October is officially autumn and, in the UK, there are plenty of fun ways to make the most of the new season. From food and music festivals to woodland walks and spooky adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
With that said, here are 11 things to do and places to visit in the UK in October.
1. Cheltenham Literature Festival, Gloucestershire
If you love all things literature, you won’t want to miss The Times and Sunday Times’ Cheltenham Literature Festival this October. This globally renowned festival is set in the heart of Cheltenham and is known for being a unique celebration of the written and spoken word.
Introducing some of the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside high-profile speakers, this year, the festival will welcome the likes of Jojo Moyes, Chris Packham, Elizabeth Day, Sadiq Khan, Brian Cos, Tim Peake, and Heather Morris. Walk about performances, mystery trails, arts and crafts, and storytellers are also planned.
To find out more about what to expect, check out the full festival programme on the Cheltenham Festivals website. The Cheltenham Literature Festival will take place from 6th to 15th October 2023.
2. Try for a world title at the World Conker Championships, Northamptonshire
If you like the sound of becoming a world champion, why not try your chances at the World Conker Championships in Northamptonshire this year? The game of conkers involves using conkers threaded onto a string to strike your opponent’s nut until it shatters. Simple, right?
Players from around the world enter the Northamptonshire championships, which make it a fun, lively, and exciting day out. Plus, since its beginnings in 1965, the World Conker Championships has raised £420,000 for charity – so you’ll be contributing to a good cause too.
The World Conker Championships will take place on 8th October 2023, and you can enter on the competition’s official website below.
For those who aren’t interested in taking part, luckily, the championships take place in the picturesque village of Southwick, which is a delight to explore.
3. Discover new films at the BFI London Film Festival, London
If you’re a film fanatic, you won’t want to miss the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival, which will take place from 4th to 15th October. This is the place to discover some of the world’s best new films, series, and immersive storytelling.
Since its beginnings in 1933, the BFI has grown to become the most important single institution in British film – and its festival attracts an increasingly international crowd of spectators and filmmakers.
You can attend the heart of the festival in person at London’s South Bank or West End venues, or visit one of the BFI’s partner cinemas across the UK if London is too far from you. For a full list of all the films and works showing at this year’s festival, head over to the BFI London Film Festival website.
4. Explore the best of contemporary art and culture at Belfast International Arts Festival, Belfast
This year, Belfast International Arts Festival returns for its 61st year with a fresh programme of contemporary arts and culture. Covering 20 different venues across the city of Belfast, expect to see some of the very best international and local artists in theatre, music, dance, film, literature, and visual arts.
Highlights include an evening with the Belfast Ensemble and Marc Almond at Belfast’s Grand Opera House, discussions with authors including Gary Younge and Jacqueline Crooks, and a special performance from much-loved folk artist Cara Dillon. You can find a full festival lineup on the event’s official website.
This year you can enjoy everything that Belfast International Arts Festival has to offer between 12th October and 5th November.
5. Breathe in crisp autumn air on a woodland walk, UK-wide
Exploring some of the UK’s wonderful woodlands and forests can be particularly enjoyable during the autumn months, when the leaves have started to fall and the colours of the landscape change.
Grabbing your coat, breathing in the crisp autumn air, and hearing the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet is one of autumn’s unique delights. And in the UK, where forests and woodlands cover just over one-eighth of the total land areas, you’ll be spoilt for choice when choosing where to explore next.
Whether you fancy a stroll, a hike, mountain bike adventure, or wish to spot wildlife, our article, 16 of the best woodlands and forests to visit in the UK, should offer some inspiration.
6. Go on a spooky adventure, UK-wide
October is officially spooky season, so for the horror and thrill-seekers among us, it’s time to get excited for the various Halloween-themed events and attractions that will be taking place this month.
From ghost walks and haunted villages to paranormal investigations and horror-themed escape rooms, check out our article; 12 spooky adventure ideas for Halloween and beyond, for ideas on where to go.
Alternatively, if you’d like to get into the Halloween spirit but a spooky adventure isn’t up your street, why not visit a pumpkin patch instead?
Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween – and going to pick your own before decorating it at home can be a fun activity for everyone to enjoy. Check out this list of the best pumpkin patches to visit in the UK from Country Living for inspiration.
7. Enjoy delicious food and drink at Broadstairs Food Festival, Kent
If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss the Broadstairs Food Festival this autumn. Set up in 2009 with the intention of showcasing Broadstairs’ wonderful range of independent shops, pubs, and restaurants, the festival has become a beloved celebration of some of Kent’s local food and drink producers.
Join local and Michelin-starred chefs – including Stephen Harris and Dan Smith – in the Kitchen Theatre for demonstrations; enjoy a five-course menu that’ll take you from Japan to Europe under a canvas in Victoria Gardens; or immerse yourself in tasting sessions of tequila and natural wine. Check out the full festival line up on the official website to find out what else to expect.
Broadstairs Food Festival will begin on Friday 29th September and end on Sunday 1st October. And even better news is that it’s completely free to enter.
If you’re not much of a foodie, the festival also intends to encourage visitors to explore the wonderful coastal towns of Broadstairs, Margate, and Ramsgate. Why not visit some of the town’s museums or spend an afternoon playing crazy golf?
8. Taste great drinks at Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival, Nottinghamshire
If you’re looking for somewhere to clink glasses with loved ones and hear the buzz of happy chatter, Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival could be for you. Featuring an exciting range of beers, ciders, brewery bars – all complemented by a fantastic lineup of live music and delicious street food stalls – this is a fun day out you won’t want to miss.
Plus, this year’s festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, with several hundred beers and around 150 ciders and perries on offer. In fact, the festival offers the largest selection of ales of any festival in the world and covers the widest possible range of beer styles.
The Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival is held at Trent Bridge cricket ground and will take place between Wednesday 11th October and Saturday 14th October.
9. Have a laugh at Birmingham Comedy Festival, West Midlands
If you fancy a laugh this October, then a trip to Birmingham Comedy Festival might be the ideal day out for you. This independent, award-winning festival has hit the streets of Birmingham every year since 2001, winning five What’s On Readers’ Awards for Best Festival – and it continues to draw crowds from all over.
With a line-up celebrating both local talent and big names, this year’s programme includes the likes of Josh Jones, Maureen Younger, James Cook, and Susie McCabe. Sit back and have a laugh while tucking into the tasty food on offer. You can find a full programme on the Birmingham Comedy Festival website.
The Birmingham Comedy Festival is held at The Glee Club and will take place from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th October 2023.
10. Get your groove on at Musicport Festival, North Yorkshire
Musicport is a family-friendly world music festival held in the historic seaside town of Whitby, on the northeast coast of Yorkshire.
Featuring three main stages, as well as open-mic sessions, a pop-up comedy theatre, and DJ hub for dancing, this year’s lineup includes David Neil Crabtree, Hayley McKay, Harp and a Monkey, and Joe Solo. You can find a full lineup on the Musicport Festival website.
There are also food and drink vans to enjoy, as well as kid’s activities, art and dance workshops, and a world market. Musicport Festival will take place from 20th to 22nd October 2023.
There’s also plenty to see and do in Whitby itself, which is just a 10-minute walk away, if you’d like to extend your stay. Visit the famous abbey, wander around the harbour, venture into the Captain Cook Museum, or explore the cobblestone streets and shops in the old town.
11. Grab your walking boots for Dursley Walking Festival, Gloucestershire
With falling leaves and changing colours, October is a wonderful time to enjoy a walk amongst nature. So, if you fancy getting your walking boots on this autumn, why not join in the Dursley Walking Festival?
Set in the charming town of Dursley, this is your chance to explore spectacular countryside through a variety of planned walks. With over 30 walks for all ages and fitness levels, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – whether you fancy a leisurely stroll along gentle trails or a more challenging trek that offers scenic views. You’ll likely meet a range of like-minded people along the way too.
Check out the full walking programme on the festival’s official website to book your free walk. The Dursley Walking Festival will take place from Wednesday 4th to Sunday 8th October 2023.
It’s officially autumn in the UK, and October is a fantastic time to make special memories with loved ones. From walking festivals and pumpkin patch picking to tasting craft beers and watching conker championships, which October adventure takes your fancy?
For further reading, head over to the art and culture and travel sections of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from popular days out to hidden treasures and iconic film set locations you can visit in the UK.
What are your plans for October? Have any of the ideas on our list sparked your interest? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.