Make the most of your time in the UK by experiencing some of our festivals and celebrations. We host a number of multicultural festivals. Highlights include:
Chinese New Year
Outside Asia, the world’s biggest celebration of Chinese New Year is in London – each year there is a parade through Chinatown in the West End. Chinese students are the largest group studying in the UK so there may also be events held at your university or college. Get in touch with them or your Students’ Union.You can see more about the Year of the Pig at the Independent.
Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Wimbledon, the world’s oldest tennis tournament, is a summer highlight for sports fans. Held at the All England Club in London since 1877, Wimbledon is known for the tennis players’ white dress code and the tradition for spectators to eat strawberries and cream.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The largest arts festival in the world, ‘the Fringe’ features over 40,000 performances and more than 2,500 shows at 250 venues. Any type of performance may participate, across theatre, comedy, music and dance, and many students visit Edinburgh to put on their own shows.
Historically, this marks the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate King James I in 1605 – the failed 'gunpowder plot' is remembered in the children’s rhyme ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November; gunpowder, treason and plot’. Today, it is commemorated with spectacular displays of fireworks.
There will be firework displays in most cities, but one of the best places to be is in the medieval town of Lewes, East Sussex where you’ll witness a procession, colourful costumes and the traditional ‘guy’, an effigy made of straw or paper to burn on the bonfire.
Burns Night is celebrated in Scotland around 25 January. It commemorates the life of the poet Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. The day also celebrates Burns' contribution to Scottish culture. His best known work is Auld Lang Syne. Read more at Time and Date.
You may find your university, students' union or college serving typical Scottish food such as haggis, neeps and tatties. Read more at BBC Good Food.
Most people in the UK celebrate Christmas, even if they are not religious. There will be Christmas trees, presents, carol singing, mulled wine (warm, spiced red wine), mince pies (small pies with a sweet fruit filling) and if it snows, snowmen and snowball fights! The traditional Christmas dinner is a whole roast turkey with roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy and Christmas pudding for dessert (a steamed sponge pudding with dried fruit) – but each family has its own variations. Read our Christmas survival guide for international students.