If you are in Cheltenham this week it is hard to ignore the influx of visitors to this spa town for one of the most popular events in the horse racing calendar. The Festival is world renowned and people travel from far and wide to attend, so it is no surprise that it receives so much publicity.
Whilst many locals prefer to take this week to go on holiday and escape the crowds, I love the buzz and the exceptionally strong tweed-game. However, Cheltenham and the Cotswolds has more to offer which is perhaps less well known. At the risk of sounding a little cheesy, I wanted to give you all a little break down on other key dates in the Cotswolds if you are planning a trip here, but looking for something a little different to the racing and eventing scene.
Jazz Festival : 26th April-1st May 2017
If you like jazz this has to be high on the list of events to attend. This draws a range of performers including Laura Mvula, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gregory Porter and Jack Savoretti. I personally am very picky with jazz, but it is always good fun as there is lots to look at. Plus, sipping a Pimms in the sunshine never requires too much work!
Daylesford Summer Festival: 20th May 2017
This well known organic farm is popular all year round. In the neighbouring villages such as Evenlode and Kingham, they may refer to it as their ‘local farm shop’, and it is equally popular amongst Londoners since opening cafes in Marylebone, Notting Hill and Pimlico. Daylesford hosts many events throughout the year, and it is always a great place to visit and sample some organic produce. However, my highlight of the year is their Summer Festival which opens it doors to visitors showcasing candle making, dog shows and other crafts. This is a fantastic day out for all ages with lots to do!
Cheltenham Science Festival : 6th June-11th June 2017
Praised by scientists around Britain for being the best of its’ kind, the Cheltenham Science Festival champions making science accessible to everyone. With guest speakers such as Brian Cox, Alice Roberts and Richard Dawkins, it is the perfect place to ask those burning questions and untangle world of science. This is one for all ages with children’s activities, although be warned, last year I witnessed the dissection of what I think was a horses head – may want to shield any squeamish children from that exhibition!
Tewkesbury Food & Drink : 24th & 25th June 2017
Held in the stunning Tewkesbury Abbey, this food festival is a popular one featuring live demonstrations. There are over 60 stalls and at only £2.50 a ticket, I can’t imagine anything better than having a valid reason to spend the whole day eating and drinking in the name of ‘culture’. If you like this sort of thing, it would also be worth checking out Broadway Food Festival : 10th September-10th October 2017.
Barn on the Farm : 29th June-2nd July 2017
It’s in the name. This music festival is in a Barn, on a Farm. This year Tom Odell is headlining, and previous years have welcomed Jack Garrett and Ed Sheeran. Weekend tickets including camping are £110, but get in there early as the top tier tickets sell out quickly!
2000 Trees : 6th-8th July 2017
It is said that this is one the friendliest music festivals in Britain, which makes it perfect for attending individually or in groups. This festival is set over 3 days in the Cotswold Hills and hosts 130 performers. Only £100 for all three days including camping, this year the line up includes Slaves and Nothing but Thieves. Past performances include Mallory Knox, Twin Atlantic and Frightened Rabbit.
Stow Cotswold Festival : 15th July 2017
In the market town of Stow on the Wold, this Cotswold Festival is a family favourite. For one day only, this popular town is filled with music, traditional costume, tombolas, treasure hunts and (of course) a market showcasing local crafts, gifts and trades.
Cheltenham Literature Festival : 6th-15th October 2017
The place for actors, poets and politicians all together in one place – your go to event for all things literature, this festival is one of the oldest and arguably the most popular. There is something for everyone and all ages with speakers covering history, politics, film, sport, food, art, fashion, nature, technology and business. This year’s lineup has not yet been announced, but keep an eye out for updates.
Westonbirt Arboretum : 24th November-17th December 2017
All year round Westonbirt is beautiful to visit, but particularly in the Autumn months where the leaves are changing colour. During this time they have a festival of lights which is truly magical and perfect for getting in the mood for Christmas.
There is a lot I haven’t mentioned including more farmers markets, art shows and village-specific events than you could imagine, but this is just a few of my favourites which I recommend! If you think I am missing off anything amazing, let me know as I am always keen to hear about hidden gems 🙂