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5 wacky alternative festivals

From Bog snorkelling to cheese rolling, we celebrate some weird and wonderful events across the UK.

International Bognor Birdman - July

Bognor birdman competition

Held in Bognor Regis and Worthing, the International Birdman is a series of competitions where participants attempt to ‘fly’ off the end of a pier in human-powered flying machines.

And we use the term ‘fly’ loosely.

People have taken the challenge in all fashions, using hang gliders, papier-mâché toilets and the obvious bird costumes.

Prize money for distance travelled has been as high as £30,000 for 100 metres, though many participate just to raise money for charity.

The Cotswold Olimpicks

The Cotswald Olympiks wheelbarrow race

Having recently celebrated their 400th anniversary, the Cotswold Olimpicks are widely considered to be the British Olympics, and are a fun and quirky day out for the family.

The first Olimpick games are believed to have been held in 1612 and were praised across the country as revitalising traditional English social life.

After a revival in 1951, the games are still going strong today and include a 5-mile run, a tug o’ war and shin-kicking championships - a truly British martial art.

The games are held in the natural amphitheatre of Dover’s hill, which boasts stunning views and an idyllic racetrack from Dover’s castle and through the scenic Campden House.

Cheese rolling in Gloucester

Cheese rolling competition

This aptly-named extreme sport is thought to have begun in the 15th century.

It takes place on Coopers Hill, Gloucester, and sees dozens of contestants run down a steep hill, chasing after a 9lb Double Gloucester cheese.

Given a one-second head start, the wheel of cheese can hit speeds of 70mph as it hurtles down the slope. Injuries to bystanders and contestants are common.

But the event is an institution locals are unwilling to give up, and contenders come from around the world to take place.

Another great day out for locals and families alike, you’re unlikely to find a more extreme cheese-themed sport still up and running today.

The summer solstice at Stonehenge

Stonehenge summer solstice

The UK’s number one religious event turned party festival, the summer solstice at Stonehenge is a melting pot of tourists, history buffs, new-age druids, and drunken revellers.

It's held during the longest day of the year, and people gather to watch the sun rise above the stones on June 20th/21st.

A naturally unpredictable event, you can never really guarantee how family friendly the festivities will be, but the stones can make for an inspirational visit any time of year.

Campsites and glamping pods are available, along with tour information and booking options at the Stonehenge Campsite website.

With so many people attending, you should be extra wary of pickpockets. Make sure your travel insurance policy covers you if your phone or cash are stolen.

World Bog snorkelling competition

Bog snorkeling festival

Held in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, the World Bog snorkelling championships has been running since 1985 at the dense Waen Rhydd bog.

The event focuses on raising money for local charities such as the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and involves competitors racing through reed-infested bog water against the clock.

What began as an over-the-bar conversation now sees participants from all over the world.

With food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle, live music and a selection of real ales and ciders, it’s a great day out for anyone - even if you don’t fancy taking the plunge!

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Dave Rendell

Dave Rendell, digital marketing executive at

Dave Rendell is a digital marketing executive at, and has worked in insurance since 2011. When he's not at work, you'll usually find him up a ladder decorating, or under a car, tinkering.

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