It’s that time of the year again. October has arrived and the leaves are changing colours, the days are cooler and pumpkin spice everything is available! It’s my favourite time of the year and if you happen to be visiting us during the autumn months there are some fabulous events and happenings for you to enjoy. Here’s a taster!
The Wells Festival of Literature
Running from 13-21 October within the Marquee in the glorious gardens of The Bishop’s Palace. Set up in 1992 to promote the love of books and of reading throughout the community. Experience a wide range of international, national and local writers to entertain, challenge, inspire and inform audiences of all ages and tastes.
Subject matter ranges from biography to politics, fiction to science and trains to poetry and the list of speakers is equally impressive this year with Alan Johnson, Nick Clegg and Andy Hamilton, Fergal Keane, June Sarpong, Professor AC Grayling, Rebecca Fraser, Michael and Anne Heseltine and Mike Brearley – among many others.
Wells Food Festival
On Sunday 8 October, from 10.30 to 4.30, Wells Food Festival returns once again to celebrate the best of Somerset’s wonderful local produce, with over 150 of the area’s best artisan food and drink producers.
The festival will have a mix of stalls in the Market Place, the Recreation Ground, along the Moat and on the ‘Green’, between the Bishop’s Eye and The Bishop’s Palace. There will also be displays, demonstrations and talks in the Town Hall, The Bishop’s Palace and Wells Cathedral.
British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival
Eastcombe, Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) – 14/15 October.
It’s not just ploughing though! It offers a rare glimpse of how farming has changed over the past 300 years – magnificent heavy horses and many styles of vintage tractors and equipment and giant steam ploughing engines. With lots of trade stands, shopping and country crafts plus tractor & trailer rides, it promises to be a great day out!
Apple Days – Barrington Court (National Trust)
A celebration of all things ‘apple’ at Barrington Court! This fun and lively weekend is for everyone, with much of the activity centered around the orchards and pressing barn. A full day of picking, pressing, identifying and tasting!
The orchards surround the gardens on all sides, and a mix of cider and eating apples with fascinating names such as Slack-Ma-Girdle, Brown Snout, Beauty of Bath, Crimson King, Somerset Redstreak, Tom Putt and Kingsdon Black are harvested. All the fruit is used to produce Barrington Court’s award-winning cider and apple juice, so it’s not surprising that they like to make a song and dance about it all! This year celebrate Apple Days on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October.
As darkness gathers over the American Museum, join in a very special late opening in celebration of Halloween on October 27.
Behind the doors of Claverton Manor a host of ghostly storytellers await, ready with the most ghastly tales from American folklore. Visitors begin in the shadows of our seventeenth century room where they’ll hear the story of Bloody Mary, who terrorised villagers in rural Pennsylvania four hundred years ago. Whatever you do don’t say her name three times, and don’t look back into the shadows to see who (or what) might be following…
Guides will lead timed tours through the Museum, stopping to listen to our storytellers and finding a few nasty surprises along the way. Hear about Claverton Manor’s own sinister past and the peculiar goings on witnessed by staff and volunteers. Perhaps our own ghosts will join the party?
Timed tours will take place at 6, 6.30, 7, 7.30, 8, and 8.30pm.
Somerset Carnivals are the highlight of the year around here, and one of the most exciting displays of amateur entertainment anywhere in the world.
There are various organised Somerset carnivals every year, some with over a hundred brilliantly lit and decorated floats – ‘carts’, we call them – and exotically dressed performers from the local carnival clubs. The carnivals operate on a circuit, travelling from town to town, and luckily for us you can see this spectacle right here in Shepton Mallet on Wednesday 15th November this year.
The festive spirit first breaks out in September, and we keep it up during October, with the Guy Fawkes carnivals until late November, just when your spirits need lifting – that’s how carnivals started, as one of these prehistoric ‘winter’s coming, let’s have a festival’ occasions. The ingenuity and design skills of the carnival clubs will take your breath away!