7 things to do in October

The exterior of the Charleston House
Stuck for things to do this October? Here are seven super places to visit this month - including freebies for National Lottery players.

1. Grab a bargain at Chatsworth – only for National Lottery players!

Derbyshire’s stunning Chatsworth House has an exclusive offer for National Lottery ticket-holders: 50% off a house and garden ticket plus free parking. Chatsworth, which doubled as Pemberley in the 2005 Keira Knightley film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, received National Lottery money to transform its game larder into a centre for visitors to learn about the landscape. This is their way of saying “thank you”. Just turn up with a National Lottery ticket or scratchcard on 17 October.

2. How about tea at Mackintosh at the Willow?

The fabulous Glasgow tearooms were designed inside and out by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and have recently reopened after a complete refurbishment. We think this is the most beautiful place in the UK for afternoon tea. Or if that’s not your cup of tea, there’s also breakfast and an all-day menu.

3. Follow in the footsteps of the Bloomsbury set

Charleston in Sussex, home of artists Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) and Duncan Grant (1885–1978), is the only completely preserved Bloomsbury interior in the world. This autumn Charleston has launched its new exhibition space, where you can see the first museum display of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service since it was created for Kenneth Clarke in 1932.

4. Discover the beauty of Wales on foot

Surely there’s no better way of embracing the changing seasons than an autumn walk. There are National Lottery-funded parks and landscapes rights across the UK, and one of the loveliest we have visited recently is Penllergare Valley Woods, just a few miles north of Swansea. Or if you’re in North Wales, Greenfield Valley is equally special with events on throughout the month.

5. Take a ride on the Mail Rail

If autumn walks are not for you, how about a train ride? The Mail Rail is no ordinary train – it’s part of one of London’s newest attractions – the Postal Museum. The museum says it is “15 minutes of immersive underground exploration” and promises “a surprise or two”. A whole lot more interesting than the morning commute! 

6. See some contemporary art in a former fire station

This is a current favourite of ours – the newly opened Peckham Fire Station. The South London building also used to house a sausage factory, but now it’s a contemporary art gallery and community space.  We recently had a chat with archivist Lucy Inglis – you can see this video. Well worth a visit!

7. See the poppies at Imperial War Museums London and North

Weeping Window, at IWM London, is a cascade of thousands of handmade ceramic poppies, pouring from a high location to the ground below. Wave, at IWM North, is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks. Originally part of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014, they were a huge draw. The installations at the London and Manchester Imperial War Museums run until late November – we think they’re unmissable.

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