What’s on in the West Country this week (10-16 September 2016)

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Get out and about with our essential guide to what’s on in the West Country this week (from Saturday 10 to Friday 16 September 2016). With festivals aplenty, celebrating everything from Agatha Christie to hot air balloons plus all manner of foodie delights, as well as welly boot throwing, bug hunts and button making and more, across Wiltshire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.


Swindon and Cricklade Railway Wartime Weekend

Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Come along to the Wartime Weekend and see an outstanding collection of military vehicles and hardware with re-enactment groups recalling aspects of life on the front and at home, plus people dressed in their 1940s attire!

Avebury Day

Saturday 10 September 2016

Avebury is a truly unique village, encircled by the Avebury prehistoric monument, and Avebury Day is a village fete on a grand scale! This family friendly event includes a packed out field of games, stalls and food during the day, and from 6.30pm the marquee will open, with a fully licensed bar and live music.

Meadow Safari and Bug Hunts, RSPB Winterbourne Downs Nature Reserve

Saturday 10 and 17 September 2016

See the amazing wildlife that lives at the RSPB Winterbourne Downs Nature Reserve on this guided walk around the beautiful meadows, including the butterfly banks. You’ll go on a bug hunt across the meadow to see how many different species you can find and learn why they are so important. Suitable for children 4+, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Please come dressed for the weather and terrain. Booking is essential. Child £3 (RSPB Child Member £2)

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust – Migration In The Meadows, Morgans Hill Nature Reserve, Calne

Sunday 11 September 2016

Join an expert for a walk on Morgans Hill Nature Reserve, where they will teach you how to spot and identify a variety of British migratory birds. There are three dates available for this event. Park in the Small Grain picnic area car park (SN10 2LP). Please wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring your binoculars. Booking is essential. Free event.

NGS Wiltshire Open Gardens – Hazelbury Manor Gardens, Wadswick

Wednesday 14 September 2016

8 Acres of Grade II landscaped organic gardens around a 15th century fortified manor (not open). A pretty Edwardian garden with yew hedges and topiary, beech stilt hedges, laburnum tunnel and pleached lime avenue. Large variety of plants, many herbal and native species, productive vegetable gardens, orchards, a circle of megaliths and a wild flower drive from the butterfly-rich common. Adult £5, children go free

Sky Safari – Hot Air Balloon Festival, Longleat

Friday 16 – Sunday 18 September 2016

Each day, Longleat’s first Sky Safari will see two mass ascensions of fifty hot air balloons from Longleat House’s Lawn, one in the morning and another in the early evening. During the day many of the balloons will be floating above Longleat’s 900 acres of parkland with individual tethered ascents. Longleat’s own bespoke-made lion, and two penguin balloons (Puddles and Splash) will join in the celebration. The highlight will be the spectacular nightglow show on the Saturday evening, where every balloon will illuminate the night’s sky with a synchronised lights show in time to dramatic music. Free event included in the price of your day ticket.


Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival, Nr Truro

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival is a three-day boutique festival for the whole family in the beautiful grounds of Healey’s Cyder Farm. Expect great live music (Reef are headlining this year), secret cider walks, pig racing, a silent disco and glamping in hobbit huts. As well as an eclectic mix of music, there will be over 100 different ciders and delicious local Cornish food. Serious foodies will love feast nights, where iconic local chefs will cook a banquet for you to eat at the edge of the orchard, surrounded by trees. Children will be well catered for too – with tractor rides, pig racing, face painting, circus workshops, arts and crafts sessions and bouncy castles.
Day and weekend tickets available, entry is free for under 14’s.

Taste of Scilly Food and Drink Festival, Isles of Scilly

Thursday 1 – Friday 30 September 2016

The Isles of Scilly boast a wealth of amazing local food and drink which are celebrated for the whole of September at this great festival. You can see masterclasses from experienced chefs, sample and taste food and drink and there’s also an opportunity to fish for your own supper!

Redruth International Pasty and Mining Festival, Redruth

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 September 2016

If there are two things things that Cornwall is famous for, it’s pasties and mining. This festival in Redruth celebrates them both at once, with lots of things to see and do, from exhibitions, displays and cookery demonstrations to live music and fairground rides and even a fancy dress competition. With all this plus local food and craft stalls, you’re sure to learn a lot about Cornish history as well as pick up something nice for dinner.

St Ives September Festival, St Ives

Saturday 10 – Saturday 24 September 2016

St Ives September Festival is one of Cornwall’s richest cultural experiences and features all types of music including jazz and folk bands, poetry readings and theatre performances as well as tons of talks and exhibitions. Take a walk around and soak up the culture of St Ives.

The Eden Project’s ‘Festival of Food’

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Celebrate the best food and drink at Eden’s ‘Festival of Food’ and watch demos by famous chefs including Phil Vickery, Lesley Waters, Brian Turner, John Whaite (The Great British Bake Off winner) Vivek Singh and Jun Tanaka, join wine tastings, and sample delicious food from local and regional producers. Help your children learn more about food, health and the planet; have a go on the pedal-powered smoothie bike, grind your own corn flour to make tasty tortillas and roll your own insect sushi!

South East Cornwall Walking Festival

Monday 12 – Sunday 18 September 2016

Grab your walking boots for the South East Cornwall Walking Festival, a weeklong festival of walks around seaside villages, rural hamlets, the Tamar Valley and edge of Bodmin Moor in south east Cornwall. Most walks are free.


Fishstock, Brixham

10 September 2016

Incorporating seafood and music in one award winning festival, Fishstock is a chance to soak up the beautiful sights of the English Riviera and enjoy great food and local sounds, all while helping to raise money for The Fishermen’s Mission. Highlights include the ‘Food is Fun’ kitchen theatre featuring the likes of Mitch Tonks and Andy Sewell, plus demonstrations of traditional skills like net making, lobster pot weaving and boat building.

Ashburton Food Festival, Ashburton

10 September 2016

This festival celebrates the very best in local Dartmoor produce with lots on offer for both locals and tourists. Stall holders will be lining the streets of the historic town of Ashburton offering freshly made food and drink, with local retailers and pubs joining in on the fun too. There will also be live entertainment throughout the festival.

Devon Open Studios, across Devon

Saturday 10 – Sunday 25 September 2016

For these two weeks in September, across Devon you will have the exclusive opportunity to meet local artists and visit their studios. From painters to potters, with studios in their houses, garrets and medieval barns, you’re sure to learn a thing or two as well as get to see some amazing art.

Agatha Christie Festival, Torquay

Thursday 15 September 2016

Celebrate the life and works of the legendary Devon-born murder mystery writer on the 100th anniversary of the creation of beloved detective Hercule Poirot – not to mention Christie’s own birthday. The evening will include a reading of a short story by Christie’s grandson, Matthew Prichard and a Q&A with author Sophie Hannah – who has written a new Poirot, out this month – as well as a cream tea, speeches and a birthday toast.

Tavistock Heritage Festival

Thursday 15 – Monday 19 September 2016

The town of Tavistock will be celebrating a whopping 1,000 years of rich history this September with a special festival featuring everything from lectures to guided walks, a display of vintage vehicles, Victorian re-enactments, traditional games and even a sword school!

Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds

Cheltenham Beer Week Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Beer Week

Friday 16 – Sunday 25 September 2016

Love a good beer? Experience Cheltenham’s booming brewing industry and pub culture during this 10-day celebration of beer. With around 80 events across Cheltenham, including beer cocktail sampling, a beery walking tour of Cheltenham, beer masterclasses, ‘meet the brewer’ sessions, tutored beer tasting tour of local micro-breweries. Check the website for prices (some are free) and booking information.

Basket making willow workshop, Tewkesbury Heritage Centre

Saturday 10 September 2016

Susie will take you through step by step how to make your very own beautiful basket in this fantastic basket making course. Have lots of fun on this all day workshop making something special to take home. £35 including all materials and refreshments

Northleach Steam and Vintage Show

Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 September 2016

A great day out for all at this traditional country steam show in the heart of the beautiful Cotswolds. Full size scale steam engines, stationary vehicles, vintage tractors, vintage military and commercial vehicles, vintage motorcycles, classic cars and stalls. Children under 16 go free, adults £5, seniors £3


Falconry Displays at Montacute House

Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 September 2016

The Albion falconry and their beautiful birds of prey will be appearing for the first time at Montacute House this September. The falconers, dressed in period costume, will give two shows per day (times weather dependent and will be on display on the day) and will be on site 11am to 4pm for questions and general chat.

The World Wellington Boot Throwing Championship, Wellington

Saturday 10 September 2016

Great fun for all the family, enjoy a hog roast, barbecue, dog show, welly decorating competition, bouncy castle, live music and of course, the Wellington Boot Throwing Championship! Entry to day is free, wellington boot throwing £1 adults, 50p children, £5 team of 6

Dunster Castle Uncovered, Dunster

Sunday 11, 18 and 25 September 2016

Dunster Castle is the National Trust country house that forms the stunning backdrop to the pretty village of Dunster. Throughout September, you can have a rare peek into parts of the Castle you won’t have seen before. These special tours run throughout the day and last 45 minutes.


Lyme Folk Weekend, Lyme Regis

Friday 9 – Sunday 11 September 2016

Lyme Regis welcomes the very best in folk music at this festival for families and music lovers alike. With acts such as John Kirkpatrick and Martin & Eliza Carthy, this star studded three-day event at the little theatre by the sea is sure to be a memorable weekend for anyone who loves folk music.

Weldmar Summer Fete, Dorchester

Saturday 10 September 2016

This traditional summer fete is a great day out for all the family. The fete features over 30 stalls of books, hand crafted items and home produce as well as lots of delicious food and drink stalls, including a BBQ and licensed bar. There will also be chances to win with a coconut shy, games and tombola, while raising money for the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

B Side Festival, Portland

Saturday 10 – Sunday 18 September 2016

There are a range of free and ticketed events on offer at this contemporary arts festival, which includes exhibitions, artist talks, workshops and even a pop up cinema. There will also be some secret underground goings on throughout the week, so keep your eye on the website for details.

Dorset Buttons Creative Workshop, Higher Brockhampton

Monday 12 September 2016

Button making is a lovely local craft and this a great chance to learn something new. Hosted in the beautiful woodland setting which inspired writer Thomas Hardy, Anna McDowell from Henry’s Buttons will be on hand to share her creative flare and help you create something really special.