All dates included below have been revised for the 2018 season.
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 (Sunday 24th) kicks off the season with over 100 stalls, fairground rides and a Santa’s grotto for the little ones. There’s plenty here to keep the whole family entertained while getting into the holiday spirit!
– The Cornwall Film Festival (Friday 15th to Sunday 17th) is Cornwall’s only film festival, offering a mix of classic and new movies for fans of the silver screen (and scrumpy).
– City of Lights (Wednesday 20th at 7 pm) is a sight that simply has to be seen – Truro, which is a beautiful part of the world at the best of times, will be lit by a spectacle of handmade lanterns.
– The November Meeting (Friday 15th – Sunday 17th) 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 for the weekend.
– Firework Extravaganza (October 26th-27th) at Crealy Adventure Park in Devon is the place to be for an evening of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ just before bonfire night.
– Hayes Garden Centre (Date TBA) stays open late for so you can treat yourself to some fireworks and a bit of late night shopping. You’ll need to book tickets though!
– Kendel Mountain Festival (Thursday 14th – Sunday 17th) in the Lake District has a programme of speakers, films and competitions all about mountaineering and the areas various impressive peaks.
– Penrith Farmer’s Market (Tuesday 19th at 9 am) 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.
– The Graystone Cafe (throughout November) offers various quirky courses throughout the month if you fancy trying some arts and crafts with a twist, like Willow Sculpture or being a Blacksmith for a day. Located in the Lake District.
– Somerset Guy Fawkes Carnival (throughout November) pulls out all the stops visiting some of the county’s most beautiful towns and villages, attracting up to 150,000 people.
– Wales Rally (October 3th-6th) is where Petrolheads can get their fill at an event which makes the most of the beautiful Welsh scenery by filling it with speeding cars.
– North Wales Choral Festival (Friday 8rd – Sunday 10th) lets you enjoy a whole weekend of wonderful Welsh music and singing.
–Edinburgh Art Fair (Friday 22nd – Sunday 25th) is your opportunity to take a piece of Edinburgh culture home with you.
–Edinburgh Short Film Festival (Date TBA) 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.
– Cork Film Festival (Thursday 7th – Sunday 17th) is putting on a host of new and classic films to cosy up with on a cold winter’s day. Past features have ranged from a new Steve Jobs biopic to Some Like It Hot.
– Foyle Film Festival (Friday 15th – Sunday 24th) mixes education with a love of all things cinematic and there’s even a competition so you can submit your own masterpiece.
– Turkey Fair (Monday 11th) is an event that’s lasted 45 years, the in Varaignes. It features a parade, stalls and even a gobbling competition!
– Yaouank (Saturday 23rd) has a fierce dedication to Breton culture and music. It culminates in one massive party that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
– Dijon Gastronomy Fair (Thursday 31st – Monday 11th) exhibits the food and drink which the town is rightly famous for. Here is the chance to learn about and experience some of the finest in French cookery.
– Nevers Jazz Festival (Saturday 9th – Saturday 16th) attracts world-class artists and is the place to be wether you feel like celebrating or relaxing to something a little more mellow.
– Salon International Livre-Gourmand (every two years – 2020 TBA) Like food? Like reading? You’ll be in for a treat at this event where cookery writers show off their talents. You’ve never seen so much yummy stuff to be had!
– Le Rouret’s Christmas Market (Date TBA) prides itself on tradition and offering the very best of local produce to visitors – a truly magical day for all the family.
– Monte Carlo Jazz Festival (Date TBA) gives you plenty of time to take in some of the great music on offer.
– Limousin Culinary Festival (Friday 15th – Monday 18th) is a feast in every sense of the word, with workshops, talks and, of course, plenty of stalls to satisfy your appetite for fine foods.
– Les Boreales (Thursday 14th – Sunday 24th) is a ‘Festival of the North’ – a celebration of the culture of Denmark and Greenland with literature, art, music and food.
– Taste Large Festival (Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th) in the port town of Port-en-Bassin-Huppain is a shellfish spectacular, putting scallops centre-stage in a festival of seafood.
– Fair of the Dead (October 28th – November 1st) is somewhat analogous to Halloween and celebrates the legend that on the final night 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.
– St Martin’s Day (Monday 11th) is a celebration 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 a wide selection of wine and food events.
– Tasting Tuscany (Date TBA) is an amazing opportunity to discover everything wonderful about Tuscan food and drink. Held in Montepulciano, it’s everything a foodie could wish for (and more!)
– San Miniato’s Truffle Fair (Last three weekends of November) is another great opportunity for those who love their food. It celebrates the precious mushroom in all its forms.
– Dia de Todos los Santos (Friday 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.
– Festival of Chanfaina (last Sunday in November) takes place the town of Totalán in Malaga and it is a whole day devoted to one simple dish so head along and try some yourself – it’s a bit like paella, but cooked with lamb. You know that if it’s worthy of a whole festival, it must be amazing!
– San Diego Fair (Date TBA) 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.
– Dijous Bo fair in Inca (October 14th) attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year and includes sporting and cultural activities (and a black pig competition!) as well as the usual stalls and processions.
– Fira de la Mel (third Sunday in November) is hosted in Llubi, celebrating the sweet and tasty honey. Some of the island’s best honey is made nearby, and beekeepers from across the Balearics all head down to show off their wares.
– Fiesta Day of San Carlos (Monday 4th) in, unsurprisingly, the town of San Carlos. The town’s patron saint is celebrated with dancing, magic shows and a spectacular firework display.
– Fiesta Day of Santa Gertrudis (Date TBA) is another fiesta in the quaint, Bohemian village of Santa Gertrudis to celebrate their namesake saint. Expect processions, merriment and a carnival atmosphere!
Wow, that was quite a selection of European events, and hopefully, you’ve found something to inspire you when the season starts to get cold. If you’d like to cosy up to the fullest this winter, take a look at some of our luxury villa rentals to find your perfect European retreat.