Heading away for a European break at one of our beautiful holiday homes? All over the continent, things will be getting a bit chillier and the nights will be drawing in, but that’s an even better excuse to wrap up warm and head out to discover what amazing experiences the local area has to offer.
We’ve dug down and done some research to find the most exciting and intriguing European events and festivals in the UK, France, Italy and Spain. We’ve tried to cover as many regions as possible, so no matter where you book one of our luxury villas to rent there’s be something fun to look forward to – whether that’s an awesome new music festival, a special day for the kids or a celebration of the mouth-watering local produce. Dive in and find some fun!
The UK and Ireland
– Wokingham Winter Carnival kicks off on Sunday 29th, and with over 100 stalls, fairground rides and a Santa’s grotto for the little ones, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
– The Cornwall Film Festival runs throughout November and is Cornwall’s only film festival, offering a mix of classic and new movies for fans of the silver screen (and scrumpy).
– Truro is a beautiful part of the world at the best of times, but to see it lit by handmade lanterns in the City of Lights festival is a sight that simply has to be seen. Head over on the 18th November at 7pm for the spectacle.
– The Open at Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the most anticipated horse-racing events in the calendar – snag some tickets and have a bit of a flutter between the 13th and 15th November.
– For an evening of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ just before bonfire night, Crealy Adventure Park in Devon is hosting a firework spectacular on November 1st.
– A particularly tempting show if you’re a fan of theatre – you can enjoy an underground production of Shakespeare at Kents Cavern between the 9th and 14th of November.
– The Ilfracombe Folk Festival celebrates world, folk and roots music from all over the world. With headliners including Barbara Dickson and Fairport Convention, it runs on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of November.
– You can treat yourself to some fireworks and a bit of late night shopping at the Hayes Garden Centre, which will be opening late on the 6th November. You’ll need to book tickets though!
– The Kendel Mountain Festival in the Lake District has a programme of speakers, films and competitions all about the areas various peaks, as well as mountaineering in general. Head down between the 19th and 22nd November to see what’s going on.
– The Penrith Farmer’s Market kicks off at 9am on the 17th November, and offers a fantastic array of quality local produce. Penrith also features in the popular film Withnail & I, so fans can see some of the filming locations at the same time.
– If you fancy trying some arts and crafts with a twist, you could try some Willow Sculpture or be a Blacksmith for a day at the Greystone Cafe, also in the Lake District. Various courses are offered through November.
– Somerset pulls out all the stops for its Guy Fawkes celebration, with carnivals throughout November that visit some of the county’s most beautiful towns and villages, attracting up to 150,000 people.
– Petrolheads can get their fill at the Wales Rally (12th – 15th November), which makes the most of the beautiful Welsh scenery by filling it with speeding cars.
– You can enjoy a whole weekend of wonderful Welsh music and singing with the North Wales Choral Festival, which runs from the 6th – 8th November.
– Edinburgh is full of culture, and you might even be able to take a piece back home with you thanks to the Edinburgh Art Fair, which is on in the city between the 13th – 15th November.
– The Edinburgh Short Film Festival (11th – 22nd November) is another chance to see Edinburgh’s arty side, this time on celluloid. An eclectic line up means there’s something for everyone, no matter your taste.
– There’ll be plenty of singing at the Sligo International Choir Festival, where you can hear performances and even see some of Ireland’s top choirs go head to head between the 13th – 15th November.
– The Cork Film Festival (6th – 15th November) is putting on a host of new and classic films, from a new Steve Jobs biopic to Some Like It Hot.
– Mixing education with a love of all things cinematic, the Foyle Film Festival runs between November 18th and the 22nd, and there’s even a competition so you can submit your own masterpiece.
– An event that’s lasted 45 years, the Turkey Fair in Varaignes is on the 11th November and features a parade, stalls and even a gobbling competition!
– From the 3rd – 21st November, Mettre En Scene is a festival for dancers, choreographers and everyone interested in the art of movement, with live shows aplenty.
– With a fierce dedication to Breton culture and music, Yaouank (4th – 21st November) culminates in one massive party that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
– The town of Dijon is rightly famed for its food and drink, so it makes sense it has its very own Gastronomy Fair! It runs until the 11th November and offers the chance to learn about and experience some of the finest in French cookery.
– If you feel like relaxing to something a little more mellow, the Nevers Jazz Festival attracts world-class artists. Tickets are on sale now, and the event runs from November 5th.
– Like food? Like reading? You’ll be in for a treat at the Salon International Livre-Gourmand (21st – 23rd November) where cookery writers show off their talents and much yummy stuff is to be had.
– One of France’s major film celebrations (though it’s unlikely to topple Cannes from the top spot) the Sarlat Film Festival is approaching its 25th year and is on between the 10th and the 14th of November.
– One seriously tempting event is the Chocolatier’s Trade Show in Nice (13th – 15th November) with stalls, demonstrations and a whole lot more to keep those with a sweet tooth happy.
– Le Rouret’s Traditional Christmas Market prides itself on tradition and offering the very best of local produce to visitors – a truly magical day for all the family.
– The Monte Carlo Jazz Festival kicks off on the 23rd November and runs through until the first week of December, meaning you’ve got plenty of time to take in some of the great music on offer.
– The Limousin Culinary Festival is a feast in every sense of the word, with workshops, talks and, of course, plenty of stall to satisfy your appetite for fine foods.
– Les Boreales is a ‘Festival of the North’ – running between the 13th and the 28th November, it’s a celebration of the culture of Denmark and Greenland with literature, art, music and food.
– On the 14th and 15th of November, the Taste Large Festival in the port town of Port-en-Bassin-Huppain is a shellfish spectacular, putting scallops centre-stage in a festival of seafood.
– Rather an unusal one this, but throughout October and November there’s a Soup Festival throughout the various villages in Provence, with each competing to make the most delicious potage. Definitely a winter warmer!
– The Fair of the Dead is somewhat analogous to Halloween, and celebrates the legend that on this night (November 2nd) departed relatives return to leave gifts for children. Cakes are a big part of the celebration, and you’ll find plenty of stalls across the island to treat yourself and the kids.
– November 11th sees the celebration of St Martin’s Day, which remembers a Sicilian Bishop who allegedly brought the first ‘Indian Summer’ to Italy. There are tons of things to do across the island, including lots of wine and food events.
– Tasting Tuscany is an amazing opportunity to discover everything wonderful about Tuscan food and drink. Held in Montepulciano on the 7th and 8th of November, it’s everything a foodie could wish for (and more!)
– Another great opportunity for those who love their food, San Miniato’s Truffle Fair is spread over the last three weekends of November and celebrates the precious mushroom in all its forms.
– Dia de Todos los Santos kicks the month off – November 1st is All Saint’s Day in Spain, where many devout Spanish Catholics visit cemeteries to remember relatives who have passed away. It’s not all sombre though – there are loads of tasty cakes and treats on offer, and many towns and villages will have processions and merrymaking.
– It might have humble origins, but the town of Totalán in Malaga has a whole day devoted to one simple dish. The Festival of Chanfaina takes place every year on the last Sunday in November, so head along and try some yourself – it’s a bit like paella, but cooked with lamb.
– The San Diego Fair in Cuevas del Almanzora is a fun-filled, carnival atmosphere for all the family with lights, fairground rides and stalls to keep everyone full of treats and delicacies.
– There are a number of fantastic Autumn Fairs on the island throughout November, celebrating everything from grapes to pumpkins to fish. It’s a great way to explore the culture of Mallorca and pick up some tasty treats too.
– One Autumn fair that goes above and beyond is the Dijous Bo fair in Inca. Attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year, it kicks off in 2015 on the 12th of November and includes sporting and cultural activities (and a black pig competition!) as well as the usual stalls and processions.
– Llubi hosts its own unique fair on the third Sunday in November each year – the sweet and tasty Fira de la Mel, or Honey Fair. Some of the island’s best honey is made nearby, and beekeepers from across the Balearics all head down to show off their wares.
– The Fiesta Day of San Carlos takes place every year on November 4th in, unsurprisingly, the town of San Carlos. The town’s patron Saint is celebrated with dancing, magic shows and a spectacular firework display.
– Another fiesta kicks off on the 16th in the quaint, Bohemian village of Santa Gertrudis to celebrate their namesake saint. Expect processions, merriment and a carnival atmosphere!
Photo Credits: Feature Image by Lichtklicker Lantern procession by Karl Sinfield via Flickr, Fireworks by Vala Run via Flickr, Wales Rally by Bob via Flickr, Choir by Michael Swan via Flickr, Jazz Musicians by Adhi Rachdian via Flickr, Chocolate by Sheila Herman via Flickr, Truffle by Michela Simoncini via Flickr, Honey by Evan Bench via Flickr