Sweet! It's Cider and Perry Month!
October is Cider and Perry Month! Hic! We mean, hurrah!
We’re a tad tentative about doing another boozy blog a mere two weeks after our how to make blackberry brandy – and other boozy autumn foraging recipes. But yanno, it’s autumn. Spicy drinks beckon. And we’ve just made a batch of cider from foraged Essex apples, so are feeling all celebratory. Hic! We mean, hurrah!
Want to join in? We tipsily invite the country to do so (we’re good like that). So we’ve harvested these events for you to get your booze-based groove on – and remember, keep it real:
Ascot Beer Festival, 4 – 5 October
Bottoms up: Yes, it’s called a beer festival. But there are cider and perries among the real ales, which are the ones we’ll be making a beeline for, buying several souvenir bottles of and generally sampling thoroughly over the weekend. And it’s at Ascot Racecourse, which means you can sup your cider while watching the gee-gees and wearing the obligatory silly hat.
Pitch up: The award-winning Hurley Riverside Park is a mere 11 miles from Ascot and has electric pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes available for thisweekend from £15 a night.
Taunton Cider Festival, 6 October
Bottoms up: Somerset is cider land, with award-winning brews, a cider trail and producers from small farms to big firms bringing us the appley treats. This weekend’s festival at the Plough Inn promises ‘barn dancing, hay, cider, and generally as much fun as one can have in a pub on a cold October night’ – and, most happily, the ‘legendary hog roast with crackling for all’. The cockles of our hearts are warmed already.
Pitch up: Travel light and book the two-bedroom static caravan at Taunton’s Quantock Orchard Caravan Park eight miles from the Plough Inn, available from 5 – 7 October from £45 a night sleeping up to four. There’s a sauna and steam room on site, which will likely be just the thing for the morning after. Bring sunglasses too.
Westmorland Beer & Cider Festival, 9 – 12 October
Bottoms up: A drinks festival starting at lunchtime on a Wednesday and carrying on over two school nights? Just the ticket. The Westmorland Beer & Cider Festival is on for the twentieth time this year and will have a nicely autumnal selection of award-winning and rare ciders and perries to get through. We did say this was over two school nights?
Pitch up: Award-winning Westmorland Caravan Park ten miles away is just off the M6 and in a peaceful wooded glade to keep things quiet the morning(s) after. Hardstanding electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes are available throughout the festival and start from £20 a night.
Spa Valley Railway Rail Ale & Cider Festival, 18 – 20 October
Bottoms up: It’s a ‘rail’ ale fest in a railway station – geddit? And there are eleven types of cider to sample too, which makes for a nicely ambitious day (probably one should not then move on to the sixty or so ales). The main part of the festival is at Tunbridge Wells West station, with supping also happening on the train bar car and down the line at Groombridge and Eridge stations. Entry is free for all three days, but we suspect money might have to be exchanged for the ciders.
Pitch up: Our closest site is at the working farm Chafford Park Campsite, also at Tunbridge Wells and a couple of miles from the festival. Campfires are allowed, organic food hampers are sold at the farm shop and there’s a pub within a mile for more cider consumption. Non-electric tent pitches are available during the festival from £20 a night.
Norwich Beer Festival, 28 October – 2 November
Bottoms up: The biggest collection of East Anglian ciders and perries in the country sounds like an autumn plan – possibly many should be brought home too for the other seasons. This is outing No 36 for the Norwich Beer Festival and there’ll be over forty types of cider and perries from East Anglia and the Westcountry alongside the 200 or so real ales.
Pitch up: Within staggering distance less than two miles away is Whitlingham Broad Campsite, with pitches the week of the festival from £10 – 15 a night and Lola the hand-crafted shepherd’s hut from £60.
More cidery goodness:
Weymouth Octoberfest, 4 – 5 October
Nottingham Robin Hood Festival, 9 – 12 October
Alloa Octoberfest, 18 – 19 October
Apple Festival at Middle Farm, 19 – 20 October
Chester Real Ale Festival, 25 – 26 October
A big cidery cheer to CAMRA for the info – they’ve listed barrels more cidery happenings for Cider and Perry Month here, and you can add your own event at their cider and perry event page.
To find campsites near any festival or event, look for it in our festival finder or add its postcode into the search box for sites within 5 – 60 miles. We also have our guide to pub campsites, sites with a bar or clubhouse and Good Pub Guide taverns on all our listings under the ‘local attractions’ tab. Cheers! (Hic.)