Things to do in November – days out and country events

The festive season is quickly approaching and with it comes a plethora of countryside events and days out for the whole family – here are some of our top suggestions for getting out and about in November

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International Garden Photographer of the Year exhibition: 1 November-21 December
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Richard Bloom was commended for his shot taken in Somerset ©Richard Bloom/IGPOTY

Celebrating its 10th year, the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) returns to Cambridge University Botanic Garden for its Anniversary Exhibition.  The winning images, displayed outdoors, will feature the very best botanical photography, including a number of evocative shots taken in the UK.

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Find out more about the exhibition here

Runnymede Fungi Foray: 4 and 11 November
Family of mushrooms on a tree trunk.
A family of mushrooms growing on a tree © Getty

Join the National Trust and local expert, Sara Shepley, on a tour of Cooper’s Hill woods in Runnymede and discover a wonderful variety of autumn and winter fungi. But don’t forget, you should never eat wild mushrooms without being absolutely sure you can identify them – if in doubt, ask your expert.

Before heading to Runnymede, gain a little knowledge about the safest and tastiest seasonal mushrooms with our November guide to foraging.

For more information, including how to book, click here.

Longleat’s Festival of Light: 5 November-2 January
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Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf ©longleat.co.uk

Head to Longleat for the fourth annual Festival of Light – a glorious display of illuminated lanterns. This year’s theme is the magic of storytelling, bringing to life much-loved classics such as Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella, plus the local legend of the ‘Gurt Worm’ dragon. Immerse yourself in the enchanted lands of Thumbelina’s toadstool valley and the dizzying heights of Rapunzel’s tower, before discovering the wonders of singing Christmas trees and a magical grotto experience.

For more information and to book tickets, visit: longleat.co.uk

Susan Leyland and Patsy McArthur Exhibition at Osborne Studio Gallery: 7-25 November
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Susan Leyland’s White Horse Herd sculpture ©Osborne Studio Gallery <!–EndFragment–>

Internationally acclaimed artists Susan Leyland and Patsy McArthur celebrate the equine form in this highly anticipated exhibition. Leyland combines traditional and modern style to create her unique clay sculptures.  Scottish painter Patsy McArthur displays a collection of charcoal drawings depicting the movement of horses and commending their power and energy.

For more information, go to: osg.uk.com

Oh Dickens! It’s Christmas at Chatsworth: 11 November-7 January 
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Rob Laughlin as Chatsworth’s Fagin ©Chatsworth House Trust

Step back in time at Chatsworth House and celebrate the works of Charles Dickens. See Fagin, Scrooge, Miss Havisham and other famous characters come to life before your eyes, amid rooms magnificently decorated in the style of Victorian London. Peruse letters and first editions from Dickens himself, immersing yourself in his stories as you gaze upon illustrations and murals.

Find out more at: chatsworth.org

Cheltenham Countryside Race Day: 17 November
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 17:  A general view of the runners in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase during Gold Cup Day on day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 17, 2017 in Cheltenham, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
 The race is on at Cheltenham Racecourse © Getty

Set over three atmospheric days, Cheltenham Countryside Race Day comprises top-class racing, Christmas shopping, a hound parade and a silent auction. Live music and entertainment bring further life to the event – it’s a great day out for the family. All funds raised go to the Countryside Alliance and World Horse Welfare.

Find out more about the event, including ticket sales here.

Kendal Mountain Festival: 16 – 18 November
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Image: Kendal Castle, Cumbria. Credit: Richard Berry/Getty

Not just famous for its mint cake, Kendal attracts thousands of people from all over the world to the award-winning Kendal Mountain Festival. For four days you can celebrate all things outdoors; including sports, culture, amazing adventure feats, environment and wildlife. 

Activities include the International Film Competition, labelled the ‘Oscars of outdoor filmmaking’ which features screenings of over 100 films, the worlds largest lecture programme covering outdoor content, art and photography exhibitions, book events, workshops, athletes, legends and pop up shops –  there is something for every lover of the outdoors to enjoy. 
Visit: Kendal Mountain Festival

Melton Mowbray Chocfest: 18-19 November
A picture taken on May 6, 2016 shows chocolate truffles by chocolate maker Pascal Moustirats in Bayonne.
During two days, chocolate makers from Bayonne, Andrieu, Cazenave, Paries organise  tasting sessions and demonstrations of coatings for the 20th edition of the Chocolate Days. / AFP / IROZ GAIZKA        (Photo credit should read IROZ GAIZKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Get your hands on some deliciously sweet treats, like these chocolate truffles © Getty

This is the place to be if you’re a serious chocoholic, as treats range from classic chocolate cakes, fudge and brownies, to more unusual creations such as chocolate pizza, kebabs and beer. Chocfest also hosts a variety of talks, demonstrations, tastings and workshops. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to get stuck in and create something delicious for yourself, or the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one.

For more information and workshop tickets, go to www.ukchocfest.co.uk

Real Ale Wobble: 18 November
A cyclist takes part in the 'Snowdonia Mountain Bike Challenge' near Llanberis, north Wales on March 26, 2017. 
The Challenge is the only mountain bike event to incorporate a section of path up Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. Riders are able to choose between four route lengths from 22 kilometres to 75 kilometres featuring long steep climbs, fast grass tracks, technical single-tracks and forest roads.  / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Admire the views as you cycle through the beautiful Welsh landscape ©Getty

For those who don’t take cycling too seriously, the Real Ale Wobble is a non-competitive event celebrating the start of the Mid Wales Beer festival. There are routes for all abilities, which show off the country’s splendid scenery of unspoilt mountains and forestry. Locally brewed real ale is available at festival venues throughout the day and evening, whilst local bands provide excellent entertainment. 

To enter, visit: green-events.co.uk

Hay Festival Winter Weekend: 23-26 November 
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A festival tent at Hay’s Winter Weekend ©Sam J Peat

Hay-on-Wye brings you their 18th Winter Weekend, a smaller version of their main festival. The market square will be transformed into a flurry of festivity, with Christmas lights, stalls, carol singers, and entertainment. On Saturday 25, Hay Food Festival will showcase local produce perfect for winter recipes and on Sunday 26, Hay does Vintage will fill the square with an array of vintage and retro market stalls.

For more information or to book tickets, visit: hayfestival.com/winterweekend

St Austell Brewery Celtic Beer Festival: 25 November
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This year they have their biggest collection of ales to date ©St Austell Brewery

Discover the best of the South West at the biggest event for ale lovers everywhere. Down in the ancient cellars of St Austell Brewery, people from all over the UK will gather to sample almost 200 varieties of ales, stouts and lagers. Live bands will be performing throughout the day and well into the night, so you’ll never be short of entertainment.

For more information, click here.

Christmas at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens: 29 November-30 December
WORCESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Visitors and shoppers enjoy the carousel during the Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre on November 26, 2015 in Worcester, England. Now in its 23rd year the Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre starts off the festive season with market stalls, festive foods and entertainment. The celebrations are started each year by the The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Roger Knight and choristers from The Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir. The fayre takes place between 26th-29th November 2015.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The rides don’t just have to be for the kids! ©Getty

You won’t want to miss this mesmerizing winter trail; wander through shimmering trees and glasshouses to the warming Fire Garden, marvel at the dazzling Pealight Tunnel, then stop for a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe. The little ones can ride on our Victorian carousel, the steam-boat swing and giant baubles in our gigantic Christmas Tree. Top off the night with a hot drink, roasted chestnuts and a visit from Father Christmas himself.

For more information and tickets, visit: birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk

Christmas Countdown at Blenheim Palace: throughout November
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Explore extraordinary trails and tranquil waters at Blenheim © Blenheim Palace

Celebrate the festive season at Blenheim Palace. There are tons of activities happening throughout the month of November, from festive afternoon teas and late-night shopping experiences to jazz, choirs and carol singers. For an unforgettable night, visit the Formal Gardens, which will be adorned with lights and Christmas décor. Further along the trail, you’ll find a scented Fire Garden and beautiful glittering woodland. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

For more information or to book tickets, click here.

Robert E Fullers Wildlife in Winter Exhibition: throughout November
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Fox mousing in the snow © Robert E Fuller

Admire the beauty of wildlife in winter at the Robert Fuller Gallery. Learn how foxes, hares and kingfishers survive the harsher seasons through his exquisite paintings, photographs and prints. You can join guided walks for information on red kite roosting, bird watching, print tracking and more. Wildlife artist Robert E Fuller spends hours researching his subjects and makes regular TV appearances to share his passion for animals.

To find out more, click here.

Christmas in Cornwall, Eden Project Winter Festival: throughout November
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  The Eden Festival of Light and Sound lasers illuminate the interior of the Mediterranean Biome at The Eden Project on November 23, 2016 in St Austell, England.  A new laser light and sound show curated by acclaimed light artist Chris Levine aims to bring all the colours of Christmas to Eden and will run from on selected nights from tomorrow to December 30 at the home of the world-famous Biomes in Cornwall. Visitors standing on the viewing platform will be able to watch lasers pierce through the darkness to create a canopy of light, painting the Biomes and the plant displays with festive colours whilst inside the Mediterranean Biome there will be the stage for a choreographed performance of after dark music and light.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Admire the illuminated gardens at The Eden Project ©Getty

The Eden Project is a sight to behold during the festive period, and this year is no exception. At night, the gardens are beautifully lit and you can skate on the gleaming ice rink before sitting down to a seasonal meal in the café. Kids also get the chance to meet Santa and his elves in a cosy tent full of stockings, stories and more.

For further information, visit: edenproject.com

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Main image ©longleat.co.uk