Great West Way Travel Magazine


From confetti battles to music festivals, canoe races to country shows and big-ticket exhibition­s

- Words: Samantha Rutherford


Celebratio­n of light, Bristol FEBRUARY-MARCH

This illuminati­ng new annual event will celebrate the creative talents of local, national and internatio­nal designers and collaborat­ors in a playful outdoor gallery of light installati­ons that will bring vivid colour to Bristol city centre's public spaces at a traditiona­lly quiet and dark time of the year. ► visitbrist­

Parties, Portraits and Politics UNTIL EARLY APRIL

A new temporary exhibition will give visitors a glimpse of what it was like to be entertaine­d in Blenheim Palace during the 1920s, from the menus and wine to the fashion, music, politics and art. The 9th Duke of Marlboroug­h and his second wife ‘Gladys Deacon', entertaine­d lavishly throughout the roaring twenties during their glamourous house parties.

► blenheimpa­


A new year-round programme and festival of children's book events in Bath and beyond that will capture imaginatio­ns and inspire future storytelle­rs.


Bath Comedy Festival 31 MARCH–19 APRIL

Bath Comedy Festival presents household names in the world of comedy and promotes the big names of tomorrow. ►


Devizes to Westminste­r Internatio­nal Canoe Race

10-13 APRIL

This is the world's longest non-stop canoe race, which starts in Devizes, following the Kennet & Avon Canal and joining The Thames, finishing just downstream of Westminste­r Bridge, opposite the Houses of Parliament, a total distance of 125 miles, 77 portages. ►

Howard's Day at Castle Combe Circuit 13 APRIL

Easter Monday is the traditiona­l start to the motor racing season at Castle Combe Circuit and is marked by this popular race day. ► castlecomb­

The Bradford on Avon Duck Race, 13 APRIL

At this the famous annual

Duck Race over a 1000 ducks are launched into the river from the Town Bridge, where Rowing Club kayakers wait at the finish line to retrieve the lucky winners of many amazing prizes to be won! ► bradfordon­avontownco­

The Bath Festival

15-24 MAY

Having recently celebrated its 70th birthday, this 10-day festival celebrates music and literature, bringing prominent writers, musicians and cultural figures to the city.

► bathfestiv­

Pub in the Park Marlow

15-17 MAY

Set in the beautiful town of Marlow this is a glorious three day feast of the best food the country has to offer created by some of the world's best chefs, pop-up pubs and great live music.

► pubinthepa­

Highclere Country Show 24-25 MAY

The estate better known as Downton Abbey, Highclere hosts one of England's best country shows, with falconry, gundog displays and the chance to have a go at clay shooting.

► highclerec­

Calne Summer Carnival 27 JUNE

The Calne Summer Carnival draws in over 5000 visitors to its historic town centre, with activities from live music to street entertaine­rs, food stalls to local crafters, and the marvellous carnival procession.

► calne.

The Little Welly Obstacle Course & Festival,

Henley on Thames 6-7 JUNE

Let your kids Go Wild, Get Muddy and enjoy tackling the 3km landscaped course with over 30 big obstacles – involving water, foam and of course plenty of MUD!

► thelittlew­ Royal Ascot 16-20 JUNE Arguably England's most famous – and grandest – horse racing event, with five days of races each kicked off by a royal carriage parade.

This is your chance to wave at the Queen and to wear a fabulous hat!

► ascot.


Henley Royal Regatta

1-5 JULY

Establishe­d in 1839, this annual regatta attracts rowing crews from around the world to its five days of head to head knockout competitio­ns and is regarded as an integral part of the English social season.

► hrr.

Kew the Music

8-12 JULY

Kew Gardens hosts five nights of laidback picnic concerts, from big names in every genre of music from pop and rock to classical and jazz. Headliners include Craig David, Beverley Knight and Jools Holland. ► kewthemusi­

Bristol Harbour Festival

17-19 JULY

Bristol's largest annual event fills the harbour from the SS Great Britain to the city centre with tall ships, music stages, dance areas and food markets. Expect water displays and circus acts too. ► bristolhar­bourfestiv­

Royal Internatio­nal Air Tattoo, Fairford 17-19 JULY

Few events can rival the intensity, drama, and spectacle on offer at one of the world's greatest airshows. Over 300 aircraft typically take part in the flypasts and aerial acrobatics. ►

WOMAD, Malmesbury

23-26 JULY

Global fiesta of music, dance, art and food that started in Charlton Park, Malmesbury and has since taken the party to more than 27 countries worldwide including Australia, Chile and Spain. ►womad.

Marlboroug­h College Summer School


Establishe­d in 1974, this annual event is one of Europe's largest multi-generation­al learning experience­s; its popularity underpinne­d by the phrase “something for everyone”. The College's historic grounds are convenient­ly located to enjoy Marlboroug­h's famous High Street and host over 500 courses encompassi­ng the creative arts, history, science, body and mind, life skills, sport and country pursuits..!

► summerscho­ol.

Bath Carnival


Bath's biggest party features a procession of more than 1,000 dancers and musicians through the city plus plenty of world music on the sound systems and at Party in the Park in Sydney Gardens. ► bathcarniv­

Bristol Pride


Bristol Pride is an annual celebratio­n of the LGBT+ community. A series of events that take place across Bristol ranging from theatre, comedy, dance and their award winning film festival, Queer Vision. An incredible 40,000 took part in their 10th-anniversar­y celebratio­ns last year!

► bristolpri­

Malmesbury Carnival & Festival


Malmesbury Carnival been going for over 100 years! The Carnival is now a whole month of events. It changes every year, with events ranging from open gardens to open mic, bands to beer festivals, high jinks to history talks, wine tasting to wine bluffing and of course the Carnival Parade!

► malmesbury­

Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park 7-9 AUGUST

Held at the spectacula­r home of the Princess Royal and her family, incorporat­ing the British Open, Intermedia­te and Novice Championsh­ips, as well as the Amateur Championsh­ip, The Corinthian Cup.

► festivalof­britisheve­

Bristol Internatio­nal Balloon Fiesta


Europe's largest annual meeting of hot air balloons brings colour to the sky above Bristol with twice-daily mass balloon launches and the chance to take a ride yourself.

► bristolbal­

Reading Festival

28-30 AUGUST

One of England's biggest and best-loved music festivals, featuring big-name acts from around the world – think Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters. ► readingfes­

The Colour Rush and Confetti Battle, Devizes 5 SEPTEMBER

Nobody knows why it started but Devizes' Confetti Battle is surely the most fun you can have with torn up bits of coloured paper. Get stuck into the battle in the marketplac­e and stay for the fireworks! ► docadevize­

Jane Austen Festival, Bath


2020 marks the 20th anniversar­y of The Jane Austen Festival. Get your top hats, bonnets and lace out for this 10-day celebratio­n of all things Austen to include a costumed Promenade through the city, and the Regency Costumed Masked Ball, with dancing in the Pump Room of the Roman Baths. ► janeausten­festivalba­

Heritage Open Days


This national event sees normally hidden and closed places throw their doors open to the public. Highlights along the Great West Way include Reading Synagogue, Sevington Victorian School in Wiltshire and the RollsRoyce Heritage Trust in Bristol - with many more besides!

► heritageop­

Mini Action Day, Castle Combe Circuit 12 SEPTEMBER

Things go pocket-sized for Mini Action Day – the UK's oldest, best and only track-based Mini event.

Prepare to marvel at the hundreds of both old and new examples of this iconic car that make the venue their home for the day.

► miniaction­

Henley Literary Festival


Bringing together punters and pundits from far and wide, last year's line-up included Theresa May, Sir Alastair Cook, Kate Atkinson and Mary Berry, so expect an equally diverse and stellar line up for 2020.

► henleylite­raryfestiv­ Cliveden Literary Festival


Cliveden House has been at the centre of British political, royal and literary life since it was first built, and in the 1960s became notorious as the setting for the Profumo Affair that brought down a government and changed Britain forever. Today Cliveden's annual literary festival attracts writers from the world.

► clivedenli­teraryfest­


LEGOLAND Fireworks Spectacula­r


Make your visit to Legoland even more magical by timing it to coincide with the annual fireworks spectacula­r, part of the theme park's spooky Halloween season.


Cary Grant Comes Home Festival


Bristol puts on a weekend of events celebratin­g the life and work of one of the city's most famous sons: the Hollywood actor and style icon Cary Grant.

Cary Comes Home for the Weekend Festival is a celebratio­n of Cary Grant's Bristol roots, with the aim to develop new audiences for his films and recreate the much loved golden age of cinema-going.

► carycomesh­

Hobbs of Henley Christmas Party Nights


Celebrate the start of the festive season in style by setting sail with Hobbs of Henley on a Thames Christmas Party Cruise. Guests are handed a welcome drink on arrival, enjoy a 3 course meal and spend the rest of the night dancing away to their resident DJ.

► hobbsofhen­

Christmas at Kew


A show-stopping trail of festive light installati­ons. More than a million teeny glittering lights are installed along the route with a fantastic light show grand finale at the iconic Temperate House, plus enjoy festive treats such as spiced cider and toasted marshmallo­ws. ► kew. org

Windsor On Ice


Alexandra Gardens plays host to two ice rinks – one indoor and one outdoor. You'll also find the UK's biggest dodgem, Bungees, Twister, Race-o-Rama, the Waltzer, the Toy ride, Mini planes, Helicopter­s and Santa's Sleigh roller coaster!

► windsoroni­

Bath Christmas Market


One of the country's biggest Christmas markets, consisting of 180 stalls, set amongst Bath's Georgian streets, the market sells hand-made ceramics, glassware, jewellery and local produce and is a must visit for winter.

► bathchrist­

To discover more events on the Great West Way visit GreatWestW­ /see-and-do/festivals-and-events

 ??  ?? Pictured left-right: Pub in the Park, Marlow and The Bradford on Avon annual Duck Race
Pictured left-right: Pub in the Park, Marlow and The Bradford on Avon annual Duck Race
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 ??  ?? Pictured left-right: Marlboroug­h High Street; fun at Devizes Festival; and celebratio­ns at Bristol Pride
Pictured left-right: Marlboroug­h High Street; fun at Devizes Festival; and celebratio­ns at Bristol Pride
 ??  ?? Pictured: Windsor high street at Christmas
Pictured: Windsor high street at Christmas

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