Best UK Poetry Festivals

Everyone loves a great festival. Days of standing out in a field amongst a hoard of bohemians, eating a pot noodle, getting covered in beer and glitter, and listening to your favourite bands. Whilst it can be argued that poetry festivals can be enjoyed regardless of how much glitter you have adored on your person, they are altogether different but brilliant. Here is a list of the biggest yearly poetry festivals in the UK that are not to be missed (this year or next)!


Kendal poetry festival

Picture Credit: Kendal Poetry Festival

2022 celebrates the FIFTH year of the Kendal Poetry Festival which boasts a hybrid offering this year, hosted both in person and online. The in-person festival will be being held at Brewery Arts Centre this year and what an exciting line up there appears to be. Including readings from Joelle Taylor, Imtiaz Dharkar, Paul Batchelor, and Rachel Mann to name a few. You can check out the whole list on their website.

Looking to take your children to a poetry festival?Kendal Poetry Festival advocates ‘poetry for all’ and this is seen most keenly in their list of events which includes children’s poetry day, Rucksack of Rhymes (for the real youngsters) and a Young Poets workshop. They also include a multitude of open mics open to all whether you are at the festival or participating online; everyone gets to play.

One of the massive benefits of KPF is their unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion; not only do they provide bursaries to people who may be unable to afford to come ‘(including free access to most events, free accommodation, and help with travel costs)’ but also offer free tickets to every participant with disabilities, and every participant under the age of 18. If ever a festival was advocating for ‘poetry for all’ Kendal Poetry Festival, is it.

Dates: 23rd-26th June 2022



Verve Poetry Festival

Photo Credit: Verve Poetry Festival.

Whilst it may have come and gone this year, another festival to be on the look out for next year is Verve festival. Billed as ‘A Birmingham festival of poetry and spoken word’, they also adopted for a hybrid approach this year, with some events taking place virtually as well as in person. Verve is partnered with four local universities (Birmingham, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton, and Worcester) and is packed FULL of award-winning poet performances and open mics. During their festival they host a poetry competition that is free to enter if you have purchased a festival ticket and each year, they receive brilliant poems from all over the nation.

What is fantastic about this festival is they continue to host and plan events throughout the calendar year that anyone can participate in. Their website boasts that they host ‘a quarterly night, a monthly open mic night AND we’re partnering with the BBC on Contains Strong Language Festival’.

Even though you may have missed this year’s festival offering from them you can continue to get your poetry fix throughout the year. Not one to be missed!

Festival 2023 Dates: 15th-19th February 2023.



Newcastle Poetry Festival

(Photo credit: Northern Stage)

NPF boasts exclusive readings by world-class poets, workshops with award-winning writers, performances from spoken word artists, [and] open mic events.’ At the top of the bill for this year was the Archbishop of Stanza-bury himself Simon Armitage the UK Poet Laureate, followed up by some startling award-winning poetic talent such as Grace Nichols, Hannah Lowe, Joelle Taylor, Jackie Kay and many more!

The theme of the festival this year was ‘Emergency’ and poets came from all over the country to gather and celebratethe  resilience of the human spirit through what has been a turbulent past two years and to look for the future and, in their words, ‘make the case for hope.’

Whilst there are currently no dates given for next year’s festival, we are certain there will be one after such a strong line-up for 2022. Keep your eyes peeled on their website for more information on when and where you can purchase your tickets.


Festival Dates: 5-7th May 2023

London Literature Festival

Although this is not technically a festival dedicated to just poetry, the London Literature festival is a massive event hosted at Southbank Centre south of the bank in Central London. It’s the longest-running literature festival in the city and it’s objective is to unite readers of every age to celebrate the written and spoken word.

You can expect to play fun poetry games, watch renowned guests like Rob Delaney speak in seminars, and mix with likeminded poetry nerds!


Festival Dates: 20-30th October 2022

Too late for the festivals? Or want something more? Check out our poetry comedy podcast ‘I Hate Poetry’ hosted by Dylan J Kershaw and Charlie Pidcock.

Charlie Pidcock is a music artist from the midlands and also co-hosts "I Hate Poetry."

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