Whilst we’re mentioning game events in the UK, remember that the biggest public game show in the UK is on in Birmingham, 3rd-5th June 2011. Covering a lot of different game styles, modern Euros, RPGs, CCGs, miniatures and online/LAN games, UK Games Expo is the closest to the Essen show you’ll get here. There are loads of UK publishers there, and retailers with some nice bargains. Most of the main UK game designers attend, and it’s a very friendly atmosphere. There’s a bring and buy, and loads and loads of game demos. Everybody will have games for you to try out, just walk up and ask. UK Games Expo has been going for a few years now, and they’ve got very well organised. Again, lots of people go down by Friday and get a full weekend of gaming in. There’s lots to keep kids amused too, especially on the Saturday and Sunday.
You can buy your tickets in advance (quickly, the online booking closes soon) and their website has a ton of info, starting with this helpful Beginner’s Guide. UK Games Expo is not a Con, but a public show anybody can go to. Take plenty of cash, you’ll want to buy a lot of the games you’ll play there.