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Somerset Carnivals

Somerset Carnivals

Somerset Carnivals

It can be tricky to convey to someone from outside the county just how important (and dazzling) the Somerset carnivals are. There are around 30 illuminated carnivals in the South West, but the most famous are often referred to as the ‘Magnificent Seven’. These are the Guy Fawkes carnivals and this ‘circuit’ takes place in November. Tens of thousands of people line the streets to watch these very special Somerset carnivals.

The 2019 carnival season has now drawn to a close. Get the following 2020 dates in your diary!

SOMERSET CARNIVALS 2020 dates & ROUTES

The Cross at Croscombe is located near to three Somerset carnivals; Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet and Wells. As you can see from the list below, these take place within a few days of each other. Carnival addicts could take in all 3! (View a comprehensive list of all the routes.)

Dates for 2020 are as follows;

            Bridgwater Saturday 7 November 6pm

            Highbridge & Burnham-on-Sea Monday 9 November 7:30pm

            Weston-super-Mare Friday 13 November 7:15pm

            North Petherton Saturday 14 November 7:00pm

            Midsomer Norton Mon 16 November 7:30pm (technically not one  of the ‘Magnificent Seven’)

            Shepton Mallet Wednesday 18 November 7:30pm

            Wells Friday 20 November 7:00pm

            Glastonbury Saturday 21 November 7:00pm

Roads on the main routes are closed prior to and during each event. (Ahead of the Wells carnival one of the local roads is used as a temporary car park as carts are parked up ready for the big event. It’s not a sight you expect to see as you visit the supermarket…)

Somerset carnivals

Carnival floats parked up in Wells

The South Somerset Circuit

These carnivals last for around an hour and a quarter. The carnivals scheduled in Somerset in 2020 are;

Wellington Date to be confirmed   

Ilminster Date to be confirmed       

Chard Date to be confirmed

Taunton Date to be confirmed

Below are some of the smaller carnivals in Somerset. Still magnificent, these events last around an hour.

Frome Date to be confirmed

Wincanton Date to be confirmed    

Castle Cary Date to be confirmed       

SOMERSET CARNIVALS ARE BIG & BRIGHT

It’s claimed that the Somerset carnivals are the largest illuminated processions in the world. And if you’ve been to a Somerset carnival you’ll know that it’s hard to argue otherwise. Carnival ‘carts’ are built and designed by carnival clubs around the county. Taking months to complete, these really are a labour of love and can cost thousands of pounds to produce.

Somerset carnivals

Each cart has a theme. The largest will be up to 100 feet in length and illuminated with thousands of bulbs. Carnival club members ride on the carts in fancy dress, often dancing/juggling/singing to pounding music. Hundreds of carts can take part in each of the processions, so a Somerset carnival can easily last for a couple of hours. Carts are judged and prizes awarded at each event.

The amount of entries to each carnival can vary as a few of the carts can be too long to naviagate some of the local streets. Bridgwater always kicks things off in style on the county circuit. Here, the crowd is usually in excess of 100,000! (Bridgwater carnival is held on the first Saturday in November.)

Somerset Carnivals

While the events are free to attend, they are designed to raise money for local causes. If you fancy experiencing one of the Somerset carnivals please take some change with you. And do remember to take some warm clothing (preferably with a pocket for a hip flask).

Happy carnivalling!

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