Life in The UK: Oktoberfest | Hourglass Education

Dating back to 1810, Munich’s Oktoberfest has to be the biggest and best beer and folk festival of its kind. It originated as part of the wedding celebrations of the Bavarian king, Ludvig I.

These days, over six million visitors attend the fortnight-long event – and not just Germans, beer tourists from the UK can get there in under two hours and at around £200 for the plane ticket, it’s not going to break the bank. However, tickets sell out well in advance, and lots of would-be attendees end up being disappointed.

If you haven’t got your ticket for Munich’s Oktoberfest yet, never fear, it turns out that Bavarian beer, dirndls and loferls (bear with me…!) travel well. Variations of the festival will be popping up around the UK from now on until mid-November.

  • 27-28 September            Saltaire, West Yorkshire
  • 3-6 October                    London, Millwall Park
  • 5 October                       Liverpool
  • 5 October                       Maidstone
  • 10-13 October                London, Millwall Park
  • 11-12 October                Leeds
  • 16-20 October                Manchester
  • 24-26 October                London, Olympia

The best way to enjoy Oktoberfest must be to take it full on. A litre of Bavarian beer, with a hearty home-style meal is a good start. Costume is important too, though. Ladies are invited to wear the dirndl, a corseted dress with a nipped in waist and apron. And if you take it seriously enough, you will need to give some thought to where you wear the bow. If you tie it to the right, it means you’re married or in a relationship. If it sits on the left, you’re telling everyone you’re single. If you’d rather keep your relationship status to yourself, it should be in the middle. Those people with a bow at the back are a widow or a waitress. You have been warned!

For men, lederhosen are de rigur. Traditionally made from deer hide, these should sit just above the knee and shouldn’t be rolled up – turn-ups are also frowned on. Lederhosen should also fit snugly – so much so that a well-fitted pair will not leave room for underwear. For decades, Bavarian men have been going commando, but today briefs are seen as a matter of personal taste, and you’re unlikely to be sent out of the beer hall if you’d rather not!

Oktoberfest hipsters will also be sporting the traditional Bavarian loverls. To the uninitiated, these bizzare-looking garments may seem to be a cross between hiking socks and a dancer’s leg warmers. Nevertheless, every serious male Oktoberfester will be sporting them this Autumn, and why not? When in Munich…


Are you a Teacher in search of a UK opportunity that will allow you to experience Oktoberfest for yourself? Take a look at our international page here and find out how we can help you