WHAT'S ON AROUND THE UK: World Cup rugby, world class music

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The Independent Travel
Plenty of foreign tourists will be homing in on the British Isles in the coming week to see the Rugby Union World Cup. The tournament kicks off on 1 October at the new Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and a month long festival of world rugby in grounds throughout the British Isles is set to follow, culminating in the final, also to be held in Cardiff, on 6 November.

As Wales is the major host of the competition, there are other activities of a similar theme being held throughout the country. One such event is the Celtic Rugby Festival which runs at the stadium in Pwllheli, north Wales, from 2 October until 7 November. Pwllheli (one of Wales' leading rugby clubs) is opening its doors to the public in the hope of exciting those with minimal knowledge of the sport. Mini tournaments and coaching clinics will feature (tel: 01758 613676).

If the mere thought of rugby depresses you profoundly, however, do not despair. Those in the region might instead head for the Swansea Festival of Music and Arts (tel: 01792 411570), which takes place from 2 to 20 October. Performances and exhibitions will be taking place in a variety of the city's venues.

Another music event starting this week is the Jersey Festival of World Music, running from 30 September until 3 October. This event, now in its twenty-fourth consecutive year, is one of the biggest on the island's cultural calendar. A wide range of music from many different cultures will be on offer.

Meanwhile, a musical event of a rather different nature will be taking place in the heart of Oxfordshire, Le Festival Aux Quat' Saisons (tel: 01844 278881). This event, which is being held at a 15th-century manor house situated in the Cotswolds near Oxford, will provide high-quality music from the likes of the Medici String Quartet and soprano Inessa Galante.

The concerts take place from 1 to 3 October and are priced from pounds 215 per person - oh yes, with a five-course dinner thrown in, prepared by renowned chef Raymond Blanc.

Contrasting action is happening elsewhere at opposite ends of the country.

In Scotland, the Speyside Whisky Festival (tel: 01340 821097) will be hosting talks, displays, and whisky-nosing and tasting events from 1 to 4 October. Meanwhile, in London, Detour (tel: 0171 580 9977), a project run by the Public Art Development Trust, consists of a series of walks in Paddington. Created by Polish-born artist Marysia Lewandowska, they are designed to explore the relationship between the city and its inhabitants.

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