Autumn festivals across the GWR network

Summer might be ending, but there’s still plenty of ways to be enjoying yourself, with loads of gatherings due kick off in the coming weeks and months. Here’s our guide a whole host of fun festivals from across London and the South West.


Blackheath, 8–9 September
Say a fond farewell to a distinctly hot summer with this fun festival in South London. Headliners are classic rock band Squeeze, known for their hits, including Up the Junction, and Paloma Faith. Also on the line-up is are Lightning Seeds, The Divine Comedy and De La Soul.

London Design Festival
Various venues, 15–23 September
Design is all around us, and yet we rarely give it the heed that it deserves. Here’s your chance to pay closer attention to the discipline, with a week’s worth of events, exhibitions and more. Check out the interactive sculpture in Trafalgar Square by designer Es Devlin, called Please Feed the Lions. A fluorescent red lion will join the others at the base of Nelson’s column, reciting poems made from words that the public contribute.

Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival
Guildhall Yard, 16 September
Every year, Londoners gather to celebrate this traditional autumn festival that has roots going back over 100 years. The Pearly kings and queens parade their decorative clothes, adorned with mother-of-pearl buttons, in a celebration of Cockney culture. There’s maypole dancing, Morris dancing and marching bands, followed by a parade around the City of London and a church service.

London Fashion Week Festival
The Store Studios, 180 Strand, 20–24 September
This one’s a shopper’s delight, offering fashion fans a chance to browse a curated edit of collections by designers featured in the London Fashion Week, with exclusive prices for visitors, as well as catwalk shows and industry talks.


Jane Austen Festival
Various venues, 14–23 September
One of Britain’s best-loved authors gets her annual commemoration at the Georgian City of Bath, where she lived for a spell, penning some of her best work. Check out the Regency-costumed promenade and the daily readings of her final completed novel Persuasion, which was partially set in Bath.

Bath Children’s Literature Festival
Various venues, 28 September – 7 October
Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival returns. It’s your chance to catch the biggest names in publishing for kids, including David Walliams, Danny Wallace and Julian Clary. You might even get your favourite book signed!

Bath Mozart Festival
Various venues, 9–17 November
Set up in 1991 in the memory of a Mozart-loving Bath resident, Bath Mozart Festival has continued to be one of the area’s finest classical music events, offering 17 concerts over nine days. This year includes the Jerusalem Quartet playing Mozart and Debussy.


Gloucester History Festival
Various venues, 1–16 September
The South West city celebrates its rich history and heritage with a series of talks, exhibitions and events, including appearances from Michael Wood, Lucy Worsley, Janina Ramirez and Terry Waite. Unearth the past with this fun and engaging festival.


Fantastical Chocolate Festival
DEPOT Cardiff, 18 November
Head to Cardiff for this inspired combination of confectionary, singalong live music and chocolatiers. Wander around the trade and drinks stands and enjoy the chocolate sculpting, Willy Wonka-style characters and more at this puzzling festival for all the family. It will also be making an appearance in Bristol (4 November) and London (20 April 2019).

St Ives

St Ives Festival
Various venues8–22 September
Best known as one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations, St Ives takes on a new life when all the summer vacationers have moved on. There are loads of gigs, talks, art classes and more at this generous festival, open to everyone.


Falmouth Oyster Festival
Various venues, 11–14 October
Now in its 22ndyear, Falmouth Oyster Festival celebrates the start of the oyster dredging season, the native Fal Oyster and the diversity of Cornish seafood, with four days of feasting, cooking demos, live music, food and craft stalls.