What To Book Around The UK This October

From the UK’s biggest literary festival celebrating a big birthday in Cheltenham, to a new live music festival created solely by women, October has plenty going on. Other autumn adventures on offer include mushroom foraging, transitional wellness retreats and pumpkin carving. Here are SL’s top cultural picks across the country this month…

GO FORAGING HERE: Carluccio’s, Essex

Explore the beautiful Essex countryside and celebrate mushroom season with Carluccio’s mushroom foraging workshop. This one-day mushroom course, held at the 54-acre Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning, will be dedicated to fungi foraging, followed by lunch. The day will begin with an educational workshop about wild mushrooms, distinguishing between varieties which are edible and those that are not. For lunch, a three-course mushroom feast will be served to showcase the versatility of cooking with fresh, wild mushrooms. Afterwards, you’ll walk off lunch and put your knowledge to the test with a guided hunt around the beautiful, earthy fields of Lambourne End where you can collect your own mushrooms before being shown how to cook a simple dish of your own back home.

Manor Road, Essex, RM4 1NB; 13th October

Visit DesignMyNight.com

ATTEND A WELLNESS RETREAT HERE: Daylesford, Gloucestershire

The ‘Wellness Retreat’ at Daylesford has been created to nurture, nourish and restore its guests as we transition into autumn. The season of harvest and gratitude, autumn is a time of transformation after the abundance of summer. Designed with this in mind, Daylesford’s retreat includes a series of healing treatments, restorative classes and workshops, and nourishing organic food, plus a stay in one of the farm’s luxurious Cotswolds cottages. The farm’s resident nutritionist, yoga teachers and cookery tutors will lead the weekend, working with nature to instil wellness in mind, body and spirit. During your time you’ll enjoy holistic Bamford treatments including a facial and de-stress massage. Elsewhere, the Haybarn will be the setting for both yoga and meditation classes.

Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG; 4th-7th October

Visit Daylesford.com

FIND A NEW READ HERE: Cheltenham Literary Festival, Cheltenham

Every autumn, Cheltenham is transformed into a literary lover’s dream as the town welcomes over 600 of the world’s finest writers, actors, politicians, poets and leading opinion formers to celebrate the joy of the written word. This year’s theme – ‘Seven at Seventy’ – celebrates 70 years since Cheltenham Town Hall hosted the world’s first literature festival and started a cultural phenomenon. Alongside the biggest new book releases and up-to-the-minute political debates – fresh from the party conference season – there will be food, history, poetry, current affairs, art, sport, faith, fashion, lifestyle, psychology, science and business events on offer, as well as a packed family programme for toddlers to teens. Highlights include David Nicholls introducing his new novel Sweet Sorrow, and the award-winning Ali Smith, who’ll will be discussing the third book in her seasonal quartet, Spring. 

Various locations, Cheltenham; 3rd-13th October

Visit CheltenhamFestivals.com

GET SPOOKED HERE: The Exorcist, UK-wide

Widely considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Winner of two Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s masterpiece saw audiences petrified to the point of passing out and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time. Now, 45 years after its release, fans of the film can experience a visually astounding, intelligent theatrical experience. Inspired by true events, this thrilling tale has been adapted for stage by John Pielmeier and directed by Sean Mathias (Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land) and features the voice of Ian McKellen as the Demon. Perfect for this time of year.

Milton Keynes Theatre from 8th-12th October; Birmingham Alexandra Theatre from 15th-19th October; and Manchester Opera House from 21th-26th October      

Visit ATGTickets.com

BOOK AHEAD FOR THIS: The Warehouse Project, Manchester

This December, The Warehouse Project will host Mercury Prize nominee Slowthai’s biggest headline show to date at the newly opened Depot venue in Manchester. Celebrating the best of British alternative music, rooted in rap, grime and hip hop, the show will also feature up-and-coming acts Fredo and Flohio. Co-curated by The Warehouse Project and Highsnobiety’s new-music initiative Highsnobiety Soundsystem, the collaborative event will feature cultural and experiential activations alongside the cutting-edge music line-up. Manchester-based producer and visual artist Murlo joins to present a very rare audio/visual performance, and closing the night be a DJ set from Mike Skinner of The Streets. Tickets start at £20: a conscious effort by both Warehouse Project and Highsnobiety to make the show as accessible and affordable as possible.

Mayfield, Manchester, M1 2QF; 7th December

Visit TheWarehouseProject.com

SEE A CLASSIC ALBUM LIVE HERE: Sage Gateshead, Gateshead

Saint Etienne’s Tiger Bay is regarded by many as their finest album. Released in 1994, it was a groundbreaking blend of electronica with traditional folk melodies, which included the singles ‘Pale Movie’, ‘Like A Motorway’ and ‘Hug My Soul’. This show follows the band’s sold-out performance at the Barbican Centre with the London Contemporary Orchestra in May and features a smaller, stripped-back string section. Tiger Bay will be followed by a set of hits and fan favourites. This is Saint Etienne as you’ve never heard them before – it’s not to be missed.

Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2JR; 18th October

Visit SageGateshead.com

DRINK LOTS OF RUM HERE: Lost Lagoon, Birmingham

This autumn, Bompas & Parr and Captain Morgan rum are joining forces to take visitors on a nautical adventure to an aquatic paradise: Lost Lagoon. Running until 22nd December, the event will offer intrepid explorers the chance to set sail on a journey of discovery. With a plot inspired by the world's most famous buccaneer, Lost Lagoon offers a reinterpretation of Captain Henry Morgan's world. Guests will undertake a series of cocktail-based escapades as part of an immersive theatrical production. Budding buccaneers will navigate themselves by boat on an indoor sea to a series of islands, receiving rum-based rations and instructions along the way, so that they can make the finest rum punches. Armed with their recipe, they will be able to find Captain Morgan's ultimate hidden bounty – his island lair, a party palace filled with rum-based drinks and food from some of Birmingham’s finest food operators.

Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham, B5 4BU; 26th September-22nd December

Visit LostLagoon.org



Set in 2,000 acres of countryside, Celtic Manor resort is home to four hotels, from five-star luxury and secluded lodges to the adults-only Signature Collection and a five-star restaurant with rooms. There are seven restaurants to choose from, including riverside dining with seasonal ingredients handpicked from the garden at Newbridge on Usk, and Steak on Six, which serves up steaks from the British Isles and beyond. Those looking for a relaxing break away can head to the two spas, including the recently refurbed Forum Spa which has 16 treatment rooms and a pool. Those with children to entertain this half term can head outdoors for fun and fresh air, enjoying an autumn adventure filled with treasure hunts, pumpkin carving and bouncing around on the resort’s new Forest Nets surrounded by colourful leaves high in the treetops.

Caerleon, Newport, NP18 1HQ

Visit Celtic-Manor.com


A doting husband. A troubled writer. A loaded gun. It’s 2019 and Hedda Tesman returns to a life she can’t seem to escape. After 30 years of playing wife, Hedda is bitter and bored. So, when her estranged daughter, Thea, suddenly reappears asking for help, the present begins to echo the past and Hedda embarks on a path of destruction. Cordelia Lynn’s Hedda Tesman breathes new life into Ibsen’s epic Hedda Gabler, asking what we inherit, what we endure and how we carry our history. A vital exploration of motherhood, power and sabotage.

The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ; 3rd–19th October

Visit TheLowry.com


A new live music festival created solely by women will take place on 11th-14th October, headlined by Manchester synth-pop star Shura and Derry-born indie-folk prodigy Soak – both Glastonbury alumni. The new festival will stage some of the best live music from across the UK, including DJs playing into the early hours. Friday night will be curated by Brit-Award winning singer-songwriter KT Tunstall, who’ll be joined by Eurovision singer Saara Aalto, UK beatbox champion turned electro-pop legend Grace Savage, The L Word’s Betty, plus audio-visual pioneer synth star Ariana & The Rose. The rest of the weekend-long line-up includes Cat Burns, Lanta, Lots Holloway, Toya Delazy, Kal Lavelle, Laky, The Coaltown Daisies, Charlotte Carpenter, Katey Brooks and Xylaroo.

Holton Heath, Poole BH16 6JZ; 11th-14th October

Visit HearHerFestival.com

EAT HERE: Cultureplex, Manchester

Located on the edge of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, slickly designed Cultureplex overlooks the Piccadilly Basin. Located in a former goods warehouse, it’s the latest of the city’s heritage buildings to take on a new purpose. The venue comprises a central all-day space to dine, lounge and work, plus 80-seater restaurant Bistrotheque, which comes with an expansive open kitchen. Elsewhere, there are three adaptable meeting and event spaces and Klatch, a coffee counter serving healthy food and juices in the day, and craft beer and natural wines by night. We can’t wait to head up and try the likes of softshell crab burger with harissa mayonnaise and coriander; or the Marmite and cheese scones, served as part of an afternoon tea. There’s also set to be a quarterly-themed programme of events and new commissions across film, performance, visual arts and crafts.

Ducie Street Warehouse, Manchester, M1 2TP

Visit Cultureplex.com

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