England's quirkiest and most bizarre annual events

World Egg Throwing Championships

Brits are perhaps best known for drinking tea, eating fish and chips and being really rather good at queuing... among other things of course! But we have plenty more long-standing traditions and events in the UK - and some of them are pretty unusual.

Did you know there are a whole host of competitions that take place around the country each year that involve some of the most bizarre traditions in the world?

For example, head to Lancashire this August and you'll have the chance to take part in the annual World Gravy Wrestling Championships... yes, really! It's been going since 2007 and is now so popular that the event is screened across the world.

See also: 10 really weird things you didn't know about Britain

Or you could make your way to Gloucestershire to take part in the famous annual cheese rolling event at Cooper's Hill. This surreal event sees hundreds of people throw themselves down a hill after a 'wheel' of Double Gloucester cheese. Of course this inevitably ends up with competitors running, rolling and somersaulting down the steep hill all in the name of fun.

If you fancy something a little more laidback, why not try your hand at the World Hen Racing Championships in Derbyshire. The event sees the feathered critters racing down the 10-metre track, under strict world championship regulations of course.

With help from VisitEngland we've put together a list of some of the weirdest and most wonderful events around the country, so take a look at our slideshow below to find out more.

England's quirkiest annual events
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England's quirkiest and most bizarre annual events

What is it? The Tetbury Woolsack Races give the town a chance to celebrate its heritage as a centre of the wool trade. The event dates back to the 17th century and the official event has been going for the last 30 years. Competitors are expected to undertake the gruelling task of carrying a heavy sack of wool up a steep hill in the town. 

Date: 29 May 2017

What it it? Confusingly Bottle-Kicking doesn't actually involve any bottles - instead the 'bottle' actually refers to a 5kg painted beer barrell, which the villages of Medbourne and Hallaton try to get across two streams that are one mile apart. There's also no time limit, which means the competition can go on all day until one team calls it quits and heads to the pub! 

Date: 17 April 2017

What is it? Definitely one of the more bizarre events on the list, cheese rolling takes place annually at Cooper's Hill where people come from far and wide to chase 'wheels' of Double Gloucester cheeses down the steep hill. Inevitably this ends up in some of the competitors running, rolling and somersaulting down the hill after the cheese.

Date: 30 May 2017

What is it? Playing with conkers has been a popular autumn past time with British schoolchildren for hundreds of years. This competition isn't for kids though. The World Conker Championships take place each year at Southwick and attracts as many as 300 competitors who are all looking to become King or Queen of the conkers. 

Date: 8 October 2017

What is it? The Cotswolds Olimpicks was started by a local barrister in 1612 and now the annual event attracts thousands of spectators. The Olimpicks features a number of well known countryside games including 'shin-kicking'. Spectactors and participants come from all over the world to attend the historic event

No event in 2017, next event is 1 June 2018

What is it? For the last decade, Swaton village has been the home of egg-throwing. The event involves pairs of competitors chucking eggs at each other or getting together in a team to produce some kind of launching device. One of the other popular activities is Egg Roulette where one unlucky contestant will end up smashing the raw egg over themselves. 

Date: 25 June 2017

What is it? This event is exactly what is sounds like - contestants slide around in lukewarm gravy and win points for pinning their opposition down. The World Gravy Wrestling Championships has taken place at the Rose n Bowl pub since 2007 and TV crews screen the event all over the world.

Date: 28 August 2017

What is it? The Gurning World Championships involves contestants putting their head through a horse collar and contorting their faces into the most grotesque and bizarre expressions possible in a set time. The person with the most applause wins the event, which is part of the Egremont Crab Fair, which has been taking place since 1267. 

Date: 15 September 2017

What is it? The World Hen Racing Championships takes place in the Peak District each August. The event sees the feathered critters racing down the 10-metre track, under strict world championship regulations.

Date: 5 August 2017

What is it? Once a year Windrush River is home to the bizarre sport of River Football. Two teams from the Cotswolds village of Bourton-on-the-Water play the beautiful game in the shallow waters of the river. The game has been going for 100 years and attracts thousands of spectactors each year. 

Date: 28 August 2017


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