15-23 August

Kilkenny, Ireland

Now in its 25th year, 1998's Kilkenny Arts Week promises to showcase an impressive range of cultural events. New this year is a series of plays; Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing can be enjoyed in the spectacular open-air setting of Kilkenny Castle grounds, and Beckett's Molloy will be playing for two nights after sell-out shows in Edinburgh and Dublin. There is even a programme for youngsters - film, dance and music workshops throughout the week, and a "major theatre spectacle", Strollers, produced by a local theatre group and children from across the county. On the literary front, there are readings from Bernard MacLaverty, Thomas Lynch and Peter Fallon, while the Butler Gallery presents a retrospective featuring work by Tony O'Malley, Rolf Hanson and Swedish artist Richard Long. Bo Skovhus, a young Danish baritone, will be making his debut in Ireland, and English soprano Catherine Boot will sing in St Canice's Cathedral on the final night.

16 August

Siena, Italy

Today, in the Italian city of Siena, Il Palio will have its second outing of the year. This notorious horse-race around the city's vast central square will be attended, as ever, by thousands of semi-riotous spectators, and the outcome will lead to ecstasy for some, tears for others. The winning horse - regardless of whether the rider is still on its back at the end of the race - is then mobbed like a superstar.

16 August

Durbuy, Belgium

Today is the last chance to see this little town's impressive Flower Carpet. Some 300,000 begonias are laid out in the Grand Place so that they appear to be part of an enormous oriental carpet. The finished article is about the size of a professional football pitch.

17-23 August

Long Beach, USA

Have you always secretly longed to be an extra in the final, kite-flying scene of Mary Poppins? If so,here is your chance. Kite fanatics from around the world will be getting together and flying their kites up to the highest heights on the Long Beach dunes this week as part of the annual International Kite Festival. And if that is not enough, the World Kite Museum is nearby. For more details, consult www.funbeach.com.

19-20 August

Hortobagy, Hungary

Hungary's National Tourist Office promises that the hamlet of Hortobagy, in the east of Hungary, is worth visiting for its "flora, shepherd traditions and ancient Hungarian animal species". What's more, the annual, centuries- old Bridge Fair hits Hortobagy this week. Held on the hamlet's large Nine- Arched Bridge, the fair includes folk-dancing, cattle markets and endless supplies of freshly cooked mutton stew. There will also be horse shows taking place in neighbouring Mata, but you had better book soon - the local hotel only has 78 rooms.

22-23 August

Chelmsford/Leeds, UK

No other British festival takes place on two sites at the same time, but V98 manages it with a weekend of music in the North and the South. Instead of filling the gap between Glastonbury and Reading, V98, now in its third year, arguably boasts the best line-up of the summer, with numerous appearances from the current eclectic chart set; The Verve and The Charlatans headline on the main stages, along with gigs from Texas, Robbie Williams, Lightning Seeds, Space, Green Day and Chumbawumba. Catatonia, Underworld and Fun Lovin' Criminals will be appearing on the NME stage, with All Saints and Cornershop holding forth in the dance tent. Let's hope it doesn't rain on this one.

22 August

Stockholm, Sweden

More than 4,000 talented young musicians from across Europe compete for a place in the EU Youth Orchestra, but only 140 make the grade. The musicians, aged between 14 and 23, will be playing excerpts from Strauss's Alpensymphonie, and Pohjola's Daughter by Sibelius.