Cheltenham Literature Festival 2018: Free Fun Around Town!

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All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey, Summer may be over, but hey - it's okay! Cheltenham Literature Festival 2018 is officially here - yay! There's nothing like a seasonal stroll through our crispy golden streets to put a spring in your step, just watch out for those pesky conkers dropping on your conk!

It's time to whip out your favourite hardback and specks, and take a stroll around the gardens looking bookish! We'll certainly be taking a leaf from Harry Potter's style guide for some festival fashion inspo! We're rounding up the lit-fest's best family-friendly activities and free events in the tents, you won't even need a ticket to snuggle down to storytime!

There are more than 80 FREE events for all ages to enjoy at this year's literature festival, taking place from the 4th -15th October. We welcome the return of the world’s oldest celebration of the written word to our little grassy knolls, with over 500 events spanning history, art, current affairs, sport, food and fashion, this year's festival theme is 'East Meets West’. We're sure you and your little ones will love it and you may even learn something new! Find out more about our some of our child-friendly pics HERE.

Now to our free event run down..


AROUND TOWN

This year, more venues than ever will take part in the Lit Crawl (Saturday 6 October 5pm till late) which sees the pubs, cafes and clubs of Cheltenham bursting at the seams, as crowds queue up for a late-night literary fix! Lit Crawl blends a bar crawl with some of the best up and coming spoken word performers, readings, comedy and parties held in the hottest spots around town finishing up at Bottle of Sauce for a riotous finale. Back again this year is the after-dark Festival Club at the centrally-placed Hotel du Vin for late night music and revelry (Fridays and Saturdays only).

Young authors and illustrators from ten Gloucestershire primary schools have been hard at work writing stories and designing giant book covers to be featured on a Monster Story Trail in various venues around Cheltenham to be unveiled on 5th October.

ON SITE:

The Festival Village in Montpellier Gardens will see two weekends buzzing with free family-friendly activities, including a Beano Challenge Trail, a We’re Going On A Bear Hunt storytelling adventure, costume characters, dragon stories and fun activities with star children’s party entertainers Sharky And George.

Elsewhere there is plenty for all ages to discover on site including daily readings from local authors, brain teasers and live music, a daily Times crossword and a daily instalment of brainy soapbox-style talks in The Huddle. Swap books in the cosy outdoor lounge The Bookstand and enjoy pop-up performances by University of Gloucestershire students or see Festival-inspired art at the Gardens Gallery and an exhibition of poetry and photography from students participating in Beyond Words, a Cheltenham Festivals outreach programme for young people with severe mental or physical illness.

Festivals Director Ian George said “There’s nothing quite like Cheltenham in October when thousands of book-lovers flock to our town for the Literature Festival. With the support of partners like Cheltenham BID we can bring literature to everyone and get families, friends and the community together to celebrate books and the spoken word.”

Around Town is supported by Cheltenham BID; Visit Cheltenham; Arts Council England; University of Gloucestershire and Bottle of Sauce. Find out more about Around Town here.


FREE ACTIVITIES:

DAILY:

Beano Challenge Trail: Celebrate 80 years of the Beano comic by following the poster trail across site with fun activities to do along the way. Pick up a trail sheet from the Beano Challenge Trail tent. 10am – 4pm, Montpellier Gardens.

Beyond Words: Dancing Through The Rain: A free exhibition of poetry and photography from students participating in Beyond Words, a Cheltenham Festivals outreach programme. Students are from Gloucestershire Hospital Education Service and the University of Gloucestershire. 10am- 8.30pm, The Huddle.

Gardens Gallery: Exhibition of contemporary designer-makers from The Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen. With daily demonstrations including bookbinding and calligraphy. 10am – 8.30pm, Montpellier Gardens.

The Bookstand: Take a break and grab a book in the cosy outdoor lounge in the middle of the Festival Village. Read the morning paper, swap some books or get a front row seat for free pop-up performances throughout the Festival. 10am – 8.30pm, Montpellier Gardens.

Free Newspaper: Pick up your FREE copy of the special Festival edition of The Times Literary Supplement in the Festival Village. 10am – 8.30pm, Montpellier Gardens.

Drop in activities: Pop in and make an origami chatterbox, hang a leaf on the Tree of Hopes and Dreams and have fun coming up with ideas and answers to our curious questions. 10am – 4pm, The Chatterbox.

Monster Story Trail...around town: Follow the Monster Story Trail around Cheltenham’s shops, cafes and other venues and collect the clues to reveal the name of the Cheltenham Festivals’ monster. There are ten giant monster story book covers to find, created by young writers and illustrators from ten local Primary Schools. Get creative and draw your idea of what our monster might look like and read the monstrous stories on our website. Grab a trail sheet from any of the participating venues or the Beano Challenge Trail tent in the Festival Village to take part. 11am–3pm, various venues.


WEEKDAYS:

Haiku Walk with Paul Conneally: Paul Conneally, Haiku Poet in Residence, invites you to walk, write and share haiku with him on a Ginko (a Haiku walk) in Montpellier Gardens. FREE ticket required. Friday 5th & Monday 8th, 10am – 11.30am, Meet at The Bookstand.

Festival Club: When the Festival Village winds down, the Festival Club fires up. Join us after hours at the Hotel du Vin for music, conversation and late night literary revelry. Friday 5th, 10pm – 1am, Hotel du Vin.

The Times Crossword: Settle in as The Times Crossword Editor Richard Rogan takes you through the mysteries of the day’s crossword puzzles with a helping hand or a tantalising hint where needed. Monday 8th – Friday 12th, 11am – 12pm, The Huddle.

A Very Short Introduction To: Big topics, short talks. Join experts for concise and accessible intros to mind-expanding subjects. Monday 8th – Friday 12th, 11.30am - 12pm & 2.30pm - 3pm, The Huddle.

Cheltenham Writes: To celebrate the incredible talent of our local authors we’ve invited five of them to read from their books and talk about their experiences as writers. Monday 8th - Friday 12th, 4.30pm – 5pm, The Huddle.

Festival Club: When the Festival Village winds down, the Festival Club fires up. Join us after hours at the Hotel du Vin for music and late night revelry. Friday 12th, 10pm – 1am, Hotel du Vin.


SATURDAY 6TH & SUNDAY 7TH OCTOBER:

Haiku Walk with Paul Conneally: FREE ticket required. Paul Conneally, Haiku Poet in Residence, invites you to walk, write and share haiku with him on a Ginko (a Haiku walk) in Montpellier Gardens. 10am - 11.30am, Meet at The Bookstand.

Drop in activities: Colour, stick, cut, build, imagine and create your own fantastic dragons and decorations with Creation Station. Arty activities for ages 4-12 and their families. 10am – 4pm, The Den.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Go on an imaginative adventure with actor Sophie Lanciano through grass, forests, water, mud and even snow to meet a big friendly bear. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Sharky and George: An epic mix of high energy games, races and competitions for all the family to join. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Storytelling: Find out how two young dragons find their way home with storyteller Lucy Walters. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Character Meet and Greet: Meet favourite book characters Little Miss Inventor, The Gruffalo, Cat in the Hat and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

*Festival Club: When the Festival Village winds down, the Festival Club fires up. Join us after hours at the Hotel du Vin for music and late night revelry. 10pm – 1am, Hotel du Vin. *Saturday only.

*Lit Crawl: takes over the streets of Cheltenham for one night for a fast-paced evening of pop-up events and quirky literary happenings. All events are free, unticketed and open to all There is no age restriction on Lit Crawl but some sessions may contain adult content. 5pm - 9pm, various locations (see website for details). *Saturday only.


SATURDAY 13TH & SUNDAY 14TH OCTOBER:

Drop in activities: Colour, stick, cut, build, imagine and create your own fantastic dragons and decorations with Creation Station. Arty activities for ages 4-12 and their families. 10am – 4pm, The Den.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Go on an imaginative adventure with actor Sophie Lanciano through grass, forests, water, mud and even snow to meet a big friendly bear. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Sharky and George: An epic mix of high energy games, races and competitions for all the family to join. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Storytelling: Find out how two young dragons find their way home with storyteller Lucy Walters. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

Character Meet and Greet: Meet favourite book characters Little Miss Inventor, The Gruffalo, Cat in the Hat and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. 11am - 4pm, Woodland Trust Wild Wood.

*Festival Club: When the Festival Village winds down, the Festival Club fires up. Join us after hours at the Hotel du Vin for music and late night revelry. 10pm – 1am, Hotel du Vin. *Saturday only.

Information contributed by Cheltenham Festivals. For more information contact Bairbre.lloyd@cheltenhamfestivals.com / 01242 537284, or visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com.