We don't know about you but here at A&I we can't believe it's October already! With Halloween and Bonfire Night just around the corner we are getting the cosy jumpers out and spending many an evening watching Netflix (We'd recommend The Fall and Selling Sunset). If you're in need of a bit of inspiration for alternative autumn activities, so you don't burn through all of your tv series in one weekend, look no further...
1 - Pick Your Own Pumpkin
The colour orange is always very evocative of autumn, from the leaves turning amber to the more superficial Pumpkin Spice Latte for that perfect Instagram photo, oh and of course Pumpkins!
If like most of our team you love Halloween, picking your own pumpkin adds a whole new element to the experience knowing that the pumpkin you're carving you actually picked yourself from the field!
Based in the north of Nottinghamshire, Maxeys Farm Shop has a field full of gourds in all shapes and sizes that you can handpick! This is a great day out for the kids (and the adults!) who can also enjoy the Spooky Woodland Walk and James' Pumpkin Carriage, riding through the farm on a themed tractor – just watch out for ghosts and ghouls!
As well as the farm shop that is available all year round, Maxeys puts up extra food stands specially for hungry and thirsty pumpkin pickers! We just advise you check their social media for any weather or Covid-related updates prior to your visit.
Stop off at Newfield Dairy in Hockerton on the way back to try their Spooktacular flavour ice creams. Then head home for some pumpkin decorating, that's right painting your pumpkin is all the rage, check out these ones we found on Pinterest. Or maybe you prefer the au naturel look and want to create a gourd-geous display in your living room with some fairy lights and crafty arranging.
Whatever you do with your pumpkins, happy picking!
2 - The Garage at Chilwell
Previously the largest independent bus operator in Western Europe, this amazing warehouse space The Garage Chilwell is still a family-run business having hosted various quirky events over the years such as Drive-In Cinemas and Silent Discos.
Currently their Fine Food and Craft Market runs every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month, the next one is Sunday 18th October! Partnering with lots of small independent businesses makes this a sure win with us as well as the overall aesthetic of the building. Grab a hot drink and take a perch on a 1930s cinema seat whilst you take in the atmosphere.
Plants, books, handmade jewellery, candles, ceramics...or maybe you just fancy a bite to eat, there's plenty of food stands and an outside area for when the weather's being kind.
Supporting small businesses is so important now more than ever and we can guarantee you'll find some unique items at this eclectic market. Why not get your Christmas shopping done early? You won't regret it!
Oh and if that wasn't fantastic enough they also turn it into a Ruin Bar, Budapest style, on weekends in Autumn/Winter but you'll have to keep a close eye on their social media for their next event...
3 - DIY Autumn Wreath
A wreath is not just for Christmas...it's for any season really so long as you get your hands on the right materials! Grace on our events team has been busy making an autumnal wreath out of eucalyptus and pine cones inspired by Stacey Solomon's fabulous autumnal craft ideas.
Head to Hobbycraft and pick up some supplies to get you started, we recommend the Rattan Grapevine Wreath as it's a wooden structure that will provide the perfect background for autumnal embellishing. Then all you need is some faux flowers, scissors/wire cutters, a glue gun & anything else you fancy adding.
Go for a country walk to get some inspiration and even pick up some pine cones. Get the little ones involved too, they'll love creating pumpkins, bats and ghosts out of card to make it a truly Ghoulish Garland.
And the beauty of this activity is you can keep it and bring it out next autumn too, the wreath that keeps on giving!
4 - Country Walks & Pub Grub
You can't quite beat a country walk and a trip to the pub for a Sunday lunch.
Bradgate Park sits between Leicester and Loughborough and so is easily accessible for Midlands dwellers. With 850 acres of land to wander and beautiful scenery including the 18th century folly, Old John and deer roaming freely it's no wonder this continues to be the team's favourite place for a walk! Swithland Wood is located directly across the road on the northern side of Bradgate Park, if you wanted to explore further.
Drive 10 minutes north and you'll find The Griffin Inn, Swithland where your Sunday roast awaits! Or a burger, fish & chips, take your pick! They have a room dedicated to guests bringing dogs so no need to drop them home after your walk, they might be rather envious of your food though!
If you want good pub grub in a hearty and welcoming setting, then this country inn is for you.
5 - Seasonal Squash Soup
Whilst hot chocolates and sweets shaped like spiders are welcomed this time of year, it's nice to take advantage of the seasonal selection of squashes on offer and make some homemade soup.
There's so many recipes to choose from online or in your favourite cookbook but if you're feeling lazy we've already found a great option for you from The Happy Pear, check out their recipe here where you can watch them make it from scratch.
All you'll need is the following ingredients:
· 3 cloves of Garlic
· 1 Onion
· 2 Carrots
· 1 Medium Butternut Squash (800g – 1 kg)
· 400 ml tin of Coconut Milk
· 2 Litres of Vegetable Stock
· 2 tsp of Salt
· 1 tsp of Pepper
· Chilli Flakes
· Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
The coconut milk makes this recipe nice and creamy and the chilli flakes add an extra kick for lovers of spice. You can also easily swap out the butternut squash for an alternative such as leftover pumpkins, in case you were somewhat overzealous picking at Maxeys Farm!!
The Happy Pear was born from two brothers with a passion for food wanting happier and healthier lifestyles. They have several healthy vegan recipe books and even a few cafes if you fancy a trip to Ireland. We'd definitely recommend you give them a follow on Instagram as their food photography skills are admirable not to mention their epic sunsets snaps at Greystones Beach – we're just a little bit jealous!
We hope this blog post has given you some inspiration for autumnal activities and at the very least made you think about getting your first PSL of the season, although we hear turmeric lattes are the new thing this year...thanks for the heads up 200 Degrees Coffee Roasters.