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Harvest Festivals

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex holds its annual Autumn Countryside Celebration on October 7-8 this year.

The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex holds its annual Autumn Countryside Celebration on October 7-8 this year. The classic English landscapes of the South Downs near Chichester make an idyllic setting where working plough horses, vintage tractors and a steam-driven threshing machine remind visitors of the importance of harvest in earlier times. A Grand Parade is held in the showground each afternoon. Some of the historic rural buildings at the museum (barns, farmhouses, workshops etc) are thatched with straw threshed on site. Demonstrations of country crafts, trade stands, and a gun dog display are ancillary attractions.

The Autumn Harvest Festival at Kew, home of the Royal Botanic Gardens, offers a feast of mellow fruitfulness this year from October 7-29. Spectacular displays of pumpkins, gourds and squashes, over 200 varieties of apple, and an eyecatching cranberry harvest using booms on the Palm House pond (sponsored by Ocean Spray) are on the schedule. The huge array of trees in the arboretum will add their festive colours to the scene. Special interest tours available.

The Hop Picking Festival at Kent’s popular Hop Farm runs for two weeks this year (September 4-8 and 11-15). The Hop Story Museum outlines the pattern of what was once one of the county’s primary industries. Daily tours of the hop gardens, traditional games and of course sampling some local beers all feature in the event.

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