10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire this September

With chances to spot celebs like Led Zeppelin star Robert Plant and literary legend Jacqueline Wilson — as well as Pride Day marches, giant vegetable competitions and international film premieres — discover the most unmissable highlights in Gloucestershire's calendar this September 2023.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Spotting giant vegetables at the Malvern Autumn Show is just one of many unmissable things to do in the county this September 2023.

Autumn is officially on the way and Gloucestershire is gearing up for the new season, with this month’s events calendar featuring everything from harvest festivals to immersive experiences in the county's ancient forest.

There’s also the chance to celebrate Pride Day in Gloucester and spot famous names, from former prime minister Theresa May to Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant — as SoGlos rounds up the top 10 unmissable things to do in Gloucestershire this September 2023.

Show your Pride in Gloucestershire

Come together and celebrate Gloucestershire’s LGBTQ+ community, when Pride in Gloucestershire returns to Gloucester Park on Saturday 9 September 2023.

Kicking off with a colourful parade starting at Gloucester Cathedral, march loud and proud through the city centre before heading to Gloucester Park for Pride Day festivities – featuring main stage, cabaret and family entertainment; performances from talented local artists; and the chance to celebrate, campaign for and connect with Gloucestershire’s LGBTQ+ community.

Visit Westonbirt Arboretum for a family book festival

Inspiring Gloucestershire's littlest literature lovers, Wild Wonder at Westonbirt is a three-day family book festival, where young readers can meet some of the biggest names in children's publishing from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 September 2023.

With appearances from literary hero and Tracy Beaker creator Jacqueline Wilson, comedian-turned-children's writer Ben Miller and even The Gruffalo, attend some fascinating talks and take part in engaging workshops — all themed around stories about animals, nature and the great outdoors.

Discover the past at Gloucester History Festival

Step inside historic buildings, experience fascinating exhibitions and learn about the county's past at Gloucester History Festival, with a programme of thought-provoking talks and events taking place from Saturday 2 to Sunday 17 September 2023.

Themed 'Quests and Curiosity', this year’s festival plays host to some very famous faces, too — featuring talks with former UK prime minister, Theresa May, on the abuse of power by politicians; and Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, discussing his fascination with the myths and legends of the Welsh marches.

Celebrate harvest festival at Malvern Autumn Show

With record-breaking veggies, free family activities and plenty of cider to enjoy, a day out at the Malvern Autumn Show is the perfect way to celebrate the changing seasons – returning to Three Counties Showground from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September 2023.

Foodies can hear from Bake Off favourites John Whaite and Jürgen Krauss in the Kitchen Theatre; gin lovers can sample local spirits and pick up produce in the dedicated Gin Village; while little visitors will be kept entertained with circus skills, fluffy alpacas and dog shows.

Tuck into tasty deals during Cheltenham Food + Drink Week

Cheltenham foodies are spoilt for choice this month, as the town's restaurants, bars and cafes come together for a week of special offers, masterclasses and gastronomic delights. 

Taking place from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 September 2023, Cheltenham Food + Drink Week promises over 40 deals for diners to sink their teeth into — from sushi-making at KIBOU to bargain pizzas at Bosco. For some of the yummiest highlights, check out SoGlos's round up of 10 tasty spots to try during Cheltenham Food + Drink Week.

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Forest of Dean

Connect with nature in a whole new way, experiencing the hidden world of the Forest of Dean at 'The Secret Sounds of Trees' — a unique audio-visual experience coming to Beechenhurst from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 September 2023.

Paired with striking lighting installations, visitors will be able to experience microscopic vibrations and sounds of the trees, plant life and soil that are usually inaudible to the human ear, thanks to the immersive soundscape created by Sound UK in partnership with Forestry England

Experience the International Horse Trials in the Cotswolds

Giddy-up to Blenheim Palace for four days of equestrian excellence as riders take on dressage, show jumping and cross country challenges in the International Horse Trials from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 September 2023.

Keen equestrian fans can catch an exclusive demonstration from renowned showjumper Geoff Billington and Olympic rider Tom McEwan, in a brand-new event for 2023. While there’s all-day entertainment for families, too, including falconry displays and the chance to see speedy Shetland ponies race.

Stomach an elver eating competition

While you might leave feeling a little queasy, there's the chance to take part in a revived local tradition at Frampton Country Fair as it hosts its annual el-ver eating competition on Sunday 10 September 2023. 

Using an eco-friendly substitute that's made from surimi, the fierce contest will see hungry competitors race to eat a plateful of the imitation eel-shaped seafood — affectionately known as 'el-vers' — in the quickest time. 

Go to the movies during Cheltenham International Film Festival

Film buffs have the chance to engage with a diverse and thought-provoking programme of cinema from Friday 15 to Sunday 24 September 2023, when the fifth annual Cheltenham International Film Festival comes to Cineworld at The Brewery Quarter.

See the UK premiere of visionary director Ken Loach's final film; celebrate the 25th anniversary of Guy Ritchie's iconic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with a special screening at DEYA; and singalong to ABBA's greatest hits at the Alfresco Film Company's screening of Mamma Mia! at Cheltenham Cricket Club.

See the Tour of Britain cycle through the county

Gloucestershire is playing host to a full stage of the iconic cycling race, the Tour of Britain, for the very first time this year — with the opportunity to see the bikes zoom through the county on Saturday 9 September 2023.

Starting in Tewkesbury, the cyclists will travel over 100 miles through the Cotswolds and Stroud district, finishing alongside the historic Gloucester Docks. And best of all, it's free to watch the action unfold by the roadside and soak up the electric atmosphere.

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