Find out what’s on in the East of England every month. A monthly guide of things to do and places to visit in East Anglia.
Events, what’s on, gigs, markets and more. Things to see and do in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire this September.
What’s on in Norfolk this month
North Norfolk Food & Drink Festival, 4-5 September
Holkham Estate, Norfolk
Calling all foodies! The region’s best loved producers and food businesses come together to celebrate the best of the county’s cuisine. After a year break, the festival, now in its 12th year, will include a wide selection of pop-up food stalls, picnicking options and the return of the Cookery Theatre. Well-known names will take centre stage to demonstrate their skills and share their expertise
such as Norfolk foodie Andy Newman, Jordan Bayes from The Chequers Inn at Thornham who is offering up a peachy dessert, plant-based cook Sara Matthews who will create a delicious (and super healthy) breakfast, Michael Chamberlain from The Victoria Inn at Holkham who will use produce from the Estate, Fran Hartshorne from the White Horse at Brancaster Staithe and Jes Paskins from The Ostrich Inn at South Creake who promises a chilli crab dish. Find out more.
Leiko Ikemura at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, until 12 December
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich
Until 12 December visitors can view a selection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography from Japanese-Swiss artist, Leiko Ikemura. Take a walk around the Sculpture Park, which features over 20 sculptures by some of the most important modern and contemporary sculptors. These include works by Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Lynn Chadwick and Elisabeth Frink.
Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, 9-12 September
Multiple venues, Norwich
One of the UK’s fastest growing literary festivals, the programme explores crime writing, celebrating some of the genres best loved authors. Attendees have the opportunity to improve their writing skills with workshops hosted by recognised names in crime. This September you can learn from the likes of the Guardian’s Duncan Campbell, author Jacob Ross and novelist Elizabeth Haynes. View the full programme.
Norfolk Heritage Open Day Festival, 10-19 September
The Forum, Bethel St, Millennium Plain, Norwich NR2 1BH
The popular annual festival coordinated by The Forum in Norwich sees venues across Norfolk opening their doors allowing visitors the chance to explore the county’s rich heritage for free. The festival offers everyone the opportunity to explore new buildings, discover some hidden gems not normally open to the public and learn more about the cultural heritage in our communities. The
theme for this year’s festival is ‘Edible England’ so alongside tours and open days expect food related events and activities. View all events here.
Out There Festival, 17-19 September
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; Cobholm (Friday only), St George’s Park, The Drill House, The Market Place and Marine Parade
The ‘Out There’ international festival of circus and street arts, sponsored by Visit Great Yarmouth, is returning to the streets of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk for the 13th year. Known to be weird, wonderful, outrageous and outstanding, the Out There Festival will bring the people of Norfolk some of the world’s finest circus and street art performers.
This year, the programme is filled with high-energy, exciting contemporary circus and outdoor arts, fusing together culture identities that exist within Great Yarmouth. Highlights include Orquestra; a show where jugglers perform dance and a brass band plays punk, funk, pop and blues, and Godzilla; don your Godzilla mask and act the part as you stampede through a city maze. The festival is free to attend.
New Wave at Heritage Open Days, from 16 September
Multiple venues across Norfolk & Suffolk
Re/Collect 250, Sustainable Fashion from Traditional Textiles and Girlguiding Norfolk Archive Resource Centre will be part of this year’s New Wave programme for Heritage Open Days 2021. Developed by local organisers in collaboration with young people, this innovative new scheme aims to encourage young adults to engage with their local history.
Three events across Norfolk will bring to life the fascinating history of this pocket of East Anglia. The South Asia Collection, Norfolk, which values the ethical and sustainable processes demonstrated in traditional craft, presents Sustainable Fashion from Traditional Textiles, giving visitors the chance to view a selection of textile objects and have a go at doing their own traditional block printing. Re/Collect 250 is a collaborative community oral history project by history students from the University of East Anglia, celebrating 250 years of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Girlguiding Norfolk County Archive Resource Centre encourages visitors to try fun new cooking techniques – see how an egg can be cooked on a piece of string and have a go making a s’more or mug cake.
Delve into Suffolk’s murky supernatural past with The Lowestoft Witches, an exhibition exploring the witch trials of 1662 that influenced the Salem Witch Trials thirty years later. On Historic Lowestoft – a walk with Ivan Bunn, join the local historian on a tour of the town to rediscover the places, events and people that make old Lowestoft so fascinating.
Deepdale Festival, 23-26 September
Deepdale Camping, Deepdale, North Norfolk
Head to the North Norfolk Coast for a weekend of music. An exciting mix of musical names join together for the fourth Deepdale Festival. A brick barn will become the main stage, an orchard becomes a folk stage and street performance venue, and St Mary’s Church will host special performances. Hundreds of music fans will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, the excellent drinks & food, and an incredible music line-up. The musicians are joined by the bars of Moongazer Ale, serving many local drink options, and street food from local chefs. There will be star gazing, dance, yoga, massage and more. The full programme is available on the Deepdale Festival website.
NORCON, 25-26 September
Norfolk Showground, Dereham Rd, New Costessey, Norwich NR5 0TT
Norfolk’s very own TV, film and comic con, returns to the Norfolk Showground. Fans will be able to enjoy a fantastic mix of exhibits, celebrity appearances, stage talks and demonstrations, photo opportunities and a multitude of traders selling memorabilia and merchandise from every corner of the galaxy. Among the line-up of celebrity guests for
2021 is ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Kevin McNally (Mr Gibbs) who is also a character in latest gaming sensation ‘Sea of Thieves’. Book your ticket.
Norfolk Open Studios, 25 September – 10 October
The award-winning Norfolk Open Studios returns to celebrate the county’s artists and their achievements by offering them the opportunity to open their doors to the public to exhibit, sell and talk about their work. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but this autumn will see more than 320 artists take part across 267 venues to share and sell their work.
Artists will be at work in their studios, garages, spare rooms, garden rooms, community spaces and schools sharing how they work. The scheme will welcome 23 schools to the event as well as 13 art trails, allowing visitors to enjoy several studios in one day. The event is free to attend.
What’s on in Essex
Southend Arts Festival, 3 – 19 September
Multiple venues in Southend, Leigh and Shoeburyness
Events and activities for all ages will take place across the Borough between 3 – 19 September. These include a pop up art gallery at The Royals Shopping Centre, a Chalk fest for families to get involved with on a section of Southend High Street, the Garden Gatherings in Leigh Library Gardens, as well as comedy workshops and street theatre. Find out more.
British Science Festival, 7-11 September
Multiple venues, Chelmsford, Essex
Inspire your imagination with a collection of curated events and talks which provide an insight into Chelmsford’s strengths in sustainability, healthcare and engineering. There will be a line-up of 100 free outdoor talks, immersive installations, and socially distanced indoor events that delve into the stories, ideas and the people behind science and innovation in Chelmsford and beyond. Catch a special filming of the BBC’s ‘The Sky at Night Question Time’ at the Civic Theatre and explore the Ideas Hub at the Meadows Shopping Centre which will include the Climate Café, a music therapy workshop and a ‘Chemistry of Curry’ demonstration. Find out more.
Autumn Plant Fair, 17 – 18 September
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Chelmsford CM3 8ET
Organised with Essex Plant Heritage, enjoy a weekend all about plants at RHS Garden Hyde Hall with specialist nurseries from across the region selling rare and unusual plants. Taking place over Friday and Saturday, this is the perfect opportunity to get your garden set up for the season ahead. You’ll also be able to chat to RHS Advisors for all manner of gardening advice and enjoy tours to take in the autumn colours of the garden.
The Rock Orchestra by Candlelight: Colchester, 24 September
Charter Hall, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester CO1 1YH
Get ready to be moved with an orchestral reimagining of the Rock and Metal genres performed by Festival of The Dead’s ‘Rock Orchestra’ in stunning, candlelit surroundings. Expect a selection of hits from the last 40 years including: Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Linkin Park, Led Zeppelin, Evanescence, Guns N Roses, Billy Idol, Queens of The Stone Age & more.
Apple Festival, 25-26 September
Audley End House & Gardens, Saffron Walden, Essex
Autumn is a fruitful season, and where better to celebrate its produce than in the stunning gardens of Audley End House. A weekend dedicated to the apple will see over 150 varieties in the organic kitchen with expert gardeners on hand to answer your questions. Traditional tunes will be playing, and they’ll be the chance to sample apple treats and ciders. Book tickets here.
NightFlix Drive-in Cinema’s first Oktoberfest, 27 September – 3 October
Grab your pretzels, biersteins and Lederhosen! NightFlix Drive-in cinema is bringing a taste of Germany to Tollgate West in Colchester this autumn with its first Oktoberfest festival. Visitors can watch beloved 80s classic ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, and the outrageous animated comedy romp ‘Sausage Party’ featuring the voice talents of Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill and Kristen Wiig.
While sinking a few of Germany’s best beers, audiences can enjoy stilt walkers, fire jugglers, circus acts, some high energy bingo, and music provided by a German Oompah music, live bands and DJ support, all there to entertain the crowd.
Things to do in Cambridge this September
Restaurant Pop Up in Cambridge
Cambridge-based events company, Elle-Events, has launched a 12-week restaurant pop-up featuring local, independent chefs at Cambridge Cookery School. Taking place each Saturday night until the end of October, guests can enjoy a variety of cuisines from around the world – from South African to seafood, Iranian to Italian – and drinks from local breweries and wine merchants to complement. Throughout September, guests can enjoy: Shanty by Chef Jason Howard, local cheesemonger Perry from Rennet and Rind, My Persian Kitchen and Rob and Isaac from Fasta Pasta. Book your table.
Self-led tour at Cambridge Botanical Gardens, until 30 November
1 Brookside, Cambridge CB2 1JE
Cambridge Botanical Gardens is a sight to behold, with late flowers, fruits and trees having been especially planted to brighten the misty autumn days. From 10 September to 30 November, you can partake in a self-led family activity. Upon entry, pick up a special card with an animal illustration and facts alongside fun games. A different animal will be at the gates each week and there are six to collect altogether.
Sketchbook Wednesday Club, September – October
20 High St, Haddenham, Ely CB6 3XA
Run by Studio Artist, Laura Pearson-Clark (Art in the Burrow), this informal sociable sketching club is for all abilities and experiences. Bring your own sketchbook and materials, flask of drink – although Arts Centre cafe is also open for refreshments
and cakes – and camping chairs and make use of the wildlife and sculpture garden
as inspiration in the company of a Haddenham Arts Centre studio artist. The Sketchbook Wednesday Club is on every Wednesday at the Wildlife Garden near Ely during September and October, 10am-12pm. Price £10 per session, discounts for booking in blocks. Find out more.
OPEN Cambridge, 10-19 September
Multiple venues, Cambridge
Cambridge’s much-loved festival of history and culture returns with an extended programme of free live and digital events for everyone to enjoy. Open Cambridge, which is supported by the Cambridge BID, has extended its usual run of three days to 10 days of tours, walks, films, talks and a host of activities that bring together local people and visitors to celebrate the heritage, culture and community of Cambridge. During the 10 days, everyone will have
the opportunity to see hidden places and try out new experiences that bring to life the historic city. With local stories at its heart, the free event is part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme, which is designed to offer special access to places that are normally closed to the public or charge admission. View the full programme of events.
Duxford Battle of Britain Air Show, 18 – 19 September
Immerse yourself in summer 1940. When the Spitfire ruled the skies and the ‘Few’ brought hope to the British Isles. Step into Duxford’s remarkable past as the roar of Merlin engines fills the air above this important RAF fighter station, famous for defending Great Britain during the Second World War. More information.
Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Returning as a live theatre tour, the Banff Mountain Film Festival features the world’s best adventure films, starring extreme human-powered expeditions in remote corners of the world. Audiences can expect nail-biting action, wild expeditions and stunning cinematography – from the comfort of a cinema seat. Book your ticket.
Ocean Film Festival, 25 September
Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Ocean Film Festival is bringing a collection of mesmerising ocean- themed films to the the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Featuring a brand-new selection of films, audiences can dive into a night of mind-boggling marine-life and extreme seafaring voyages – from the comfort of a cinema seat.
What’s on in Suffolk this month
Ipswich Art Gallery
‘The Moon: Meet our nearest neighbour’ is a touring exhibition and features fascinating objects such as a large inflatable Moon, scientific instruments, and actual Moon rock on loan from Bespoke Scientific, giving you the chance to discover what the Moon
is made of, how it has influenced our history, culture and natural world, and how we have explored it from ancient times to the present and future.
Sailing Taster Day, 11 September
Alton Water, Suffolk
For all 11-13 year olds, Royal Hospital School is offering a chance to try sailing at their sailing academy at Alton Water, right next to the school in Holbrook, Suffolk. Young sailors of all levels can expect a morning of fun. There will be a coaching session run by four-times Paralympic sailor Hannah Stodel and supported by Royal Hospital School trained staff. The event is free of charge and open to sailors across East Anglia on a first come, first served basis. Children from all schools are welcome, but must be in year 6 or above in September 2021 to take part. To register, click here.
Guided Walk of Historic Clare, 19 September
A 90-minute guided walk which takes the visitor around this compact market town which flourished for centuries. Although Clare’s history stretches back into early England, the remains of a Norman castle dominates the town, underlining the importance of Clare in the history of the area. This event is free as it is part of Heritage Open Days but booking is essential. Call 01284 758000 to book.
The Jockey Club Rooms, Newmarket, Suffolk
The popular free festival, which celebrates the finest food and drink from across East Anglia is back! Celebrity chefs topping the bill on the main stage this year include chef and TV presenter Rosemary Shrager; Tristan Welch, a regular on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen and Chef Director at Parker’s Tavern in Cambridge; and acclaimed master chef Hans Schweitzer, who has cooked for the Queen, presidents, dignitaries and celebrities across the globe. Each chef will demo a range of dishes to teach audiences new skills and offer inspiration in the kitchen. In addition, the organisers plan to host over 60 artisan food and drink producers from across East Anglia and present a weekend packed full of live music, a selection of bars, and family entertainment.
Bury St Edmunds Literature Festival, 23-26 September
Unitarian Meeting House, Bury St Edmunds
The festival returns to the town with a whole host of exciting events, talks and discussions. Join us this autumn at the Unitarian Meeting House for a feast of all things literary. Find out more.
Nightflix Gin Cinema, 24-26 September
Glemham Hall, Suffolk
Nightflix Gin Cinema is an immersive outdoor gin festival and cinema experience which will screen classic films on its outdoor LED screen. Screenings include some of the most popular musicals of recent years, such as ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘A Star is Born’, and ‘The Greatest Showman’, along with classics such as ‘Grease’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’.
For this seated event viewers can hire a deck chair, giant beanbag, or bring their own chair to settle down for the film. Viewers can enjoy a wide range of gins and mixers, along with a fully stocked bar for any non-gin drinkers with a wide range of soft drinks. There will also be a selection of hot food and sweet treats available at all locations. Tickets priced £12.50 for bring your own chair option and £18 for deck chair hire and £21 for bean bag hire (plus booking fee).
Feast, 25-28 September
125a High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
An event for those with an appetite for art! Hosted by Art For Cure, the exhibition will feature over 25 artists, ceramicists and sculptors who have been inspired by the theme of food, dining and produce. The exhibition will include the launch of the new Ballroom Arts space and feature a uniquely commissioned piece titled ‘Fruits der Mer’ by international textile artist, Kate Jenkins, plus a series of Mersea-inspired oyster artworks by Patricia Forrester.
The East Anglian Game & Country Fair, 25 – 26 September
Euston Estate, Thetford, Suffolk, IP24 2QH
Action-packed entertainment for all the family. With main arena demonstrations, forestry village, gun makers row, an array of pet and working dog demos and competitions, a ‘have a go’ and 40 bird re-entry competition clay shoot, rifle range, archery and crossbows, off-road 4×4 course, fishing demos and tuition, mouth-watering food on offer in the Food & Drink Hall and local celebrity chefs demonstrating their cooking skills in the Game Fair Country Kitchen. Book your ticket here.
Behind-the-Scenes at Newmarket Racecourse, selected dates until end of October
An exclusive peep behind the scenes at Newmarket Racecourses and the chance to watch the bidding at Tattersalls, Europe’s leading bloodstock auctioneers, are now possible on three returning day-long experiences from Discover Newmarket. Dates for the ‘Behind The Scenes Racecourse Tour’, ‘Newmarket Race Day Tour’ and ‘Tattersalls Tour’ have been extended to end of October. Book tickets here.
Sound City Ipswich 2021, 1-2 October
Ipswich town centre
The second Sound City Ipswich returns with a hand-picked selection of upcoming and established bands, showcasing emerging regional talent alongside major touring acts. Over 30 international artists will be performing over two days at four indoor venues across the town, in addition to those at the free outdoor stage in the town centre. The live line-up includes an impressive list of musical styles.
What’s on in Hertfordshire
St Albans Food & Drink Festival, 1-26 September
The month-long festival, now in its 13th year, is hugely popular with locals and visitors with a host of on and offline events that showcase the food and drink heroes across the district. The festival culminates with the vibrant FEASTIVAL street event on 26 September with food and drink stalls, bars with live music, entertainment, face painting and fun for all ages. See the full line-up.
Verulamium Park, St Albans
Tom Kerridge’s food and music festival returns with tasty dishes from The Hand & Flowers, The Hardwick and The Green Man, and live performances from All Saints, Basement Jaxx DJ Set, Gabrielle, Lightning Seeds and more! Celebrating everything there is to love about the glorious British pub: delicious food, award-winning chefs, chart-topping music, great drinks and a fantastic time with friends and family. Book tickets.
Heritage Open Week at Rothamsted Manor, 11-19 September
Rothamsted Estate, Harpenden
Heritage Open Week will see Rothamsted Manor open its doors for self-guided house and garden tours, and fun family activities centring around this year’s theme ‘Edible England’. Rarely open to the public, the Grade I listed Jacobean Manor House will have a pop-up café serving hot and cold drinks, delicious snacks and cream teas.
DogFest, 11-12 September
The ultimate dogs’ day out! Bring your new fur-friend to the puppy academy to socialise, learn tricks and obedience techniques. Watch doggy-displays and join the activities from ultimate frisbee to hide and seek and pup paddle boarding. Shop pet products you won’t find on the high street, relax with food and drinks or take part in the Big Dog Walk. Find out more.
Firework Champions, 18 September
Hatfield Park, Hatfield House
Three of the UK’s best firework companies compete against each other with a 10-minute firework display perfectly choreographed to music. It is then up to the audience to choose the winning display via standard rate text voting. The evening also features a not to be missed pyrotechnic display in the sky by Aerosparx Aerobatics and closes with a larger firework display. Price: Adults £22, child £12. Book here.
Master the Dark Arts, 24 September – 7 November
Warner Bros Studio Tours
The popular Harry Potter Dark Arts feature returns for 2021. See the Great Hall covered with over 100 floating pumpkins as well as a Halloween feast of lollipops and red apples dressing the long tables. Try your wand combat moves against Death Eaters in a live duel demonstrating how battle scenes were directed.
The Chroniclers of History, Until 31 October
St Albans Museum + Gallery
An exhibition bringing together, from across the country, medieval manuscripts originally created in the Scriptorium of St Albans Abbey from as early as the 13th century. Residents of 21st-century St Albans will be able to view the works by which the Abbey and city became widely known centuries ago, while visitors can enjoy this rare opportunity to see these manuscripts together.
Hertford Castle Heritage Day, 12 September
Hertford Castle, Castle Street, SG14 1HR
In conjunction with the National Heritage Weekend programme, the lawn will host medieval encampments, bouncy castles, historical information stalls and birds of prey. You will have the opportunity to be a real-life Viking wielding the bow and arrow at the Archery Workshop. The performance arena will return with a programme that’ll have you at the edge of your seat; hosting Viking battles, re- enactments, storytelling, and falconry displays! Don’t forget to head inside the Castle to explore the original parts of the building, including the robing room, and then head down to the basement to check out the themed rooms. This event is free of charge, but donations are welcome, raising money for the Mayor of Hertford’s Charity.
September Events in Bedfordshire
Big Trunk Trail – the Herd Bids a Spectacular Farewell, until 30 October
Luton Town Centre
The Big Trunk Trail, which has taken place all over Luton this summer, will come to an end in October. With more than 30 beautifully decorated elephants on display, it has been the biggest outdoor public art event the town has ever seen.
Stockwood Discovery Centre
Syrian artist Sara Shamma brings attention to the global issue of human trafficking and modern slavery, through a new series of large-scale portraits. A compelling exhibition of portraits, considering the meaning of survival, endurance, and recovery from the survivors’ perspectives.
Heritage Open Days, 18 September
John Bunyan Museum, Bedford
A family activity trail of ‘edible’ history around the main museum; a handling session with 17th century objects about dining in John Bunyan’s day; a demonstration of recipes made at the time, especially for the Heritage Open Days Edible England theme. John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, is one of Bedford’s most famous sons.
Dial M for Murder, 26 September – 30 October
Milton Keynes Theatre (Bucks)
Can you ever get away with the perfect crime? TV and stage favourite, Tom Chambers, (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) stars as the charismatic and manipulative Tony Wendice, a jaded ex-tennis pro who has given it all up for his wife Margot, played by Diana Vickers (The X factor). When he discovers she has been unfaithful his mind turns to revenge and the pursuit of the ‘perfect crime’.
Going to Town – 200 Years of Bedford’s Art The Higgins Bedford, until 20 March 2022
An exhibition celebrating artists’ views of Bedford and the surrounding area, displaying watercolours, oils and prints from the past two centuries. The exhibition includes artworks by JMW Turner, Dora Carrington, Thomas Fisher and Stanley Orchart, highlighting their fascination with the town and River Great Ouse. Visitors are invited to take a walk into Bedford town through 200 years of artists’ eyes and see long forgotten buildings as well as familiar sights. Find out more.
Biggleswade Antiques & Vintage Fair, 19 September & 17 October
The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade SG18 8JH
The fair has over 45 dealers and there is always a wide range of stalls from dateline antiques through to vintage. There is a cafe serving hot and cold food all day as well as free parking with step-free access.
Tasty Creative Market, 26 September
Houghton Hall Park, Park Road North, Houghton Regis LU5 5FU
Tasty Creative is a cross between a craft fair and farmers market, so if you are a crafter or create lovely goodies to eat/ drink this is the market for you!
ILLUSION:IMPOSSIBLE, 29 September
Grove Theatre, Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, LU5 4GP
Five of the most incredible Illusionists in the world perform in a non-stop show packed with breathtaking magic and illusions from. Appearing Superbikes, Impossible Predictions, Double Levitations with an explosive finale! Book tickets.
The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe, 30 September
The Quarry Theatre at St Luke’s, 26 St Peter’s Street, Bedford MK40 2NN
August 5th, 1962: Monroe as we’ve never seen her before: alone in her bedroom, in dressing gown and underwear; no glitz, no glamour, no masks. Overdosed on pills, the woman behind the icon unravels her remarkable life, taking us back through the memories of her closest relationships. Repeatedly stalked by a mysterious caller, the Hollywood icon tells all (Joe DiMaggio, Clark Gable, Arthur Miller, her mother – it’s all here), revealing a biting intelligence and an imperfect body, leading us in real time to the very moment of her death.
Airship Dreams: Escaping Gravity, until 28 November 2021, Sir William Harpur Gallery & Connections Gallery, until 20 March 2022
Bedford Creative Arts, The Higgins Bedford, the Airship Heritage Trust and artist Mike Stubbs, have joined forces to launch this two-fold exhibition which celebrates Bedford’s airship heritage. It brings together innovative digital contemporary art and exciting new community sourced displays, presenting the pioneering vision of airship development over the decades. Free entry.