29 Nov


If you are a chocoholic, this is your last chance to hit the Royal Horticultural Halls for a chocolate knees-up. The International Festival of Chocolate is the largest gathering of chocolate experts in the UK. Tastings and demonstrations combine with mouthwatering shopping opportunities. Also, students from the Royal College of Art will be sculpting huge blocks of Cadbury's chocolate into ... well, go and find out for yourself.

1 Dec-12 Jan


Just when our summer solstice is turning into a hazy memory, those lucky Australians are enjoying theirs. Each day at 11am, providing it is sunny, visitors to Olsen's Capricorn Caverns in Rockhampton can see an extraordinary natural show. A vertical beam of light, reflected from the Tropic of Capricorn, brings with it dazzling lights and reflected colours. There will also be carol-singing in the Cathedral Cavern, just in case Christmas crosses your mind.

2-3 Dec


The Chichibu Yo-Matsuri or, to the uninitiated, Chichibu city's all- night festival, is one of Japan's three principal float festivals. During the day, you can watch performances of kabuki - Japanese theatre based on popular legends, with elaborate costumes and stylised acting by an all-male cast. The real highlight of the festival, though, happens in the evening: a spectacular fireworks display and a parade of six lavish lantern-lit yatai, or floats.

2-12 Dec

Ivory Coast

The first World Festival of African Music is in Abidjan, gathering many artists influenced by African music. Ray Charles, Salif Keita, Johnny Clegg and BB King will join musicians from more than 90 countries, playing dance, gospel, folk, reggae, rock and rap. More than 50 concerts will be held around the country, and the festival will culminate in a gala evening when the World Festival of African Music Trophy will be awarded.

3-5 Dec


Stockholm - this year's cultural capital of Europe - is hosting the unusual dance event "OR", created by the acclaimed multimedia group Dumb Type. Founded in Japan in 1984, Dumb Type is an unusual combination of dancers, sound technicians, video artists, musicians and architects. They promise to produce an event which "is both an exhibition and an installation that reflects on areas that limit life and death". If you're in Sweden, see for yourself.

5 Dec


Star Trek's five-year World Tour is to be launched in style at the exhibition centre in Dusseldorf, the Messehalle. Guided by actor John de Lancie - more recognisable as Q - visitors will be beamed aboard the Starship USS Enterprise, a 4,000-square-metre attraction packed with special effects. The promoters guarantee that actors will appear in person, but do not specify exactly who. Sounds like Trekkie heaven to me.

5-6 Dec


In Bondowoso, East Java, the regular bullfight is very popular but it bears no resemblance to the Spanish kind - that is, no bloodshed is involved in this well-attended event and the risk to humans is minimal. Animals are encouraged to lock horns as a trial of their strength, with the loser running out of the paddock, usually pursued by the winner.