It’s October in Cheltenham! We all know what that means. The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival – my favourite event of the year. Hands down. Kicking off on the 6th, the festival, which was set up by a group of friends in 1949, never seems to disappoint. Each year the team manage to scour all corners of the literary globe and put together a killer line up. There will be so many big names coming to Cheltenham this month to take part in over 550 events across the 10 day festival. From Russell Brand to Salman Rushdie and Matt Lucas to Twiggy, this year’s line up has outdone itself, especially with their latest announcement of Hillary Clinton joining the programme. My personal recommendations are Richard Osman’s World Cup of Everything, 260 days of Trump, Welcome to Just a Minute, Tongue Fu and the one and only Sir Michael Parkinson! The theme this year is “Who Do You Think You Are?” but literary legends, actors, politicians and everyone in between will be talking about a whole host of topics. With family tents and displays, delicious food stalls, free events and enough books to keep the biggest bookworm happy, there is literally something for everyone.
The Literary Festival will be in the spotlight this month but that’s not to say there aren’t some great events happening elsewhere in the town.
Cheltenham Lido are taking full advantage of any last glimpses of the sun and hosting a bucket full of events and races before it’s too late. These include the All Out Swim on the 14th of October in support of the Macmillan Cancer Trust, the Devil’s Aquathlon in the unheated water on the 8th and even the pets can get a few lengths in with the Dog swim on the 15th of this month.
As well as hosting a large proportion of the Literature Festival events, Cheltenham Town Hall have also got a great line up with iconic duo While and Matthews performing on the 8th and controversial comic Jim Davidson delivering his well crafted brand of humour on the 31st.
Theatre-wise this month you’ve got the options of the laugh-out-loud comedy Driving Miss Daisy and the famous thriller “Deathtrap” which features a few familiar faces. The Russian State are also bringing three classical ballets to Cheltenham, which is a great opportunity to see Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet from the 26th to the 28th of October.
In the latter half of the month comes the October half term and with it comes the spookiest time of year. The lead up to Halloween shall be the best yet, with ghost tours around the most haunted areas of Cheltenham, for both adults and children. Those over 16 can head to Newark Park to get the chills around the eerie grounds, whilst for those a little more faint- hearted there are plenty of local ghost walks which run from early September to mid December. If you fancied putting your feet up for Halloween, hop on the train at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 28th for a Steam and Scream free event. If this isn’t all enough to get you into the spooky spirit then head down to Berkeley Castle and Sudeley Castle for a week of pumpkin carving, apple bobbing and a chance to meet some owls in the great hall. Trick or Treat!