Things to do in October - days out and country events

October is a month for feasting on warming autumnal food and drink, spooky Halloween walks, food festivals and book fairs. Here's our pick of the best of outdoor and countryside events for October  

26th September 2017
Killhole Museum, northern Pennines stargazing
The Cheltenham Literature Festival: 6-15 October
​Enjoying the gardens at Cheltenham Literature Festival ©Peters Fraser and Dunlop
​Enjoying the gardens at Cheltenham Literature Festival ©Peters Fraser and Dunlop

For ten days in October, Cheltenham is transformed into a literary lover's dream, as over 600 of the world's finest writers, actors, politicians and poets help to celebrate the joy of the written word. 

Established in 1949, The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the oldest literary events in the world and features nearly 500 debates, interviews and workshops, with a feast of superstar speakers from award-winning novelists to Hollywood legends. Kick start your October with this fun and educational family friendly event in the heart of Cheltenham.

Find more about the Cheltenham Literature Festival

Women's Adventure Expo, Bristol: Saturday 7th October
Women in Adventure Expo
Anna McNuff shares stories from her adventures - including running the length of New Zealand/Credit: Tim Baker

Women's Adventure Expo returns to Bristol in October with a packed agenda of workshops and speakers to inspire women to get outdoors and have their own adventures in natural environments. Committed to making the enjoyment of countryside a more accessible place for women, the event is also a social enterprise and profits are used to help engage more women in outdoor pursuits. 

For more information and to book tickets, visit: womensadventureexpo.co.uk

Cliveden’s Apple Weekend: 7-8 October
​Enjoy a fun weekend exploring the historical orchards at Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire ©Getty
Explore the historical orchards at Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire ©Getty

Cliveden's apples are so delicious that an entire weekend has been dedicated to them. Learn about the orchard restoration in the Round Garden before wandering through the trees on of this beautiful Buckinghamshire estate. With cider-sampling and a range of apple-themed activities, Clivenden's Apple Weekend is perfect for connoisseur's and families alike. 

Find out about Cliveden’s Apple Weekend.

Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival: 11-14 October
Exploring the many different options at the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival ©Experience Nottinghamshire
There are more than 1,000 ales available at the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival ©Experience Nottinghamshire

With such a long history of brewing, it's no surprise that Nottinghamshire is so passionate about beer. Discover this rich county passion with a guided tour from your very own Robin Hood, accompanied by the sound of live music from the Victorian bandstand. There's plenty to sample, from modern craft beers to more than 1,000 ales and over 200 ciders. 

Find out more here.

Falmouth Oyster Festival: 12-15 October
​Falmouth Harbour decorated for the annual oyster festival ©Getty
​Falmouth Harbour decorated for the annual oyster festival ©Getty

Travel down to Falmouth this October and enjoy one of Cornwall’s biggest and best-loved specialist food festivals – Falmouth Oyster Festival. This annual celebration commemorates the start of the oyster dredging season, the native Fal Oyster and the diversity of Cornish seafood, with four days of feasting, cooking demos, live music, food and craft stalls.

The programme includes live music, top chefs and food experts, the Working Boat race, Grand Oyster Parade, shucking competition and a Grand Oyster Draw.

Walk Scilly Weekend - 12-16 October
North west coast, Bryher, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall ©Getty
North west coast, Bryher, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall ©Getty

Make the most of the stunning autumn colours by exploring the wilder side of the Isles of Scilly at the Walk Scilly Weekend.

Led by a knowledgable guide, you'll learn about the local wildlife and fauna and get a taste for island life. Step on to St. Mary's and unearth the fascinating history and archaeology, or take on a foraging walk. 

Lincoln Sausage Festival: 14 October
​Lincoln Sausage Festival ©Getty
​Lincoln Sausage Festival ©Getty

Celebrate the humble sausage this October with a trip to the Lincoln Sausage Festival Set within the grounds of Lincoln Castle, this lively event – ideal for a family day out – includes cooking demonstrations and a range of performances from The Cosmic Sausages, Juggling Jim, and even Mr Sausage himself.

British National Ploughing Championships and Country Festival: 14 and 15 October
​This year's championships will be held at Bishop's Lydeard, near Taunton ©Getty
​This year's championships will be held at Bishop's Lydeard, near Taunton ©Getty

Join the British National Ploughing Championships and Country Festival – celebrating its 67th year – for an action-packed weekend of mighty machinery and hardworking horses. Spread over two days, 260 ploughmen and ploughwomen will be competing in a range of categories, including reversible and conventional ploughs, young farmers, horticultural, high cut tractors, vintage tractors and classic ploughs. The will also be a number of workhorses on show, often a favourite among the families. 

Kielder’s Waterside Hut: throughout October
​Enjoy closer encounters with British wildlife at Kielder’s new waterside hide ©Kielder Wildlife
​Enjoy closer encounters with British wildlife at Kielder’s new waterside hide ©Kielder Wildlife

Looking to get up close to British wildlife this autumn? Head to beautiful Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland and prepare to be amazed. The award-winning Kielder Water and Forest Park contains England’s largest working forest and the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe. It is home to England’s biggest red squirrel population and in 2009, ospreys returned to the area following an absence of more than 200 years in Northumberland.

A fabulous, 21st-century wildlife hide has recently been designed and built on the shores of Kielder’s Bakethin Nature Reserve by University of Newcastle students. On a peaceful autumn day, head to the hide and unearth a hidden world of flora, fauna and feathered creatures from the vast, clear viewing areas.

Monmouthshire Food Festival: 14 – 15 October 
Monmouthshire Food Festival
Monmouthshire Food Festival ©Visit Wales

Experience the very best of the 'Food Capital of Wales' with a trip to the beautiful grounds of Caldicot Castle and Country Park and the Monmouthshire Food Festival. Watch demonstrations by Monmouthshire’s top chefs, then enter the Castle courtyard, greeted by an array of fantastic local producers offering everything from cider and wine to cheese and bread.

Find out more about the Monmouthshire Food Festival.

The Great Peak District Fair and Buxton Beer Festival: 14-15 October
Pavilion buildings and side of Opera House in the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire ©Getty
Pavilion buildings and side of Opera House in the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire ©Getty

Calling all foodie and beer-lovers! The Great Peak District Fair and Buxton Beer Festival is a truly autumnal feast. Browse more than 100 indoor and outdoor stalls and sample local produce from across the Peak District at Buxton's scenic Pavilion Gardens.

New Forest Walking Festival: 14-29 October
​Walkers enjoy a New Forest Walking Festival stroll in Ashurst ©The New Forest
​Walkers enjoy a New Forest Walking Festival stroll in Ashurst ©The New Forest

Explore the history, heritage and local wildlife of the New Forest with the park's fifth annual walking festival. Boasting 80 guided walks led by knowledgeable local experts, visitors to the New Forest Walking Festival have the chance to scratch up on their map-reading and bird-watching skills, while spotting remains a World War II prisoner of war camp.

Eat: Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset – 21 October
Eat: Turnham-On-Sea
Young fruit and veg seller ©Eat: Burnham-on-Sea

The organisers of Eat: Burnham-on-Sea pride themselves in their "award-winning free food and drink festival by the seaside". There is lots for the family to explore, from farm animals, tractors and musicians, to face painting, cookery workshops and demos.

Find out more here.

Northern Pennine Stargazing Festival: 21-29 October
Northern Pennine Stargazing Festival
Head to Killhope Museum at nightfall in the Northern Pennine Stargazing Festival ©Gary Lintern

Keep your eyes to the sky this Autumn Half Term at the Northern Pennines Stargazing Festival. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark is the perfect place to take advantage of the crisp October nights. Head to the pop-up Planetarium at Stanhope, Allendale and Alston, join an astrophotography workshop or build your own Bottle Rocket.

Isle of Wight’s half-term guided fossil walks: 23-27 October
​Fossil hunt this October half-term ©Getty
​Fossil hunt this October Half Term ©Getty

Take the kids exploring for pre-historic fossils this October Half Term. The fun-filled Dinosaur Isle museum offers guided fossil-walks at a number of different localities, from the nearby beach at Yaverland to Shanklin and Brook Bay. Try and find the world-famous foot-casts, discovering your own remains of a T-Rex.

To find out more and book an archaeological day out, click here

Bletchley Park’s ‘Blackout Bletchley’: 27 October
​A View capturing the back of The Bletchley Park Estate ©Getty
​A View capturing the back of The Bletchley Park Estate ©Getty

Experience ‘Blackout Bletchley’, located in the rural suburbs of Milton Keynes. Spend an evening transported back to a dark October night in 1944. In this exciting new immersive event, experience what night-time residents got up to at work and play. Don’t forget to wrap up warm and bring a torch! Of course, in this dimly-lit world of ciphers, spies and secrecy nothing is what it seems; be prepared for some surprises along the way...

See Bletchley Park website for more details

Bram Stoker International Film Festival - 27-30 October
Whitby abbey ©Getty
Whitby abbey ©Getty

Scare yourself to death at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. Enjoy a scary treat of Dracula delights in the spectacular surroundings of Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire. 

This annual event of spooky films is held in honour of the Dracula author, who found inspiration in the fishing town while writing his creepy classic.

Naturally North Coast & Glens Halloween Artisan Market, Ballycastle: 29 October
​Spend a day at the Glens Artisan Market this Autumn ©Discover Northern Ireland
​Spend a day at the Glens Artisan Market this Autumn at Ballycastle ©Discover Northern Ireland

Naturally North Coast and Glens Market is an artisan market in and around the North Coast and Glens region of Northern Ireland. Market visitors can enjoy colourful art and crafts, fresh food produce and live music. 

Spend your Great Day Out at this Halloween Artisan Market.

 

Main image ©Gary Lintern

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