Summer (June, July and August) is a relaxing time when the Brithish make the most of the warm sunshine. Nothing can be more pleasant that a leisurely picnic in the heard of the countryside, a peaceful cruise down the river or for the more active a hike along our dramatic coastline. Pub gardens and pavement cafes are hives of activity and long summer evenings are perfect for barbecues or perhaps a stroll along the beach.
The summer solstice and mid – summer’s day are marked by varios special celebrations. In some parts of Scotland, Cornwall and Northumbria mid – summer fires are lit, as in pre – Christian times when this ritual was performed to give strength to the sun and drive out evil.
In autumn (September, October and November) the Britihs landscape assumes a breathtaking beauty. Woodlands take on a vivid hue as the tre turn from green to fiery oranges and reds, golden field of corn sway in the breeze and the purple magnificence of the heather on the moors is quite stunning. This is an ideal time for brisk country walks in the crisp autumnal air.
Autumn is harvest season and once the crops have been gathered rural communuties celebrate with harvest festivals. Churches are decorated with flowers, fruit and wheatsheavws. Hallowe’en (October 31) is a night of traditional fun and games as children duck for apples and light pumpkin lanters to ward off witches and evil spirits. November 5 is Guy Fawkes night when the unsuccessful plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 is commemorated. Bonfires, firework displays and unusual local customs take place nationwide. In the Devon town of Ottery St Mary the local men run through packed streets with burning tar barrels carried headhigh.
In the winter months (December, Januar and February) Britain’s vibrant cities provide a wealth of entertainment. You can spend hours in splendid art galleries and museums or escape from the cold with a visit to the theatre, ballet or opera. Winter is a peaceful time for exploring historic town and pictureque villages. Enjoy an envigorating walk in wind and rain knowing a friendly welcome awaits you in old country pubs, where you can warm yourself in front of a roaring log fire and savour a hearty stew or scotch broth.
There is a buzz in the air as Christmas approaches. Fairy lights and brightly decorated tree illuminate streets, carols ring out from cathedrals and children anxiously await the arrival of Father Christmas. Visitors can enjoi a traditional Christmas at many hotels and sample festive fare from turkey to mince pies and plum pudding. New Year’s Eve is night of merry – making throughout the land particularly in Scotland. Festivities in the Grampian village of Stonehaved inclube ‘Swinging the Fireball’s, a spectacular start to the year!
On Shrove Tuesday pancakes are tossed and eaten in many British homes. Olney in Buckinghamshire, stage one of the most famuos pancake races and in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the customary Shrovetide football match takes place on a pitch with goal post three miles apart!
Spring (March, April and May) sees Britain at its most glorios as the countryside awakens after the winter to a carnival of colour. Carpets of bluebels and golden daffodils cover the woodlands and hillsides, whilst the branches of trees grow heavy with the buds of fragrant blossom. Newly born lambs frolicking in the lush, green grass are evidence of the renewed vitality that characterizes the warmer, brighter days of spring.
An anvient symbol of spring is the egg, a source of new life. At Easter people indulge in the chocolate variety, but visitors should not forget other traditional fare. Spicy hot – cross buns are enjoyed throughout the land.
On May Day the theme of fertility is celebrated with the ancient ritual of dancing around Maypoles, strewn with flower garlands and brightly coloured ribbons. In Cornwall, in May the ‘Furry Dance’ sees the people of Helston dancing through the decorated streets wearing traditional costumes and adorned with lilies.
Whitsuntide falls at the end of May and at this time of year there are fairs in many towns and villages as well as more unusual events such as cheese – rolling on Cooper’s Hill, near Brockworth in Gloucestershire!