Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire: Sept 1 – 5 Nov
Edwardian Blackpool lit up the night sky to celebrate the town’s first royal visit. Since then, seasonal visitors have been treated to a dazzling light show
Today, more than a million bulbs flash, sparkle and twinkle along Blackpool’s famous promenade from the end of August until November. One of the best ways to experience the lights is to take one of the heritage trams along the seafront. Be sure to book early though as the tours are very popular.
Why not take in with the World Fireworks Championships which take place in Blackpool on each Friday in September. It’s all free and a wonderful companion to the illuminations. This year sees Poland, France and South Africa competing for the crown with a special display by the UK to accompany the winner announcement on 29 September.
World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, Ramsbottom: 2nd Sunday in September
You can relax and enjoy the spectacle of black pudding throwing or take part and compete against others in this modern-day war of the roses.
The black pudding used in the competition travels from Bury to Ramsbottom via steam train.
Broadstairs Food Festival, Kent: 29 Sep – 1 Oct
Local, award-winning produce, live demonstrations and much much more on the Kent coast overlooking the sandy Viking’s Bay.
This globetrotting gastronomic event allows you to sample an extensive choice of cuisines including Italian, Thai, Chinese and British. These and more can be found in and around the town. Live demonstrations by local restaurateurs, students and tutors from the local college are held in the Kitchen Theatre.
Slindon Pumpkin Festival, West Sussex: 30 Sept – 31 Oct
Slindon, a National Trust village near Arundel in West Sussex, plays host to a celebration of gourds and squashes. Each year the Upton family create an enormous artwork entirely from pumpkins displayed proudly on their barn.
The village also offers fantastic walking opportunities having the South Downs on its doorstep as well as the enchanting Slindon woods.
Nottingham Goose Fair: 4 – 8 October
The Fair is one of Nottingham’s oldest traditions, dating back to the 13th century.
Legend has it that it that Goose Fair got its name from the hundreds of geese, which were once driven from Lincolnshire to Nottingham to be sold.
This family favourite offers over 500 attractions so There’s always something for everyone to enjoy, including the Fair’s ‘famous’ mushy peas!
Cheltenham Literature Festival, Gloucestershire: 6-15 October
Started in 1949, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. Early in October, Cheltenham is transformed as more than 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians and poets take part in a festival designed to celebrate the written word.
Comprising nearly 500 workshops, debates and interviews there is also the Book It! Festival running alongside aimed at families and young readers
Lincoln Sausage Festival: 14 October
The approach, via the walk up Castle Hill, is heady with the smell, and sound, of sizzling sausages. Be prepared to be amazed at the wonderful flavours available especially the local Lincolnshire sausages that have a very precise list of ingredients
There are many recipe and cooking demonstrations taking place during the day so everyone from the novice to the sausage connoisseur is catered for. Of course if you’d rather savour the sausages cooked fresh on your cottage BBQ, there are many stalls selling all sorts.
Newcastle/Gateshead Juice Festival: 22-28 October
October half-term can be a challenge when it comes to entertaining the children. The Juice Festival, held in and around the Newcastle and Gateshead area runs all week and is organised by children, for children, but with a wide range of performances, film screenings and workshops designed to entertain and inspire visitors of all ages.
Graffiti artists make their mark on the Juice Art Jam, one of the UK’s longest graffiti walls (legal!), both theatre and dance are used to demonstrate how global and domestic issues affect young people.
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Festival, Somerset: 4 Nov
Ever heard of squibbing? Back in the beginning of the 1600s the people of Somerset took effigies of Guy Fawkes to be burnt after the foiled Gunpowder plot, giving rise to this long-standing carnival.
Over 100 floats accompany music and dancing along the parade route through the streets of Bridgwater. The procession ends with squibbing where hundreds of fireworks on sticks are held aloft and lit en masse firing showers of sparks high into the air.
Aboyne Festival of Artisans, Scottish Highlands: 12 Nov
This is one of the UK’s smallest, yet perfectly-formed, festivals. Wonderful chances to both try and buy local produce and locally created crafts. The festival takes place indoors at The Boat Inn, so whatever the weather you are assured of a warm welcome and wonderful food and drink.
Christmas Craft Fair, Brodie Castle, Moray, Scotland: 24-26 Nov
Brodie Castle and the stables host dozens of exhibitors offering both sweet and savoury treats, as well as collections of jewellery, clothing with contemporary and traditional accessories, all made with love in Scotland.
Hay-on-Wye Winter Food Festival, Brecknockshire, Wales: 25 Nov
Hay-on-Wye’s one-day Food Festival is limited to just 50 local producers to ensure the quality is the best. Entertainment from local brass bands, male voice choirs and folk musicians accompany the fine food on offer.
Now in its 6th year, this fledgling food festival is growing in leaps and bounds
Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Powys: 27-28 Nov
The Royal Welsh Winter Fair has become one of the most popular on the British agricultural show circuit. Farmers and livestock producers from all over the UK compete over two days for the ultimate accolade.
Apart from the livestock, Welsh food producers showcase their produce and Christmas shoppers can explore the hundreds of trade stands, demonstrations and exhibitions and festive atmosphere. Complete with a free fireworks display on the Monday evening, The Royal Welsh Winter Fair is not to be missed!