Scottish history buffs can watch a heroic fight in the Borders when a famous 1590 battle is re-enacted. Caerlaverock Castle in Dumfries, then owned by the notorious Maxwell clan, was the site of a clash of swords with rival families. The day will include a demonstration of medieval drill and an artillery display. Visitors will also be able to tour an armoury camp featuring such fearsome weapons as a 12ft pike.



The centre of Paris commemorates the date that irrevocably changed the course of European history by erupting into one enormous party. The Storming of the Bastille celebrations see the streets of the French capital taken over by stalls selling cheap beer and a city-wide firework display. A more official and refined celebration of the start of the French Revolution is held in the medieval citadel of Carcassone.



Awe inspiring images of Lord Jagannath - the lord of the universe - his brother Balbhadra and his sister Subhadra are paraded through the streets of Puri, Orissa, in three immense chariots during the spectacular Rath Yatra festival. The main chariot is 45ft high and 33ft square with 16 wheels. This Hindu ceremony culminates with thousands of devotees pulling the chariots to the Gundicha temple more than a mile away.



Classical music in Prague leaves the opulence of the Opera House for summer evenings under the stars. The Open-Air Summer Opera Festival features arias from Verdi and Mozart in the courtyard of the Lichtenstein Palace. Even opera-phobics will enjoy the star-lit performances of such classics as The Magic Flute, La Traviata and Rigoletto.



More music, but this time of the interactive sort. The Verbier Festival and Academy takes classical music and theatre to the mountains not just for performances but for masterclasses too. This festival in the Swiss Alps also offers a chance to sing publicly in the choir, take tango lessons, go skiing on a glacier or play a round of golf.

16-17 JULY


Once a year, in the pretty Oxfordshire village of Brampton, opera lovers Jeremy and Jilly French stage a forgotten gem from an 18th-century composer. This year's treat is Nina, by Napoleon's favourite writer Paisiello. A small crowd of enthusiasts can enjoy the voices of young professional singers in the couple's Cotswold manor. The cast sings entirely in English, from a translation by Mr French. Bring a deckchair and a picnic.



The district of Comines is known as the "World's capital of the utilitarian ribbon" and the festival of the Marmousets celebrates the tradition of ribbon making which has kept the district in prosperity for the past 200 years. After the afternoon parade there will be a range of different activities in the town. Visitors will get a chance to investigate local craft and textile work, sheep shearing, popular games and concerts. The highlight is when the Marmousets (puppets symbolising the ribbon- making apprentices) are thrown from the balcony of the town hall.


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