13 Marvellous Day Trips From London: September 2019

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 13 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

13 Marvellous Day Trips From London: September 2019
The Festival of Flowers brightens up Leeds Castle

AMAZING MAZES: Some of these tourist attraction mazes are still open in September, carving a labyrinth-style path through fields of corn and maize. Take on water jets in Kent, or aliens in West Sussex.

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS: While London has Open House Weekend, the rest of the country has Heritage Open Days. It's a similar principle — inviting the public into buildings which are usually off-limits. It's an impressive programme, with venues all over the country taking part, but our picks near London include a lighthouse, a second world war deep shelter, a windmill, secret waterways, a police museum, old police cells, Britain's longest surviving cinema... we could go on. 13-22 September (various locations)

DONKEY DERBY: The village of Stock near Ingatestone in Essex holds an annual donkey derby. Anyone aged 10-15 can register to race on a donkey while onlookers cheer them on (and maybe place a cheeky bet). Other entertainment includes live music, bouncy castles a barbecue and a Pimm's tent. 1 September (Essex)

Photo: Stock Donkey Derby

KITE FESTIVAL: Let's go fly a kite... at the Community Kite Festival at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead. Homemade and shop-bought kites are welcome — take them along to fly them on the hill, everyone welcome. Kite-making activities and food and drink are also available on site. 1 September (Berkshire)

FIERY FOODS FESTIVAL: If you're not fazed by a Naga Viper pepper, head for Brighton where the Fiery Foods Festival specialises in the hottest of dishes. Take part in a chilli-eating contest (you'll need to sign a waiver first) or watch others, and see the National Chilli Awards winners announced. 6-8 September (East Sussex)

Hop weekend at the Kent & East Sussex Railway

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, a brass band, food and drink. 7 September (Berkshire)

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, see inside a recreated hoppers' hut, and enjoy entertainment including Punch & Judy shows and dancing. 7-8 September (Kent/East Sussex)

The Festival of Flowers at Leeds Castle

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. 14-15 September (East Sussex)

FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS: It's already described as the 'loveliest castle in the world', and Leeds Castle makes itself even lovelier with the addition of a Festival of Flowers. Floral designers from all over the world take over the castle's rooms to install beautiful blooms celebrating the building's 900th anniversary. 14-19 September (Kent)

Salute the 1940s at Historic Dockyard Chatham

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 in its 47th year, and celebrates local talent and heritage. Highlights include tours into the normally-closed Winchelsea cellars. 14-28 September (East Sussex)

SALUTE TO THE 1940S: One of Britain's biggest vintage festivals, Salute To The 40s comes to the Historic Dockyard Chatham. Fancy dress is encouraged at the 1940s themed weekend, where live music takes the form of wartime classics, historical re-enactments include rations cooking demonstrations, and vintage military vehicles are on display. 21-22 September (Kent)

Cliveden House hosts a literary festival

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 that a beer token session is in operation to keep the bar queue running smoothly, and there's a live music soundtrack throughout the session. 25-28 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 a rather apt venue for a literary festival. Professor Brian Cox, Alain de Botton, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Helen Fielding and Candice Carty-Williams are among the big names scheduled to appear at talks and panel discussions on this year's programme. 28-29 September (Berkshire)

Last Updated 08 August 2019

Continued below.