Autumn Festival at Blenheim Palace celebrates local indie businesses
The Autumn Festival is back at Blenheim Palace this weekend, 1st & 2nd October, for a celebration of all things local, seasonal and creative.
It’s a chance to celebrate harvest with an awesome indie market, live music, family games, theatre and circus entertainments and much more, with late opening until 7.30 pm on Saturday.
Devised by acclaimed creative designers CLW Event Design, the event is a re-imagining of the traditional Harvest and Michaelmas Festivals, with a decidedly modern green twist.
There will be artisan and food markets, workshops, demonstrations and a packed programme of talks and guided activities as well as live entertainment.
Indie Oxford businesses taking part in the Autumn Festival are >>
Abingdon Distillery is a small batch spirits producer with an award-winning portfolio. All of it’s products are hand-crafted right in the heart of Abingdon and the distillery prides itself on using traditional copper pot stills coupled with modern distilling methods.
Amy Surman Jewellery: The Oxford Bead Shop
Amy run’s a friendly indie store tucked at the top of Cowley Road selling a fantastic array of jewellery making supplies. Amy also holds regular workshops from silver smithing to beaded jewellery for beginners as well as skilled jewellers.
Amy will also be running jewellery making workshops on Saturday morning. Find out more & book here.
Bethan Lily Knit
Beth is a knitted textile designer, hand making high quality knitted interior products and fashion accessories. All which are made at her own professional studio in Oxford.
Bunny & Bear Designs
Created by two mums, Bunny and Bear Designs, is a colourful childrenswear brand promoting fun and inclusivity. They feel passionate that childrenswear not only needs to be hard-wearing and comfortable, but also needs to be fun and not impose societal expectations.
Drawing from her knowledge of science, herbalism and aromatherapy, Charlotte Spencer brings you quality botanical wax candles, melts and reed diffusers made from the finest ingredients, beautifully scented and handpoured in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds.
Cranston Pickles is your local, sustainable + homemade little pickle factory! Pickling anything founder Fiona can get seasonally and locally, she makes a unique range of pickles, chutneys & jams.
Ducky Zebra is an Oxford-based startup with a mission to inspire kindness and confidence in children, no matter what their gender, through colourful, sustainable clothing (aged 0 – 6 years).
Fairtrade at St Michaels x Headington Fairtrade
Fairtrade at St Michaels was the first shop in Oxford to offer a high quality range of fairly traded goods from across the globe, safe in the knowledge that our friends in the developing world are being advantaged and the environment is being honoured.
Headington Fairtrade is run as a community co-operative gift shop specialising in fairly traded products from all over the world, as well as Ecover and Faith in Nature refills and other eco products.
Earth Ale is all about bringing people together and closer to nature, with beers that are inspired by natural and often foraged ingredients.
Fallow & Fields
Fallow & Fields are an event catering company whose passion and ethos has always been on making the most of amazing local, sustainable and seasonal produce.
Hilly Jo offers a selection of artisan clothing, home and lifestyle products handcrafted by Turkish and the UK artisan producers.
Horsebox Coffee Co.
Horsebox Coffee Co. is a small, independent coffee roastery based set up by Emily Stewart, on a quiet working farm in South Oxfordshire.
Jessie’s Art Shed
Jessie and Olly, are the husband and wife duo behind Jessie’s Art Shed. They run an art shop in Eynsham, Oxfordshire where they host classes and workshops for all ages, stock a fantastic range of art products.
An award-winning independent bookshop located in the heart of Abingdon. Mostly Books offers an excellent range of books, greeting cards, gifts and children’s toys. Mostly Books will be selling books by the authors who will be speaking over the weekend. Find the line up here.
Nettles & Bees
Ebony creates foraging and wild-crafting workshops, experiences and projects. You can also find her at local markets promoting workshops for adults and children in Oxfordshire, as well as selling nature inspired handmade products and foraging accessories.
Julie and her daughter, Neve, are beekeepers and the owners of Neve’s Bees. They make 100% natural skincare (using ingredients you can actually read!) with a little help from their bees.
Oxford Weaving Studio
The Oxford Weaving Studio is Oxfordshire’s first (and only!) community-minded creative studio dedicated to contemporary weaving.
Cass will also be running a weaving workshop on Sunday morning. Find out more & book here.
Rainbow & Spoon
Uniquely located in a pretty flower filled courtyard, Rainbow and Spoon Boutique was established in 1982 and is one of Oxford’s most loved boutiques. Amanda sells stylish and individual clothing, gifts, jewellery, scarves and other fabulous accessories and lifestyle items.
Sarah Franklin Design
Sarah Franklin Design is a design and illustration business, that sells a variety of Sarah’s illustrations across a range of products including greeting cards, stationery, mugs and homewares.
Tap Social Movement
Tap Social is a craft brewery and hospitality social enterprise that provides training and employment opportunities to ex-offenders and welcoming, inclusive spaces for the whole community. Tap will be running the bar tent at the Autumn Festival.
Believing in doing things ‘right’; the team is driven by it’s core values of ethical sourcing, sustainability, quality and taste. Based in Oxford Team Tea source the finest loose-leaf teas from around the world, from exquisite Single-Origin teas to classic blends.
The Missing Bean
The Missing Bean love coffee. Everything about coffee. From sourcing the best direct-trade coffee beans from sustainable farms around the world and carefully roasting to draw out their unique flavours.
The Maker Space
The Maker Space is a modern craft venue based online and in a beautiful but abandoned 17th century pub building near Henley-on-Thames where the team teach craft skills in their workrooms, stock gorgeous modern craft supplies and handmade goods in the store, and serve great food and drinks in their cosy cafe and garden.
The Wonky Food Co.
The Wonky Food Company was started in 2017 by a team of passionate foodies, committed to tackling food waste. Their range of delicious relishes are made from imperfect and surplus fruit & veg, sourced from local farmers.
There’s also the chance to find out more about Blenheim’s initiatives to support declining bee and insect populations, woodland renewal and clean waterways as part of its wider sustainability goals.
Visit the Harvest Sports Arena, the Sculpture Trail from Oxford Sculptor Group, pop-ups from WhatNot Theatre with a new show based on The Garden Jungle by guest speaker David Goulson as well as Plunge Boom Theatre’s fantastic Vegetable Nannies.
There’s an excellent live music line-up and a stunning performance from the extraordinary Chivaree Circus at dusk on Saturday with their giant bird puppet, plus Scarecrow Competitions, Wish Bugs, Sunningwell Art Tent and activity pop-up from Blenheim’s partner Nicholson’s who recently planted 230,000 new oak trees on the estate.
Don’t miss the fantastic autumnal food offering from Jericho Kitchen created using produce fresh from the Blenheim garden, as well as nature, photography and foraging trails.
The Michaelmas Market features 50 independent Oxfordshire traders alongside artisanal food stalls celebrating the new ‘no-dig’ regenerative farming plot created by Worthy Earth in the Walled Garden.
Social enterprise brewery Tap Social will be running the bar with a focus on unusual non-alcoholic beverages as well as delicious local beers, ciders and the Blenheim gin created by local distillery Sky Wave and supporting delicious offerings from Tiddly Pommes who will also be pressing apples on site and offering tastings.
There will be many additional events and activities taking place over the weekend including talks by award-winning authors, foraging and photographic walks, workshops and demonstrations all of which can be booked in advance.
The Autumn Festival is included with Palace, Park & Gardens or Park & Gardens tickets or an Annual Pass. There is an additional cost for some activities which can be booked online.
AUTUMN FESTIVAL – TALKS AND ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE
Foraging Walks – Sat, 1 Oct and Sun, 2 Oct 11am, 1pm and 3pm
Join Anelya Segizbayeva of Jericho Kitchen on one of her brilliant foraging walks and talks in the Blenheim grounds. Numbers limited to 12 per group. Tickets: £15 (+ booking fee)
Averting the Insect Apocalypse: Dave Goulson – Sat, 1 Oct and Sun, 2 Oct 2pm
Author of Sunday Times best seller, The Garden Jungle & Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Crisis. Professor Dave Goulson is a leading expert in the vital role that insects play in our lives and our future. Tickets: £10 (+ booking fee).
Encounters with Nature: Rob Cowen – Sat, 1 Oct 12.30pm
Join award-winning journalist and author of Common Ground for a talk about nature. The Guardian described Rob as “one of the UK’s most exciting nature writers.”
He has written regular columns on nature and travel for the Independent, Independent on Sunday and the Telegraph, and he is the author of Skimming Stones and Other Ways of Being in the Wild. Tickets: £5 (+ booking fee).
Mindful Photography Walk – Sat, 1 Oct 12.30pm and 2pm
Everyone from parents to children are invited to join Woodstock photographer Jonathan Self for a mesmerising walk through Blenheim’s woods and to learn how to take beautiful nature photographs in a wonderfully calm environment.
Suitable for children aged 6-16. Those under 14 years must be accompanied by a parent on a separate ticket. Limited to 30 people per group. Tickets: £10 (+ booking fee).
Bees vs. Wasps – Sun, 2 Oct 11.30am
Join Blenheim Bee expert Filipe Salbany for a discussion on whether wasps deserve their much-maligned reputation, compared with that of the beloved bee. FREE.
Going Zero Waste: Kate Hughes – Sun, 2 Oct 12.30pm
Kate Hughes is the author of Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle. Join Kate for an insight into an inspiring journey to “zero waste” and how we can empower ourselves to preserve the climate, forests and seas. And, revealingly, how that can lead to a more relaxing life. Tickets: £5 (+ booking fee).
Sustainable(ish): Jen Gale – Sun, 2 Oct 3.30pm
Join Jen Gale, an ‘ordinary knackered mum of two’, who sets out on a mission to buy nothing new for a year and recounts her family’s adventure in her brilliant book, The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide: Everything you need to know about making small changes that make a big difference. Tickets: £5 (+ booking fee).
Plus in the Orchard Tent
Leisa Stewart-Sharpe gives interactive talks around her BBC Green Planet book series,
Children’s author Charlie P. Brooks and his real ponies, Busby’s Bees Children’s talks,
Harrison Fannon from Worthy Earth, Sunday Times best-selling author Fiona Stafford on the secret life of trees, Hook Norton Brewery Shire Horses, Oxford Weaving Studio and Amy Surman Jewellery making workshops.
For more information and to book visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/blenheim-autumn-fest-49778123693