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Festivals With A Difference

Updated on March 30, 2020
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Ellie is a Glasgow-based writer who loves to write about a variety of topics, including travel, business, finance, DIY, beauty and fashion.


Dreaming of things to do and see? Festivals are a great way to see a city in a completely different light. Rather than spending your days sightseeing, ticking off tourist hot spots why not try something a little different? Certain cities are well known for certain festivals but there is no need to restrict yourself to these big-name festivals only. Take a look at our recommendations for some of the more unusual and less well-known festivals in some of the country's favorite cities.

With everything that is going on in the world remember to check each festival’s website for updates. Some festivals may be cancelled till next year while others are being postponed to a later date.



The Edinburgh Science Festival

Ideal for the budding scientists in your life, this family friendly fortnight is full of hands-on fun. Featuring workshops, demonstrations, discussions, live shows and much more you could easily come to Edinburgh for the whole two weeks the festival runs for and never be bored. Take a good look at the schedule of events to plan out your visit. Many of the more popular festival options are ticketed and can sell out. If you are too late to snag spots on your chosen workshops don't worry - there are lots of open events that are just as fun to wander around.

Normally taking place in April, this year's festival has been cancelled but they are working hard to curate an online version.

Hidden Door Festival

If you like to be on the cutting edge of art and music then this festival, now in its tenth year, is the one to check out. Taking over hidden and formerly abandoned places in the city you can expect to take in up and coming creative talent. The emphasis is on local creatives with this unique festival. This year's location (taking place from October 9 - 18th) is still a secret but possible sites that have been teased include a gas works, an abandoned department store and a council depot.



Glasgow Canal Festival

Even the most regular of visitors to Glasgow could be forgiven for not knowing about the Forth & Clyde Canal that is tucked away in the north of the city. A relative newcomer to the festival scene, this year will see the canal burst into life for the 4th year. Packed with music, artists and a whole load of ways to actually get onto the canal itself (anyone fancy a free stand up paddle board session?) you won’t want to miss July 25th on the canal.

Glasgow Coffee Festival

Caffeine addicts and aficionados will be in heaven with this weekend dedicated to the humble coffee bean taking place from 17th - 18th October. Featuring demonstrations from talented baristas, masterclasses from experts and oh so much coffee to sniff, sip and taste you will be buzzing! A very important thing to know about this festival is that it is a disposable cup free space. Be sure to bring your own reusable cup, or purchase one from an on site vendor. Previous festivals have sold out so it’s a good idea to get your ticket now. You can attend the whole weekend or stay for a day or half day. A ticket will also enter you into a draw to win, coffee equipment, a barista training session and a whole year's supply of the glorious beans.



Somerset House Summer Series

If you are a fan of a good music festival but are not so much into muddy fields, tents of questionable stability and the absolute lack of showers then Somerset House is the place for you. Taking place from July 9th - 19th you can hear some cracking tunes from artists that hail from all over the world. Running over 11 days you are sure to find a gig that speaks to you. As concert venues go the gorgeous courtyard of Somerset House is one that you will remember forever.

Urban Village Fete

Think British Bake Off meets Glastonbury at this one day free event. Located in the heart of London on the Greenwich Peninsula the Urban Village Fete gives you a chance to try out some of London's tastiest street food while being treated to a whole host of live entertainment. Not only can you satisfy your taste buds but shopaholics can browse a curated marketplace full of one of a kind beauties. Normally held in May, this year's Fete has been postponed till the summer - head to the website to sign up for updates.

Where to stay?

Itching to visit these spots in real life? Well you are going to need a place to stay. Festivals, even single day ones, can be overwhelming which is why it is a good idea to find somewhere that gives you a little more space to spread out. Instead of a pokey hotel room consider something a bit more comfortable, complete with home comforts away from your actual home. Fraser Suites Edinburgh, Fraser Suites Glasgow and Park International Hotel in London are ideal bases to explore any of these days out. If you are visiting as a family or with a group of friends they can offer rooms where you can relax all together and relive the memories of your day out without being on top of one another.


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