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Add these October events to your autumn checklist

With exhibitions, food fairs and Halloween on the cards for October, what better way is there to enjoy the changing of the seasons? Oh, and not forgetting the new Disney exhibition taking over the 20,000 square feet of London’s ExCel Centre!

1

October events: Isle of Wight Walking Festival

Isle of Wight, Hampshire

Combine your love of walking with  fundraising for good causes at this annual festival, with a clutch of fun new events for 2023. New for this year is a 5km Dash in the Dark Walk to raise funds for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. If you love a stately home, why not delve into the history of Northwood House and its 23-acre estate on an all-access tour? Eco warriors can also enjoy three new walks that focus on caring for the environment, and if you’re feeling super selfless, join in on a litter- picking session and beach clean during the daytime. With around 55 different activities, there is something for everybody to enjoy. 

When? 7 – 15 October 2023

Find out more
2

October events: Queer Nature

Kew Gardens, London

Discover a hidden side to nature. The Queer Nature exhibition explores the vibrant world of plants and fungi – all through a queer lens. This pioneering event celebrates the beauty of flora and fungi through arts, science, horticulture and LGBTQ+ communities. Kew’s famous Temperate House will be transformed into a living art installation and feature suspended art by Jeffrey Gibson. Keep an eye out for special talks and after-hours events during the exhibition, where Kew scientists, horticulturists, writers and drag artists offer their perspectives on queerness and nature. 

When? 30 September to 29 October 2023
 

Look beyond the binary
3

October events: East Midlands Food Festival

Melton Mowbray, East Midlands

Melton Mowbray celebrates its eponymous delicacy, along with other artisan treats this month. Granted a Protected Geographical Indication for its delicious pork pies, the rural foodie capital bustles with a swath of stalls filled with the freshest countryside produce. Chomp on Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Stilton cheese and try exotic delicacies too, including ostrich burgers and Persian dishes – a nod to the area’s multicultural community.

When? 7 to 8 October 2023
  

Find more food festivals
4

October events: Gameshow Studios

London

If you remember the heydays of television quiz shows such as Family Fortunes and Generation Game or have a soft spot for Pointless, this brand-new interactive experience is for you. Share a booth with your chosen team of up to six people and answer live questions surrounded by all the fancy tech, dramatic music and bright lights that TV gameshows are famous for – including that tense fastest-finger-first buzzer. And what’s more, there won’t be any TV cameras to make you nervous, or worse, a meme! Make a night of it with a meal and drinks served at your booth. 

When? From Autumn 2023

Hit the buzzer to find out more
5

October events: Sinatra The Musical

Birmingham

Ratpack fans rejoice; this brand-new jukebox musical at the acclaimed Birmingham Rep follows the epic journey of iconic artist and cultural legend Frank Sinatra. Creatively retelling his story from his earliest days on stage, his meteoric ascent to fame in Vegas, his battles with temptations and his extraordinary comeback tours toward the end of the century. With a talented cast of over 20 actors and the creative genius of two Tony award winners - writer Joe DiPietro and director Kathleen Marshall - Sinatra the Musical  promises top-tapping tunes and a heartfelt story. 

When? Until 28 October 2023

Nostalgia awaits in Birmingham
6

October events: Disney100 - The Exhibition

ExCel Centre, London

Celebrate 100 years of the cultural behemoth  that is Disney, with a day out at this ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibition. Disney 100: The Exhibition is the largest showcase from The Walt Disney Archives ever created and will go on tour around Europe, setting up shop at the ExCel Centre in London Docklands until 2024. Wander through over 20,000 square feet of Disney memorabilia and artefacts laid out in ten imaginatively themed galleries. The perfect outing for the Disney fan in your life. 

When? From 13 October 2023

Have a magical Disney Day out
7

October events: Dartmouth Food Festival

Dartmouth, Devon

The Dartmouth Food Festival is back this month to celebrate the best food, drink and cooking skills from the South West. With an exciting mix of delicious regional food and drink from 100 local producers (with the majority from Devon itself), demonstrations by big-name chefs, workshops and lively food debates, it’s a foodie’s heaven. Walk the 13-mile Dart the Dart food trail from Totnes to Dartmouth to get an authentic taste of the region.

When? 20 to 22 October 2023

Find more food festivals
8

October events: The Dark Arts at The Making of Harry Potter

Watford, Hertfordshire

Cloaks on, wands ready. It’s time for the spookiest, most magical time of the year for Potterheads, as the Dark Arts have taken over the Harry Potter studios. For two months, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford has been infiltrated by the dreaded symbol of Lord Voldemort, the Dark Mark. Projected throughout the tour, the Mark will lead you through all the Harry Potter film sets, from the Great Hall with its 100 floating pumpkins to the Forbidden Forest filled with giant spiders. If you’ve memorised your spells, you can even take part in a live duel with costumed Death Eaters. Imperio!

When? 15 September to 5 November 2023

Battle the Death Eaters
9

October events: Reddish Vale Farm Nights

Stockport, Greater Manchester

Bedsheet ghosts, toilet-paper mummies and aspiring witches are welcome to join in the fun at Reddish Vale Farm’s Halloween event. Taking place this October, this farmyard festival has many activities and attractions to keep your little devils entertained. Ride the Spooky Express tractor tide, try Vampire Archery, get lost in the straw maze and pet the farm’s smallest animals. Kids can also pick their own pumpkin before taking it to the Carving Cavern to create a haunting masterpiece.

When? 7 to 29 October 2023

Have fun in a spooky Stockport farm
10

October events: 100 Years of the Flower Fairies (FREE)

Birkenhead, Merseyside

Escape to a world of botanical enchantment at Birkenhead’s Lady Lever Art Gallery this October to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Flower Fairies, Cicely Mary Barker’s iconic series of illustrated books that brought together flowers and fantasy for millions of children worldwide. Featuring around  45 original illustrations, the exhibition also features digital projections and whimsical costumes inspired by the fairies designed by Vin Burnham, 

When? Until 5 November 2023

Find the fairies in Birkenhead
11

October events: Thorpe Park Fright Nights

Chertsey, Surrey

Gather your brood of teenagers this Halloween and take a trip to the dark side at England’s most notorious event at Thorpe Park. For over two decades, the Fright Nights celebration has preyed on its visitors’ deepest fears with its creepy atmosphere, infamous mazes and spine-chilling scare zones. And this year, it returns for another fearful celebration. Visit the island on dates throughout October to experience thrilling rides in the dead of night (including the sick and twisted games of Jigsaw on SAW – The Ride), escape lunatic lumberjacks in brand-new scare mazes and witness an awe-inspiring fire and light display.

When? 6 to 31 October 2023

Find out more
12

October events: The Ford and Etal Scarycrow Trail

Ford and Etal, Northumberland

Head to the adjoining northern estates of Ford and Etal for a day of spooktastic scarecrow spotting with the little ones. Handmade by the villagers, these frightening, funny and fangtastic creations dot the two estates – be sure to pick up a sheet to check them all off as you wander around the pretty hamlets and country lanes. Once you’re finished, head to Northumberland’s only thatched roof pub The Black Bull (theblackbulletal.co.uk) in Etal for locally- brewed ale and a tasty, warming meal. 

When? Monday 23 to Tuesday 31 October 2023

Spot the spooky scarecrows

More exciting October outings

• Discover the history of Britain’s relationship with faith at the brand-new Faith Museum at Auckland Castle in County Durham (Opening 7 October 2023).

• Experience “all the fun of the fair” at the 200-year-old Goose Fair in Nottingham, which brings together over half a million visitors and 250 ride attractions to celebrate that squawky farmyard bird (until 8 October 2023).

The Electric Medway Festival in Kent (27 to 29 October 2023) comprises three days of cutting-edge digital experiences, such as VR cinema, augmented reality history trails and live electronic music.

• Celebrate the humble yet versatile apple with a peaceful getaway in Ledbury, Shropshire at the Dragon Orchard, combined with on-sire cider tastings and learn how the “liquid gold” is made. 

• Japan meets the Cornish countryside at the Inspired by Lanhydrock exhibition (Until 31 October 2023), where esteemed Japanese artist Hitomi Hosono unveils 10 new pieces, inspired by the area’s beautiful flora. Think delicate petals and graceful stems, which embody Hosono’s style.

• Head to Bramley, the birthplace of the famous cooking apple (28 October 2023) for the annual Bramley Apple Festival, where you can sample tasty treats like pies, chocolates, jams, chutneys, pickles and even sausages. 

24 Oct 2023(last updated)

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  • 1

    Isle of Wight, Hampshire

  • 2

    Kew Gardens, London

  • 3

    Melton Mowbray, East Midlands

  • 4

    London

  • 5

    Birmingham

  • 6

    ExCel Centre, London

  • 7

    Dartmouth, Devon

  • 8

    Watford, Hertfordshire

  • 9

    Stockport, Greater Manchester

  • 10

    Birkenhead, Merseyside

  • 11

    Chertsey, Surrey

  • 12

    Ford and Etal, Northumberland

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