Inspirational UK: top cultural events – and how to go alternative

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Published on 2022-05-25 at 08:09
One of the best things about moving to the UK is having so many of the world's most iconic cultural events right there on your doorstep. From legendary music and cultural festivals to high profile sporting occasions and globally famous theatres, art galleries and museums - the UK has it all.

There's a high chance you've heard of many of the country's most famous events already. Who doesn't know about Glastonbury, The FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon tennis, the Edinburgh Festival or Last Night at The Proms? But to understand the full extent of the UK's cultural heritage, you need to live there. For every high-profile mega-event there's a myriad of quirky alternative options that are just as exciting and far more accessible.

Here Crown Relocations took a two-part look at what should be on your UK cultural wish list – whether you're lucky enough to get a ticket to one of the big events or are looking for something a little different (and a little cheaper). The first part was about sports and music events and this part will be about theatre, arts and diversity.

The UK's inspiring list of cultural events is one of the reasons so many people are excited about moving to the country. Here we conclude our analysis of what should be on your wish list after relocating to live in the home of so many iconic nights out.

West End shows

London's Theatreland is famous the world over and is right up there with New York's Broadway as THE place to experience a show. The big productions sell out fast, but there are half-price ticket booths in Leicester Square Gardens for on-the-day purchases, and many theatres run a queue for tickets that have been returned.  Theatres on the wish list should include the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Shakespeare's Globe, The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for opera and Sadler's Wells for ballet. If films are your thing, Leicester Square Odeon regularly hosts red carpet premieres.

Or go alternative: A great fringe alternative in London is the Menier Chocolate Factory, which has only 180 seats and is housed in an 1870s building previously used to manufacture chocolate.

But there are more than 1,100 active theatres in the UK, so there's plenty of choice wherever you go.

Bristol's Old Vic was built in 1766 and claims to be the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world. Graduates from its Theatre School include Daniel Day Lewis and Olivia Coleman. 

The UK's ‘end of the pier' seaside theatres are an experience, too. The Seaside Special show at Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre in Norfolk should be on your ‘to do' list.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Taking place in August in Scotland's most historic city, this is the world's largest arts festival, and features thousands of shows over three glorious weeks.

Described as ‘the single greatest celebration of arts and culture on the planet' the festival sells more than 3 million tickets.

Many of the big shows sell out quickly but there are hundreds which don't – and many people simply enjoy the festival atmosphere and decide last minute what to watch, tempted in by artists who usher visitors into their performance space. Securing accommodation is more complicated – so book well in advance.

Or go alternative: If Edinburgh has run out of rooms and you prefer books to theatre, why not try the Hay Festival in Wales? The annual literature festival features live music shows, book launches, book fairs and film screenings over 10 days in Hay-on-Wye in May or June.  

For those looking for a full-out street party, the Notting Hill Carnival, celebrating Caribbean culture, is staged in west London on the last weekend in August, attracting 2.5m visitors. It's free to join, no ticket required.

Pride events

The UK is big on diversity and its Pride parades and festivals in support of the LGBTQ+ community are some of the most spectacular in the world. 

London's Pride event in June or July is the largest but Brighton Pride is perhaps the most iconic. It takes place on the first weekend of August, attracting huge crowds to the south coast for a free parade which sees the entire city line the streets. Performers such as Britney Spears, the Pet Shop Boys and Mariah Carey have been headliners at the Preston Park ticketed festival which follows – and the street parties in nearby Kemp Town are legendary.

Or go alternative: There's a strong LGBTQ+ scene in many UK cities, including London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds and Bournemouth. So, you don't need to wait for Pride to have a party. Manchester's famous Canal Street and London's Soho should be high on the list.
Crown Relocations is with you all the way when you move to the UK.  With nearly six decades of experience and millions of families moved, we're always listening, and understand that it's up to us to make your relocation simpler. Find out how we can help with your UK move by visiting