10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire this October

Fall in love with autumn colours, check out the long-awaited Gloucester Food Dock and go pumpkin picking for Halloween, with SoGlos rounding up 10 unmissable highlights for things to do in Gloucestershire this October 2023.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
From seeing Westonbirt Arboretum's inspiring display of autumn colour to celebrating Halloween in style, pack your diary with SoGlos’s 10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire this October 2023. Image © Johnny Hathaway
In partnership with Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles  |  cleevelymotors.co.uk
Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles

Established in 1962, Cleevely Motors is a family-run garage on Cheltenham's Lansdown Industrial Estate, offering servicing and repair work for a range of domestic and commercial vehicles. Its sister business, Cleevely EV, was established in 2018 and specialises in selling, servicing and leasing electric and hybrid vehicles.

Cleevely Motors and Cleevely Electric Vehicles

Crisp autumn walks, dazzling displays of colour and pumpkin patches galore make October a strong contender for our favourite month of the year. And Gloucestershire’s calendar is packed with seasonal and spooky events to welcome in the new season.

This month also sees the return of some iconic events, including the world-famous Cheltenham Literature Festival, to brand-new openings and spectacular attractions — with SoGlos sharing 10 unmissable things to do in the county this October 2023.

See the stars at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Attracting visitors from all over Gloucestershire and beyond, Cheltenham Literature Festival is back for 2023 with a packed programme of events featuring some of the world’s best writers, performers and big name stars.

From Friday 6 to Sunday 15 October 2023, there’s the chance to hear from high-profile politicians, including ex-prime minister Theresa May; household names, from astronaut Tim Peake to comedy duo Matt Lucas and David Walliams; and literary greats, spanning children's author Jacqueline Wilson to the recipient of the coveted Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence, Zadie Smith.

Plus, there’s a whole programme of free activities for literature lovers little and large, taking place across the 10-day festival including the ever-popular Lit Crawl and VOICEBOX zone.

Experience a spectacular light show at Gloucester Cathedral

If its famous cloisters and stained glass windows weren't already enchanting enough, visitors can see Gloucester Cathedral illuminated by colourful lights and sound this month, as Luxmuralis puts on an immersive show celebrating the building's 1,000-year history.

Taking place on evenings from Thursday 19 to Saturday 28 October 2023, Light Eternal: Yesterday, Today, Forever features dazzling floor-to-ceiling projections, specially created for Gloucester Cathedral by the world-renowned projection art gallery. 

Place your bets at The Showcase at Cheltenham Racecourse

Horseracing followers will have trouble reigning in their excitement as jump racing returns to Cheltenham Racecourse for a brand-new season — with The Showcase bringing racing fans together for more world-class equestrian action.

Taking place on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October 2023, the highly-anticipated fixture will see world-class horses gallop to the finish line as leading trainers and owners showcase their promising stars of the season.

Go pumpkin picking in Gloucestershire

Carve out some time for a wholesome Halloween experience at one of Gloucestershire’s PYO pumpkin patches. There’s plenty to pick from at Cotswold Farm Park in Guiting Power and Cattle Country Farm Park in Berkeley; while Over Farm is keeping its patch open for pickers after dark.

For more fang-tastic fun that’s suitable for the whole family, check out SoGlos’s spooktacular Halloween guide.

Visit the Cotswolds’ first wine barn

Sample over 400 types of wine, spirits and cider at the newly-opened Vinotopia Wine Barn in Nailsworth — a unique gastro-attraction and retail space, stocked with under-the-radar wines that will impress connoiseurs and casual wine fans alike.

Delight in the discovery of new wines, with an Enomatic wine dispenser so you can try before you buy; plus, cosy indoor seating and alfresco bistro tables to enjoy a drink with friends.

See dazzling displays of autumn colour in Gloucestershire

There’s nothing quite like a crisp autumn stroll through the countryside — and as Gloucestershire blazes with reds, oranges and golds, October is the best time to see vibrant displays of autumn colour across the county.

From the magical maple trees of Batsford Arboretum to the changing colours of the ancient Forest of Dean, where the experts at Forestry England are predicting an extra-spectacular display, see SoGlos’s top nine spots to see stunning autumn colour in Gloucestershire for all the inspiration.

Enjoy a cultured day out at Stroud Arts Festival

Celebrating and supporting the arts throughout the Stroud district, Stroud Arts Festival is hosting a varied programme of events throughout October 2023.

Just some of this year's highlights include a special performance from The Bristol Ensemble to mark the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd's iconic album Dark Side of the Moon; while movie fans can settle down for an atmospheric screening of silent film Diary of a Lost Girl, with live accompaniment from a harpist.

Pay your first visit to Gloucester Food Dock

One of the county's most hotly anticipated foodie developments sees the launch of its first bar this month, with The Hop Kettle Brewing Company opening at Gloucester Food Dock on Friday 13 October 2023.

With popular tap rooms in Cirecenster and Swindon already, Gloucester beer lovers can look forward to sipping on traditional bitters and milkshake IPAs, as well as independent spirits and wines from small producers. The brewer is also planning to introduce pop-up kitchens, hosting different street food firms, live music and comedy nights.

Hike through Cheltenham under the stars

Pull on your walking boots and raise money for an important cause, hiking the streets of Cheltenham after dark for Sue Ryder's 10k Starlight Hike challenge — taking place on the evening of Saturday 21 October 2023.

As well as supporting the county's only hospice in-patient unit, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, the event gives friends and family members a special opportunity to get together and remember loved ones, with upbeat live music and a fun Clubbercise warm-up to keep spirits high.

Make a splash at the Sandford Parks Lido Dog Swim

A must-do for any dog lover, the Sandford Parks Lido Dog Swim is back for another year of puppy paddling action, as it opens its outdoor pool for dogs and their owners to enjoy an end-of-season swim together.

With sessions available from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 October 2023, the annual event presents a unique way to bond with your four-legged friend, encouraging owners to don their wetsuits and accompany their pups in the water. Spectator-only tickets are available, too.

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