13 Autumnal Day Trips From London: October 2023

13 Autumnal Day Trips From London: October 2023
Exterior of St Albans Abbey.
Experience St Albans Cathedral... by night. Image: LanceB/iStock

Exciting things to do close to the capital in October 2023, all easily accessible in a day trip. Browse our Beyond London section for ideas for other day trips and weekends away.

PUMPKIN PICKING: Embrace the Halloween spirit and go pumpkin picking in one of these fields and patches close to London. Put your wellies on and pick your gourd — some venues even offer special Halloween events and carving sessions too. Various locations and dates

SOUTHEND JAZZ FESTIVAL: Live performances, workshops and film screenings are all part of Southend Jazz Festival, taking place at various venues around the Essex seaside city. Tony Momrelle, Gavin Holligan and Nick Pritchard are among the big names taking part, and some events are free. 2-8 October (Essex)

MAIDSTONE LIT FEST: Dorothy Koomson, Lisa Jewell and Lucy Strange are just some of the authors taking part in the inaugural Maidstone Lit Fest, held at venues in the town including the Archbishop's Palace and Maidstone Museum. There are events for children too, including a whole programme for under-5s. 2-8 October (Kent)

SCIENCE LIGHT SHOW: Light art specialists Luxmuralis seem to be everywhere at the moment — including Rochester Cathedral at the start of this month. Science is a light and sound show taking place inside the cathedral building, celebrating how science has helped us to understand the physical world around us. Read our guide to Rochester, for other things to see and do while you're in the town. 3-7 October (Kent)

ABBEY BY NIGHT: Clouds of incense, the sounds of monk's music, and the hustle and bustle of a lively medieval abbey at work are part of the Abbey At Night experience at St Albans Cathedral. Visit after dark, by candlelight, and watch the Abbey's history come to life around you. 4 October (Hertfordshire)

CANDLELIT MODEL VILLAGE: We love model villages, and we're fans of a candlelight setting too, so we're intrigued by the Model Village Candlelight Evenings at the Museum of Power in Langford. Across three consecutive Fridays, the museum's model village stays open late, illuminated by 400 candlelit lanterns. Open to both adults and children, and the miniature railway is open for rides too. 6, 13, 27 October (Essex)

HASTINGS WEEK AND BONFIRE: To mark the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings (14 October, FYI), and to celebrate the local people and culture, the seaside town of Hastings hosts Hastings Week. Events include live music, a classic car show, a tractor run, guided walks and winkle tossing. Also in town that week is the Hastings Bonfire (14 October), complete with torchlit procession and fireworks on the beach. 7-15 October (East Sussex)

HARWICH SHANTY FESTIVAL: Enjoy three days of singing and music in an historic seaport for Harwich Shanty Festival. Performances, barge trips, walks, talks and workshops are all part of the fun, taking place across boats, pubs, and other historic buildings. 13-15 October (Essex)

GIANTS OF STEAM: The Bluebell Railway pulls out the big guns for its Giants of Steam autumn gala. Two special guest locomotives are on show from other railways, along with Bluebell's own fleet, with a chance to ride them between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. 13-15 October (East Sussex)

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SPECTACLE OF LIGHT: This year's festive light shows get underway properly in November, but Welford Park in Newbury kicks things off early with Spectacle of Light, an illuminated trail through woodland and gardens accompanied by a soundtrack. 20 October-12 November (Berkshire)

TRANSPORTFEST: The excellent London Bus Museum (which is not quite in London) hosts Transportfest, a gathering of all manner of vehicles — remember, this is the museum with a real-life Concorde outside. Buses, taxis, military and emergency vehicles dating from different periods are all on display, along with live music, a collector's market and family-friendly entertainment. 22 October (Surrey)

POPPY FIELDS: Another entry for the wizards at Luxmuralis, who this time take over Winchester Cathedral for Poppy Fields, ahead of Remembrance Day in November. A sea of poppies is projected onto the building's stone walls, including a tribute to the NHS, accompanied by specially composed music by David Harper and poetry recorded by actor Eddie Redmayne. 31 October-4 November (Hampshire)

SHAUN BY THE SEA: If you find yourself in Brighton this month, keep a look out for Shaun the Sheep. The Wallace and Gromit character is the latest to get the art trail treatment, with 40 individually-designed Shauns forming the Shaun by the Sea trail through streets, parks and other public areas in Brighton and Hove. Until 5 November (East Sussex)

Last Updated 29 September 2023

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