Best countryside events, festivals and concerts in October

October is a month for feasting on warming autumnal food and drink, spooky Halloween walks, food festivals and book fairs. Here is a selection of the best of outdoor and countryside events for October

Foraging course

Here is our pick of the best events, festivals and concerts taking place across the UK in October 2019.

Magnificent milky way, Kielder Observatory, Northumberland

1st October

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Milky Way stargazing at Kielder Observatory
Gaze into space at the Kielder Observatory  (Photo by: Christianto Soning / EyeEm via Getty Images)

The light pollution we experience in 2019 means that very few people ever see a true likeness of our milky way. This event, based at Kielder Observatory, aims to show visitors galaxies that lie two million light years away from earth from the observation deck. kielderobservatory.org

The village of Kenmore on the shores of Loch Tay viewed from Black Rock with the River Tay flowing beneath Kenmore Bridge surrounded by autumn colour.

Cheltenham literature festival, Cheltenham

4th – 13th October

Cheltenham Literature Festival
The Cheltenham Literature Festival was established in 1949, and is one of the oldest literary events in the world

For ten days in October, Cheltenham is transformed into a literary lover’s dream as over 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians and poets help to celebrate the joy of the written word. This year will feature author Anthony Horowitz as he talks about bringing the legend that is James Bond back to life in his new novel, while bake off winner Nadiya Hussain shares her favourite food to cook and eat with family. www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

Ilkey literature festival, West Yorkshire

4th – 20th October

For 17 days in October, the Victorian spa town of Ilkey is set to be host to a literature festival that will see poets, food writers, journalists and actors all come together, in a number of events designed to celebrate literature. The UK’s Poet Laureate, Yorkshireman Simon Armitage, will open the Festival, while famous faces such as Prue Leith and Claire Balding will host talks for the public in later days. Festival-goers will even be able to visit music, comedy and film nights, attend guided walks around the town, join a book quiz and go on a stargazing walk. www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk

Scotland and the Arctic event, Dumfries

8th – 20th October

Arctic geese in flight
Arctic Geese in Flight, photography by Coulson and Tennant

This two-week event, timed to coincide with the annual migration of Barnacle Geese from the Arctic to south west Scotland, explores Scotland’s relationship with the Arctic and the threats brought to the region by climate change. There will be a day of conversation about Scotland and the Arctic featuring storytellers, poets, naturalists and academics, along with the Wild Goose Weekend, a film festival and children’s events. There will also be the chance to see photography and film created by Colin Tennant, who is from Dumfries and Galloway, and Dr. Saskia Coulson (Coulson & Tennant) who have been documenting the rapid changes taking place in the Arctic. www.ayearofconversation.com

Robin hood beer and cider festival, Nottinghamshire

9th – 12th October

Robin Hood Beer and Cider festival
The Robin Hood beer and Cider Festival takes place both inside the arena and in two outdoor areas, where the live music is featured (Photo by: Jack F via Getty Images)

With such a long history of brewing, it’s no surprise that Nottinghamshire is so passionate about beer. This year, the festival will have over a thousand different real ales for visitors to sample, alongside unusual craft beer, cider and perries. This will all be accompanied by live music acts across two different venues that have been timed to ensure no clashes. www.beerfestival.nottinghamcamra.org

Walk Scilly long weekend, Isles of Scilly

10th – 14th Oct

Aerial view of St. Martin's, Isles of Scilly (Photo by: JulieVMac via Getty Images)
Aerial view of St. Martin’s, Isles of Scilly (Photo by: JulieVMac via Getty Images)

Make the most of the stunning autumn colours by exploring the wilder side of the Isles of Scilly at the Walk Scilly Weekend.

Led by a knowledgable guide, you’ll learn about the local wildlife and fauna and get a taste for island life. Step on to St. Mary’s and unearth the fascinating history and archaeology, or take on a foraging walk.

The Natural Eye: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition, London

10th  – 19th October

This exhibition, run by the Society of Wildlife Artists as part of an annual exhibition that documents endangered British birds, will be showing over 350 works by members elected to the Society and artists selected from open submission. Each of the works depicts endangered wildlife and aims to further the awareness of important conservation efforts. www.mallgalleries.org.uk

Foraging in the New Forest, Hampshire

11th, 12th, 13th, 20th October

Foraging course
This course begins with a short introduction to foraging and a brief of the general countryside codes (Photo by: Clark and Company via Getty Images)

The New Forest is an important site for fungi in Britain and has a diverse and protected ecosystem. This foraging course will teach participants how to identify the wild foods that are available during the year and provide a homemade seasonal refreshment such as lovely wild soup, elderflower champagne or fruit leathers. This will be followed by a wild food lunch based on the food found throughout the day. www.thenewforest.co.uk

Lincoln Sausage festival, Castle Hill, Lincolnshire

12th October

Lincolnshire sausage festival
This festival features cooking demonstrations and food stalls with award winning produce (Photo by: Thomas Barwick via Getty Images)

Celebrate the humble sausage this October with a trip to the Lincoln Sausage Festival. Set within the grounds of Lincoln Castle, this lively event – ideal for a family day out – includes cooking demonstrations, stalls full of Lincolnshire produce and live music. www.visitlincoln.com

Peak district fair and beer festival, Buxton

12th October

The Great Peak District Fair and Buxton Beer Festival is a truly autumnal feast. Taking place in the recently refurbished Octagon hall on the promenade, this festival will offer local beer, ales, hot and cold food, Punch and Judy shows alongside rides, archery and ferret racing.

Falmouth Oyster festival, Events Square, Falmouth

12th – 13th October

Falmouth Oyster Festival
This year, the Falmouth Oyster Festival is in its 23rd year (Photo by: Aleksandr Vorobev via Getty Images)

Travel down to Falmouth this October and enjoy one of Cornwall’s biggest and best-loved specialist food festivals – Falmouth Oyster Festival. This annual celebration commemorates 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.

The programme this year includes live music, top chefs and food experts, the Working Boat race, Grand Oyster Parade, shucking competition and a Grand Oyster Draw.

Nature writing course, Cairngorms National Park

20th – 25th October

Karen Lloyd, writer and course leader, on the Scottish Coast
Karen Lloyd, writer and course leader, on the Scottish Coast

The October writing workshop, led by Kendal-based nature writer, Karen Lloyd, is a rare opportunities for writers to develop their craft over a four day event. The workshops will include a dynamic mix of field trips to a number of contrasting Cairngorm landscapes with local wildlife expert, Simon Pawsey, and a chance to meet ecologists from The Cairngorms National Park Capercaillie Community Project and The Cairngorms Connect Project. These will be combined with writing seminars and discussions with Karen, who has been a contributor to The Guardian’s Country Diary and BBC Wildlife.  www.karenlloyd-writer.co.uk/writing-courses

Family moon trail, Bowlees Visitor Centre, Upper Teesdale

23rd – 30th October

Family moon trail
The family moon trail event is part of the North Pennines Stargazing Festival, that runs from 23 October to 3 November 2019 (Photo by: va103 via Getty Images)

This family moon trail, part of the North Pennines Stargazing Festival, will see families follow the themed trail from Bowlees Visitor Centre in Upper Teesdale. Set up to commemorate the 50th year since the first manned mission on the moon, families will follow the self-guided trail to learn about the moon to unlock keys that’ll win you space themed prizes. Find out more on the North Pennines website.

Willow sculptures workshop, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

26th October

At this workshop, which costs £40 per person, course members will learn how to weave their own willow sculpture inspired by wildlife. Instructed by basket maker Maggie Cooper, you will use colourful basket willows to create a woven bee, dragonfly or butterfly, that you can then take home and enjoy. The price includes material costs and a hot drink, alongside entrance to Chatsworth Garden on the day. chatsworth.org

Past, Present, future: codes and ciphers at Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes

29th October

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park was the home of real life events that inspired The Imitation Game (Photo by: chrisdorney via Getty Images)

Experience ‘Past, Present, Future: Codes and Ciphers’, located in the rural suburbs of Milton Keynes. This course, which is designed for people with a confidence in GCSE level maths, will give you the opportunity to explore a real World War II enigma machine and learn about how codes and ciphers work. Plus, course members will receive a guided tour of the site and allocated free time to explore. bletchleypark.org.uk

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