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August Bank Holiday Events

Over a million people congregate each August Bank Holiday in the streets made famous by that Hugh Grant film for the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival.

Over a million people congregate each August Bank Holiday in the streets made famous by that Hugh Grant film for the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival. This year the dates of this exuberant Caribbean medley of music, dancing, steel bands, decorated floats and brilliant costumes will be August 27-28. Traders’ stalls and big sound systems line the route.

- London’s Docklands promise to be another lively destination this Bank Holiday (August 26-27). West India Quay on the Isle of Dogs hosts its second annual ‘floating beach’ weekend involving a pontoon filled with 20 tons of sand, live music, a dance stage and masses of feasting and fun at alfresco bars and restaurants. The sleek skyscrapers of Canary Wharf contrast strikingly with the renovated Georgian warehouses that once offloaded cargoes of sugar and tobacco. Access to the fascinating Museum in Docklands, normally chargeable, will be free throughout the weekend.
- Up in Cumbria, the Grasmere Lakeland Sports and Show (August 27) is big news. It’s the largest of the traditional Lakeland sports meetings, involving hound trails (trained hounds follow an aniseed trail across the fells), Cumberland wrestling and the   wildly masochistic form of exercise known as fell-racing. Many other family events take place amid a mass of trading stands and refreshment kiosks.
- Shrewsbury’s Summer Season culminates in a major event this year. One of Britain’s longest established and widely acclaimed folk festivals relocates from Bridgnorth to Shrewsbury for the first time in 2006. The Shrewsbury Folk Festival takes place August 25-28 featuring more than 40 separate guest appearances. It will be closely followed by the International Street Theatre Festival from September 1-3.

- The ever-popular Oxfordshire Living Heritage Craft Show is held in the grounds of Blenheim Palace over the holiday weekend (August 26-28), followed soon afterwards by the Blenheim Horse Trials from August 31-September 3 – a major draw in the equestrian world.

- North of the border, record numbers are expected at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering, the world’s largest and most spectacular Highland Games, to be held at Dunoon Stadium (August 24-26). This three-day event involves over 150 Pipe Bands, 500 Highland dancers and a weighty collection of contenders for Caber-Tossing, Weight-Putting and Hammer-Throwing laurels.

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