What's on in September

The best experiences to enjoy this September around the South Western Railway network

How do you fancy an invite to the royal circus at Windsor Castle? Or maybe tickets to a trendy, night-time festival in London? If an island getaway is more your thing, then you’ll find that too in our pick of September events, which are all just a train ride away. Even better, book your South Western Railway train tickets in advance to save 50% on your travel.

Jane Austen Festival Bath

13-22 September

Various locations, Bath
Nearest train station: Bath Spa

For a truly novel day out, take a trip to the gorgeous Georgian city of Bath for their annual celebration of all things Austen. The much-loved writer lived in the city for a period and the festival has a jam-packed calendar of immersive and quirky events to stir your own literary love, with everything from bonnet-making to beginner’s archery. Report to Sydney Gardens at 11am on Saturday 14 to witness the official festival opening – the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade. Expect over 500 Austen devotees donned in their finest Georgian gear, ready to follow in Jane’s footsteps and march the streets of Bath. Led by the town crier and a band of red coats, it’s an unmissable chance to get into the festival spirit and see some of the city’s most noteworthy landmarks.

Jane Austen Festival Prom 

Emerge Festival London

27-28 September (night-time only)

Various locations, London
Nearest train station: London Waterloo

Self-professed ‘new kids on the festival block’, Emerge is staging a two-night takeover of some of the capital’s most iconic buildings to present a series of achingly cool creative events. The twilight series aims to shine a light on the city’s most electrifying emerging talent, through live music showcases where you can dance to the freshest afrobeats, a Natural History Museum lecture series with a twist and even a pop-up bar at the top of the Wellington Arch. There’s also a mindful edge to the festivities: one of the hottest tickets is the self-love event hosted by Journalist Bryony Gordon, where you’ll have the chance to make your mark at a body-positive life drawing class.

Emerge Festival Logo

The Ashes Fifth Test

12-16 September

The Oval, London
Nearest train station: Vauxhall

Cricket’s oldest rivalry will culminate in London this month, with Australia and England set to clash in the final test of this year’s Ashes series. Following in the wake of their first-ever Cricket World Cup Victory, can team England uphold their two-decade unbeaten run on home soil? Or will the Baggy Greens defend their current title and whisk the trophy back down under once more? If you fancy being there to witness it all unfold, you can still bag yourself a ticket online for the fourth day, or wait till the fifth and see if there’s a nail-biting climax worth going to see. It’s only a 10 minute walk from Vauxhall, so really easy to get to on the day.

Shore Thing Festival

13-15 September

Nearest train station: Weymouth

A stone’s throw from both Weymouth Pavilion and the Pier, you’ll find the thoroughly independent Shore Thing Festival and its takeover of Mitchell Street. Join local artists and traders for three days of top artisan food, handmade gifts and live music supplied by the best of the area’s flourishing independent music scene. Kick back in the brewery yard or be transformed into the ultimate festival butterfly with a spruce up at the face painting and glitter stations. If you have time to spare before you catch your train home, check out our guide to Weymouth for more to do.

Queen Victoria’s Circus

14 September

Windsor Castle
Nearest train station: Windsor and Eton Riverside

This family festival will serve up a right royal celebration of the Victorian era, marking the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth at Windsor Castle. Inspired by the travelling circus that popped up in the grounds back in 1847, the Lost in Translation Circus troupe will wow and amaze you with their sky-scraping stilt walkers, edge-of-your-seat aerial acrobatics and the chance to enrol at circus school to learn the ropes as a lion tamer.

Speaking of lions, while in Windsor don’t miss your chance to track down the pride of new, colourful sculptures that form part of the Lions of Windsor & Maidenhead Sculpture trail. Part-walking tour, part-live art display, pace the pavements and see how many life-size fibreglass lions you can spot. Catch the train to Windsor and Eton Riverside Station to spot our very own, SWR Simba who is waiting to greet you on the concourse.

Film and Comic Con Exeter

14-15 September

Nearest train station: Exeter Central

The South West’s favourite TV and film exhibition is back, bringing together stars from the big and small screen for meet and greets, panel talks and photo sessions galore. Come dressed up in your favourite fancy dress and expect to see famous faces from Star Trek, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. There’s the chance to browse hundreds of stalls full of TV and film memorabilia too – perfect if you’re after that rare movie prop or the latest superhero poster for your collection. Tickets can be booked online in advance, with entry for children costing from just five pounds, and early bird options available too.

Isle of Wight Day

21 September

Isle of Wight
Nearest train station: Shanklin or Ryde Esplanade

An island-wide party that’s sweeping the Isle of Wight on the penultimate Saturday of the month, Isle of Wight Day is all about celebrating and showing the best the island has to offer in a feel-good community effort. There’ll be bunting, there’ll be street parties and even the chance to warm up those vocal chords and join the Isle of Wight Symphony for a special edition of Songs of Praise.

If you’re looking to make a weekend of it, make dinner reservations and bed down at The Royal Hotel; their Gin-cured Mackerel was awarded the Dish of The Isle of Wight Day 2018. There are a range of easy crossing options from train stations across the coast and our top tip is to buy a combined train and ferry ticket to enjoy the best savings.

Great British Beach Clean

20-23 September

A beach near you

If you’re feeling increasingly conscious about the impact of plastic waste weighing down on our beaches, here’s your chance to get up, get out and really make a difference. The Great British Beach Clean is a bright idea run from the Marine Conservation Society, inspiring bands of volunteers – including you – to collect litter from across our beautiful shorelines.

All you need to join the mission are a pair of sturdy shoes, comfortable clothing, gardening gloves and preferably a picker. We’ll be doing our bit at beaches close to our train stations and you can find your nearest one here.

Southampton Boat Show

13-22 September

Mayflower Park
Nearest train station: Southampton Central

Britain’s greatest boating festival is back and full to the brim with fantastic water-based activities that the whole family can enjoy. Aside from admiring hundreds of beautiful yachts and super sail boats lining the marina, you can enjoy a mini cruise, sign up for paddleboarding lessons or check out a flyboard display. Be sure to check out the live music at the festival green stage or swap sailing stories at the rum and gin bar. Tickets are available to buy online, starting from £22 for a single day pass.

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Lions of Windsor and Maidenhead

An art installation to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth