Posts written by Ian Hardwick

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

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or maybe host the world’s largest lemon festival! This February, the 84th Fete du Citron gets underway in Menton on the French Riviera, between Monaco and the Italian border.  The town is famous for its lemons and since 1935 has been wowing visitors with stunning tableaux in the town’s municipal gardens and an amazing parade of floats covered in lemons and oranges.Each year the festival takes a theme.

In the north of Scotland, in the coldest darkest days of winter, fire – lots of it – is the thing to raise the spirits. In Lerwick, Shetland, hundreds of people take place in Up Helly Aa, a celebration of the island’s Viking heritage which has been taking place since the 1880s. Each year at the end of January, more than 40 squads of around 20 men take part in a torch-lit procession through the

In a country famous for its Christmas markets, the Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria sparkles brighter than all the rest. This picture-perfect walled town, which wouldn’t be out of place on any Christmas card, celebrates Advent in style and has done so since the 15th century. The highlight of the month-long celebration is the arrival of the Reiterle (or horseman). Said to be an otherworldly visitor who glides through the sky on with the souls of the