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World Poetry Day is upon us, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to take a look at the best poetry festivals that are here in the UK.

Every year on the 21st of March, World Poetry Day is the celebration of the most treasured forms of expression. We hope that on this day you will be reading, writing and performing your own poetry, or perhaps you plan on booking onto one the many poetry and literature festivals that the UK plays host to.

So if you seeking a poetry festival that is near you, or hoping to brush up on your skills at one of the many workshops, we have hand-picked a number of poetry festivals that are sure to suit.

Read on to discover the best UK poetry festivals throughout 2020… 

StAnza Poetry Festival, St Andrews, Scotland 

St. Andrews in Scotland coastline

Taking place in the university town of St Andrews, is the only festival dedicated to poetry in Scotland. At this UK poetry festival you can expect a wealth of readings, exhibitions and installations from some of the most exciting poets writing today.

The first theme of the poetry festival is around the concept of the coast, which draws in millions of people to each year. So as well as exploring how poetry engages to seas and rivers, you can look forward to poetry of witness, light verse or spoken word that is sure to make you laugh.

Date: 4th-8th of March, 2020

Tickets go on sale: Available now

Location: Various venues across St Andrews, Fife

Lancaster Literature Festival

Morecambe Bay coast

The final weekend of this week-long literature festival welcomes Ian McMillan to open poetry weekend. Considered to be one of Britain’s most loved poets, Ian McMillan explores witty observations of everyday life, and his working-class voice has truly made him a household name.

Join him at the Nuffield Theatre Lancaster University, where McMillan will read from his most recent book, To Fold the Evening Star.

On the Saturday, enjoy a double bill of Sean O’Brien and Victoria Adukwei Bulley, where the two very different poets are equally concerned with how our lives are affected by politics and history.

Following are Paul Farley and Tara Bergin, who make sense of the actual and imaginative world that we live in through their prize-winning poems.

Date: 20th-21st of March

Ticket Price: Adult £25; Concession £20; Student £15

Tickets go on sale: Available now

Locations: The Storey, Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Lyra: Bristol Poetry Festival

Clifton suspension bridge, Bristol

Making a return to the city of Bristol is this superb UK literacy festival which features an array of local, national and international poets, including Forward Prize-winning internet sensation, Danez Smith.

The themes of this poetry festival includes climate, nature and Bristol’s place at the forefront of the Romantic Poetry movement, hosted in spectacular venues found across the city.

Some of the events at this festival are free and are 100% wheelchair accessible.

Date: 13th-22nd of March, 2020

Ticket Price: Festival Pass £50.00, Festival Pass (including workshops) £65.00

Tickets go on sale: Available now

Locations: Various venues across Bristol

Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Cheltenham city centre

The theme for this UK poetry festival is ‘WILD!’, so whether you are inspired by the wild west, the great outdoors or are looking to free your tamed poet voice, the Cheltenham poetry festival is guaranteed to be a hit.

If you are looking to sharpen up your skills, take a look at the number of workshops that are available, or if you want the opportunity to meet some of your favourite literacy writers, this UK festival would be ideal.

Date: 16th-25th of April, 2020

Ticket Price: Various prices depending on event

Tickets go on sale: Available now

Locations: Various venues across Cheltenham

Nottingham Poetry Festival


The Newcastle Poetry Festival is set to make its 5th return this year, promising internationally renowned headliners which are supported by local acts.

This UK poetry festival has teamed up with Writing East Midlands to offer outstanding workshops, as well as working with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to create an exciting poetry project, this is one to not miss.

But, if you prefer poetry with a twist, then their poetry/wrestling mash-up is sure to spark some interest.

Date: 8th-17th of May, 2020

Ticket Price: Various prices depending on event

Locations: Various venues across Nottingham 

Kendal Poetry Festival

River Kent in Kendal

This UK literacy festival kicks off with a open night mic at Waterstones in the town of Kendal, where if you are brave you can perform your own poetry or enjoy an evening of lively poetic voices.

If you are hoping to perform at this event, simply turn up on the night and sing up at the door for £5. The money raised for this event will be put towards to providing bursaries for low-income/disabled writers to attend future festivals.

This vibrant and exciting weekend represents the poetry community in Cumbria, and is situated in a location which draws in plenty of poets each year.

Date: 18th-21st of June, 2020

Ticket Price: Weekend passes £45

Tickets go on sale: Available now

Locations: Waterstones, The Castle Green Hotel & Kendal Library, Kendal

Ledbury Poetry Festival, Herefordshire


Situated within striking distance of the majestic Malvern Hills, is the outstanding Ledbury poetry festival.

This UK poetry festival is ideal for those hoping to discover more about poetry or for those seeking a platform to perform their own poetry.

Look forward to hearing celebrated poets reciting a collection of their work, enjoy the free family-fun events or enter your own poems into the Ledbury poetry festival competition.

Location: Ledbury Town Centre, Herefordshire, HR8 1DS

Date: 3rd-12th of July, 2020

If you are looking to broaden your poetry knowledge before attending one of these UK poetry festivals, take a look at 9 things you didn’t know about William Wordsworth. If you are planning on attending one of the UK’s many poetry and literature festivals, why not book one of our holiday cottages or are you looking for ways to celebrate world book day?

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