Top 10 August bank holiday days out

Summer bank holidays can go either way – glorious sun or endless showers – but with these wonderful events, you’re sure to have great time whatever the weather.

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Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, a landscaped park and gardens Credit: VisitEngland/English Heritage/Jim Holden/Wrest Park

August Bank holiday has traditionally been a time for the family, piling into the car and make off for the beach or top attraction for fun, sunny days ripe for creating wonderful memories and nostalgia.

We’re certainly not short on fabulous ways to explore the country’s history and traditions so, rain or shine, you’ll be able to enjoy a fabulous day out. We’ve rounded up the best events this August bank holiday, so you can be sure to make some life-long memories.

1. Edwardian games galore at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire

Discover games that time forgot and master the skills needed to outmanoeuvre your opponents and astound your family. From battledores to shuttlecocks, quoits to skittles, play like an Edwardian as you step back in time at the lovely Wrest Park. You can also explore the evolution of the English garden; take tea in the café and explore the hidden treasures in the archaeological stores to make what’s sure to be a dazzling day out. Sunday 30 August to Monday 31 August.

 2. Living History at Carlisle Castle

English Heritage has assembled some of England’s finest military Living History groups to give a unique insight into the life of the ordinary British soldier over 150 years at the mighty Castle of Carlisle, which was an English Garrison town for centuries. See a parade demonstrating weapons or equipment and visit tented encampments to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Army life. Sunday 30 August and Monday 31 August.

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View of the cliffs and sea at Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, Cornwall Credit: VisitBritain/Tomo Brejc

3. Seashore forage and feast Lizard Point and Kynance Cove, Cornwall

Join the Lizard National Trust Rangers for a forage around Poltesco and along the seashore. Find out what is good to eat and what is not and help prepare your lunch with the rangers over the fire. This is a hands on day of discovery and learning, which will ensure you never look at the beach in the same way again. Saturday 29 August.

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Demonstrations at last year’s Newlyn Fish festival Credit: 2013/2014 Laurence Hartwell – Newlyn Fish Festival

4. Newlyn Fish Festival, Cornwall

The annual Cornish celebration of the sea, fishing and seafood returns in the form of the 26th Newlyn Fish Festival. Satisfy your appetite with the freshest seafood around while enjoying great cooking demos from the likes of local fish hero Ben Tunnicliffe and live children’s entertainment from local theatre company Squashbox Theatre. The popular fish auction rounds off the day’s proceedings in aid of Fisherman’s Mission. Monday 31 August.

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Professor Nitrate in the Mad Lab Credit: Nigel Read

5. Explosive fun at Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

The industrial heritage site in Waltham Abbey, in Epping Forest, Essex has a pyrotechnical-tastic programme of family-friendly activities planned to make the bank holiday weekend go with a bang. Chock full of mad experiments, rocket launches and explosions, the 170-acre site will be alive with super science, cool cannons and big bangs so the whole family can discover the site’s explosive history and heritage. Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August.

6. Full of Spice at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Summer events are themed around the spice trade – source of rumours, foundation of historic wealth and the starting point for great adventures. Visitors will be ferried around the gardens in rickshaw-inspired contraptions to discover why saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and how turmeric is used to dye ceremonial robes. Spiced delicacies will also be available from street food vans, a pop-up bread kitchen and in the garden’s Orangery and Pavilion restaurants. Until September 6.

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View of the cliffs and sea at Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, Cornwall Credit: VisitBritain / Tomo Brejc

7. Medieval Festival at Beaumaris Castle

The castle is set to resonate with the sounds of medieval life, with a huge array of interactive entertainment at this annual history extravaganza. With jesters and puppeteers, hands-on falconry demonstrations, hog roasts and have-a-go archery, visitors will be transported back in time to the period in which the magnificent castle was built. Events will culminate in a bloody battle re-enactment, as the bravest medieval knights of the land collide in a dramatic bid for victory. Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August. 

8. Anglo Saxons Combat at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Meet the Anglo Saxons and learn the rules of combat with re-enactors Ealdfaeder at the awe-inspiring Anglo-Saxon royal burial site, which is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. Learn how to swing a sword, fire an arrow and dance with a spear, and plan a raid on another kingdom using the giant map. Walk around the ancient burial mounds and discover the incredible story of the ship burial of an Anglo-Saxon king and his treasured possessions. Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August. 

9. The Jazz Age at Tredegar House, Wales

Revisiting more recent history at National Trust property Tredegar House by stepping back to the 1930s with a series of traditional lawn games, period music and Jazz Age activities. Step into the roaring 1930s and experience a real Tredegar House garden party. With fun for all the family, you’ll feel right at home in flapper dresses and fedoras.

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Arundel Castle is a restored medieval castle in Arundel built in a small mound and set in grounds near the town Credit: VisitBritain/Pete Seaward

10. Travel back in time at Arundel Castle, Sussex

From the time of Roman gladiators, through the Norman era, the medieval period and lives of the Victorians, to modern-day Sussex, Arundel Castle is charting 2,000 years of Sussex history over the course of a three-day family-friendly event. Its History in Action weekend promises performances from a number of historical troupes, including the Raven Tor Living History Group and Ragged Victorians. There will be crafts, costumes and combat at the stately home and gardens across the weekend, and on the Monday, military representatives of each era will do battle to be crowned “the last period standing”. Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August. 

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