Here’s how you should spend your August bank holiday weekend

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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A woman smiles at Notting Hill Carnival

Whether it’s dirty burgers, dirty dancing or dirty comic operas that you’re looking for, Stylist’s selection of Bank Holiday offerings has you covered.

A three-day weekend is a beautiful but paralysing event. The pressure of how best to utilise the rare joy of 72 hours without the looming cloud of work, can be paralysing. Too. Much. Choice.

No fear – Stylist has sifted through the listings and carefully plucked the best events on offer across the country. From natural wine tasting to a different type of wining at Notting Hill Carnival, browse the list for inspiration on how to spend your penultimate bank holiday of the year. Just remember that Tuesday still exists when you’re enjoying your Monday bottle(s) of Pét-Nat… 

Eat and Drink 

The Murdér Express, London 

Immersive theatre meets fine dining. Guests are welcomed aboard a steam train, with the mysterious destination of the French town ‘Murdér’ (look out for Ryanair to start flights there in 2019). But, while they enjoy a three course meal (with the menu courtesy of Masterchef 2016 finalists Billy and Jack), an Agatha Christie-esque mystery begins to unfold around them…

25 and 26 August, £53,

Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Manchester

Proclaiming itself as the ‘biggest and best in the North West’ this celebration of all things gastronomic runs over the entire bank holiday weekend. There’s a huge amount to peruse, including a gin festival-within-a-festival, over 200 market traders, and brunch sessions run by the likes of former Stylist cover star Nadiya Hussain. Chow down.

24 – 27 August, free entry although certain events are ticketed,

River Cottage Festival, Dorset

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage throws open its doors (or gates) to the public for one weekend. Alongside talks from chefs such as Prue Leith and Aine Carlin, there’s masterclasses on everything from foraging to making natural wine and a host of musical performances spread across the two days.

25 – 26 August, tickets from £25,


Notting Hill Carnival, London

Europe’s biggest street festival has a dancing parade, 37 soundsystems, and a whole lot of Caribbean food.

26 and 27 August, free entry,

The Garden Party, Leeds

Dance to the finest tech house from midday till late at this iconic Sunday takeover, the last ever at Canal Mills.

Sunday 26 August, tickets from £34.50,

Manchester Pride, Manchester

As well as washing the city in rainbow colours for four days, Manchester’s annual celebration of all things queer will see the likes of Rita Ora and Jake Shears descend on the famed Gay Village to headline Pride. Look out for Big Freedia, the iconic New Orleans bounce legend who’s recently found mainstream fame thanks to features on Beyoncé and Drake hits.

24 – 27 August, weekend tickets from £30,


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Exeter Street Arts Festival, Exeter

A one-day festival spread across Exeter city centre that brings together music, market stalls and local artists displaying their work for the general public.

25 August, free entry, exeterstreetartsfestival

International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, North Yorkshire

Now in its 24th year, this festival sees Gilbert and Sullivan performers from around the world descend on Harrogate, North Yorkshire to ensure the legacy of the famed Victorian comic opera authors is well and truly preserved. The closing weekend will see stagings of their most famous work, The Pirates of Penzance by the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, as well as a performance of Ruddigore

8 – 27 August, tickets from £30,

The Monster Bouncy Castle Course, London 

Say hello to the world’s biggest bouncy castle experience – and it touches down in Alexandra Palace for the bank holiday weekend. Aptly named ‘The Monster’ the obstacle course is 300 metres long and includes sections titled the ‘Mega Slide’ and ‘The Bouncy Cage of Doom.’ No fear about accidentally squashing an innocent child either – adult only sessions are available. Go hogwild. 

24 – 27 August, tickets from £22,

Additional reporting: Emma Ledger

Images: Getty