The hilarious travel writer Ben Hatch reveals things to do in Britain that are off the beaten track and far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the Olympic crowds in London.
From deeply silly events (nobody laughs at themselves quite as well as the British) to outdoor adventures, wildlife watching, music festivals, sports, Harry Potter castles and science trips, this guide ticks every box and screams out for a road trip.
Fans of Monty Python will find comfort in knowing that every year, foolhardy Brits dress up in elaborate flying machines and silly costumes and jump off of a pier at the Worthing Birdman competition.
And anybody who has ever watched the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch will appreciate the World Alternative Games in Llanwrtyd, where competitors face off in events such as penny farthing races, underwater hockey, bog snorkelling, cheese rolling and a man vs. horse marathon. Don’t know what those are? Don’t worry, most of the competitors won’t either, so feel free to grab the nearest frying pan and join in the pancake race.
Travelling with kids (or your inner child)? Head north to Alnwick Castle, used as the set of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, and take an old-fashioned Hogwarts Express-style steam train across the wild and haunting moors of Yorkshire.
Britain’s famous penchant for eccentricity may seem like a relic, something to set aside with Jane Eyre and the penny farthing as a reminder of bygone days. Fortunately, this stubborn alternative spirit still burns bright – Britain’s bright creative spark, out-there food and fashion (Heston Blumenthal and Vivienne Westwood are a few good examples) and refusal to be lumped in with the rest of Europe have only further developed this nation’s defiant quirkiness.