12 Marvellous Day Trips From London: September 2023

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 6 months ago

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12 Marvellous Day Trips From London: September 2023
The exterior of Chartwell, a redbrick manor house surrounded by stepped gardens.
Chartwell holds its first ever literature festival. Image: Chris Jonas

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

COOKHAM REGATTA: Watch all manner of boats take to the river for races and showcases at the Cookham Regatta, on the Thames near Maidenhead. Take part yourself, or watch the action from dry land, where entertainment includes a dog show, classic car display, charity stalls and a concert band. While you're in the area, why not take this self-guided walk around Cookham? 2 September (Berkshire)

LITTLE SCARLET FESTIVAL: Having been postponed from that particularly windy Saturday in July, the Little Scarlet Festival at Tiptree now takes place on the first Saturday in September. The name comes from a species of strawberry grown on the Tiptree/Wilkin & Sons farm in Essex where the music festival happens, with performances by The Punk Freud, Tantric Zoo, Geoff Lawrence and others. Find out more about the Tiptree Jam Museum — worth visiting any time of year if you're in the area. 2 September (Essex)

CHARTWELL LIT FEST: National Trust property Chartwell — former home of Winston Churchill — hosts its first ever literature festival, focusing on historical non-fiction, and marking 70 years since Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Damien Lewis, Katja Hoyer, Dr. Wafik Moustafa and Leo McKinstry are among the authors and experts scheduled to appear, across three days of talks, Q&As, and signings. Find out more about visiting Chartwell. 8-10 September (Kent)

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS: London has its share of Heritage Open Days, but they take place all around the country too, offering the public visits and experiences which are usually off-limits, similar to Open House Festival. Take a look at the full programme — you can visit windmills, tunnels, churches, forts, hospitals, houses and more. 8-17 September

SALUTE TO THE 1940S: One of Britain's biggest vintage festivals, Salute To The 40s arrives at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. Fancy dress is encouraged at the 1940s-themed weekend, where live music comes courtesy of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the D-Day Darlings, and other entertainment includes historical re-enactments, vintage military vehicle displays, and a fashion parade. Consider visiting the rest of the Historic Dockyard Chatham while you're there — we were seriously impressed on our visit. 9-10 September (Kent)

A stream train travelling through the countryside, with fields on either side.
Travel to the Goodwood Revival by steam train. Image: Mike Rogers

GOODWOOD REVIVAL BY TRAIN: Historic motor race meeting Goodwood Revival is a treat in itself, staged entirely in a period theme, with classic cars in action and vintage fashions to ogle. To make it even more special, travel there from Paddington or Slough via a Steam Dreams steam train, hauled by the 70000 Britannia engine. Dining options are available, and once you arrive in Chichester you can choose to explore the city, visit Arundel Castle, or head to Goodwood Revival. 10 September (Sussex)

RAILWAY HOP FESTIVAL: The Kent & East Sussex Railway — which runs between Tenterden and Bodiam — celebrates the local tradition of hop-picking with a hop festival at Bodiam station. Heritage steam trains run on the line all weekend, and there's also a chance to have a go at picking hops yourself, and see inside a recreated hoppers' hut. 16-17 September (Kent/East Sussex)

SEAFOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL: The seaside town of Hastings hosts a seafood and wine festival. Spend the weekend tucking into seafood dishes washed down with wine, whether you're a connoisseur or completely clueless. The festival is located on The Stade, right on the seafront, and also includes live music and street entertainment. 16-17 September (East Sussex)

RYE ARTS FESTIVAL: Books, films, music, writing, baking, gardening and cooking are just some of the activities covered at Rye Arts Festival. The fortnight-long event on the East Sussex coast is now on its 52nd edition, and celebrates local talent and heritage. Highlights include tours into the normally-closed Winchelsea cellars, and salacious tours by Rye's resident bearded drag lady Timberlina. Why not spend a whole weekend in Rye?  15-30 September (East Sussex)

The exterior of Cliveden
There are some big names on the programme at Cliveden Literary Festival.

CANTERBURY FESTIVAL: International arts festival Canterbury Festival kicks off towards the end of the month with Renaissance, an illumination installation at Canterbury Cathedral by Luxmuralis (the team behind an upcoming event at the Tower of London too). Other events later in the year include tours, talks and concerts. 26 September (Kent)

BEER FESTIVAL: Raise a glass to the St Albans Beer & Cider Festival, taking place in the sizeable Alban Arena. This year's participating breweries have yet to be announced, but we do know there will be a dedicated Hertfordshire bar celebrating local brews, plus a live music soundtrack throughout each session. 27-30 September (Hertfordshire)

CLIVEDEN LITERARY FESTIVAL: Country house Cliveden has, in its time, inspired writers including Alexander Pope, George Bernard Shaw, Jonathan Swift, Lord Tennyson and Sir Winston Churchill — so it's an apt venue for a literary festival. Zadie Smith, Mary Beard, Michael Gove and Will Gompertz are among the big names scheduled to appear at talks and panel discussions on this year's programme. 30 September- 1 October (Berkshire)

Last Updated 30 August 2023

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