The United Kingdom is an ever-changing place, welcoming international and local talent year-round to entertain, educate and inspire. From exhilarating sport on the world stage to cultural affairs, a fun event is never far off.
Here's a a guide to the best moments on the UK's calendar in 2016.
St David’s Day
1 March, Cardiff
Cardiff is the place to be for St David’s feast day – honouring the patron saint of Wales. This day of national pride and celebration is considered a spring highlight. Many heritage sites allow free entry for the day.
St Patrick’s Day
17 March, Ireland
It’s celebrated everywhere, but there’s nothing like the real thing. The nation’s patron saint is celebrated fiercely and proudly in Ireland. Activities include lots of live music, parades – and the odd toast.
Oxford And Cambridge Boat Race
27 March, London
Tradition on water, this is one of city’s most popular sporting events. The rowing showdown between the universities brings a festive atmosphere to the banks of the Thames.
English National Ballet
13–16 April, London
A triple bill dedicated to female choreographers, She Said, debuts at Sadler’s Wells. World premieres from Aszure Barton, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Yabin Wang will be on the program.
23 April, Stratford-Upon‑Avon
It’s the 400th anniversary of William Shakepeare’s death, so his birthplace is putting on a bash for The Bard, celebrating his life with an outpouring of music, pageantry and drama.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday
12–15 May, Windsor
Windsor Castle will host four shows to mark the birthday of Britain’s longest‑reigning monarch. Expect to see dancers, actors, musicians, video projections and 500 horses.
FA Cup Final
21 May, London
Iconic Wembley Stadium hosts the final of the world’s oldest soccer competition. Fans chant and sing while millions tune in across the world and in Britain’s packed pubs and sports bars.
Chelsea Flower Show
24–28 May, Chelsea
Bloomin’ marvellous. This annual show transforms the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea into a floral masterpiece. Guests in 2016 include Irish celebrity garden designer Diarmuid Gavin with the British Eccentrics Garden.
Chestertons Polo In The Park
3–5 June, London
Horses thunder around Hurlingham Park, Fulham, for this summer tradition. The three-day tournament boasts international polo players, plus off-field entertainment, music, wining and dining. And there’s also a luxury shopping village.
Aladdin The Musical
9 June, London
Stage magic unfolds as the musical of the fairy tale debuts on the West End. With Trevor Dion Nicholas in the role of Genie, this Disney favourite will showcase hit songs such as A Whole New World and Arabian Nights.
By Foot And Sail
11 June, Wales
As extreme events go, the Barmouth to Fort William Three Peaks Yacht Race is hard to beat – especially in the Year of Adventure in Wales. This running and yachting race is one of the oldest and toughest long‑distance contests in the world.
More UK holiday inspiration
Trooping The Colour
11 June, London
Break out of the red tunics, the bearskins and the flags. This is the pinnacle of British pageantry as the Queen’s birthday is officially celebrated (she was actually born on April 21) with a march down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
14–18 June, Ascot
Of course there are the horses, but this race meeting is one of the social highlights of the English summer. Think fancy hats, champers and a large smattering of royals.
Wimbledon Tennis Championship
27 June – 10 July, Wimbledon
Put your name down early for tickets to the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, which attracts almost 500,000 spectators each year. And don’t miss the strawberries and cream.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix
10 July, Silverstone
The British love the noise, energy and thrill of motorsport, so it’s no surprise the Grand Prix is the nation’s most highly attended sporting event. Plus they have the reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Farnborough International Airshow
16–17 July, Farnborough
Chocks away. One of the world’s great airshows, held every two years, provides a rare chance to get close to a vast range of aircraft, old and new, and watch them in action in the sky.
Notting Hill Carnival
Billed as Britain’s biggest street party, this carnival in West London is a celebration of all things Caribbean. Be ready for steel bands, calypso and good food – along with dazzling costumes and floats.
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
5–27 August, Edinburgh
Take in the bands, bagpipes and precision marching at imposing Edinburgh Castle. The 2016 program will pay tribute to the Queen’s 90th birthday and celebrate Tunes of Glory.
Jane Austen Festival
9–18 September, Bath
Literature lovers gather for a week-long celebration of English author Jane Austen. Be transported to the late 1700s with traditional costumes and carriage rides. Join an Austen-inspired walking tour.
London Fashion Week
18–22 September, London
All the beautiful people will be in town for the spring/summer edition of fashion week. Though the shows are strictly invitation only, there are many associated events across the city.
Guy Fawkes Night
5 November, Nationwide
“Remember, remember the fifth of November…” Guy Fawkes night commemorates the failed gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. The night is marked by backyard bonfires and huge fireworks displays.
Saints Be Praised
30 November, Scotland
Where else would you be on St Andrew’s Day than in St Andrews, Scotland? The patron saint of Scotland is celebrated with lots of bagpipe music and traditional dancing –and the eating of traditional food.