Release your inner Viking at Up Helly Aa, Shetland, Scotland
Head to Britain’s most northerly town for a New Year celebration to remember, where the townsfolk embrace Viking traditions and parade through the streets of Lerwick clad in ornate costumes, many of which have been worked on since the previous festival. Spot the Guizer Jarl and Jarl squad who, as Vikings for the day, lead a procession through the town where 1,000 torches are burned and the purpose-made Viking galley is set ablaze in the sea. The islanders celebrate their history and spirit in this 24-hour party that sees revellers dance till dawn. With a boasting reputation of continuing no matter what the weather, Up Helly Aa is not for the faint hearted!
When? 31 January 2017
Discover the Viking history of Jorvick (York), north England
Explore the history of Jorvick (York) at the exciting week-long Jorvick Viking Festival where visitors can celebrate of all things Viking. Join the 40,000 people who head to the city each year, and enjoy battle re-enactments, a programme of events inspired by the Norse monarch, Eric Bloodaxe: the last Viking in York, as well as the family-friendly Coppergate Encampment where you can discover an immersive history of Viking life.
When? 20-26 February 2017
Get flipping on Pancake Day, nationwide, Britain
Traditionally a means of using up eggs before the month-long Christian fast of Lent, Pancake Day has taken on a life of its own in recent years and is celebrated across the nation. Marking Shrove Tuesday, you can taste pancakes for yourself, watch pancake enthusiasts race through the streets of London clad in fancy dress, or take part in the Royal Shrovetide football match in Derbyshire, where hundreds of people compete in a no-rules game.
When? 28 February 2017