Ascot Autumn Guide 2018

Ascot and its picturesque surrounds are incredibly appealing in autumn, with festivals, shows and fairs, not to mention its traditional racing days, offering ample opportunity to get acquainted with the area. Enjoy home-grown talent at the Windsor Fringe and Autumn Festival, bask in floral glory in the scenic RHS Wisley Gardens, and for a real pulse-raiser don’t miss the thrill of the QIPCO British Champions Day.

29 March 2018 - 4 November 2018

Patron Saints: Collecting Stanley Spencer

Cookham was Stanley Spencer’s home and inspiration, and many of his patrons lived in the area. This exhibition at the dedicated Stanley Spencer Gallery draws together magnificent pieces such as The Centurion’s Servant from the Tate and John Donne Arriving in Heaven from the Fitzwilliam Museum, along with rare works from private collections that haven’t been seen in public for decades, accompanied by a moving commentary on collectors as ‘patron saints’ to the artist.

Stanley Spencer Gallery, High Street, Cookham, SL6 9SJ

7 - 16 September 2018

Reading on Thames Festival

Half an hour from Ascot, Reading is a bustling cultural hub between the Thames and Kennet rivers. The Reading-on-Thames Festival celebrates the area’s vibrant talent and burgeoning arts scene, with a busy line-up of theatrical shows, comedy and live music acts playing out in various venues along the city’s waterways. It’s the closing act that will really wow, with the acrobats and fire dancers of Cirque Bijou pushing boundaries with pioneering – and very daring – choreography.

Various locations across Reading

16 September - 30 September 2018

Windsor Autumn Festival

A compelling line-up of artists, folk musicians, guided historical walks and talks by some of Britain’s leading journalists and authors make Windsor Autumn Festival a great way to explore this scenic town. A festival highlight? Enjoying the acoustics of Waterloo Chamber in Windsor Castle as the Philharmonia Orchestra perform Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony No. 8, Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1 and Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony No. 3 on 18th September.

Various locations across Windsor

21 September - 6 October 2018

Windsor Fringe

Flying the flag for fresh stage talent, the Windsor Fringe showcases up-and-coming performers and writers in the town’s various theatres and studios. Live musicians and shows from the UK and beyond cover everything from Macbeth to Cuban Swing, with a concurrent open-house event inviting you to meet local painters and sculptors in the area. The festival culminates in the allocation of the highly coveted Kenneth Branagh Award.

Various locations across Windsor

8, 15 and 22 October 2018

Autumn Afternoon Racing

Ensure you arrive early for this white-knuckle horseracing event at Royal Windsor Racecourse. You’ll want plenty of time to explore the surrounds before the action kicks off – and to peruse the street-food stalls for a bite to eat. For a smarter dining option, head to the prestigious 1866 with its sweeping views across the course. Err on the smart-casual side of the dress code if you intend to access all areas.

Royal Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5JJ

20 October 2018

QIPCO British Champions Day

The grand finale to the British racing season, find the world’s best jockeys and horses congregating at Ascot Racecourse to compete for a record-breaking £4.3 million prize. Don’t miss the impressive pomp and pageantry of the Opening Ceremony in the Parade Ring – last year’s event saw a cavalcade by the Olympians and Paralympians – and enjoy the excellent facilities and exacting hospitality available in the various enclosures.

Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JX

9 - 11 November 2018

Contemporary Art Fair

A sprawling show of more than 160 painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers and ceramicists along with selected galleries from across the UK and Europe, the Contemporary Art Fair at Royal Windsor Racecourse is a must for art collectors and admirers. Ranging from buy-me-now affordable to investment pieces, expect painting workshops and creative demonstrations alongside the exhibits.

Royal Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5JJ

April – October 2018

Royal Tennis at Hampton Court

Tennis has been played at Hampton Court since the 16th century, when a court was built for Cardinal Wolsey. One wall of Wolsey’s court remains, with the rest built later for King Charles I. During the summer months, the palace opens the historic (and now private tennis club) court up to visitors, offering the chance to watch a match, as well as take in displays, including interactive handmade tennis balls and custom-made racquets.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU

Every Saturday at 1pm

Duke Street Experience at the Windsor & Eton Brewery

A brewery, beer shop and bar, the Windsor & Eton Brewery is a triple threat for beer lovers. For those looking to glean a little more about the brewery, there’s now a weekly tour of the space, with a few accompanying half pints, explaining and showing how the beer is made, as well as illuminating the brewery’s ambitions to make Windsor & Eton beers more famous than any other attraction in the area.

Windsor & Eton Brewery, 1 Vansittart Estate, Windsor, SL4 1SE