Dorset Knob biscuits
Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 6 minutes.

Hop in your car for the road trip of a lifetime discovering some of the wildest and wackiest sports to exist in the UK

We can’t be the only ones starting to think about the summer. While it might still be raining and windy outside, the better weather is fast approaching. 

And with it – the want to get out and about.

While traditional sports like tennis and cricket have their place, we’re much more interested in the quirky historic traditions that are still practiced up and down the country. And trust us when we say this is just a snapshot of some of our favourites. 

There’s bound to be something happening close to you, even if it hasn’t made this list.

The UK is – perhaps unfortunately – known for its brilliantly bonkers regional customs that have cropped up across the centuries, particularly in the more rural areas, with the custodians of chaos keeping them alive until today.

Planning a staycation for this summer? We wouldn’t blame you if you planned it around attending one of these events. Take your lease car out for a spin and get spectating. We’re sure they’re all worth the trip.

Person holding a pile of conkers

World Conker Championships 

When: 13th October 2024

Where: Southwick, Northamptonshire

We’re no strangers to the humble conker. In fact, if you attended a British school, you’ve probably partaken in a game or two in the playground in the autumn months, when there seems to be no end to the conkers that fall to the ground.

Conkers is a game with a strong history. The first recorded game took place on the Isle of Wight in 1848, though we’re almost certain people have been bashing each other with hardened horse chestnuts for way longer.

But did you know that, since 1965, the World Conker Championships have been held in Northamptonshire?

It was conceived by a group of friends in a pub (where almost all the great ideas have been conceived) when bad weather meant that organising a fishing expedition was off the cards. Their solution? Conkers.

Not an obvious solution, but one that has gone on to have a long, illustrious history, with the annual Championship growing year on year. The small prize and charity collection has since grown, with the Championships to date having raised nearly £500,000 for various charities, including the Royal National Institute for the Blind for Talking Books.

The Championships follow strict rules to keep the game safe for everyone involved, including the conkers being provided for you to stop them being tampered with, and keeping a distance of at least 20cm between knuckle and nut.

But if you fancy something a little more violent, get yourself down to Peckham where Battle Royale Rules reign with cheating not only allowed, but thoroughly encouraged. With competitors hardening their nuts in any way that they can (including concrete), anything goes in the Peckham championships.

Castletown Harbour, Isle of Man

Tin Bath Racing

When: 7th September 2024

Where: Middle Harbour, Castletown, Isle of Man

Yes, Tin Bath Racing is exactly what it says on, well, the tin.

The annual World Tin Bath Championship started in 1971, and takes place in Middle Harbour in Castletown on the Isle of Man.

With nearly a hundred competitors and thousands of spectators, it’s one of the events of the year for the island, with the Championships seeing those competitors taking to the icy waters in nothing but a tin bath.

A strictly regulated tin bath – but not necessarily a sea-worthy tin bath.

It’s organised by the Castletown Real Ale Drinkers Society, and all money raised by the event goes straight to local charities. 

There’s plenty to do on the day, with additional events like the ‘Snake Race’ around the harbour and attempts at human-powered flight providing the entertainment when the tin baths are being readied for the 400m race. 

And with it being in Castletown, the Isle of Man’s historic and ancient capital, there’s plenty of sightseeing to do to make the most of your trip, including Castle Rushen and the Victorian Heritage Steam Railway. 

Man bog snorkelling

Bog Snorkelling

When: August Bank Holiday

Where: Waen Rhydd peat bog, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Make the most of your Bank Holiday by watching brave men and woman brave the boggy waters of the Waen Rhydd peat bog as they go bog snorkelling. Obviously, this was an idea that was born in a pub and grew legs into a real, annual event.

120 yards of black, cold, stinking water with nothing but some flippers and a snorkel? Count us out. But we would take a road trip to Wales to watch. What can we say, we’re fascinated by the extreme lengths people will go to for fun.

The rules of bog snorkelling are quite simple. You’re not allowed to use a recognised swimming stroke – no front stroke or butterfly around here, please – but you can kick and scream into the boggy mud as much as you want. Which we can assume only helps. 

Fancy giving it a go yourself?

There are several options on the table, including the harrowing Bog Triathlon. With an eight mile run, 12 mile mountain bike ride and a 60 yard bog swim, it’s a gruelling endeavour for only the most foolhardy.

There’s also the bite-size version, with a three mile run and six mile ride – ending with a boggy dip – and the Fancy Dress Section, with a variety of wild and wacky costumes taking to the icy waters.

The day is rounded out by the 150 elite Bogsnorkellers, who attempt to swim 120 yards of boggy bog as quickly as they can. Impressive? Yes. Would we like to have a go? Absolutely not. 

Round wheel of cheese

Cheese Rolling

When: 27th May 2024

Where: Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, Gloucestershire

We love a quirky historic tradition, and the cheese rolling event that takes place every year at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire is one of the best examples.

Where else would you find a group of people gathering to wang a big 9lb round of Double Gloucester cheese down a hill and then chase after it? It’s certainly a hobby, and one to go and watch if you fancy a road trip down to the South West.

The first person over the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the cheese – but getting your hands on that coveted prize is not as easy as it sounds with the cheese gathering speeds of up to 30mph. Though,  quite incredibly,  there’s never been any fatalities, and only a handful of serious injuries.

Which, when you think about what cheese rolling entails, is pretty impressive.

The event now attracts international visitors, and it’s even been featured in Netflix’s show We Are The Champions.

It’s said to officially date back to 1826, with the first official record of the race noted in the Town Crier’s notes, but it likely predates that, with both local residents and historians saying they have family records that go back to the eighteenth century. 

If you fancy watching a little slice of history take place in real time, and watch competitors tumble down a hill after a round of cheese, this is the extreme sport event for you.

Highland Games Caber Toss

Caber Toss

When: Various Highland Games events from May – September

Where: Scotland

The most iconic event to come out of the Highland Games, the Caber Toss is quite simple.

All competitors have to do is toss a caber so it turns end over end and lands facing away from the tosser in the 12 o’clock position. Distance doesn’t matter in this one – the toss is evaluated on where it lands.

Sounds easy, right? But with the caber being made from a larch tree, standing over 19ft tall and weighing over 175lbs, the Caber Toss is really quite an impressive feat of extreme strength.

Believed to have originated from lumberjacks challenging each other to toss logs across narrow streams, the Caber Toss is now the stand-out event at Highland Games across Scotland – and even beyond. With Scots taking the Games with them as they emigrated, events have taken place in America, Canada, Norway, Brazil and New Zealand.

But if you want to attend an event a little closer to home, Highland Games take place across Scotland between May and September. With the events also including livestock events, Highland dancing, music, parades, and even best-dressed pet competitions, it’s a proper good day out.

So, if you’re heading out on a Scottish road trip this summer, you’ll be sure to find a Games near you to go and cheer the tossers on.

Dorset Knob biscuits

Dorset Knob Throwing

When: 14th July 2024

Where: Cattistock Countryside Show, Dorset

Yes, yes. Dorset Knob Throwing. We really don’t have to do anything here.

We promise that it’s a real event. It started in 2008 and has grown every year since, although the last event was held in 2019 thanks to both the pandemic, and then the event actually becoming too big for its old home.

Good news this year though – organisers have announced that the event is returning, and Knobs will once more be thrown in Dorset.

But what is a Dorset Knob?! We hear you cry! Never fear – we were just as perplexed when we first stumbled across the humble game of Knob Throwing. Turns out a Dorset Knob is a hard, dry savoury biscuit normally eaten with cheese or soaked in sweet tea. Delicious, right?

Their hard exterior makes the humble knob perfect for competitive hurling. And the rules are simple – three knobs per competitor, thrown underarm, furthest overall knob wins. 

Other attractions include Guess the Weight of the Big Knob, Knob Darts and a Knob Pyramid. There’s even a Knob Eating Contest, where knob-savvy competitors take it upon themselves to see how many biscuits they can eat in a minute.

The Dorset Knob – the name thought to come from the Dorset knob buttons made locally - has an illustrious history, with the Moores family having made the delicacy in Dorset for more than 150 years. They were originally a way to use up leftover bread, with additional butter and sugar, and then hand-rolled and left to bake in the dying heat of the oven.

Bridge across a stream

World PoohSticks Championships

When: 27th May 2024

Where: Sandford Lock, Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Perhaps the most beloved of all the historic, quirky traditions that exist on our often-quite-silly island, who among us hasn’t played a game of Poohsticks on a walk?

It might just have been my family, but it got quite competitive at times, with fights ensuing when sticks got confused. Luckily, there’s none of that nonsense at the official World PoohStick Championships, held in Oxfordshire over the end of May Bank Holiday.

Poohsticks was first invented by beloved childrens author A.A. Milne, who recorded the fictional account of the game in his 1928 book The House At Pooh Corner, with Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Christopher Robin, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo all enjoying the high stakes and drama of the game.

If you don’t know the rules, it couldn’t be simpler. Select your stick and stand on the bridge facing upstream. On the count of three, drop your stick into the water and quickly rush to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick appears first. This is where trouble can arise, if all the sticks look the same – so make sure to pick a unique looking stick.

At the official Championships, however, sticks are provided, with the organisers handing out ‘competition regulation sticks’ in eight different colours. When you hand in your ticket to the Keeper of the Sticks, you’ll be given one, and you’ll take your place on the bridge on the marker that corresponds with the colour of your stick.

Much more civilised.

With tickets costing £4 for a single entrant or £15 for a family of four, it’s a phenomenal way to spend the day.

Road tripping further abroad this year?