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The Cumberland Show 2014

The Cumberland Show 2014

The annual Cumberland Show, held by the Cumberland Agricultural Society, isn’t just some new-fangled event for lovers of the country; it’s been running for over 175 years. Taking place each year on a (usually) fine summer’s day, 2014 will see it held on June 14th, turning Carlisle Racecourse into a pop-up festival where agriculture, farming, food, tradition and fun are fused. By Sophie

International GT Open 2014

International GT Open 2014

We are only too familiar with the multi-million dollar industry that is Formula One, but away from the glitz and glamour of that particular organisation, motor sport purists enjoy an altogether less publicised calendar of events. You won’t find much in the way of celebrity drivers, pop star girlfriends or television clamour in the world of Grand Tourer, but the adrenaline-fuelled action is every bit as exhilarating as its big brother. And despite it still being in its relatively fledgling years, no other event in the sport exudes these thrills and spills quite so spectacularly as the International GT Open. By Ronnie

2014 Basketball World Cup

2014 Basketball World Cup

A mere mention of the term 'World Cup' this year will invoke, for the most part, feverish debate about the upcoming footballing fiesta in Brazil, from England’s chances to the genius of the host nation. However, when the curtain closes on the showpiece event in July, sporting fans the world over needn’t despair – it is but a short wait until basketball’s very own equivalent gets under way. Understandably, you won’t see quite as much anticipation, such is the sport’s general lack of prominence outside of the United States. But with an ever increasing global fan base, the event promises to be every bit as exhilarating. By Ronnie

Rogers Cup 2014

Rogers Cup 2014

The Rogers Cup is Canada’s premier tennis tournament, an annual hard-court event that brings together the world’s best from both the WTA and ATP – or, for non-tennis buffs, the women’s and men’s side of the draw. In Montreal and Toronto, this showpiece event presents players with an opportunity to sharpen their skills ahead of the year’s final Grand Slam, at Flushing Meadows in New York, which takes place the following month. The Rogers Cup has been going strong since 1881, making it one of the oldest tournaments in the tennis calendar; in fact, only the hallowed turf of Wimbledon, and the aforementioned US Open, have longer histories than the Canadian event. By Ronnie

Primavera Sound 2014

Primavera Sound 2014

From 29 - 31 May, thousands of double-denim-clad fans descend upon the Parc Del Forum in what promises to be a weekend of tunes old and new, from genres far and wide. That’s right, kids, it’s that time of year again: Primavera Sound 2014. Its location in the heart of Barcelona means that Primavera is the perfect musical destination for festival goers who like their days cultured and their nights loud. Don’t forget your sunglasses – nestled on the Costa Blanca, you’re guaranteed blue skies and non-stop sunshine for the whole weekend. By Ronnie

Lake District Events & Festivals

Lake District Events & Festivals

Although it rests at an entirely different end of the spectrum – and, geographically, the country – the Lake District is every bit as ingrained in British culture as the likes of London. You won’t find any sprawling concrete jungles and you won’t be involved in the tedium of a morning rush hour, but the area’s quintessential English charm is any Anglophile’s dream. Coupled with astonishing natural beauty to rival anywhere in the world, you really need no further excuse to pay a visit; but if your time there coincides with one of the district’s lauded annual events, it can only enhance your experience. By Ronnie

Holker Garden Festival 2014

Holker Garden Festival 2014

In 2014, Cark-in-Cartmel will set the stage once more for the Holker Garden Festival, now in its 22nd phase, and growing – quite literally – lovelier by the year. One of the best annual events in Cumbria’s calendar, it’ll transform the town into a haven for horticulture from Friday 30th May to Sunday 1st June, and see thousands of green-fingered visitors flock to its show-stopping displays (or marquees, if the clouds make an appearance…). It’ll offer the very best in botanical advice, as well as a roster of finger-licking local foods, crafts and arts, performance and good ol’ fashioned, family oriented fun. By Sophie

2014 Open Championship

2014 Open Championship

Whether or not you buy into the old “good walk ruined” adage or not, nobody can deny the game of golf has amassed a global appeal; one that surely surpasses the expectations of that first unnamed Scotsman to swing a club all those centuries ago. Today, professionals in the sport are each worth their individual fortunes in prize money and sponsorship deals, with millions across the world tuning in to watch them ply their trade. It may not pack the adrenaline-fuelled punch of other sporting pursuits, but on the big occasions the tension created can rival anything. By Ronnie

2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

The time has come, once again, for Monte Carlo to host its annual tennis tournament: the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Monte Carlo, a city named after Charles III, Monaco's beloved early 19th-century prince, is home to an unending list of illustrious residents; namely actors and sportspersons such as Bono, Lewis Hamilton and Ringo Starr. The city, perched upon an escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, is best known for its hard gambling, super-fast cars, towering, pearl-white yachts and other such displays of extravagance. To a pair of humbler eyes, this all may appear as a feast of indelicacy – but we mustn't forget that Monte Carlo is also a small and burgeoning business centre encouraged, no doubt, by its generous position on taxation. By Ronnie

Belgian Grand Prix 2014

Belgian Grand Prix 2014

There are several reasons to visit Belgium, a fact that may surprise many given its modest dimensions; it is regularly overlooked when restless travellers cast their eyes over a map of Europe. In reality, the country has much to offer the most conscientious caller: a wealth of museums, stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife and a tantalising gastronomic culture, to name but a few. It's well worthy of a trip at any time of the year, but for Formula One enthusiasts, August is easily the most appealing time to set off. By Russ

Amsterdam National Restaurant Week

Amsterdam National Restaurant Week

Historically a nation of traders, building their wealth by traversing the seven seas, the Dutch are as fond of their food as they are of their rich cultural heritage. Their seafaring golden age of the 17th century not only introduced Europe to a panoply of new spices, but led swathes of migrants to settle in cities like Amsterdam. Whether they were skilled craftsmen, persecuted refugees, or adventurers, all enriched the Dutch capital with their own culinary legacy. This diverse population makes Amsterdam one of Europe’s most varied cities to dine out. The choices on offer span the globe, and range from the traditional low-key eetcafes to renowned Michelin-starred eateries. By Ronnie

Amsterdam King’s Day

Amsterdam King’s Day

If there’s only one thing I could say about Amsterdam’s King’s Day, it’s that it is very, very orange. Thankfully, I’ve more than enough room to introduce you to this delightful Dutch event, formerly known as Queen’s Day because, well, they celebrated a Queen back then. Known as Koningsdag (formerly Koninginnedag) it’s essentially the capital’s main carnivalesque event, today held every April for one rip-roaring day, which sees around 1, 750, 0000 people attend. Yep, that's pretty crowded –made up of Amsterdam’s population, plus the one million or so visitors. But if you’re up for a party, come and join in the fun – the spring weather and joy-filled atmosphere mean it’s more than worth making the short one-hour flight across. By Sophie

Fowey Royal Regatta 2014

Fowey Royal Regatta 2014

If you’re a devotee of sailing, chances are you’re aware of the Fowey Royal Regatta – at least from hearsay if not first-hand experience. Each year, thousands flock to this tranquil port on the Cornish coast to sample a carnival atmosphere. Truthfully, the majestic sight of the yachts themselves is just one element of the festivities in this week-long event. Having risen in prominence to become one of the country’s greatest sailing shindigs, the regatta has transformed through the years into an occasion even those with no sea legs can relish. By Ronnie

Madrid Open 2014

Madrid Open 2014

There can certainly be no question that Spain is a nation of fine sporting pedigree. Take Barcelona and Real Madrid, arguably two of greatest football teams ever to step onto a pitch – not to mention the country’s dominance of the sport at international level. Even Formula One has its icon in the form of the once all-conquering Fernando Alonso. In May each year, however, Alonso, Iniesta, Ramos et al take a back seat in favour of another home-grown hero. When the Madrid Open sets up shop, Spaniards across the country only have eyes for the mighty Rafael Nadal. By Ronnie

Palio dei Normanni

Looe Music Festival 2014

You’ve bathed in rivers of mud at Glastonbury; head-banged until your neck ached at Donington; probably embraced your inner indie child among the feverish Scottish patriots at T in the Park. These are the events that dominate the annual festival calendar, and there’s no doubt such behemoths are well worthy of their place at music’s high table. However, with repetitive line-ups and soaring ticket prices, more and more music diehards are pitching their tents at as-yet, lesser-known events. Enter the nascent Looe Festival. Once you’ve figured out how to pronounce the name of the event, you can look forward to sampling the sounds. By Ronnie

Palio dei Normanni

Palio dei Normanni

Between the 13 and 14 August, you wouldn’t guess Piazza Armerina was a sleepy sort of place; one chiefly known for its Roman mosaics, which are – it must be said – incredible examples of Roman mosaics (more on that later). No, the Villa Romana del Casale, which houses these ancient artworks, is thrusted firmly from its pedestal as the most-loved attraction in the area, replaced – unabashedly – with a celebration centuries old. Recalling the capture of Piazza Armerina from the Saracens (Boo! Hiss!) by Conte Ruggero in the 11th century, costume-clad locals, parades and re-enactments of the victory’s most important moments come to the fore. By Sophie

Cornwall Food & Drinks Festival 2014

Cornwall Food & Drinks Festival 2014

It’s no secret that Cornwall is a county fond of its gastronomy. Fresh fish, award-winning meats, luxury ice creams and freshly-baked specialty bread; whatever tickles the taste bud is celebrated at the annual Cornwall Food & Drinks Festival. The 11th event, in 2014, takes place over the weekend beginning Friday September 26, culminating on Sunday 28. Visitors, as ever, can expect nothing less than the most varied selection of local food and drinks, as well as the typically buoyant community spirit the festival has become famous for. Held in Truro’s Lemon Quay, the trio of food-filled days will also feature cookery demonstrations from some of Britain’s top chefs, in addition to workshops for the little ones in the Funky Food Zone. By Ronnie

Sicily Flower Festival

Sicily Flower Festival

See what I just did there? Yeah, sorry about that. It has flowers, it’s a festival – it’s a festival of flowers. What more do you need to know? Ah, ok. Probably a bit more than that. Well, Sicily Flower Festival isn’t actually just one festival – towns across the whole of the island hold these events during May and June. But the most famous? L’infiorata di Noto, which roughly translates to, well, bedecking the town of Noto with flowers. It is, in short, one of the country’s most beautiful sights to behold – so it’s little wonder tourists from afar as the UK travel here just to witness it. By Sophie

Sicily Carnival

Sicily Carnival

Type ‘Sicily Carnival’ into a search engine and you’ll find websites about Acireale, a coastal town in Catania, which sits at the foot of Mount Etna. Why? Because when carnival season rolls round, it’s the island’s most famous destination – and not only for locals, but tourists around the world. While this northeastern town is usually known for its basilicas and cathedrals, art and paintings, it is regarded as host to Italy’s most amazing celebration in spring, complete with float-filled parades and costume-clad partygoers. And it’s been going since the 16th century. By Sophie

2014 ATP World Tour Finals

2014 ATP World Tour Finals

Several major tennis tournaments like to claim the title of “the fifth Grand Slam”, perhaps wishing to share the glow that sets in over centre courts in Paris, London, Melbourne and New York. Indian Wells in California is one such tournament, while the year’s final Masters event – also in Paris – certainly regards itself on a par with the big four. If one tournament lifts itself above the others, though, it’s the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, held annually in November at London’s 02 Arena. At times akin to a rock concert, the atmosphere at the 02 truly rocks for one week, as the world’s top eight players compete to grab the final major trophy of the year. By Ronnie

Paris Masters 2014

Paris Masters 2014

It may not be among tennis’s four hallowed Grand Slam events, but the Paris Masters is nonetheless one of the sport’s blue riband events. The ninth and final ATP Masters 1000 event in the annual calendar, it precedes the ATP World Tour Finals, held across the Channel in London, and offers the world’s best players a chance to claim silverware before the close of the year. Played indoors in the opulent Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, one of France’s premier sports stadia, the Parisian courts replicate the playing conditions of the World Tour Finals exactly, owing to changes made to the surface in 2012. By Ronnie

Madeira Carnival

Sicily events and festivals

Sicily is one of those unique holiday destinations that attracts travellers for no single reason; rather, its multitude of attractions lures a diverse range of tourists to bask in its sunshine. The island’s appeal then, is – quite literally – greater than the sum of its parts. Walkers and hikers, art lovers, beach bums, foodies, devotees of opera and theatre, religious pilgrims: all head for this charming island off the southern coast of Italy. And regardless of your interests, there is a busy calendar of annual events to keep you entertained when you land on Sicilian turf. By Ronnie

Madeira Carnival

Madeira Carnival

It’s a simple fact: the world loves a carnival. From the wonders of Mardis Gras in New Orleans to the explosion of colour that is the Rio Carnival, by way of various cities across the globe that attempt to recreate such occasions every year, few events inspire such laughter – few bring people so close together. Outside of “the big two”, as it were, not many places manage this dramatic effect quite so gratifyingly as Madeira. The Portuguese archipelago stages its very own jamboree every February, encapsulating all that is great about its worthy counterparts. By Ronnie

2014 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season

2014 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season

Do you love racing? Does the sound of powerful engines revving cause a frisson of excitement? While four-wheeled motor racing hogs the limelight, it’s by no means the only way to indulge your passion for high speeds – racing is just as intoxicating on two wheels. In fact motorcycle racing is faster, less predictable and arguably more dangerous than its F1 equivalent. By Kai

2014 Women's Rugby World Cup

2014 Women's Rugby World Cup

Rugby is a sport that calls for physical strength, tenacity and team spirit. It’s a gruelling game – one that elicits images of bodies slamming and tackles flying. While not the most obvious of women’s sports, rugby is fast attracting female converts. The Women’s Rugby World Cup may have a lower profile than its male equivalent, but there’s no disputing its growing appeal. By Kai

Sony Open 2014

Sony Open 2014

The Miami Masters is a glamorous tennis tournament held each year in Florida’s Key Biscayne. So why is it now being referred to as the Sony Open? That’ll be on account of the sponsors who, in fairness, are stumping up a large sum of money for the privilege. Money that, in turn, brings the world’s top players to this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. By Kai

Amsterdam Events & Festivals

Amsterdam Events & Festivals

As any of Amsterdam’s proud residents will tell you, their effortlessly cool city is a joy to spend time in. A vibrant hub of culture, not to mention one of Europe’s most picturesque capitals – replete with waterways, bridges and charming old buildings – the Dutch capital attracts a diverse selection of tourists, from festival-goers and sports fanatics to art lovers and beach bums. To ponder the merits of the city’s museums, and the depth of its nightlife, which rivals just about every other European party locale, is to realise one thing: that Amsterdam makes an extremely appealing holiday destination. By Ronnie

Madeira Flower Festival

Madeira Flower Festival

Madeira boasts a subtropical climate, thanks to its location just off the African coast. Throw in a history of trading with both Europe and Africa and you get a truly unique mix of flowers from across the world. Madeira’s climate produces a staggering array of flora throughout the year. When spring is in the air and flowers are at their fullest bloom, the Portuguese island celebrates this abundance of colour and natural perfume with the vibrant Madeira Flower Festival, centered around the Portuguese city of Funchal. The festival is one of the island's major celebrations and attractions, as tourists and locals alike join in with this enchanting event to honour the birth of spring By Russell

 Cornwall Events & Festivals

Cornwall Events & Festivals

It seems somewhat bewildering that a race titled Giro d’Italia – that’s 'Tour of Italy' to you and I – would cause such a furore in Ireland. But the eyes of the cycling world will be firmly focused on the Emerald Isle come May 9, when the prestigious event kicks off in Belfast. Much like its considerably more publicised bedfellow, the Tour de France, the Giro intermittently incorporates other countries into its epic three-week schedule, with Armagh and Dublin the other two Irish areas fortunate enough to be included in the route this time around. By Ronnie

2014 Giro d’Italia

2014 Giro d’Italia

It seems somewhat bewildering that a race titled Giro d’Italia – that’s 'Tour of Italy' to you and I – would cause such a furore in Ireland. But the eyes of the cycling world will be firmly focused on the Emerald Isle come May 9, when the prestigious event kicks off in Belfast. Much like its considerably more publicised bedfellow, the Tour de France, the Giro intermittently incorporates other countries into its epic three-week schedule, with Armagh and Dublin the other two Irish areas fortunate enough to be included in the route this time around. By Ronnie

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival 2014

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival 2014

I may be a travel writer, but I’ve a little hobby on the side – a very little hobby. Collecting and making dolls’ house miniatures can’t be described as social. It’s not the sort of thing you’ll get a clap on the back for at the pub. I’m more likely to be found crying into a minuscule glass of wine after those tiny green peas have rolled off my Willow-patterned plate. Again. But with a bit of time and an eye for fine detail (with the patience of an ultra-patient saint thrown in), it’s become one of the most rewarding and inspiring things I’ve ever done. By Sophie

Wimbledon 2014

Wimbledon 2014

Nothing says ‘British summer’ quite like the Wimbledon Championships. That’s not because we get to enjoy day after day of blazing heat, though. Instead, for two weeks, we are treated to a full spectrum of British weather, from bright, luteous sunshine to angry, torrential downpours. Thankfully, since the installation of a retractable roof over Centre Court in 2009, those with seats in the world’s most celebrated tennis arena needn’t miss a beat; the action will continue unhindered. If you do happen to have tickets for Court One, or one of the show courts, the occasional shower is unlikely to dampen your spirit too much; grab a glass of Pimms, defiantly dunk your strawberry in some cream and snap open an umbrella. The atmosphere at SW19 is sure to keep a smile on your face. By Ronnie

 

 

 

 

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