Best Places to Hear Folk Music in the British Isles

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Learn about the best places to hear folk music in the British Isles, from the pubs of Dublin to the festivals of Scotland.


The term ‘folk music’ can mean different things to different people, but for the purposes of this article we’ll take it to refer to the traditional music of the British Isles. Folk music has a rich history in England, and there are many great places to hear it today. Here are just a few of the best.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are a rural area in south central England. The landscape is characterized by rolling hills and picturesque villages made of limestone. The region is home to a number of traditional folk music festivals, including the Fairport’s Cropredy Convention and the Towersey Festival.


Some of the best places to hear folk music in Cornwall are at the annual Cornwall Folk Festival and the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival. Both of these festivals attract folk musicians from all over the British Isles, and there are always plenty of opportunities to join in the singing and dancing. Other great venues for folk music in Cornwall include the Source Bottle Shop & Taproom in Liskeard and The Old Forge in St Just.


Lancashire is a historic county in the North West of England. The Lancashire Folk music scene is centred around the cities of Preston and Lancaster, but there are also active sessions in many of the small towns and villages across the county.

There are several regular pub sessions in both Preston and Lancaster, as well as a number of festivals and events throughout the year. The most notable of these is the Lancaster Music Festival, which takes place in October and features a wide range of folk and traditional acts from across the British Isles.


Scotland is a country with a long and varied history of folk music. From the wild and remote Highlands to the lively streets of Glasgow, there are many places to enjoy folk music in Scotland. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best places to hear folk music in Scotland.

The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye, located off the northwest coast of Scotland, is one of the best places to hear live folk music in the British Isles. The island has a long history of traditional music, and its residents are passionate about preserving and performing their musical heritage. Skye is home to several great folk clubs and festivals, and there are always plenty of opportunities to hear live music. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Scottish ballad or a lively reel, you’re sure to find it on the Isle of Skye.

The Outer Hebrides

Also known as the Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides are a chain of more than 100 islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland. The largest and most populous island in the group is Lewis and Harris, which together form one land mass. The capital city of Stornoway is located here, as well as the standing stones of Callanish, a well-preserved Bronze Age stone circle. Other notable islands in the group include North and South Uist, Barra, Benbecula, and Berneray.

The people of the Outer Hebrides have a long history of Celtic culture and music. This is evident in much of their traditional music, which is characterized by its use of traditional instruments such as the fiddle, bagpipes, and accordion. There are many opportunities to hear this traditional music on the islands, both in live performances and on recordings.


Glasgow is one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in the United Kingdom, and it is also home to a great folk music scene. There are many traditional pubs and live music venues in Glasgow where you can enjoy Celtic music, as well as contemporary folk music from Scotland and the rest of the British Isles. Here are some of the best places to enjoy folk music in Glasgow:

-The Blue Chair: This traditional pub is located in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City district and is one of the city’s most popular live music venues. The Blue Chair hosts regular folk music nights, featuring some of the best local and touring acts.
-The Tron Theatre: The Tron Theatre is a world-renowned theatre that also hosts regular folk music events. The theatre has a cosy atmosphere and provides a great setting for live music.
-The Gaelic Club: The Gaelic Club is a great place to enjoy traditional Celtic music. The club hosts regular live music events, featuring some of the best traditional musicians from across Scotland.


Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and is located in the western region of the British Isles. Wales is known for its Celtic culture and for its unique music. Traditional Welsh folk music is known for its use of the harp, as well as its distinctive vocal style. If you’re looking to experience traditional Welsh folk music, there are a few great places to visit.


Snowdonia is a mountainous region in northwestern Wales, named after Snowdon, which, at 3,560 feet (1,085 meters), is the highest peak in Wales. The region covers 838 square miles (2,170 square kilometers) and has a largely rural population.

The area is renowned for its picturesque scenery and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers. It is also home to a number of historic sites, such as the 13th-century castle at Dolwyddelan.

Snowdonia is also known for its traditional music. The region has a strong folk music tradition and is home to a number of well-known folk musicians.

The Brecon Beacons

Forming the central and southern part of Brecknockshire, The Brecon Beacons National Park is home to some of the country’s most beautiful and unspoilt scenery. The area has long been associated with traditional music and dance, and there are plenty of opportunities to hear folk music in the Brecon Beacons.

The Brecon Jazz Festival is one of the most popular events in the musical calendar, and takes place every year in late August. The festival presents a wide range of jazz styles, from traditional New Orleans jazz to more contemporary European jazz. There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy folk music in the Brecon Beacons National Park throughout the year. Local pubs and inns often have live music on offer, and there are a number of festivals and events which focus on traditional music and dance.


Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is located in the southern part of the country on the Bristol Channel. The city has a long history dating back to the Roman times, when it was known as Siluria. In more recent times, Cardiff has become a major center for culture and tourism, as well as being an important financial and commercial hub. The city is also home to a number of universities, making it a popular destination for students from all over the world.

When it comes to music, Cardiff has a lot to offer. The city is home to a number of excellent live music venues, as well as a number of festivals and events which celebrate traditional Welsh music. If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy some traditional Welsh folk music, then Cardiff is certainly worth considering. Here are just a few of the best places to hear folk music in Cardiff.

The Musician’s Arms
The Musician’s Arms is a traditional pub which hosts live music every night of the week. The pub has an excellent atmosphere and is always full of people enjoying the music. The pub regularly hosts Welsh folk bands, as well as other genres such as rock and pop.

The National Eisteddfod
The National Eisteddfod is an annual festival which takes place in different locations around Wales. The festival celebrates Welsh culture and heritage, with music being one of the main attractions. Folk bands from all over Wales come to perform at the event, making it one of the best places to hear traditional Welsh folk music.

St David’s Hall
St David’s Hall is a concert venue located in central Cardiff. The venue regularly hosts Folk concerts, as well as other genres such as classical and rock. St David’s Hall is one of the best places to see live music in Cardiff, with its excellent acoustics and great atmosphere.

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