Wondering what to do for the August Bank Holiday weekend in England? From street carnivals to music festivals, these August Bank Holiday days out have got you covered.
Get ready to celebrate the August Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 26 – Monday 28 August 2023) in England this year, when the summer is at its peak and we get those rare moments of amazing weather. Throughout the nation, you’ll find a host of events and experiences to make the most of your August Bank Holiday days out – many of which are free to attend.
From carnivals bringing colourful parades to city streets, to family-friendly open-air theatre performances and knights’ tournaments, here are some suggestions to help you get out and enjoy the long weekend.
Free Carnivals to Visit on Your August Bank Holiday Days out
Need to save money this summer? These August Bank Holiday days out won’t cost you a dime.
1. Hereford River Carnival, Herefordshire (TBC)
Hereford River Carnival has grown to become Herefordshire’s biggest community event – and it remains entirely free for the public.
The event typically attracts 20,000 people to sing, dance, make masks and carnival costumes, eat great local food and have fun on the Wye.
Last year’s theme was Make Waves, which brought a seaside vibe to Hereford. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for 2023’s theme, but we’re sure it’ll include music, dance, sport, arts, crafts and old-fashioned games.
If you plan on staying in the area beyond the August Bank Holiday weekend, you might be interested in learning about more days out in Herefordshire. Interested in the UK’s waterways? We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting rivers in England.
2. Manchester Pride, Manchester
25 – 28 August 2023
Rocking rainbow-flag capes and glittery face art (biodegradable, please!), join a loud and proud celebration of LGBTQ+ people, culture and expression at Manchester Pride.
During the four-day festivities, there will be a variety of events – some free, some ticketed – dedicated to queer people and their allies. Choose from the lively outdoor Gay Village Party, family-friendly festivities centred around fun, wellness and learning and a candlelit vigil to honour those who have been lost to HIV and AIDs.
The highlight of the weekend is The Parade, a colourful procession of thousands of people marching together for equality.
When the festivities come to a close, you can visit museums, football stadiums and more on a day out in Greater Manchester. If you want to see what’s around the city, read about the best days out from Manchester.
3. Ryde Carnival, Isle of Wight
26 August – 2 September 2023
The UK’s oldest carnival, dating backing to 1887, Ryde Carnival is an all-inclusive and joyous parade of colour and light marking the end of summer.
Three parades will take place across the week, with the Main Carnival on 31st August, the Illuminated Carnival on 2nd September and a Children’s Carnival Day on 26th August, which will include various activities and culminate in a Children’s Parade along Ryde’s high street.
While you’re staying on this wonderful island, you might want to visit some of the best attractions on the Isle of Wight.
4. Notting Hill Carnival, London
26 – 28 August 2023
One of the Europe’s biggest street celebrations, Notting Hill Carnival returns to the streets of West London in 2023 in celebration of the British West Indian community, diversity and cultural unity.
During ‘Carnival’, as it’s known by locals, the streets of Notting Hill come alive with music, outrageous floats and jaw-dropping costumes. As a visitor, you can join in the festivities by dancing to calypso music and steel bands. You’ll also be able to feast on Caribbean delicacies that will get you into the spirit of the occasion.
The Great British Capital is so vast that it would take a lifetime to see everything it has to offer. If you’re just here for the weekend, read about the best days out in London.
5. Leeds West Indian Carnival, Leeds
28 August 2023
Europe’s longest running Caribbean Carnival parade, Leeds West Indian Carnival, is returning to Potternewton Park in Leeds this August.
With colourful costumes, tropical music and delectable food, the Leeds West Indian Carnival is a true celebration of West Indian culture in Leeds.
Not only is the Leeds West Indian Carnival one of the best events in Leeds, but it’s also one of the best days out in West Yorkshire.
August Bank Holiday Days Out for Foodies
If you want to broaden your culinary horizons this summer, you might want to embark on a couple of these August Bank Holiday days out for foodies.
6. African and Caribbean Food Festival, Leeds (TBC)
Leeds’ biggest African & Caribbean food festival is returning to Leeds Kirkgate Market, where visitors are invited to explore Caribbean cuisines showcased by some of the finest independent culinary chefs and emerging food vendors.
This free event offers food tastings and a range of activities for all of the family, including live performances, face painting and a children’s craft corner.
7. Hereford Indie Food at The Yard, Herefordshire
26 – 28 August 2023
In the heart of Hereford city, Indie Food is an indulgent way to close summer and enjoy a feast of an August Bank Holiday day out.
The event brings street food, creative cocktails and local ciders with chilled music by day and world class DJs by night. Add in stalls with local crafts people (such as knife makers, ceramicists) and producers (cheese, bread, coffee) in this cool corner of the city, and you have all the ingredients for a great weekend.
Ticket prices for the Hereford Indie Food festival start at £3 for daytime access and £8 for admission to the evening festivities.
Are you the kind of person that loves all things food? See if you’re as knowledgeable as you think by taking our big England food quiz.
8. Harvest Seasonal Market, Raby Castle, County Durham (TBC)
Raby is without doubt one of the most impressive intact castles in the North of England. Over the August Bank Holiday, the castle is hosting its popular and free Harvest Seasonal Market, where you can shop for local food, drinks, jewellery, ceramics and homeware.
Built in the 14th Century by the powerful Nevill family, Raby Castle has a long history and makes for a wonderful day out in the Durham Dales. It’s one of the best places to visit on a day out in County Durham. It’s also one of our favourite castles in England.
9. Fork to Fork Festival at Goodnestone Park, Kent (TBC)
Fork to Fork brings together a range of local producers, artisans and craftspeople to engage attendees in the whole lifecycle of food and drink production.
Last year, the festival showcased local food and drink producers plus interactive workshops in the walled garden, and live music acts provided the evening entertainment.
The Fork to Fork Festival has yet to be confirmed for 2023. Interested in visiting more attractions while you’re here? Find out what to do on a day out in Kent.
10. Malton Food Lovers Festival, North Yorkshire
26 – 27 August 2023
Set on the historic streets of Yorkshire’s unofficial foodie capital, Malton Food Lovers Festival is a three-day celebration of the county’s finest produce and cooking.
Artisan stalls and street food vendors will take over the village, while celebrity chefs like festival host Tommy Banks will show off their skills in demo tents. With live music – from buskers to brass bands – providing the soundtrack, the Malton Food Lovers Festival promises to be a delicious day out in North Yorkshire during the August bank holiday weekend.
And, given that there are no admission charges, the Malton Food Lovers Festival is perfect if you’re looking for free August bank holiday days out.
August Bank Holiday Days Out for Music and Art Lovers
These August Bank Holiday days out promise to be a visual and audio treat.
11. International Beatleweek, Liverpool
23 – 29 August 2023
A weeklong celebration of the biggest band in the world takes place in Liverpool over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The annual International Beatleweek brings Beatles tribute bands from around the world to the famous Cavern Club where it all began. The Beatles played the Cavern Club nearly 300 times, helping it become the most famous live music venue in the world.
Other venues for 2023 include The Adelphi Hotel, the Marina Yacht Club, the Philharmonic Hall and the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre. You can book events packages that include admission to the venues plus accommodation for as little as £145.
During your stay in the birthplace of the Beatles, you should pay a visit to more of the best attractions in Merseyside. There’s a heap of places to explore on a day out from Liverpool.
12. Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, London
Dates to be confirmed
Greenwich+Docklands International Festival is London’s premier free theatre and performing arts festival, where compelling stories are told in spectacular style.
The line-up for 2023 is yet to be announced, but you can expect to see music events, dance acts, street theatre, circus acts and art installations throughout the Docklands, Royal Greenwich and Tower Hamlets.
Keep checking back for the latest updates. In the meantime, check out more of London’s best day festivals.
13. Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival, Herefordshire
24 – 28 August 2023
With a stellar line-up featuring jazz and blues artists from around the world, the Rye International Jazz Festival aims to enrich our lives through the power of music.
2023’s line-up is yet to be confirmed, but incredible artists such as Curtis Stigers, Stanley Jordan, Imelda May and the Roberto Fonseca Trio graced the stages in 2022 for the festival’s 10th birthday.
In 2023, we expect there will again be a host of free music and fringe events taking place, with a variety of ticketed and non-ticketed events on offer throughout the weekend.
After a couple of music-filled August bank holiday days out, you might want to visit more of the best places in Herefordshire.
14. Victorious Festival, Portsmouth
25 – 27 August 2023
The three-day Victorious Festival will return to Southsea Common this August.
The Friday night headliners are Jamiroquai and more will soon be announced for Saturday and Sunday. So far, support acts for the weekend include The Vaccines, The Divine Comedy, Sigrid, Inspiral Carpets and The Coral.
There will also be a large family arena offering live music, activities and performances. If you need activities for kids and adults alike this summer, the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth promises a few of the best August bank holiday days out in England.
While you’re here, you might want to extend your stay by an extra day so you can follow our one-day Portsmouth travel itinerary.
Family Fun for August Bank Holiday
Looking for August Bank Holiday days out that are suitable for the little ones? There are plenty of family-friendly events taking place to close summer.
15. Gone Wild with Bear Grylls, Devon
24 – 27 August 2023
The Gone Wild Festival, the ultimate fun family festival, will return to Powderham Castle in Devon in late August.
Created in partnership with Bear Grylls, the festival will offer live music from Feeder, Dick & Dom DJ Set and the Ministry of Sound Disco, plus talks from famous explorers.
Exciting outdoor activities include an obstacle course, stand-up paddle boarding and bushcraft skill workshops. The festival raises money for RMA – The Royal Marines Charity, proudly supporting serving and former Royal Marines and their families.
If you want do your part while having a few fun-filled August bank holiday days out, the Gone Wild Festival is the place to go.
Before heading home, we recommend visiting attractions like Bantham Beach and the Bygones Victorian Museum on a day out in Devon. You might also want to visit a few of Devon’s prettiest villages.
16. Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, Bishop Auckland, County Durham
26 August 2023
Wars, magic, celebration and heartache are brought to life during the outdoor theatre showing of Kynren.
Kynren is a family-friendly experience that features historical tales from Boudicca’s battles through to the Industrial Revolution.
If you hurry, you can buy early bird tickets at a discount of up to 25%.
Unique August Bank Holiday Days Out
Enjoy an experience with a difference by choosing something a little quirky for your August Bank Holiday days out.
17. White Cliffs Walking Festival, Kent (TBC)
Explore the historical treasures of towns and villages on a variety of walks for your Autumn bank holiday days out.
There’s a variety of walks to suit interests and abilities, from a gentle countryside stroll with an ice cream pit stop to an informative walk taking in the history and archaeology of Dover.
Most of the walks are free to join, but booking is essential to ensure there are no more than 40 people per walk.
18. Telford Balloon Fiesta, Shropshire
Dates to be confirmed
Telford Balloon Fiesta is an annual three-day event that takes place during the August Bank Holiday weekend. In our experiences, it’s one of the best days out in Shropshire.
Celebrations kick off on the Friday with a warm up evening featuring live music. Saturday brings more live music and entertainment as well as the popular Night Glow, and Sunday offers a day of family entertainment and have-a-go activities including crafts and circus performances.
People all over Telford and further afield will be able to see hot air balloons travelling around the county throughout the weekend.
Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
Any more ideas for August Bank Holiday days out?
Whether you want to dance to the sound of soulful jazz, feast on Caribbean delicacies or make the most of the outdoors, there are plenty of August Bank Holiday days out taking place throughout the country that promise an unforgettable experience. If you’re looking for more days out for the August Bank Holiday weekend, check back here from time to time.
Are there any events in the pipeline for the August Bank Holiday that deserve a place on our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Quick list of August Bank Holiday days out
- Hereford River Carnival, Herefordshire (To Be Confirmed)
- Manchester Pride, Manchester
- Ryde Carnival, Isle of Wight
- Notting Hill Carnival, London
- Leeds West Indian Carnival, Leeds
- African and Caribbean Food Festival, Leeds (To Be Confirmed)
- Hereford Indie Food at The Yard, Herefordshire
- Harvest Seasonal Market, Raby Castle, County Durham (To Be Confirmed)
- Fork to Fork Festival at Goodnestone Park, Kent (To Be Confirmed)
- Malton Food Lovers Festival, North Yorkshire
- International Beatleweek, Liverpool
- Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, London
- Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival, Herefordshire
- Victorious Festival, Portsmouth
- Gone Wild with Bear Grylls, Devon
- Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, Bishop Auckland, County Durham
- White Cliffs Walking Festival, Kent (To Be Confirmed)
- Telford Balloon Fiesta, Shropshire