10 Unmissable Autumn Events

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There’s plenty to do this autumn in East Anglia. Visit a  art exhibition, food and drink festival or get into the festive spirit at a Christmas fair.   

Celebrate autumn with our great selection of autumnal events taking place across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

Kitty Macfarlane


Deepdale Festival, 27-29 September

Deepdale Backpackers & Camping, Dalegate Market and St Mary’s Church, all in Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk

Back for a third year, this boutique festival of music and arts is a hit among locals and visitors. Folk is at the heart of the programme but there’s also a mix of other genres, all of which will be performed across four stages. Acts include East Anglian talent plus nationally acclaimed artists. Listen to the likes of classical alt-folk duo Fran & Flora, the voodoo rock of Das Fenster & The Alibis, nationally acclaimed Kitty Macfarlane and influential folk music luminary Martin Carthy to name a few! Tickets from £12.50 for adults, £6.25 children. 


St Albans Food and Drink Festival, 28 September-7 October

City Centre, St Albans

A celebration of the local food scene with tastings and demos. www.enjoystalbans.com

Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival, 28-29 September

Snape Maltings, Suffolk

This year’s festival will have over 100 producers taking part in the two-day event, the focal point of a two-week food-related fringe programme. The popular Hill Farm Family Meadow will be at Snape again as will the Adnams’ Drinks Experience and the Wild Suffolk area. There will be chef appearances from Jose Pizarro, Georgina Hayden, Kwgklan Wan, Chetna Makan and Kenny Tutt. 

Oktoberfest, 5 October

Central Park, Parkway Entrance, Chelmsford, Essex

There’s no need to jet off to Germany for a traditional Bavarian bash as Chelmsford’s Central park is transformed into an authentic Oktoberfest with steins, folk, foot stomping, dancing and singing galore. German food will be served up alongside a selection of traditional beers. Tickets from £15. 


Cambridge Festival of Ideas, 14-27 October

Multiple venues in Cambridge

How do we make a broad case for radical action on climate change? Can we forgive and forget after major national traumas? These questions and many more will be debated and discussed at this year’s Cambridge Festival of Ideas. The Festival will celebrate the rich history of work in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University, engage the public in new dialogues and areas of interest and promote the University’s museums, collections and cutting-edge research. The event will include over 250 different activities, from evening lectures and panel discussions to music, theatre and art sessions, department open days and school visits. The general theme of the Festival this year is change and events embrace everything from identity and belonging in post-Brexit Britain to the future of China. View the full programme at www.cam.ac.uk/festivalofideas

Norwich Science Festival, 18-26 October

Multiple venues in Norwich

The festival features over 180 exciting events, from the science of food, sin and ageing, to the future of human spaceflight, and family shows from animal top trumps to the science of Roald Dahl. Its eclectic programme covers food, health and medicine; zoology, nature and the environment; chemistry; technology and engineering; astronomy, space and physics, and the cutting-edge work by scientists at Norwich Research Park.

There’s also science-inspired exhibitions, films and theatre shows, plus from Saturday 19 October, there’s free family-friendly activities, hands-on fun and talks each day at The Forum, for all ages. Download the brochure of events here. Book tickets at www.norwichsciencefestival.co.uk

Blackthorpe Barn

Blackthorpe Barn, opens 21 October – 23 December

Rougham Estate, Suffolk, IP30 9HZ

It’s never too early to start you Christmas shopping, hidden down a beautiful tree-lined avenue in Rougham just outside Bury St Edmunds, Blackthorpe Barn opens its heavy oak doors from 21 October, for a Christmas delight not to be missed.  

Blackthorpe Barn is an unassuming medieval barn, yet when you enter, you are transported into a truly magical Christmas event with a large Country Christmas Shop, Best of British crafts weekends, famous Rougham Estate Christmas trees, creative workshops, a country café and the most talked about Santa’s grotto. Christmas tingles start as you enter the Christmas Shop, truly bursting at the seams with everything you need to decorate your home and with gifts for friends and family. For something completely different the best of British craft weekends start on 9 November and for five weekends thereafter. Housed mostly in the beautiful medieval barn, the weekends showcase items from some of the country’s most talented artists and craft-makers. 

East Anglian Winter Fair, 16-17 November

Chelmsford City Racecourse, Essex, CM3 1QP

Nab special gifts for loved ones at this exciting fair full of festive charm. Shop among pantomime and circus entertainment, browsing crafts, décor, gifts and more. Find out more at www.ukcraftfairs.com/craft-events/21524/the-east-anglian-winter-fair

2018 Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre
PICTURE: Andy and Suzanne Abbott

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre, 21-24 November

Town Centre, Bury St Edmunds

Drawing crowds from far and wide, the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre is one of the most popular festive markets in the region. Supporting local and regional producers, craftsmen, artists and businesses, the fayre fills the streets, Cathedral gardens and venues with stalls serving food, gifts, decorations and more. The whole event is supported by additional festive entertainment such as choirs, late night shopping, children’s activities, live reindeer, fireworks and more.

Art Fair East, 29 November – 1 December 

St Andrews Hall, Norwich

Art Fair East, is a major fair for the eastern region. This year the fair, which has previously brought signed editions by Banksy and other famous artists to the region, promises to offer the most international line up to date with enquiries already received from artists in India, Mexico, Sweden and Japan.

Art Fair East is open to artists, dealers and galleries interested in exhibiting all manner of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video art, installation, performance and original limited-edition prints. For  more  information visit www.artfaireast.com

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