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Merry 2014! Our pick of the best events

World Bog Snorkelling Championships Tis always fun to look to the year ahead, even if the meeja people keep insisting that January should have us all depressed (balderdash, say we), things are getting worse ‘in real terms’ and it will be another year of woez in Eastenders. Balderdash, say we again. While we can’t deny that we do tend to feel a tad sluggish at the start of the year , there are such heaps of things to do in 2014 that we imagine we’ll be up and at ‘em first thing on New Year’s Day. Or January 2. And if we buy tickets now, we might get an early bird discount.

From egg-throwing to Vikings, big to small, here’s our pick of top events for 2014:


It is of course Commonwealth Games time in Glasgow this July and August (23 July – 3 August, which will be the biggest multi-sport event ever held in Scotland. We also have the British Open (13 – 20 July; Wirral) and the Ryder Cup (23 – 28 September; Perthshire) for golf fans; Cowes Week from 3 – 8 August at the Isle of Wight; and horsing around at the Grand National, Derby Day (early bird tickets until 31 December!) and the Cheltenham Festival.

Our fantastique Tour de France map Biking is set to be big in 2014, partly because of the Tour de France kicking off in North Yorkshire. The cycling market is growing 10-15% every year and will be worth over £3bn by 2015 – join in with a trip to the Tweed Love Bike Festival (24 May – 8 June, Scottish Borders). And have you seen our new Tour de France routeplanner , which follows the whole route with up to ten nearby campsites anywhere on the map you click? *Le proud.*

The Winter Olympics start on 7 February in Russia: while we don’t have campsites there yet, you can take a look at our winter watersports and winter walks blogs if you’re feeling sporty. (If not, the World Cup starts in Brazil on 12 June – so have a ball at our pub campsites and sites with a bar or clubhouse . Olé!)

Sites in Perthshire

Cowes Week ; sites on the Isle of Wight

Derby Day ; sites in Surrey

Cheltenham Festival ; sites in Gloucester

Tweed Love Bike Festival ; sites in the Scottish Borders

Sites with cycling nearby

Sites with cycle hire

All we want for Christmas is you. Arty farty

We’ll probably go to the Hay Festival again this year, but at the moment we’ve got our beady eyes beadily fixed on the Blenheim Palace Literary Festival (18 – 22 September; Oxfordshire) too, as it has books, events at one of our favourite palaces, and a black tie literary dinner with Lucy Worsley. Volumes of fun.

We’ll also be taking our little grey cells to the Agatha Christie Festival, having a hair-raising time at the Wigtown Book Festival (26 September – 5 October; Dumfries and Galloway), and taking in a couple of film festivals: while the biggies at Edinburgh , Glasgow and Leeds are always fab, we’re keeping our (glass) eye on two horror fests this year: Horror on Sea at Southend and the Bram Stoker International Film Festival at Whitby. Naturally, we’ll lurch along to Whitby Goth Weekend too.

Blenheim Palace Literary Festival ; sites in Oxfordshire

Agatha Christie Festival ; sites in Devon

Wigtown Book Festival ; sites in Dumfries and Galloway

Horror on Sea ; sites in Essex

Bram Stoker International Film Festival ; sites in Whitby and North Yorkshire

Arty farty blogs:

Camping in literature

Literary travel: a bookworm's trail of Britain

Fantabulous volumes – a children’s bookworm trail for Roald Dahl Day

And you. Noms

One of the best things about the UK is its gastronomic goodness, as we have pointed out in a blog about cheese , a blog about food trails , a guide to finding sites of gastronomic delight , a blog about Cider and Perry Month and a blog about the Scottish Whisky Trail … cough. Well, we like to support local suppliers.

We’re liking the look of Flavour Fortnight over various locations in Dumfries and Galloway, with 100+ foodie events over 16 days; English Wine Week also looks like a goer, as does the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (1 –5 May; Moray/Highlands), part of Scottish Whisky Month. And the Dorset Seafood Festival (12 – 13 July; Weymouth), and the spring Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival…we might have to actually exercise in 2014.

Flavour Fortnight

English Wine Week

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival ; sites in Moray

Dorset Seafood Festival ; sites in Dorset

Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival ; sites in East Sussex

Downright weird

As we fondly pointed out in our mad museums and our Weird Britain ( Part the First and Part the Second ) blogs, this country is full of madness of the highest order, and jolly good it is too. Naturally the World Bog Snorkelling Championships (26 August; Powys) are already penned in, as are the World Pea Shooting Championships (12 July; Cambridgeshire), the World Conker Championships (12 October, Cambridgeshire), the World Snail Racing Championships (19 July, Norfolk), won by a six year old this year , and the traditional and fab Helston Flora Day (8 May, Cornwall). We are resolutely not thinking of and weeping about the many odd and lovely events we’ll miss, because of, like, commitments and paying rent and stuff. Bah.

World Bog Snorkelling Championships ; sites in Powys

World Pea Shooting Championships and World Conker Championships ; sites in Cambridgeshire

Helston Flora Day ; sites in Helston and Cornwall

World Snail Racing Championships ; sites in Norfolk

Hobbit hole/future Pitchup.com office And the rest…

We’ll also be making our very best efforts to go along to the following:

Egremont Crab Fair (not crabbing but gurning), 20 September; sites in Cumbria

World Egg Throwing Championships (not, for once, lurking around Whitehall), 29 June; sites in Lincolnshire

Jorvik Viking Festival , 15 – 23 February, York; sites in York

Brixham Pirate Festival , 3 – 5 May; sites in Brixham

The opening of the National Forest Way, 75 miles of trail from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to the Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire

And the final episode of The Hobbit !

For other 2014 happenings, have a look at our Cheapstock: cheap festivals blog , and keep an eye on the Pitchup.com blog every week – add your email address for the latest updates!