Festivals and fun for ‘Seabritain 2005’

by Polly Larner (courtesy of VisitBritain.com)

SeaBritain 2005 is a year-long celebration of the nation’s special relationship with the sea and its maritime heritage. The inspiration is the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. So there are commemorations and re-enactments of Nelson’s finest – and last – hour as he led the British fleet to victory in October, 1805.

There’ll be pomp, ceremony and pageantry aplenty, but if you are focused on fun or maybe travelling with children, there are also festivals, exhibitions, shows and activities that are bound to appeal for all ages and interests.

Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria has a summer-long Festival of the Sea, with concerts, events, family fun days, regattas and boat shows, culminating in the celebrations and bonfires for the Trafalgar Weekend of October 21-23, when the whole country joins in with street parties and commemorations.

September sees most Trafalgar Festival commemorations taking place, with a re-enactment of Nelson’s waterborne funeral procession on September 16 along the Thames as part of the Mayor of London’s river festival. Nelson’s home county of Norfolk, Eastern England, stages a maritime festival in Great Yarmouth (Sept. 10-11), with homage to its hero and sea-shanties, street theatre and seafood fresh from the local fishing fleet.

October has the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar, with the Trafalgar Weekend giving every town, village and community in the country the chance to join in with parties, music and dance. Trafalgar Night Dinners on or around the Oct. 21 will allow people across the world to remember the heroism and seamanship of those afloat in the age of sail and of the participants, drawn from many nations, in the battle itself.

There is a website giving full details of the events programme: www.seabritain2005.com.