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The best autumn festivals in Devon

To avoid the summer crowds and enjoy all the amazing beaches, towns and cities when they are not as busy, you should visit Devon in autumn.

While the county isn’t as busy in the summer months, there are still plenty of events taking place during this time of year; from food and drink festivals to carnivals and music festivals. So if you are planning a stay in a luxury cottage in Devon this autumn, read on to find out some of the must-visit festivals and events in Devon.

The best autumn festivals

Powderham Food Festival

Dates of event: 7-8 October

In just a short space of time, the Powderham Food Festival has become a major attraction for foodies, attracting visitors and exhibitors coming from all over the South West.

The festival will once again be set in the historic deer park on the banks of the River Exe and the cooks and chefs will be wowing crowds with their skills as part of the many demonstrations that will take place.

This year there will be more than 130 stalls selling artisan food and drink and you can even try venison, beef, pork, lamb and other game that the estate produces.

There will also be exhibitions and a variety of speakers accompanying the live music and entertainment at the event.

Dartmouth Food Festival

Dates of event: 20-22 October

With food and drink stalls, cooking contests, street entertainers and cooking demonstrations, the town is a hive of activity.

The Dartmouth Food Festival has grown since its humble beginnings back in 2002 and now a plethora of celebrity chefs and local chefs turn out to show off their skills. Now the free-to-attend festival is a landmark event on the culinary calendar. Mitch Tonks, a renowned chef who often attends the event, has described it as “a party atmosphere from start to finish”.

Susy Atkins, the famed author and broadcaster who is known for her no-nonsense, down-to-earth and often humorous approach, will also be returning. She says: “I love Dartmouth and I totally volunteered to be part of it. The South West is so great at promoting its best produce and I've made it my personal business to try and promote drinks more. I will be hosting some drinks seminars at Browns Hotel which I love.”

The main aim of the festival is to showcase the very best food and drink in the South West and you can enjoy Ashridge Cider, Cornish Seasalt, chillies from the South Devon Chilli Farm and scones from the Devon Scone Company.

This year the festival events will be taking place across the town at the Market Square, Embankment, Boat Float and the Royal Avenue Gardens.

The BIG Sheep Annual Halloween Festival

Dates of event: 21-29 October

As Halloween occurs during autumn, it is unsurprising that there are lots of spooky events taking place across Devon.

One of the best events for the whole family is The BIG Sheep Annual Halloween Festival, which is dubbed the South West’s biggest and best Halloween festivals.

The Big Sheep attraction will be open for longer over the October half term school holidays with doors opening at 10am and closing at 10pm, meaning you have 10 hours of fun every day.

A haunted hayride, spooky castle, pumpkin carving classes, arachnophobia ride, haunted house and a variety of Halloween characters are just some of the highlights families can enjoy during their luxury cottage break in Devon.

Haldon Gold Cup Day

Date of event: 7 November

The Haldon Gold Cup Day is regarded as Devon’s richest race day and the Haldon Gold Cup is the feature race of the festival.

The day is one of the county’s most celebrated sporting occasions and is steeped in history and tradition. As a result, the race, which is run over two miles one furlong, attracts some of the country’s best chasers.

The team at Exeter Racecourse share a couple of tips for visitors to follow:

  • Head to the paddock early and take a good look at the horses as they parade.
  • Wear a hat, as it will be hats off to the winner of the Haldon Gold Cup.

Hatherleigh Carnival

Date of event: 11 November

Hatherleigh Carnival is an iconic event and it is well-known across the county for the beautiful display of floats that are shown off every year.

There are 8 classes for tableaus to enter in the evening procession, including local crepe paper with mechanically moving parts or floats with non-moving parts.

The carnival is also famous for the Blazing Tar Barrels that are pulled by a team of sub-committee members. One is pulled ablaze through the streets at 5.00am on the morning of the carnival and the other after the main procession in the evening.

Teignmouth Jazz & Blues Festival

Dates of event: 17-19 November

The 2017 Teignmouth Jazz & Blues Festival is rated as one of the best in the UK and usually the annual event attracts thousands of people to the town.

This year’s programme has now been released and musicians will be playing across a number of different venues including The Bronx Bar, the Pavilions and the Teign Heritage Centre.

Some of the acts you can enjoy over the course of the three days include the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra with Dave O'Higgins, Eddie Martin Blues Trio, The Zappatistas with John Etheridge, Alan Barnes & Bruce Adams and Rag & Bones to name just a few.

Image Credit: giborn_134 (flickr.com)

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