HI Hostels Blog

10 unusual things to do in England and Wales

Escape the ordinary and do something a little different with YHA England & Wales. From a Zombie Apocalypse and a Pirate Maritime Festival to the Royal Cornwall Show, May and June are packed with activities and quirky things to do that will bring you closer to the local people and will allow you to have an authentic experience of this vibrant and diverse country.

Zombie Apocalypse

The Zombies take over YHA South Downs on 7 May for one night only, and it’s not even Halloween! With an Obstacle Course of the Undead, Thriller Karaoke, a Photobooth of Death, the Apocalypse Death Disco and an all-nighter zombie movie festival, you’ll be lucky to get out alive. It’s unbeatable value too, with £15 covering transport from your hostel to the event, your overnight stay, all music and ghoulish entertainment, and breakfast for those who survive. Stay at YHA South Downs, a refurbished 13th century Sussex farmhouse. 

zombie apocalypse

After Hours Bristol

Stay up dangerously late at this YHA mini-fest on 13 May, with live sets from the hottest up-and-coming bands, followed by local DJs – all making for an awesome party vibe. And all at YHA Bristol. With transport from Bath, overnight stay, entertainment and next-day breakfast thrown-in, you won’t find more hands-free fun for £15.

After Hours Bristol

The Surreal Spring Ball

We promised the odd, the off-kilter and the downright weird, and we are as good as our word. Shakespeare might not have approved of this night of YHA springtime madness on 25 May in his hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon, but he isn’t around to complain. With headline acts Mr B and The Gentleman Rhymer, along with transport, overnight stay, music and breakfast included, this is the wackiest party you’ll ever attend for only £15. Expect to wake up asking: Did that just happen?

Surreal Spring Ball

Keswick Mountain Festival

Choose your adventure from a huge programme of activities at this Cumbrian challenge fest, including sporting events, camping and live music. Either explore Derwentwater by canoe, kayak, or open-water swimming, or chill out as the sun sets behind spectacular mountains. There’s even a Moonlight Swim. Whatever your thrill, you’ll find it here between 15 and 18 May. Don’t miss out on this party and book your stay at YHA Keswick or YHA Borrowdale.

Entering Derwentwater at the Keswick Mountain Festival Triathlon


Lace up those running shoes for a weekend of trail races, two-mile, six-mile and half-marathon events on 24 and 25 May. From its base at the picturesque YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, the accommodation package is great value, with a Camping package and Race-Only package on offer too. Do something extraordinary – hit the open road with nothing other than your own two feet.

Pirates on the Prom

Welcome aboard, landlubbers! Come on down to the free Pirate Maritime Festival this May Bank Holiday Monday 26 to witness traditional sea-going vessels of every variety in Penzance Bay. With traditional crafts like ketches, crabbers and toshers (us too, but great names!), this is a fantastic day out for the whole family. If you want to keep your feet dry, there’s an abundance of entertainment harbourside, from tents to heritage inns, all with superb menus. Stay at YHA Penzance or YHA Land’s End.

The Pendennis Cup

If sailing more modern vessels is your bag, look no further than the four days of competitive racing that is The Pendennis Cup between 26 and 31 May. This world-renowned regatta also offers the best of Cornish hospitality, with welcome events, barbeques, a Crew Curry Night and even a night of sea shanties. Stay at YHA Perranporth.

Pendennis Cup day

Royal Cornwall Show

Time to get back to nature at the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show between 5 and 7 June, while the sunshine warms up the countryside. Attracting 120,000 visitors annually, it’s one of Cornwall’s major tourist attractions, boasting riding competitions, falconry and sheepdog trials. With traditional judging of cattle, sheep and horses, it’s also not unusual to glimpse a member of the Royal Family amid the throng. Stay at YHA Treyarnon.

Woolfest 2014 

Ever given much thought to how that so-uncool-it’s-cool Christmas jumper came into being? You will after a visit to Woolfest on 27 and 28 June, a Cumbrian showcase for the world of wool and wool-crafts. Visitors and stallholders flock (we couldn’t resist it) from all over the world to share ideas on creativity and wool design with fellow skilled craftsmen and women. A treasure trove of natural fibres, it’s a treat for the sense. Stay at YHA Cockermouth, 17th century watermill on the banks of the River Cocker.


For the advanced adventurist, Cliffhanger is the UK’s biggest festival for outdoor folk. Held on 21 and 22 June, in one of Sheffield’s most expansive green spaces, featuring elite competitions and demonstrations of rock climbing, mountain biking, orienteering and adventure racing, this is an event guaranteed to raise the temperature and the pulse. Don’t be scared – you only live once. Choose from YHA Castleton or YHA Eyam, both conveniently located nearby.


To help you get started planning your trip to England & Wales, take a look at our Tripbook about the top sights here.

©Herry Lawford
©Herry Lawford

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