The evenings are getting shorter and darker, and the winter coats have begun their yearly procession out of the wardrobe. Keep the summer blues at bay with one of these five fantastic events for young, creative and curious minds.
Stimulate Your Imagination at Cheltenham Literature Festival
Where: The Festival Village, Cheltenham
When: Family events on Saturday 6th October, Sunday 7th October, Saturday 13th October and Saturday 14th October
Ages: According to each event
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is back with a whole feast of lovely events, workshops and storytelling performances, perfectly pitched for the whole family.
The festival takes place in the heart of Regency Cheltenham from the 5th until the 14th of October, though all of the children’ events will take place at the weekends.
Tickets are still available for a talk by Anthony Horowitz, author of the phenomenally successful Alex Rider series, in which he’ll reveal the inspiration behind his books, as well as bestselling authors Jessie Burton (Restless Girls) and Sally Gardner (Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon) who celebrate their magical modern fairytales.
Plus you can catch the one and only Jacqueline Wilson chatting about her new book or Greg James and Chris Smith, authors of Kid Normal, for an action-packed event with lots of games and audience participation.
If this sounds more up your child’s street, then you’ll be glad to hear that the primary school programme includes plenty more interactive events including a Beano Comic Trail and comic workshop, and to celebrate 200 years of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a Monster Trail will be all around town featuring artwork from local schools.
The secondary schools programme will focus on celebrating the written word in all its forms. As well as talks from many more of the UK’s best loved Young Adult authors, there will be plenty of workshops, where writers reveal the secrets of their writing processes; children can develop their writing skills and gain insight into digital publishing through an exclusive industry event and Our Young Writers Showcase, which celebrates the creative talents of local students.
Be Transported Elsewhere by St Mary’s Calne Art Exhibition
Where: Mall Galleries, London, SW1Y 5AH
When: Tuesday 6th until Saturday 10th November 2018 (10am – 5pm), and Sunday 11th November 2018 (10am to 1pm)
The ‘Sense of Place’ is the third St Mary’s Calne London Art Exhibition and will this year showcase the work of over 50 artists. Pieces exhibited throughout November will include a selection by current students at St Mary’s Calne, Wiltshire, and by alumnae.
Each artist has created work as part of their coursework and examination specification at GCSE and A Level, especially for the Exhibition, or contributed work that is part of their ongoing professional practice.
This is a not to be missed opportunity to exclusively explore incredible 2D, 3D and 4D nationally recognised pieces, all inspired by social, political, ethical and moral narratives.
Embrace the Outdoors at Ellenborough Park
Where: Ellenborough Park, Southam Ln, Cheltenham GL52 3NJ
When: Throughout autumn
Ages: Something for everyone
For a longer, more luxurious experience, book into Ellenborough Park, a manor house hotel situated in the midst of the idyllic Cotswold countryside. For whole family fun, it can’t be beaten, with a huge variety of activities and events going on throughout the coming autumn months.
Little ones can enjoy the hotel’s autumn treasure nature trails, cookie decorating and pumpkin decorating; four legged friends are most definitely welcome (and will adore the 90 acres available to them); and activities as varied as archery, polo, foraging and duck herding are all possibilities.
Stay Cosy with Cranleigh Schools’s Awesome Book Awards
Ages: 7 – 10
To be eligible for the 2019 award the entrants had to be from lesser known authors, suitable for able readers in the listed age group, appealing to both boys and girls and available in paperback from May 2017.
So get your hands on one of these shortlisted titles, and a weekend spent with your child engrossed in a good book may become a reality: Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter; Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy; Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth; The Ice Garden by Guy Jones; and The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen.
Each author will read extracts from their works at the gala awards evening on 2nd May 2019. The winner is then voted for by hundreds of pupils from schools in London and the South East, so if you want a guaranteed great read try last year’s winner’s book, Cogheart by Peter Bunzl or Ross Welford’s Time Travelling with a Hamster, which was the most popular book in 2017.
Get Spooky during your Stay in South Devon
Where: Gara Rock, East Portlemouth, near Salcombe, Devon TQ8 8FA
When: Half term for Halloween
Ages: For the whole family
Situated near Salcombe and hugging the unspoiled south Devon coastline, Gara Rock Hotel could be the perfect place for your family to spend half term and Halloween this Autumn.
After a long cliff-side walk, a delicious feast of locally sourced ingredients – from delicate seafood dishes to hearty pub-style food – it will be time to settle down for a complimentary touch of live drama.
Snuggle amongst warm sheepskin blankets and watch a professional story teller, festival favourite Sarah Mooney, perform spooky tales for your family.
Or leave the children to it whilst you retire for a soak in your free-standing bath tub, looking out over the crashing waves below. That sea air-induced slumber will be one to remember.