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Unmissable September events

With air shows, food festivals, gaming expos and literary gatherings on the calendar this September, what better way to enjoy the last gasp of summer around England  before the weather turns cooler and the nights draw in?

1

Tour of Britain Grand Départ

Manchester, Lancashire

Cycling fans, rejoice! The Tour of Britain kicks off in the home city of British cycling and  the ‘Medal Factory’ (the National Cycling Centre) when it hosts the Grand Départ of the UK’s biggest professional cycle race. Greater Manchester sees Stage One of the race kick- off for the first time since 2019, which attracted over 600,000 spectators. Cheer your favourites on as they weave their way through all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, finishing on Manchester’s Deansgate. 

When? 3 September 2023

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2

Bournemouth Air Festival 2023

Bournemouth, Dorset

This FREE four-day extravaganza features incredible displays, including aerobatic teams like the Red Arrows, historic aircraft, Chinook helicopters and modern military jets such as the Typhoon ripping through the sky multiple times daily. Taking place between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers, this air show has wowed around 10.5 million people since launching in 2008 – the perfect treat for the kids before school starts again. Be sure to check out the land-based attractions, including vintage car displays, live music, funfairs and food and drink vendors. 

When? 31 August to 3 September 2023

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3

Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage 2023

Staithes, North Yorkshire

Get arty in the village of Staithes on the coast of North Yorkshire at this three-day festival. Known for its rich history of creativity and heritage, Staithes is will host pop-up galleries, sculptures, food and drink stalls, and live music on its cobbled streets. You’ll be spoilt for choice with a program of heritage activities, classes, talks and guided walks. 

When? 15 to 17 September 2023

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4

Open House Festival 2023

London

Check out this city-wide celebration of the different neighbourhoods, heritage and architecture which make London special. Explore the capital’s remarkable buildings and landscapes and take the opportunity to hear communities and housing organisations tell their stories. From themed walking tours to visits to buildings not usually open to the public such as Burlington House, home of the Royal Astronomical Society, this is a great chance to learn more about the buildings that make up this modern metropolis. 

When? 6 to 17 September 2023

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5

Bristol Coffee Festival

Bristol

A love letter to the South West Specialty Coffee Community; the organisers of this coffee festival have prepared a host of exciting new additions and surprises for you. Immerse yourself in the Green Coffee Village, explore offerings from over 40 fantastic exhibitors and listen and contribute to unique and thought-provoking coffee talks. If you fancy something a little stronger, the Bristol Cocktail Festival runs from 28 September to 1 October. 

Peckish? Be sure to swing by the Bristol Wing Fest (8 to 10 September) to load up on all flavours of tasty chicken wings from 15 vendors. 

When? 9 September 2023

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6

Malvern Autumn Show

Malvern, Herefordshire

The leaves are turning golden and, the nights are drawing in, so it’s time to make the most of the great outdoors with lots of tasty produce grown and made throughout the year. Marvel at record-breaking giant vegetables and showstopping floral displays, browse the visiting vendors to your heart’s content and have plenty of fun courtesy of quality family entertainment.

When? 22 to 24 September 2023

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7

Insomnia – The Gaming Festival

Birmingham, West Midlands

Founded in 1999, the Insomnia Gaming Festival is one of the biggest in the UK, welcoming 40,000 visitors and over 2,800 players to the Birmingham NEC for four days of non-stop, 24-hour gaming. Explore the brand new and upcoming releases, enter cosplay competitions, try your hand at Indie and tabletop games and, meet game creators and the stars of the gaming voice acting world. 

When? 7 to 10 September 2023

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8

The Jane Austen Festival

Bath, Somerset

While Bridgerton takes the world by storm, let’s not forget that the immersive Regency-themed fandom started with Jane Austen. The 2023 edition of this 10-day festival includes dancing, fencing, croquet and the Meryton Assembly Ball (where Elizabeth Bennett met her Mr Darcy). Immerse yourself in the festival’s highlight by joining the record-breaking Grand Regency Costumed Promenade with around 500 costumed Jane Austen fans.; This spectacular event begins at The Holburne Museum and continues across Pulteney Bridge, past many of Bath’s famous landmarks. 

When? 8 to 17 September 2023

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9

The Agatha Christie Festival

Paignton, Devon

Escape to the English Riviera for a riveting adventure at this annual festival to celebrate the life and legacy of the prolific queen of the “whodunnit” novel. The festival features high-profile speakers and performances of her plays and poetry, themed boat trips (period costume optional), walking tours, an underground cinema, and a garden party where you can learn about her early life as a pharmacist  – where else do you think she got her ideas for deaths by poison?

When? 8 to 17 September

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10

FREE Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool, Lancashire

Move over Vegas, the greatest free light show on earth is about to begin. The Blackpool Illuminations run until 1 January 2024, shimmering with six miles of traditional festoons (oversized fairy lights), fluorescent tableaux and interactive features along the promenade. If you fancy skipping the long walk, why not hop on a heritage double-decker tram for eye-pop views or an illuminated tram shaped like a ship. You have to see it to believe it!

When? 1 September 2023 to 1 January 2024

Light up your life in Blackpool
11

Walking East Yorkshire Festival

Throughout East Yorkshire

Blow away those cobwebs in the ‘Great Outdoors’ with a packed schedule of fun activities at the annual Walking East Yorkshire Festival. Whether you’re a walker, cyclist, horse rider, pub lover or history fan, the festival showcases 14 days of exciting events perfect for families, casual walkers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Enjoy the rolling rural landscapes, which inspired iconic artist David Hockney and take in the heritage coastline with chalk cliffs and abundance of wildlife before enjoying local food and drink at one of many cosy pubs and restaurants.  

When? 9 to 22 September 2023

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12

I Grew Up 80s

Worcester, Worcestershire

It’s hard to believe that the Eighties are now 43 years old! If you’re a fan of this eclectic decade of fluorescence, synth music, New Romanticism, Rubik’s Cubes, BMXs, big hair, roller discos, He-Man, She-Ra and ra-ra skirts, head to this free exhibition. You’ll find a lovingly curated Worcester time capsule of over 200 cultural treasures that showcase the youthful exuberance and flashiness of this beloved decade - amd entry is free. 

When? Until 9 September 2023

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Even more fun things to do this September

• History enthusiasts will get a kick out of this year’s two-week Gloucester History Festival. From  2 to 17 September, a former prime minister, a legendary rock star, war reporters, famous historians and many other notable figures will provide food for thought at a number of themed talks. The list is vast, but ones not to miss include, David Olusoga, Susie Dent, Jeremy Bowen and Robert Plant. 
• Head to Faversham in Kent for this free autumn family-friendly festival (2 to 3 September) that features over 70 bands and performers across four stages, dedicated busker areas and showcases of Morris dancing and other styles.
• Embrace your inner Mary Poppins and breeze over to the three-day St Anne’s Kite Festival in Fylde, Lancashire from 8 to 10 September. 
• The Freedom Arts Festival in Hull (30 August to 3 September 2023) is your go-to if you want to indulge in daring creativity. From spectacular events unfolding in public squares to intimate audiences and artist meetups, there’s something for everybody to be wowed by. 
• The chilling West End smash hit play 2:22 A Ghost Story is out on its national tour and heads to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal for a short stint from 19 to 23 September. You’ll want to think twice before staying up so late next time… 
• Combining a Victorian heritage skill with the backdrop of Neolithic Stonehenge in Salisbury, this fascinating weekend (9 to 10 September ) will show you traditional falconry birds in flight – as well as allowing you to get close to the Stone Circle to take that perfect snap. 

16 Nov 2023(last updated)

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Easter events in 2024

  • 1

    Manchester, Lancashire

  • 2

    Bournemouth, Dorset

  • 3

    Staithes, North Yorkshire

  • 4

    London

  • 5

    Bristol

  • 6

    Malvern, Herefordshire

  • 7

    Birmingham, West Midlands

  • 8

    Bath, Somerset

  • 9

    Paignton, Devon

  • 10

    Blackpool, Lancashire

  • 11

    Throughout East Yorkshire

  • 12

    Worcester, Worcestershire

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