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4 of the weirdest English events


4 of the weirdest English events

story by: Anna Sarjeant

Here at House of Travel, we don't like to judge​, we have a good few eccentricities ourselves, but it’s fair to say that in England, they take the gold prize for bizarre behaviour.

Think we’re wrong? Read our top​ five South West England quirks and then call us a liar. Fear not, we’ll ease you in. From the relatively normal to the absolute batty. Here goes.

1. Getting strange: Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Date: For longer visiting hours: 1st June - 31st August, 9am - 8pm.
What are they doing there and why hasn't anyone figured this mystery out yet?

Estimated to be over 5,000 years old, this perplexing ring of enormous standing stones is believed to be an ancient enclosure where prehistoric people buried the dead. But ​how did they get there? Considering some of the largest rocks weigh in at five tons each and were sought from over 150 miles away.

In recent years, a project was launched to recreate the entire process, using only the primitive tools that existed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. It failed, deemed impossible, and the entire venture was scrapped. Which leaves only one plausible explanation (and one that’s frequently recited), it was aliens. And little Martian men built Stonehenge with their freaky green tentacles.

​2. Peculiar’s calling: World Bellyboard Championships, Cornwall
Date: September
Getting odd now! Hold onto your sanity.

But firstly, the background. Which to be fair, is utterly charming. Started in 2003 at Chapel Porth, the championships began as a memorial contest to the late Arthur Traveller, who, up until his untimely death, frequented the beach with his wooden belly board.

Today it attracts more than 300 avid body surfers. However, this is not high-spec stuff; Kiwis put your wetsuits, rashies and fancy Polypro boards away. All you need is a bit of old wood and a retro swimsuit. We're talking floral swimming caps and high-wasted Speedos.

Perhaps the oddest part is the addition of a 'Great Bellyboard Cake ​Off' The logical extension​ to any bellyboarding competition! Trust those Brits, any excuse to eat cake.

​3. Madder than a box of clowns: Dorset Knob Throwing Contest, Cattistock
Date: May
Knob throwing is a popular past time in the southern counties.

But this isn't your standard knob - doorknob or otherwise. This is the 'Dorset Knob', a hard​​ and savoury biscuit. Does that make it any less odd? No, no it does not.

There are rules. Because there will be no tomfoolery at the ​knob contest. Overarm pitches are strictly forbidden and the thrower's feet must never leave the ground. If you’re not much of a tosser, don’t worry, there’s also Knob Painting, the Knob & Spoon Race and Guess the Weight of the Big Knob. And in case you were wondering, the longest knob thrown to date, is an impressive 29.4m.

Happily it's not all about knobs, there's a food festival too. With 50 local food producers attending every year. As well as at least 5000 guests, including families. We promise it’s a child-friendly day out.

​4. Bats in the belfry, they're bonkers!
International Festival of Worm Charming, Blackawton, Devon
Date: May
As with most Great British oddities, this one all started in the pub. Legend has it that championship creator (and worm charming master) Dave Kelland walked home after a heavy night on the ale and went to relieve himself on the grass. Low-and-behold out came the worms!

Ahh, thought David, there's a competition to be made out of this. And there was.

Almost three decades later, it’s an annual all-day event. With fancy dress, maypole dancing and jovial parades. Then it’s time to ‘worm up’ whereby competitors grab a one metre patch of grass and spend the next 15-minutes doing all they can to entice the worms out of the ground, without the aid of digging or forking. Or weeing!

That over, everyone piles into the pub; The Normandy Arms. To celebrate with a pint of beer and an egg and bacon bap.

Top that for all-out nutty!

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