Things to do in September – days out and country events

As the summer begins to wane and autumn creeps in, Britain's countryside brims with exciting rural events – check out our favourites, from lantern parades and outdoor films festivals to a night on the Devon coast

Bolsover Castle equestrian displays: throughout September
Bolsover horse photo shoot
The historic Riding House at Bolsover Castle will bring brand new displays throughout September to bring their season of equestian displays to a close ©English Heritage

Love horses? Throughout September, Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire hosts a series of mesmeric equestrian displays. Watch a new show every weekend, from ‘The Art of the Manège’ to ‘Power and Grace’. Find out more.

Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival: 1-16 September
Sit back and watch a classic beneath the stars ©Getty

Don’t say goodbye to summer just yet – Britain’s outdoor film screenings continue to play long into September. With classics such as Dirty Dancing and Top Gun along with more contemporary choices including La La Land and Fantastic Beasts, there is something for everyone. From Attingham Park in Shropshire to Belton House in Lincolnshire, discover your nearest location by visiting the Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival website.

Great Landscapes Week, Lake District: 2-9 September
Ullswater in the lake district, England on a stormy evening.
Great Landscapes Week aims to promote physical, spiritual and mental well-being ©Getty

Celebrate Cumbria’s great landscapes with a range of inspiring events, all free of charge. Igniting the senses through taste, touch, sound, sight and emotion, the week aims to encourage physical, spiritual and mental well-being. Listen to bats on a late-night walk, build dry stone walls and watch boats sail by on Ullswater. For more information on events, head over to the Great Landscapes Week website.

3. Be inspired by the River Dart 10K wild swim

Head to Devon to watch swimmers take part in the River Dart 10k/Credit: Anna Barclay

Now in its eighth year, the River Dart 10k is an open water event, which starts from the small market town of Totnes in Devon to follow the River Dart along the estuary to finish at Dittisham. Our digital editor Carys Matthews will be bracing the chilly waters of the Dart this Sunday, alongside writer Rosee Woodland, who will be taking on the challenge for the second year

The swim is now full for 2017, but spectactors can come and cheer on swimmers – or simply watch this inspiring video of last years’ swim. 

Dart 10k Outdoor Swimming Society from Outdoor Swimming Society on Vimeo.

4. Celebrate the great outdoors at the National Trust’s South West Outdoor Festival

Mark the end of the summer at the National Trust’s South West Outdoor Festival/Credit: National Trust Images

Fancy ending the summer with a big fix of the great outdoors in one weekend?

Then head to a spectacular location in the Mendip Hills above Cheddar Gorge – just 45 minutes from Bristol and Bath – for the National Trust’s South West Outdoor Festival.

The event offers some exhilarating experiences – from off-road cycling to trail-running, climbing and caving, archery or water sports. 

In the Adventure Tent there will be talks by adventurers and naturalist – including walker and wild camper Phoebe Smith, endurance cyclist and swimmer Sean Conway, and butterfly-lover Matthew Oates.

There is lots for the kids to do, including story-telling, bush craft and campfire cookery.

Of course, there’s music too, with chilled out acoustic sets on Friday and Sunday from Kid Conventional, Rodney Branigan and Tamsin Quin, while on Saturday night Crinkle Cuts turn up the energy level with their blend of funk, reggae and Latin ska.

You can pop in for the day or camp for the whole weekend.

Camping and day tickets available on the door – cash only. Day entry costs £10 for adults, £6 for children or £30 for the family.

Camping costs adults £50 for the weekend, or £130 for families.

More information see:

Base Camp Festival, Peak District: 7-10 September
Wide angle view of the sun rising over Curbar Edge in the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, England, UK.
Let adventure thrive in the Peak District ©Getty

Embrace your inner scout at ‘Britain’s most adventurous festival’. Set in the heart of the Peak District, the Base Camp Festival invites adventurers and explorers to take part in an abundance of outdoor activities, including caving, cooking in the wild, yoga and rafting. In the evenings, be treated to hot meals, live music and dancing. Get your tickets here. 

East Lancashire Railway Beer and Cider Festival, Lancashire: 8-10 September
Take a weekend out for ale and rail  ©<a href=”″>David Dixon</a> 

Perfect if you’re an ale and history lover, the first ever East Lancashire Railway Beer and Cider Festival is taking place by the Bury Transport museum. While you’re there, why not check out the local walking trails?

Newquay Fish Festival, Newquay: 8-10 September
Sun, sea and fish – Newquay Fish Festival has it all ©Getty

The region’s top chefs will be down in the harbour giving lively demonstrations and showcasing the regions finest seafood. If you don’t like fish, never fear – there will be a variety of entertainment including live music, craft stalls and street theatre. Child-friendly activities such as sandcastle building competitions are also happening down on the beach. Find out more.

Big Night Out on the Beach, South Milton Sands: 9 September
South Milton Sands in South Devon... everything you'd expect from a great Devon beach plus a restaurant 'shack' that is one of the top 12 best beach-side restaurants according to the Times!
Have a Big Night Out at South Milton Sands ©Getty

Try out watersports, rock-pooling, crafts and more in this lively end-of-summer celebration in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Why not bring the whole family along, including the dog? The evening’s festivities culminate with the Sundowners Parade, a luminous procession down to the water’s edge with homemade lanterns and fire pictures in hand. Find out more here.

Cook Red Tractor Week 11-17 September
Cutting medium roasted Roast Beef with crunchy potatoes, root vegetables and fresh salad for lunch.
Celebrate great food with The Red Tractor Week ©Getty

The Red Tractor is a mark of quality food you can trust. From 11-17 September, the public are being encouraged to cook their own recipes using Red Tractor products, before tagging them online using #Trustthetractor. What delicious recipes can you rustle up? Find out more about The Red Tractor.

Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival, Dorset: 15-17 September
Lots of happy Nordic Walkers at Purbeck ©Gill Stewart

Ever wondered what Nordic Walking is? Or perhaps you’re already a pro? One thing is for sure, with visitors travelling from all over the UK and as far away as Japan, the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival in Dorset is a weekend not to be missed. Enjoy the majestic Jurassic coast – its ancient castles and seaside villages – with over 100 walks, workshops and presentations.

The Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean 15-18 September
"A plastic bag, rope, sweet wrapper and other litter entangled in seaweed. Croyde Devon UK"
Join the the clean at you nearest beach ©Getty

The Marine Conservation Society are looking for volunteers to take part in Britain’s biggest beach clean. Events will be taking place all over the UK, from Cornwall and Devon to Northern Ireland and the Highlands. Bring the family along for a day by the sea, and while you’re there help the wildlife you love. Find out more here.

Yorkshire Fossil Festival: 22 – 24 September 2017
Marvel at our geological last at the Yorkshire Fossil Festival ©Yorkshire Fossil Festival

This September, the Yorkshire Fossil Festival returns to Scarborough for a weekend of fossil-friendly activities and dinosaur discovery. This year’s festival will see another spectacular programme of activities throughout the weekend, with performances,  scientific demonstrations, fossil handling, educational workshops and the popular dinosaur walks and rock pooling along the Dinosaur Coast. See more: