect place to sit back and soak up a laid-back atmosphere.


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BBC Proms, London
Dates: Throughout August 2023

The world-renowned BBC Proms returns to the Royal Albert Hall for an impressive eight-week programme, starring a total of over 3,000 musicians. The schedule is an eclectic mix: from Bollywood to Berlioz, chamber concerts to intimate choral works. This year is particularly pertinent as the Proms will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birth by showcasing 11 of his most notorious works. For those who prefer a more contemporary mix of entertainment, singers such as Rufus Wainwright and Jon Hopkins are announced as part of this year’s line-up. Make a day of it and head to nearby restaurants, Margaux or Claude Bosi at Bibendum: sip on a glass of champagne while indulging on London’s finest oysters at Claude Bosi, or share a plate of truffle and ricotta gnocchi at Margaux. Finish the evening with a walk through Hyde Park, taking full advantage of London’s light summer evenings.


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