List of The Best South West Literature & Film Festivals

books festivalsWho doesn’t enjoy a good book or a riveting film? South West England – homeland of Dentons Directories – is well supplied with sensational literature, artistic and silver screen festivals and special events – and they aren’t just for “culture vultures”!


  • Encounters is the UK’s leading short film and animation festival, aimed at discovering, supporting and developing new talent, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers, and serving as a unique meeting place for the industry. The festival covers two main venues – the Watershed and Arnolfini – on Bristol’s harbourside, with weekend events at the Cube Microplex cinema.         Next date: 19th to 24th September, 2017.
  • Slapstick Festival aims to keep silent, visual and classic onscreen comedy alive for future generations, through raising awareness, interest and appreciation of this unique art form, developing new audiences for archive cinema, and supporting the sustainability and development of silent film organisations, through screening well-known, rare and unique archive cinema to the film going public.     Next date: 26 to 28th January, 2018.
  • Bristol Film Festival is the youngest event on the city’s cultural calendar, having kicked off with a bang in 2016. An eclectic and exciting mix of film and related events is held at various places around the city.                                                               Next date: 9th – 12th March, 2017.

Bath Film Festival – Somerset

An exciting treat for filmophiles, the Bath Film Festival is held over 10 days, although events and special screenings continue on occasions throughout the year. The festival run itself is packed with screenings and events of all sorts, but it is particularly renowned for its F-Rated films.

Next date: 2nd to 12th November, 2017.

Swindon Festival of Literature – Wiltshire

Founded on the notion that “life is for learning” this celebration of the spoken and written word is spread across two weeks at various venues in Swindon. The packed programme – that opens each year at sunrise on a high ridge in Lawn Woods – draws an eclectic mix of writers, poets, storytellers and others, including a large phalanx of readers.

Next date: 1st to 13th May, 2017

Frome Festival – Somerset

This summer extravaganza taking place over two weeks in the pretty Somerset town of Frome covers the whole gamut of the arts, from opera to ghost stories, fine art to hidden gardens. There is, however, a generous literary component, including workshops, readings, and story walks. Designed to showcase local talent, the Frome Festival delights all the senses and comes as a revelation for most visitors.

Next date: 7th to 16th  July, 2017

Bath Festival – Somerset

With a history spanning more than 20 years, the Bath Literature Festival has hosted Nobel and Booker Prize winners such as Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel and Howard Jacobson; leading political thinkers from Tony Benn and Tariq Ali to Anna Politkovskaya and Eric Hobsbawm; poets ranging from poets laureate Ted Hughes, Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy to Wendy Cope and Simon Armitage; and humourists from Garrison Keillor and Terry Pratchett to Steve Bell.

Events take place throughout the city over a period of 10 days.

Next date: 19th to 28th May, 2017

Bath Children’s Literature Festival – Somerset

With more than 130 events held over 10 days in various venues around the delightful city of Bath, the Bath Children’s Literature Festival is aimed at everyone who loves children’s books, from the readers to editors, publishers, teachers, authors, librarians and booksellers.

Next date: 29th September to 8th October 2017

Bradford-on-Avon Mini Book Festival – Wiltshire

A free festival promoting books and writing for young people and children, that is based in the library of the Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon.

There will be a programme of activities for children aged 4 and upwards, under the auspices of a group of local children’s authors.

Next date: 15th July 2017.

Chalke Valley History Festival – Wiltshire

A celebration of the past, the Chalke Valley History Festival –  held in the fields of Wiltshire near the village of Ebbesbourne Wake – combines written and living history in a unique blend.  The week-long festival includes an historic air show, live historic re-enactments and displays, talks, discussions and debates, besides all the jolly trappings one expects at a well-established, popular festival event.

Next date: 26th June to 2nd July, 2017

Cheltenham Literature Festival – Gloucestershire

One of the oldest and best loved literature festivals in the world, this event draws tens of thousands over its 10-day run. The packed programme includes lectures, poetry readings, children’s events, interviews, storytelling, book groups, writing workshops, education projects, and live literature.

Next date:  6th to 15th October 2017

Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival – Wiltshire

Since it was first held in the summer of 1973 more than a million people have flocked to this festival to experience remarkable performances of drama, dance, film and music of all sorts, together with literary and visual arts events.

Next date: 26th May to 10th June 2017

Ilminster Literary Festival – Somerset

The Ilminster Literary Festival was set up to offer the local people of all ages in Ilminster and the surrounding areas an exciting and enjoyable opportunity to meet a variety of authors, editors, and script writers through discussion, talks and meetings, all at affordable prices.

Next date: 31st May to 8th June, 2017

Marlborough Literature Festival – Wiltshire

The Marlborough Literature Festival  brings together some of the UK’s finest writers to celebrate literature in all its forms in this historic market town. With fine writing at its heart the programme includes some of the UK’s best known writers as well as new and emerging talent. The programme embraces adult and children’s fiction, non-fiction, biography, journalism and poetry.

Next date: 28th September to 1st October 2017

Mere Literary Festival – Wiltshire

It may be a small town, but Mere in Wiltshire is big on books! Every year the residents organise a literary festival in aid of local charity. The event caters of a wide range of bibliophiles from children to poetry lovers.

Next date: 9th to 15th October, 2017