Posts written by Ian Hardwick

Ready, steady, slow! On 15th July, in the village of Congham, Norfolk, the world’s fastest snails will gather to compete in the World Snail Racing Championships. Held every year for more than 25 years, the contest sees everyday garden snails – some painted with fancy stripes, and all sporting a numbered sticker to identify them – race for glory. More than 200 molluscs compete in a series of heats for a place in the prestigious

For the parents of most babies, having the Devil jump over their new-born isn’t at the top of their to-do list. Unless, that is, they live in Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos in northern Spain. In this small Spanish village, El Colacho (otherwise known as the Baby Jumping Festival) is held as part of the celebrations of the Feast of Corpus Christi and has taken place every year since around 1620. It involves men dressed

You want fast food? How about a whole Double Gloucester cheese at 70mph? At the annual Cheese Rolling event at Cooper’s Hill, in Brockworth on the edge of the Cotswolds, competitors risk sprained ankles (and worse) careering down a vertiginously steep hill chasing after a 9 pound round of cheese. It’s less of a race and more of a tumble as participants try to catch the cheese and be the first across the finish line

Close to Ullswater, set back from the lake shore, Dalemain Mansion is a beautiful country house in the Lake District. Its stately rooms are full of family heirlooms, ancient objects, portraits and…marmalade. Every year the house hosts the World’s Original Marmalade Awards, an event which for a few weeks in March sees jar upon jar of marmalade sent from around the world to compete in the friendly, yet fiercely competitive taste-off. This year eviivo were

With the first stirrings of spring, the inhabitants of Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, embark on a serious celebration of the changing seasons. The party atmosphere builds from the 1st March, with strings of deafening firecrackers being let off every afternoon outside the city hall in a ceremony presided over by the Fallera Mayor. Then for 5 days from the 15th, the atmosphere builds, with music, parades and more fireworks until a fiery finale on