Sidmouth Science Festival

Sidmouth has been playing host to its own Science Festival for over five years and with each year, the event grows in popularity. The festivals each follow a new theme and feature activities and workshops for families of all ages to get involved with. Having started out as a weekend event in 2012, it now runs across ten days, is aimed at all ages and many of the events are free, meaning everyone can join in!  

So whatever scientific field you’re interested in, make sure to visit the Sidmouth Science Festival for hours of entertaining talks and workshops covering everything from dinosaurs to rockets, lights to weather and even jet cars!  

Celebrate science in Sidmouth! 

The Science Festival takes place in October every year and the week long event incorporates Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, where eminent female scientists travel to Sidmouth to talk about their work and the impact it has on the wider world. If this wasn’t enough, there are projects and demonstrations taking place in schools, colleges and venues throughout the town, allowing for those that like serious science talks and fun hands on activities alike.  

One venue that hosts workshops and events is the Norman Lockyer Observatory, which has stood in the town since the 1900s. The building takes its name from Norman Lockyer, an amateur astronomer who, during the Victorian era, discovered the element Helium and was one of the founders of a popular science journal. Throughout his long and varied career, he became director of the Solar Physics Observatory in South Kensington, London and was the first professor in Astronomical Physics in what is now the Royal College of Science. He was knighted in 1897 and retired to Sidmouth, where the observatory now stands. The Norman Lockyer Observatory allows guests and locals to continue to take part in amateur astronomics. The observatory contains several historic and modern telescopes as well as a planetarium and plenty of other fascinating exhibits, making it the perfect venue for the annual Science Festival.  

Fascinating guest speakers 

Throughout its run, Sidmouth Science Festival has attracted a wide range of fascinating scientists who come to the town to run workshops and give talks in their chosen fields. In 2018, Sidmouth’s science fans welcomed Professor Graeme Stephens FRS from the NASA Centre for Climate Science as well as Professor Iain Stewart and Marty Jopson. In 2019, guests included Dame Julia Slingo FRS and De Adam Rutherford alongside a host of fun workshops and activities including visiting local breweries and wineries to see science in real life, bat identification evenings and Family Fun Days where you can take part in interactive science experiments. One of the most popular activities from previous festivals has been the Interactive Science Trail which takes place along Sidmouth seafront, allowing you to enjoy the town’s historic regency feel, a day at the beach and the fun of science all at the same time!  

Can’t make it to this year’s Festival? Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean your trip to Sidmouth has to be free of scientific discovery and discussion. Throughout the year, the team behind the Science Festival run the Café Scientifique, which meets once a month to listen to speakers from the world of science.  

Find out more about Sidmouth Science Festival including the latest programme, dates and venues online at