Looking for things to do in Cheltenham during the autumn time? There are lots to see and enjoy throughout the season, from the breathtaking scenery with trees in bright orange shades to the Literature Festival, which draws in celebrities from around the world.
Cheltenham Literature Festival is a globally renowned festival that brings in people from around the world, including famous guest speakers such as Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley, renowned author Michael Morpurgo and previous US Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.
The festival takes place in October each year, with this year’s festival taking place from Friday 6th, October, to Sunday, 15th October.
Some of the famous guest speakers that you can see include David Mitchell, Jojo Moyes, Brian Cox, Sadiq Khan, Jacqueline Wilson, Nadiya Hussain, and more. Guest speakers come from various backgrounds, so there will be an excellent guest speaker on whichever topic takes your fancy, from comedians in the entertainment programme to best-selling authors in the fiction programme.
You can view the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2023 schedule below.
Cheltenham Racecourse offers more than horse racing; this venue has multiple events throughout the year, from graduation days to comedy shows. One popular event at the racecourse includes the Firework Show.
Every year, the show takes place on Saturday closest to Bonfire night; this year it is likely to fall on Saturday 4th November.
The firework show features choreographed fireworks set off to corresponding music and is fun for the entire family.
Before and after the show, you can also enjoy the funfair set up on-site. There are multiple rides to enjoy at different thrill levels, so if you’re not a fan of heights, you can still want the waltzers.
There are also food and drink stalls so you can grab a bite to eat after enjoying the show or grab a comforting hot chocolate while waiting for the show to start.
This event is very family-friendly, with lots for all ages.
Cheltenham Round Table organise this event and tickets will become available closer to the time. Tickets are sold both online and at the door, though it is a popular event so buying in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.
There are two popular horse racing events in Cheltenham each year. The first is the Gold Cup Festival which takes place in March each year, and the second is the November Meet which is due to take place this year from Friday, the 17th – Sunday, the 19th of November.
Check out our Cheltenham November Meet accommodation.
Leckhampton Hill is lovely to visit throughout the year but is most spectacular in the autumn. The trees and the ground are covered in orange leaves for a truly autumnal feel. Make sure to wear shoes with good grip, though, as the ground can be slippery!
This hill doesn’t have a cafe on site, so bring a hot drink with you to sip as you enjoy the scenery. For those who want a casual visit, there are benches for you to sit at whilst you soak up the views of Cheltenham, and you can then take a casual stroll amongst the trees.
For those that want a more challenging walk, you can climb up to the steepest part of the hill to see “Devil’s Chimney”; this is a stack of limestone rock which looks like a chimney hence the name. It is a local landmark with unknown origins that have several theories behind it.
The hill is open 24 hours, perfect for early birds and night owls alike. There’s also free parking available for visitors to the site.
Sudeley Castle is a popular place to visit throughout the year, but seeing the ground lit up for the Spectacle of Light offers a new experience.
Stroll the pretty gardens and admire the impressive castle, both illuminated in numerous lights. This is an ideal activity for a date night, as the lit-up parks offer the perfect chance for a romantic stroll.
The Spectacle of Light is available on selected evenings from Friday, 24th November, to Friday, 30th December 2023. You can also an early bird discount of 10% off if you book by 23rd November. Bookings are for time slots to ensure visitors can fully admire their surroundings without too many visitors obstructing the views.
Wine lovers can enjoy wines from around the world at Cheltenham Wine Festival. The festival gives a chance for you to taste different wine varieties and also allows you to learn more about different grape varieties, the people behind the brands and the vineyards where the wine is created.
This festival is run to raise money for selected charities and has raised over £40,000 for charities.
Wine bottles are available to purchase on the day. Wine vendors are also accompanied by charcuterie, cheese and cookie vendors.
The festival is on Saturday, 28th October, and is split into two different sessions throughout the day, a 12pm-3pm and a 1pm-4pm slot. You can get your tickets here.
Although Christmas is in the Winter, not autumn, Christmas markets start Mid-November. This gives you plenty of opportunity to start Christmas shopping a little earlier or even discover local businesses and try different food and drink options.
The Christmas Craft Festival also runs in November time. This festival hosts crafters of handmade items from around the UK. The handcrafted items available include handmade ceramics, jewellery, glass and textiles.
You can book your tickets for this event below:
There is plenty to do in Cheltenham throughout the autumn season.
If you’d like to explore Cheltenham in the autumn and want a place to stay, explore our range of short-stay properties.
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