What’s on in September… Futon Company presents ideas from across the UK


Though the balmy days of summer are still lingering, it’s back to business, work and school.  Mourning summer?  Don’t despair – there’s plenty happening up and down the country to make September a month to remember.  If you’re looking for inspiration on where to go and what to do, check out our Blog and see what’s happening in September 2016 where you live with Futon Company…


Listen to Your Dog Workshop
Dr Isla Fishburn is an holistic canine practitioner, experienced in animal behaviour, zoology and conservation – join her for the weekend at Hartsop Farm, Finstock, Oxfordshire, and learn how to listen to your dog in order to learn, live and love with them.  The workshop will cover your dog’s natural biology and fundamental needs, dog personality and characters, the importance of canine nutrition and diet, the complex world of dogs and emotions as well as understanding communication and behaviour.  3rd-4th September 2016.

Henley Literary Festival
As summer says farewell, literary lovers can enjoy one final hurrah in Oxfordshire in the company of notable authors and heavyweight politicians.  Ann Widdecombe and Ken Livingstone will be discussing their new books, while crime writer Val McDermid makes her festival debut.  Don’t miss peeping into the royal household courtesy of Ingrid Seward, author of The Queen’s Speech, and Dickie Arbiter, Her Majesty’s former press secretary.  September 26th-October 2nd.  Tickets from £8.

Oxfordshire in 50 Objects
Fifty fascinating objects, each telling a unique story, and brought together to celebrate Oxfordshire Museums Service’ half century.  Chosen by community groups and members of the Service past and present, this exhibition showcases Oxfordshire’s rich heritage through the memories, experiences and interests of people from across the county.  Open now until 11th September 2016.


Cirque Du Soleil – Amuluna
Amuluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon where the arrival of a group of young men who land on the island, triggers an epic, emotional story of love between the island Queen’s daughter and a brave young suitor.  7th September-2nd October at The Trafford Centre.

The Brit Project
Icons of the indie and rock scene will come together in Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse as part of a ground-breaking music event on Saturday 24th September.  Live bands include Primal Scream, Black Grape, Badly Drawn Boy, Reverend & The Makers, Eliza and the Bear, Dodgy, Glass Caves, Cupids and Alias Kid.

Fashion & Freedom Exhibition
This exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, running from now until 27th November 2016, sees some of today’s leading female fashion designers explore the impact the First World War had on the changing role of women and fashion.  Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Manchester Art Gallery, with support from the British Fashion Council, the exhibition will include contemporary pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda, Holly Fulton, Emilia Wickstead, J JS Lee and Sadie Williams.


Pedal for Scotland Wee Jaunt Edinburgh
The Wee Jaunt provides a fantastic and almost entirely traffic free route starting from Kirkliston Leisure Centre and ending with the experience of crossing the finish line inside Murrayfield Stadium with the rest of the Pedal for Scotland Classic Challenge and Big Belter riders.  A nine mile cycle on closed roads, quiet residential streets and cycle paths.  11th September.

Scottish Half Marathon
The route is seriously flat and rapid – if you want to set a personal best for a half marathon, then this is just the event for you.  Starting conveniently at 11am, just outside Edinburgh, you will run along the magnificent East Lothian Golf Coast before finishing in the final furlong at Musselburgh Racecourse, Scotland’s oldest racecourse.  18th September.

The Push
Get fit, enjoy the great outdoors, challenge your limits and raise money for St Columbia’s Hospice at The Push 2016.  Taking place in the Pentland Hills Regional Park just south of the Edinburgh City bypass, this is the ultimate cross-country challenge.  Get your hiking boots, get a team together and tackle the rugged terrain and notorious peaks of the Pentlands.


Chiswick House Dog Show
Chiswick’s popular dog show returns this autumn on 25th September, 11am-4.15pm.  The 12th show will take place on the cricket pitch – it’s a fun-packed day for all the family.  This annual event is run by local volunteers for the enjoyment of the entire community – it’s free to attend and just £3 to enter your dog into a class.  For this year’s show the organisers will celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday, so the Fancy Dress Competition theme will be ‘a right royal affair.’

Saw & Sand Festival
The team behind the London International Ice Festival are bringing another magnificent experience to Chiswick House from 9th-11th September.  Featuring huge sand sculptures, wooden chainsaw carvings, chainsaw challenge, timber sports athletics, plus lots of outdoor fun for all ages, this is one not to miss.

Chiswick Book Festival
Don’t miss the opening event of the Festival – Victoria:  Fact & Fiction.  With novelist Daisy Goodwin, the writer of ITV’s major new drama series about the young Queen Victoria and A.N.Wilson, author of ‘Victoria:  A Life.’  Thursday 15th September 7pm at Burlington Pavilion, Chiswick House.

Chiswick Food Market
Open every Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to 4pm, 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.


Bristol Doors Open Day
Two days, more venues, bigger than ever, Bristol Doors Open Day reveals the largest programme to date for 2016.  Over 80 buildings – large and small, icons and undiscovered – will open their doors for you to see the city’s architectural treasures.  10th and 11th September 2016.

Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival
The 22nd Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival takes place from 15th to 20th September at Watershed and Arnolfini, with some events at The Cube Cinema.  It’s the UK’s leading short film and animation festival, an annual meeting place for new, emerging and established filmmakers and industry professionals.  Encounters Festival presents an annual International Competition, Industry Programme and an inspiring selection of screenings, events and parties during the festival weekend in Bristol.

Sky Safari Hot Air Balloon Festival at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park
Longleat’s first Sky Safari will take place from 16th-18th September 2016 when there will be two mass ascensions of 50 hot air balloons from Longleat House’s lawn each day.  One will take place in the morning and the other in the early evening.  During the day many of the balloons will be beautifying the sky above Longleat’s own bespoke lion and two penguin balloons, known as Puddles and Splash.  The highlight of the festival will be a spectacular nightglow show on the Saturday evening, where every balloon will illuminate the night sky with a synchronised light show in time to dramatic music.


Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition
Nottingham Castle is showcasing ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection in a new exhibition.  The works have been selected to show the extraordinary scope of the artist’s interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy, as well as his use of different media – pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint.  From now until 9th October.

Vintage Carnival
On Saturday 3rd September 2016, Nottingham Racecourse will be transformed into a fun-filled fairground for vintage lovers.  Expect more than 100 stalls of the best vintage shopping, showcasing everything from the 1920s to the 1980s.  There will be classic cars, live music from great rock ‘n’ roll bands and a big swing band, carnival rides, workshops, dancing classes, street food and quirky bars, afternoon tea, photo booths, hair and beauty and much more.  From 10am.

Yelean Popova Exhibition
Based at Primary Studios, Popova explores painting “outside the fame.”  At Nottingham Contemporary, her first solo show in a UK public gallery, she has created ambitious new works, including a large installation of barely there paintings, where visibility becomes a political stance.  Popova’s work uses many materials and draws on different types of production, from ceramics to a computer-generated code work that generates an infinite sequence of images based on Euro banknotes.  Popova’s work draws on the different histories of abstraction, from varnishing forms to the abstractions of capital.  From now until 25th September 2016.


The Good Life Experience
If you live in Chester and fancy a festival experience that’s just a half an hour drive away, The Good Life Experience in Flintshire, Wales, needs to be on your radar!  Running from 16th-18th September, expect a hefty dose of culture, food and the great outdoors.  Cerys Matthews, a festival founder, will lead a few sing songs; Bill Granger and Thomasina Miers will be cooking up a storm over a campfire.

Dinosaurs!  The Next Adventure
After four years away, Chester Zoo’s award-winning dinosaurs have returned and are in situ from now until 4th September 2016.  Take an exhilarating journey back to the Jurassic age when these gigantic creatures roamed and ruled the earth.  You’ll walk amongst the predators and their prey, not knowing what is lurking around the next corner…

Mindfulness Meditation
Relax every Monday for Mindfulness Meditation classes 6.45pm at Beehive Healthcare, Chester.  Meet like-minded people in comfortable surroundings.  Minimum age 14.  Entry price £7.  6.45pm for one hour.  Every Monday.


Sunken Cities – Egypt’s Lost Worlds
Submerged under the sea for over a thousand years, two lost cities of ancient Egypt were recently rediscovered.  Their story is told for the first time in a blockbuster exhibition at the British Museum.  Vanished beneath the waters of the Mediterranean, the lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus lay at the mouth of the Nile.  Named after the Greek hero Heralces, Thonis-Heracleion was one of Egypt’s most important commercial centres for trade with the Mediterranean world and, with Canopus, was a major centre for the worship of the Egyptian gods.  Their amazing discovery is transforming our understanding of the deep connections between the great ancient civilisations of Egypt and Greece.  Open now until 27th November 2016.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Iconic is a rather overused word these days but it is certainly true of the indelible image of Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  So it’s a brave person who takes on the role of Holly Golightly, the flighty good-time girl and siren who leaves men panting in her tumultuous wake, says theatre critic Mark Cook.  However, the theatre adaptation of the film, showing at Theatre Royal Haymarket, London until September 17th, then touring until November, is based on the original, grittier novella set in 1943 rather than the glamorised Hollywood version.  Pixie Lott makes her acting debut in the London show.

Show Boat
Daniel Evans’s buoyant, shipshape Sheffield Crucible production of Show Boat has steamed into the West End, riding on the tremendous tide of Jerome Kern’s intense score – a magnificent mix of love songs, soaring show tunes, soulful ballads – and Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics.  And, above all, a boatload of outstandingly creative talent.  Written in 1927, Show Boat was a musical game-changer, a provocative play tackling real issues – what it is to be a free and independent spirit, man or woman, black or white, young or old – pushed along and enriched by numbers that make you feel in your soul and make your heart sing even while tears are running down your cheeks.  Showing at New London Theatre, London from now until January 7th 2017.


The Harvest Food Festival Weekend on the Pantiles
Gourmet market, cooking demonstrations on the Bandstand, locally sourced produce, hot and cold food and drink, and much, much more.  9th-11th September.  Friday noon-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

Fairfax Gallery 21st Summer Exhibition on The Pantiles
The Fairfax Gallery holds its 21st Summer Exhibition at its Tunbridge Wells gallery on The Pantiles.  The exhibition features over 100 contemporary paintings and sculpture from established, award-winning and emerging talent.  The exhibition has coincided with the Fairfax Gallery winning the Best Gallery category in the Muddy Stilettos Kent Awards.  Open from now until 8th September 2016.

Jazz on The Pantiles
Live jazz on the bandstand on The Pantiles from 7pm every Thursday night from now until 29th September 2016.  There is no admission charge but the Pantiles traders will invite listeners to make a donation.  Your generosity is vital for these events to continue.


Fashion in the City
Forget Paris, New York or Milan….for one week in September, fashionistas will be flocking to Plymouth to seek out the latest trends and cutting edge styles.  City retailers, Plymouth College of Art students and the City Centre Company have joined forces to inject some serious glitz and glamour into this year’s new Fashion in the City event.  And it’s hoped Plymouth’s fashion bonanza will prove the city is one of the UK’s premier shopping destinations, complete with designer labels, big brands and high street favourites.  Fashion in the City takes place from 2nd-11th September and with the help of the centre’s retailers, a host of events are planned throughout the week, culminating in a two-day fashion show.

Mayflower Museum
The newly refurbished Mayflower Museum celebrates the story of Plymouth’s role in the Pilgrims’ epic journey to the New World.  Explore the story of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers with informative exhibits and hand-on activities which include dressing up and role play themed interactive games to plan your own Mayflower voyage.  The museum also features a scale model of the Mayflower ship and displays about the Pilgrims, their stories and their home towns.  11th-25th September 2016.

Plymouth Seafood Festival
Plymouth Seafood Festival will bring The Barbican and Sutton Harbour alive with entertainment, activities and dishes to celebrate the city’s fantastic caught seafood.  Plymouth is the first city in the world to be awarded the Fish2Fork Blue City status for its commitment to sourcing sustainable fish.  24th-25th September 2016.


Evening of Burlesque
An evening of Burlesque is coming to Chelmsford on Friday 16th September 2016.  See some of the world’s leading burlesque, cabaret and variety performers unite on the same stage for a feast of the exotic form fan dances to foxy 1940s WAF sirens.  Presented by Easy Theatres at Chelmsford Civic Theatre from 7.45pm.

Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days are England’s largest and most popular voluntary cultural event.  They celebrate all of Chelmsford’s fantastic architecture and culture by offering free access to events and interesting properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.  2016’s Heritage Open Days in Chelmsford will take place from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th September 2016 offering access to museums and tourist attractions, private homes, churches and cathedrals, shops, restaurants and pubs, offices and workplaces.

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.


Dragon Boat Festival
Gable Events has joined with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), to bring you the twelfth charity dragon boat festival to be staged on the River Cam in Cambridge.  The Festival is open to everyone and over 40 crews are expected to battle it out over the 200m race course on Saturday 10th September, watched by several hundred spectators.  The Ditton Meadows location offers a superb venue for racing and a fabulous day is guaranteed with plenty of bankside family entertainment including funfair rides, children’s activities, inflatables and Chinese lion dancing plus bar and food stalls.

Open Cambridge
From 9th-11th September, 10am-4pm Monday-Friday, Cambridge’s world-famous colleges open their doors free of charge for people to have a really good look round.  Places that are usually closed to the public are opened and it gives you an amazing glimpse into the private world of the University of Cambridge.

Cambridge Printmakers Exhibition
From 22nd-28th September 2016 local printmakers will present an exhibition focused on furthering a knowledge and understanding of printmaking and its technical variables and complexities to a wider audience.  This will be achieved through exhibitions, demonstrations and talks on printmaking, taking place at The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street from 10.30am-5pm daily.


Crime Writing Festival
For a chilling start to autumn indulge in four days of criminally good writing at the Norwich Crime Writing Festival from 15th-18th September, featuring a line-up of the best crime authors, writing workshops and social events.  Meet genre superstars Ian Rankin, Peter James and Charlie Higson over the four day celebration of crime fiction.  The festival will take place across various venues across the city.

Chamber Music Concert
Programme of songs and duets by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Mahler, Britten and others.  Arias and duets from popular operas, hosted by Sarah-Jane Lewis, Gareth Brynmor John and Simon Lepper.  Tickets £25 including a glass of wine in the Saloon during the interval and an opportunity to view some of the state rooms at Holkham Hall.  September 23rd from 7pm.

Houghton Hall
A towering silver rock [Zhan Wang’s Scholar Rock], a fountain of fire, a concrete gamekeeper’s hut – the current Lord Cholmondeley commissioned these, and other sculptures as modern equivalents to the temples and gazebos that decorated gardens like Houghton’s in the 18th century.  A new work for 2016 is Dunstable Reel by Philip King, a painted steel sculpture in which shapes rhythmically unfold.  Permanent collection, open Wed, Thur, Sun and Bank Holidays until September 25th.



York Beer & Cider Festival
More than 400 real ales and 100 ciders come to York Racecourse from Wednesday 14th-Saturday 17th September 2016.  Housed in a spacious marquee with ample seating, a huge beer garden and a wide selection of food stalls.

Allied Air Forces Memorial Day
York’s 31st Day will this year commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the first battle in history to feature dedicated military air campaigns.  This spectacular occasion, taking place at Yorkshire Air Museum on Sunday 4th September, will feature a Parade led by the Yorkshire Military Band & Corps of Drums, with the National Standards of the Royal Air Force Association, Royal British Legion and Royal Observer Corps Associations, amongst some 40 regional Service Association and Squadron Standards.

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.


St Mary’s Fair
A great community event comes to St Mary’s Church SW11 3NA on Saturday 17th September from midday-4pm.  Includes bric-a-brac stalls, books, plants, fun and games.  What’s more, the Battersea Society will have a stand at the event.

90 Years of Royal Style
If fashion’s your thing check out ‘Fashioning a Reign:  90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe’ at Buckingham Palace.  Celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday year with a look at her sense of style over the decades.  Discover how she has dressed over the years in the largest ever exhibition of the outfits that have marked her private life and the official events she attended, from childhood to present day.  From now until 2nd October 2016.

A live music series bringing the festival feel to Battersea.  Battersea Arts Centre and GOAT Music collaborate to present a musical spectacle celebrating the UK’s best home-grown talent and unique artists from around the globe, in the intimate and beautiful settings of the Council Chamber.  With the Rio Olympics taking place across August, Borderless will provide an alternative cross-cultural celebration.  Samba to tropical beats, dance to Afrobeat legends skank to Reggae and let the new generation of jazz taking you to another place.  Break down the borders and shuffle your feet to global rhythms to hear the biggest tunes from all over the planet.  From now until 29th September 2016.

Fashion Rules:  Restyled
Take a journey through four decades of fashion and see how the Royal Family’s great women set the trends with Fashion Rules:  Restyled at Kensington Palace.  Featuring a luxurious display of dresses from the wardrobes of queens and princesses, the exhibition charts major changes in taste and style over the years.  Learn more about the elegance of a young Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret’s predilection for bold colours, up to the sparkles and tailoring of the 1980s, perfectly represented by Princess Diana’s beautiful dresses.  The exhibition features signature clothing by designers including Marc Bohan, Zandra Rhodes and Bruce Oldfield.  Until 5th January 2017.


Boundary Festival
Taking the best of Brighton’s creative energy, lust for life and generosity of spirit, Boundary Brighton is a festival with four stages of music, a vintage fair, delicious local food and other unexpected treats, all nestled between the crest of the Downs and the City with the sea below.  International DJs and live acts will bring together house, dub, techno, drum and bass, breaks, electronic and even a little crazy jazz with each stage offering different styles always reflective of the best of its genre.  Saturday 17th September at Stanmer Park.

Brighton Art Fair & MADE Brighton
Art and craft unite as Brighton Art Fair and MADE Brighton join forces under one roof.  Brighton Art Fair features some of the best contemporary artists from the UK and abroad, showing and selling their diverse work direct to the public.  The fair always promotes a good balance of established and emerging artists, and insists that all work is of the highest quality, fresh and exceptional.  MADE Brighton will present fifty of the best contemporary designer makers in the country.  Makers will be selling work ranging from cutting edge ceramics and contemporary jewellery to blown and kiln formed glass as well as wood and textiles.  23rd-25th September at the Corn Exchange.

Spectrum:  Digital Festival Special
Brighton Dome’s Spectrum project, in partnership with Resident Records, brings you the freshest music talent from across the city.  On Friday 23rd September organisers add a stunning layer of visuals to electronic beats to link in with Brighton Digital Festival.  The Studio Theatre at Brighton Dome.


RHS Garden, Wisley
Head to Wisley to see the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden.  The six-day show from September 6th-11th, includes a dahlia display and nursery stands as well as a range of sale plants.  And while you’re there be sure to check out Wisley’s vast gardens and stately glasshouse.  Tickets £11.70 for adults and £5.85 for children in advance, free to RHS members.

Discover the most grisly aspects of Guildford’s past with Gruesome, Ghastly, Guildford Walk.  Hear tales of witches, highwaymen, grave robbers and a couple of Guildford’s famous ghosts.  Did you know the town was the site of a shocking massacre and the scene of rowdy, riotous townsfolk?  8th September, 6pm under Tunsgate Arch.

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.


International Ocean Film Festival
Immerse yourself in the wonders of the ocean without getting your feet wet!  This short film festival brings you the world’s most amazing ocean films from both above and below the surface.  Brought to you by the producers of the Banff Film Festival at Exeter Corn Exchange on 9th September 2016.

Secret Supper Club at Killerton
On the first Wednesday of every month, from 6.30pm onwards, discover a fine-dining experience at one of Devon’s great estates.  Tuck into expertly prepared dishes made using tasty seasonal produce from local and estate producers.  Killerton’s vast agricultural estate includes over 20 farms producing award-winning meat, dairy and a range of vegetables.  To book your spot call 01392 881 345.


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 hand picked, quality, vintage traders who offer a wide range of genuine vintage and antique goods.  4th September.

Crafting at Ally Pally
Crafting at Ally Pally is one of the largest and most popular papercraft shows in the UK.  Join in 17th-18th September 2016.



Write on Kew
If you live in Kingston and fancy a day trip to Kew then head to Write on Kew, a fabulous festival for literary lovers.  Think bookish talks and events in leafy surroundings at Richmond’s Kew Gardens.  Speakers include novelist Rose Tremain and children’s author Michael Rosen.  22nd-25th September 2016.

All or Nothing – The Mod Musical
In 1964 a new phenomenon exploded onto the dingy British streets.  It was the essence of all that was cool.  It was Mod.  Mods stuck two fingers up at the class-ridden society and its dull redundant culture.  They were free spirits who rode sexy streamlined Italian Vespas or Lambrettas.  The sharpest Mod of all was known as Face.  All or Nothing – The Mod Musical is a trans-generational musical experience celebrating the unique sound of the iconic Mod Band, The Small Faces.  Showing at The Rose Theatre, Kingston 9th-10th September 2016.

Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace
See big names like Patrick Grant, Liz Earle and Annie Sloan, try your hand at everything from gilding to lino-cutting, and shop for unique, handcrafted items as well as craft materials, and fabulous food and drink.  16th-18th September 2016 at Hampton Court Palace.