Our guide to what’s on across the UK in September 2017

Holiday season might be done and dusted but there’s still plenty of fun to be had this September up and down the country. From museums to creative pursuits, to final fling festivals and farmer’s markets, check out the action in our Futon Company What’s On Guide…

Doors Open Day
Edinburgh Doors Open Day is your chance to explore some of Edinburgh’s architecturally and culturally significant buildings – all for free. From heritage landmarks to the city’s newest architecture, Doors Open Day offers free access to properties that are either not usually open to the public or would normally charge an entry fee. The event also offers the public an opportunity to find out more about the capital’s public buildings. 23rd and 24th September.

Looking Good: The Male Gaze from Van Dyck to Lucian Freud
Taking place at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery until October 1st, this exhibition considers the theme of male image, identity and appearance from the 16th century to the present day. The selection of portraits explores the elaborate hairstyles and fashions of the courtiers and cavaliers of the 16th and 17th centuries, the emergence of the dandy in the early 18th century, the rise of celebrity and the interest in male beauty and personal grooming, and representations of gender and sexuality.

Open House Weekend
Chiswick House & Gardens is pleased to be opening this year as part of Open House London. The House will be open from 10am-6pm on Saturday 16th September free of charge. There will be free tours of the House at 11am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Chiswick House Dog Show
Chiswick House Dog Show is an opportunity for everyone who uses and loves this beautiful park to give something back through being part of a fun day out for all the family. 24th September from 11am-4.30pm.

Chiswick Book Festival Launch
An Evening with Jane Austen: celebrating 200 years of Jane Austen’s work with authors including Paula Byrne (The Genius of Jane Austen), Helena Kelly (Jane Austen, the Secret Radical) and Dr Esme Whittaker, curator of Chiswick House. 14th September at Chiswick House & Gardens. Doors open 18:00.

Chiswick Food Market
Open every Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to midday at Dukes Meadows Trust Pavilion Car Park W4 2RX, the market is a social enterprise, and proceeds made from running it are used to improve and maintain both the local meadows and the surrounding riverside area. Features around 25 top producers from around the country.

Spinningfields Makers Market
The Makers Market is an event bringing together the finest and often award winning food, drink, art and craft producers in the area. The event will feature specially selected specialists who source, grow, rear, bake, make and create the products they sell, which ensures their goods are unique, original and designed to inspire. A selection of the best seasonal local farm produce, artisan breads, delicatessen and hard crafted cheeses are available, produced and sourced by people who are passionate about what they do. 16th and 17th September, 21st and 22nd October and 18th and 19th November at Spinningfields, Leftbank, M3 3AE.

La Tomatina – Tomato Throwing Festival
La Tomatina has landed in the UK!  Manchester’s Bowlers Exhibition Centre will play host to literally the most epic day of your life on 17th and 18th September for an event like nothing you’ve ever done before! Includes tomato throwing, live music and entertainment, bars and food, t-shirts, after party and inflatable castles, slides and more.

Step onto the magic carpet at Salford’s The Lowry and soar into the fantastical world of David Bintley’s Aladdin, with music by BAFTA award-winning Carl Davis and vibrant designs from Dick Bird. The classic story of Aladdin and his adventures with a magic lamp is brought to live in this glittering production, featuring lavish sets and costumes, stunning special effects and beautiful choreography. 20th-23rd September.

St Giles Fair
The St Giles Fair is an annual pleasure fair since Victorian times. Every year this famous fair takes place on Monday and Tuesday after the first Sunday following St Giles’ day. The fair is located at St Giles and extends into Magdalen Street to the south and Banbury Road and Woodstock Road to the north. September 4th and 5th.

Imtiaz Dharker
Come along to Wall Arts Centre on September 11th from 7-9pm for a literary evening with poet, artist and documentary film-maker Imtiaz Dharker. Winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, she is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is on the editorial board of Poems on the Underground.

Ashmolean Museum
Contained in a gorgeous building across from the Randolph Hotel, the Ashmolean has paintings, coins, musical instruments and antiques, statues of deities and a must see Egyptian exhibition. Open every day. Free admission.

Bristol Festival of Puppetry
The fifth Bristol Festival of Puppetry is a celebration of all things animated on stage and screen, and will this year run from now until 10th September at Tobacco Factory Theatres, Watershed and various central Bristol locations. This 10 day international event showcases the very best in cutting edge puppetry from Bristol, the UK and around the world, and is a much loved fixture in the city’s cultural calendar.

Lace in Fashion
Designer pieces and those worn by royalty rub shoulders at Bath Fashion Museum – just a 15 minute train journey from Bristol. On show from now until January 2018.

Heritage Open Days Workshop and Talk at Debbie Bryan
Come along to Debbie Bryan for a talk focusing on A Royal Connection. Working with leading British textile specialists, take the opportunity to learn more about manufacturing partners.  Celebrating Nottingham’s superb lace industry heritage, see first-hand the archival materials used in a new creative way. With beautiful paper-craft techniques and heaps of beautiful hand-stitching, be inspired by the histories surrounding Nottingham’s Lace Market. 8th September.

Law & Order More Beer Festival
Premier beers and ciders at the National Justice Museum on Saturday 23rd September. Over 40 ales, beers and ciders, with live music and hot food!  Sample the lot in one of Nottingham’s most iconic and historical venues. Set in the impressive surroundings of the Edwardian Police Station and courtyard, this unique Beers Festival will showcase some of the most popular beers and ciders on offer.

Cave Tours
Take a tour to experience the caves at Nottingham Castle for yourself, learning on the way the gruesome tales of Roger Mortimer, King David II of Scotland, or you may be able to take a tour with Robin Hood himself… With some of the caves dating back to medieval times, the tour is strenuous with LOTS of steep steps. However, for those who wish to descend through hundreds of years the tour is a must. Tours last approximately 30-40 minutes. Costs £5 per person plus normal castle entry. Tours run all year round.

The Great British Prom
The National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Inglis, make their debut at Bolesworth to celebrate music from across the home nations. They will be joined by Classical Brit Award winning Welsh male vocal group Only Men Aloud, Soprano Annette Wardell and traditional piped band. 2nd September at Bolesworth Castle, Tattenhall. CH3 9HQ.

Gimme Abba the On and On and On Tour
Gimme Abba has been performing this fabulous tribute to ABBA for over 17 years, with the current line-up being together for the past eight years. 2017/18 will see the band embark on their fifth nationwide tour. This show is a jam-packed, spectacular performance totalling over two hours including even more songs and fascinating theatrical elements. At The Forum Studio on 2nd September.

Festival No.6
It’s not exactly on the doorstep but we couldn’t resist including Festival No.6. Taking place 7th-10th September on the north-west Welsh coast, this arts and culture festival is dotted around various venues, including pavilions and piazzas. Don’t miss groundbreaking poet Hollie McNish and Maxine Peake, who curates ‘Peaky’s Parlour.’ A car or train journey from Chester, this is well worth the visit to Portmerion, Gwynedd.

London Design Festival
“The capital’s annual design showdown turns 15 this year,” says, meaning a blockbuster line-up – as well as trade shows, the city’s neighbourhoods will organise their own open studios, exhibitions and pop-up museums. Taking place across London from 16th-24th September.

Scythians Warriors of Ancient Siberia
2,500 years ago groups of formidable warriors roamed the vast open plains of Siberia. Feared, loathed, admired – but over time, forgotten…Until now. This major exhibition explores the story of the Scythians – nomadic tribes and masters of mounted warfare, who flourished between 900 and 200 BC. Their encounters with the Greeks, Assyrians and Persians were written into history but for centuries all trace of their culture was lost – buried beneath the ice. Explore their lost world and discover the splendour, the sophistication and the sheers power of the mysterious Scythians at The British Museum. The exhibition is open from 14th September 2017-14th January 2018.

Springlines Exhibition
Explore hidden and mysterious bodies of water with paintings by Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis and words by Clare Best at The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery from now until 14th October. During the drought of 2012, Best and Aytoun-Ellis went in search of bodies of water that are concealed, forgotten or overlooked. The found places rich in history, wildlife, culture and myth. Through Springlines, their work celebrates the variety and vitality of this water.

Lamberhurst Music Festival
This vibrant and varied celebration of classical music began in 2003, with the dual purpose of bringing high quality classical performers to Lamberhurst and financially supporting St Mary’s Church. There are around seven concerts staged during the festival in and around Lamberhurst, although mainly at the Church. September 22nd sees Apollo5, a British cappella ensemble with a broad repertoire ranging from retro jazz, pop and classical.

Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days celebrates England’s architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences across Tunbridge Wells – all of which are free to explore. Free event from 7th-10th September.

Plymouth Seafood Festival
The Barbican and Sutton Harbour will come alive on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September, with a celebration of locally sourced and sustainably caught high quality seafood. Now in its sixth year, the Festival will be supporting the fishing industry by offering a weekend full of delicious dishes for all the family to enjoy as well as hands-on activities, including children’s cookery fun.

Destruction to Construction
Plymouth suffered greatly during World War II. The Docks and naval base made it a major target resulting in the almost total destruction of the city centre and the displacement of tens of thousands of Plymothians. Amongst this charred and ruined city, a radical new plan was developed to enable its complete design and reconstruction. MPs, Councillors and planners sought out the finest architects, designers and artists to create a new city – a modern city – worthy of replacing what had been lost. The city we see today epitomises the ambition and vision of this post-war planning. The exhibition includes fascinating objects, images and footage from the collections of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and the South West Film and Television Archive that explores the themes of destruction and reconstruction. Open now until 23rd December. Free entry.

Stonehouse Public Art
Come and find out more about public artworks that link Stonehouse with Sherlock Holmes and the Royal William Yard with a Royal Navy diet at Pound Street, PL1 3RH until 20th September.

Gerry Cottle’s The Magic Circus
New for 2017, Gerry Cottle is back with his sensational The Magic Circus – a high-energy family show featuring a new generation of young vibrant performers. Set against an infectious soundtrack, Gerry calls upon his 50 years experience in circus to provide an awe-inspiring line-up of the world’s greatest acts in circus, comedy and magic for live entertainment to thrill and astonish all ages.  1st-17th September at Central Park.

Following last year’s sell-out tour, award-winning Comedy Central UK’s FriendsFest returns to Hylands House from 1st-10th September. Brand new features include a full scale Joey and Chandler’s apartment set, as well as never-before-seen memorabilia and props from the show.

Sculptures by Alison Catchlove
Enjoy this charming exhibition by Alison Catchlove, an established Surrey-based artist who specialises in metal sculptures of birds, bugs, animals and flowers. At RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, CMMM 8RA from 1st-30th September.

Farmers & Crafts Market
Set in the beautiful surroundings of the Stables Visitor Centre at Hylands House, the wonderful Farmers & Crafts Market features a growing number of craft stalls and local farmers who are passionate about food. They sell a range of specialist foods including organic, locally grown seasonal vegetables, fine sausages and bacon, homemade cakes, fudge and pastries, pies and fantastic cheeses, homemade Indian foods and spices, locally grown plants and sweets and candyfloss for children. Held the first Sunday of every month from now until December, from 10am-4pm.

Open Cambridge
As Cambridge opens its doors for a special weekend on 8th and 9th September, embark on a journey of discovery through the hidden histories, spaces, objects, ideas and people that connect Cambridge and India. The year is the UK-India Year of Culture and to mark this, India Unboxed has been created in Cambridge to examine 150 years of the fascinating and complex shared history of the University City and India.

Dragon Boat Festival
Saturday 9th September sees the annual Dragon Boat Festival in aid of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust taking place on the River Cam, Ditton Meadows, Fen Ditton. Up to 10 people paddle each 30’ boat with a drummer at the front beating time and our helm at the tail steering a straight course. No previous experience required, just plenty of team spirit!

Chariots of Fire
Teams of six runners, each run a 1.6 mile course in replay format allowing the unique and picturesque route starting and finishing at Queens’ Green and covering the city centre, Trinity College, Clare College, King’s College and Crossing the River Cam. 17th September.

Cecil Aldin: The Art of Black Beauty
The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell marks the 140th anniversary of the publication of Black Beauty with an exhibition of beautiful Cecil Aldin watercolours. The book, by local author Anna Sewell, was first published n 1977. Aldin was commissioned by the publishers Jarrold & Sons in 1912 to produce a series of 18 water colours to illustrate a new edition. For these he was paid £189, which was quite a high fee for that time. The exhibition is open until 25th November.

Heritage Open Days at Norwich
On 7th September visitors will be able to take a guided tour of the former regional headquarters of Barclays Bank in Norwich. This takes in the old bank vaults, the former Bank Manager Offices and Dining Room as well as take in the splendour of the former Banking Hall which used to house the UK’s longest banking counter. Booking is essential and there is a maximum of 10 people per tour.

Art Workshop – Wallpaper Art
Be inspired by the wonderful velvet, coffey, damask and tapestries that adorn the walls of Holkham Hall to create your very own section of wallpaper. Join artist David Allsop who will introduce you to designers and artists who have used pattern to create wallpaper, such as William Morris, Andy Warhol and Mark Herald. The workshop will be held at Holkham Hall and is suitable for all abilities. All materials, a buffet lunch and free car parking are all included. £50 per person on 10th September.

Albert Moore:  Of Beauty and Aesthetics
York Art Gallery presents the first monographic exhibition of York born artists Albert Joseph Moore since the artist’s death in 1893. Featuring more than 20 paintings and watercolours, it highlights the beautiful and classical women for which the artist is most famous and demonstrates the modernity of Moore’s approach. Moore was one of the leading artists of the Aesthetic movement who prioritised mood, colour harmony and beauty of form over subject matter to create ‘art of art’s sake.’ The exhibition also explores his career and body of work using the latest research into his work by leading experts. From now until 1st October.

Shaping the Body
This major exhibition looks at how body shape has changed over the past 500 years through diet, culture, fashion and lifestyle. From 18th century bum rolls, through to the Victorian hour glass figure, the punks of the 70s and the perms of the 80s, see how our bodies have been shaped and designed through choices we make and the consequences of our lifestyle. York Castle Museum’s extensive collection of costume, social history, archaeology and art will highlight how the perfect height and weight have fluctuated in different periods, and how economic circumstances and cultural ideas impact on fashion. Meet the people who have pushed their bodies to the limits to gain the look they crave and find out about the dangerous fashions such as extra tight corsets, high heels and even poisonous dresses! This thought-provoking and fascinating exhibition will challenge the notion of the perfect body. From now until 25th January 2018.

York Famers Market
York’s monthly Famers Market celebrates the best of local produce, including meat, eggs, bread and oils as well as selling non-food gifts including pottery and woollen goodies. The Farmers Market joins the city’s regular market at the Shambles on the last Friday of every month. Fresh goods sold here are grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stallholders within a 40-mile radius of York.

London Design Festival
“The capital’s annual design showdown turns 15 this year,” says, meaning a blockbuster line-up – as well as trade shows, the city’s neighbourhoods will organise their own open studios, exhibitions and pop-up museums. Taking place across London from 16th-24th September.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Annual Reunion and Fun Day
You and your canine are invited to the Annual Reunion and Fun Day on Sunday 3rd September from 11am until 4.30pm in Battersea Park, London. Come along for family fun including dog classes, tombola, a fun fair, along with plenty of stalls to browse and tasty snacks to feast upon. The event is open to all dog lovers, not just those who have re-homed a Battersea dog.

Diana: Her Fashion Story
The cultural tributes to Princess Diana have often felt overshadowed by the sound of the queen of our hearts turning in her grave (let us run swiftly past the paddling pool in Hyde Park and fast forward through the ghastly Naomi Watts biopic, says So respect, as they say, is due, with this exhibition at Kensington Palace. Twenty years on from her death, Diana: Her Fashion Story, walks through her wardrobe as a starting point for analysing the arresting grip the princess held on popular culture. Few knew so instinctively how to harness the power of visual image.  Diana made stars of her wedding dress designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, then her favourite portraitist, Mario Testino, and hairdresser Sam Knight. No one has used power dressing as quite the armour Diana did. So an exhibition of her clothes is not really about fashion at all. It’s about a very specific female energy and power to connect on every level, channelled through one woman. The Exhibition is open now at Kensington Palace until 24th February 2019.

The Color Run
Dubbed ‘The Happiest 5k on the Planet’, the concept is simple:  dress in white, run 5km with your friends, family or colleagues and finish the day head-to-toe in kaleidoscope colour, having incredible amounts of fun on the way. The most colourful event comes to Brighton’s Madeira Drive on September 23rd – and it’s going to be magical.

Bite Size Museum Talks
Pop-up guided tours, short talks and closer looks at stories from Brighton Museum & Art Gallery’s eclectic collections, led by staff and volunteers. From 5th-12th September.

Wildfire Women 2017
This September, Brighton will play host to performances from over 15 women (and a few cheeky Wildfire Men) from multitalented stars of TV and film, to world class musicians to brilliant business owners, life coaches, indie publishers and many, many more at the Purple Playhouse, BN3 6EP.

Food & Drink Festival
Come along to G Live on Sunday 10th September for the first ever festival of fine food and drink where there’ll be a celebration of fantastic ingredients and mouth-watering recipes. The organisers are cooking up a delicious day full of superb produce including a BBQ and Hog Roast, in association with Local Food Britain. Entry is free, just book your place in advance at

Beer Festival
G Live plays host to its very own Beer Festival on 8th and 9th September, featuring some of the country’s top independent brewers as well as live music, a hog roast and BBQ.

Guildford Farmers Market
Held on the first Tuesday of every month. While the High Street Setts are being repaired, the Farmers Market will relocate to the Leapale Road Surface Car Park.  Buy high quality, fresh, local produce directly from over 50 local farmers and producers. Try the best seasonal produce and ask questions about growing, rearing, manufacture and cooking methods. Enjoy the freshest meat, fish, cheese, eggs, fruit and vegetables and breads.

Powderham Castle – Lockdown Festival
The South-West’s biggest dance music festival returns to the magnificent Powderham Castle, Exeter, on the 1st-3rd September 2017. Featuring Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Wilkinson DJ, Sigma DJ, and many many more acts.  Lockdown will be spread across four stages over the three days and will feature well-known brands such as UKF, Hospitality Playaz, Hatcha & Friends and Garage Nation stages. Camping available, with free hot showers in the camping area.

Heritage Open Days
Exeter Heritage Open Days 2017 runs from 7th-10th September and offers a unique opportunity to visit, free of charge, some of Exeter’s most interesting and unusual historical sites and buildings. Heritage Open days celebrates England’s architecture and culture by offering free access to properties that usually charge for admission or are not normally open to the public. This year the event celebrates its 23rd Birthday.

SuperHomes Open Day
Pioneering owners of some of the UK’s most eco-friendly SuperHomes are hosting free Open Days this September. SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners with lower carbon emissions. Hargrave Road, Islington, N19 5SH. 10th September.

IACF Antiques & Collectors Fair
Enjoy the Antiques and Vintage pop-up fair at Ally Pally with lots of hidden gems to be found! The fair is full of handpicked, quality, vintage traders who offer a wide range of genuine vintage and antique goods. 3rd September.

London Design Festival
“The capital’s annual design showdown turns 15 this year,” says, meaning a blockbuster line-up – as well as trade shows, the city’s neighbourhoods will organise their own open studios, exhibitions and pop-up museums. Taking place across London from 16th-24th September.

Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace
Join Kirstie and her experts for the ultimate creative weekend! Learn a new skill in a hands-on workshop, see famous faces and hear from industry leaders, plus shop for unique handmade products. The Fair is all about appreciating the beauty of handmade and learning the skills to become a maker yourself! Whether your day at the Fair teaches you how to make something yourself, upcycle a piece you already own, or if you buy it from an expert, it’s here to help everyone make their life a little more beautiful. 15th-17th September.

Kingston Carnival
The sounds and colours from across the world will fill the beautiful ancient market place as Kingston welcomes Carnival! Kingston Carnival is a celebration of the cultural diversity of the borough of Kingston upon Thames. The procession starts at midday from the Guildhall with spectacular costumes and wonderful groups showcasing local community’s music, culture and food. The carnival events take place in the Market Place, High Street, Memorial Gardens, All Saints Church and Rose Theatre on 3rd September from midday-7pm.

Korean Autumn Full Moon Festival
Kingston Market Place is set to host the first Autumn Full Moon Festival (Chuseok). Featuring a parade, music and dance, folk games, food and taekwondo, the event will provide a fascinating insight into the mouth-watering culinary arts and authentic culture of Korea. Autumn Full Moon is one of the biggest and most important holidays in Korea. Family members from near and far come together to share food and stories and to give thanks to their ancestors. 16th September.