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English Diary

British Customs, British Culture and British Traditions in JUNE

4th Jun

Old Maid's Day (Swun day)

A national day in the UK for unmarried women. I don't like the term old maid, so I've coined a new term - SWUN, which stands for Single woman, unfettered. As Groucho Marx said, "Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? Read more

6th Jun

On This Day

On this day in 1944 the first D-Day landings took place in Normandy. 130,000 men landed on the beaches and a bridgehead was established. Within a month the allies had over 1 million troops in France.

11th to 12th Jun

Man vs Horse Marathon

The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual race between human and (mounted) equine contestants. It takes place in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.

The event started in 1980, when local landlord Gordon Green overheard a discussion between two men in his pub, the Neuadd Arms. One man suggested that over a significant distance across country, man was equal to any horse. Green decided that the challenge should be tested in full public view, and organised the first event. However, no one beat the horses until in 2004, Huw Lobb finished in 2 hours 5 minutes and 19 seconds.   Read More

13th Jun

Trooping the Colour

Held to celebrate the Queen's official birthday (it is sometimes called The Queen's Birthday Parade) this is a day of pageantry at Horse Guards in London. Precisely as the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes eleven, the Royal Procession arrives and the soldiers from the Queen's Household Division are inspected by the Queen, they carry ("troop") their regimental flag ("colour"), and march past and the Queen takes the Royal Salute. The Queen drives slowly down the ranks of all eight Guards and then past the Household Cavalry. After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flyby. Her real birthday of course is in April, so I don't know if she gets any presents.  Learn More

15th Jun

National Beer Day

Hooray for the pint! (Or two) Read More

15th Jun

Signing of the Magna Carta

I hope you didn't just read "singing". King John met the leaders at Runnymede, near London, on 15 June 1215, to seal the Great Charter called, in Latin, Magna Carta, which is considered to be one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy. Learn More

15th to 18th Jun

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot, or as I like to call it Horse vs Horse is arguably the most prestigious horse racing event in the world. Its mix of top class flat racing and traditional English hospitality and style make it a unique experience.

Not so much of a horse race as a fashion parade! Just make sure you don't have any fake tan, or a dress that's too revealing, the stewards have been known to throw a hissy fit. Learn More

17th to 19th Jun

Sea Shanty Festival

At the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival you have seaside and traditional music. What more could you want? Read More

18th Jun

World Nettle Eating Championship

At the Bottle Inn in Bridport, competitors chew their way through nettle leaves. The organisers provide the raw materials of 2-foot lengths of nettle stalks from which all leaves must be consumed. The winner is the contestant who has stripped and eaten the leaves from the greatest number of stalks. (Vomiting is not allowed). Find Out More

20th to 21st Jun

Summer Solstice

At sunrise of the 21st June (around 4:50am) the Summer Solstice, otherwise known as Midsummer's Day, begins in the UK. It's the longest day of the year and it marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.

"Why, this is very midsummer madness." William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Learn More

22nd to 26th Jun

Glastonbury Festival

Probably the most famous music event in the UK, but if you haven't got your tickets yet, watch it on the BBC. (If you have got tickets, take wellies). Read More

25th Jun

World Worm Charming Championship

Worm charmers from around the world arrive at the small village of Willaston near Nantwich in Cheshire's Upper Weaver Valley, all to charm worms from the soil! No digging allowed. Find Out More

26th Jun

World Egg Throwing Championships

The organised sport of Egg Throwing is thought to date back to at least 1322 when the newly appointed Abbot took possession of the Parish of Swaton by royal decree. It is said that he was the only person to own chickens and ensured the attendance at church of his peasant by providing them alms of one egg for each attendee. However, when the River Eau flooded, preventing people getting to church, the monks would hurl the eggs over to the waiting peasants. It’s also said that when the flood was even wider that they used small trebuchets to get that extra distance required. It is from these humble beginnings that the sport of egg throwing started and has been played ever since in the village. Find Out More

27th to 30th Jun


Every year there's a little tennis competition at Wimbledon. Strawberries and cream anyone? Find Out More

May to June


Glyndebourne is a 700-year old country house and opera house near Lewes in East Sussex, England. Since 1934 it has been the venue of the annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera. The festival is regarded as part of the London/English summer season. Performances, which start in the afternoon, enable Londoners to leave town after lunch, and finish in time for them to catch the last train back. A long interval allows opera-goers the opportunity for picnic dinners on the extensive lawns or in one of the restaurants in the grounds.

May Onwards

Well Dressing

In order to celebrate the springs that have provided fresh water for centuries, well dressing is an ancient art carried out in the county of Derbyshire, especially the Peak District. Every year from around May to August wells in the area are beautifully decorated with natural objects (usually petals from flowers) to form elaborate pictures, often nowadays with a religious theme.

The origins of well dressing are something of a mystery, but it is thought to predate Roman times. It was most likely a form of sacrifice to give thanks for the supply of water supplied by wells in the community. Learn More

Previous Diary
June 2000
Revised: June 2016
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