Bringing some of the biggest names in children’s books, along with a host of well-known faces, Bath Children’s Literature Festival is returning to the city this autumn.

At Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival, audiences can expect entertainment and education for all ages – from tiny tots to teenagers – with a packed programme that includes talks, workshops and immersive hands-on events.

The 13th annual celebration of books for children, this year’s festival is set to feature names such as Harry Hill, Jacqueline Wilson, David Baddiel, Greg James, Sophie Dahl, McFly’s Dougie Poynter, Cressida Cowell and many more.

Expect old favourites, such as the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Percy the Park Keeper, an appearance from Elmer himself, plus a chance to get your hands on Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s latest Tracy Beaker novel ahead of its official publication on 17 October.

Familiar stories and classic characters at this year’s festival include Horrible Histories, Kipper, The Wimpy Kid, Shaun the Sheep, Elmer the Elephant, Dr Who, Malory Towers and the World of Harry Potter.

Books will be brought to life with a fresh approach from visiting speakers including McFly’s Dougie Poynter, who will be talking about why plastic sucks, wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan who will be telling tales of animals in some of the world’s coldest spots while ex-England player Casey Stoney, head coach at Manchester United’s women’s team, will be talking about her footballing career and the history of women’s football. Comedian Harry Hill will also be there making his young audience – and their parents – roar with laughter. As a tribute to the late writer Judith Kerr, there will be special story time featuring some of her best-loved works, including The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

Ian Stockley, CEO of Bath Festivals says: “It’s always an exciting time when the festival is on, bringing thousands of young people into the city and seeing writers reach out and share their ideas with curious minds. The children’s literature festival is an inclusive event and we’re very pleased and proud once again to involve children from more than 20 schools in the region to give them a life-enriching experience they’ll never forget.”

The festival’s bookshop partner, Waterstones will be selling books from all the visiting authors in its Milsom Street shop and also hosting a free event on Saturday 5 October for National Bookshop Day. From 10am until 4.30pm local authors, including Moira Butterfield, Graham Baker-Smith and Fleur Hitchcock, will be signing copies of their books. If you have one of their books at home you can take them along to Waterstones on the day.

Check out the full festival line-up here: