MON 10 – SUN 16 JULY 2017
Bastille Day Festival, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 15 – Sun 16 July
Allo allo! It’s Reading’s Bastille Day celebration of all things French! A fantastique family festival full of free activities provided by Decathlon (sporty stuff) and Hobbycraft (arty crafty stuff). Expect lots of delicious French food from the likes of Patisserie Valerie and others including a crepe stand, French pastries, cheeses and charcuterie, plus live music and lots of other surprises. Get the kids down there using some of their best French vocab, while you stuff your face with eclairs.
Summer Garden Party, Windsor Great Park, Sun 16 July
Cumberland Lodge, a former Royal residence, is throwing open its doors for an afternoon of family fun. Expect music from The Candy Girls, magic tricks, hot food by the Lodge’s talented chefs and a sneaky peak around the house itself. Then kick back and enjoy the views across Windsor Great Park. Tickets are £5 per person and includes one item from the barbecue.
Le Nozze Di Figaro, Garsington Opera, Tues 11, Fri 14 & Sun 16 July
Continuing their oh-too-short season, the super-talented Garsington Opera are performing Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro this week in the stunning grounds of the Wormsley estate in Stokenchurch. Grounds are open from 3.30pm on each performance day so get there early to have a snoop around the Walled Garden, Deer Park or afternoon tea overlooking the beautiful Wormsley Cricket Pitch.
Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, Bucks, garsingtonopera.org
Romeo & Juliet, Oxford Castle, Mon 3 – Sat 21 July
Sure to be popular, Tomahawk Theatre are mixing it up, throwing in a bit of song and dance but sticking to Shakespeare’s original language for their latest production of Romeo and Juliet. Get there early – it’s first come for seating; all with the stunning background of Oxford Castle.
The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 2017, Cambridge Colleges, Mon 10 July – Sat 26 Aug
Cambridge Shakespeare Festival returns to the University’s beautiful college gardens on 13 July, offering an eclectic programme of plays throughout July and into August. Performed in full Elizabethan costume, in a unique outdoor setting with live music as accompaniment. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the performance and enjoy the idyllic surroundings. The diverse programme ensures there’s Shakespeare for everyone whether you prefer a comedy (The Merry Wives of Windsor), a romance (Romeo and Juliet), a drama (Hamlet) or a touch of fairyland (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). There’s eight plays in total spread out around the stunning city colleges grounds – including the Fellows’ Garden at Trinity College – a hidden gem that not even the students are allowed access to.
Cambridge Open Studios, weekends throughout July
Wolf’s Child by WildWorks, The Trelowarren Estate, The Lizard Peninsula, Tues 11 – Sat 29 July
I can’t wait for this one! Not really a theatre but the venue for the summer’s most buzzed-about theatre production – a outdoor promenade performance of Wolf’s Child by WildWorks. After 10 years creating work around the world, the renowned theatre company is coming home to Cornwall. The stage will be set in the grounds of the historic Trelowarren Estate, on the banks of the Helford River and the audience will follow the drama from set to set as the story unfolds. This promises to be an unforgettable production in a very special part of Cornwall, particularly poignant, as WildWorks mourns the passing of its pioneering Artistic Director Bill Mitchell. Tickets cost £21 for adults, £16 for children and £19 for students.
Festival of Children’s Literature, Kestle Barton, Helston, Sat 15 – Sun 16 July
The first Festival of Children’s Literature at Kestle Barton includes a schools’ day, with invited school children from five local primary schools, and a grand Family Day, open to all, with plenty of interesting workshops, activities and fun. Writer Christopher William Hill will introduce his wonderful series of books, Mary Evans has been will give a sneak preview of her Greek God tales, Chris Higgins will be launching the latest in her quirky and entertaining, My Funny Family series and illustrator Theo Carter-Weber will lead a workshop in which the children will produce and illustrate short stories. The gallery and garden will be open as usual with no entry charge.
The Art of Reflection, Andrew Logan at Buckland Abbey, starts Sat 1 July
This sounds cool. A major exhibition of contemporary art by the renowned sculptor Andrew Logan kicks off at the start of July at the former home of Sir Francis Drake. The story of Buckland’s spirit of place is going to be told through 18 sculptures, placed around the Abbey, Great Barn and gardens. Logan’s work is held in major locations around the world and he’s the only living artist to have a European museum dedicated to his work. Aiming to surprise and inspire visitors, this exhibition, featuring some of his most prominent works, is one not to miss.
Summer Open Exhibition, Artizan Gallery, Torquay, Mon 3 – Sat 29 July
Worthy finalists in the Muddy Awards Best Art Gallery category, Artizan Gallery in Torquay is throwing open its doors for its annual summer open exhibition. Having invited Devon’s artists to submit work for consideration, this will be a curation of the best art and sculpture, with one or two debut pieces, making this an exhibition not to miss.
The Magic Flute, Longborough Opera Festival, Thu 13, Sat 15, Sun 16, Thu 20 & Sat 22 July
The Longborough Festival Opera, the small country opera house that punches above its weight, continues its summer season with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. With RSC and Royal Opera House designer Ruth Paton, innovative director Thomas Guthrie and maestro conductor Anthony Negus on board, this promises to be a very special production. The grounds, not far from Moreton-in-Marsh, are glorious, so dress up in your glad rags, pack a picnic or pre-order a hamper or, why the hell not, just dine in The Coach House Restaurant (see the menu here, £45 per person for a three-course meal) or Valley Buffet (£35 per person), and enjoy the show. Glyndebourne, eat your heart out.
Julie Cope’s Grand Tour, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester until Sun 16 July
Head over to Cirencester’s New Brewery Arts to see Julie Cope’s Grand Tour: The Story of a Life – a pair of large-scale striking tapestries by none other than Grayson Perry, winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, cross-dressing delight and national treasure. The tapestries are on show until 12 July in Cirencester before they continue on a national tour so make sure catch them while they’re in our manor.
Hampshire Food Festival, across the county.
All manner of epicurean joys this week, including…
- Mon 10 Jul: Riverford Farm Tour and Master Veg Cooking, Sutton Scotney.
- Tue 11 Jul: Lyburn Cheese and vegetables tour, Landford.
- Wed 12 Jul: Walk, talk, lunch and garlic workshop at The Garlic Farm, IOW.
- Thur 13 Jul: Spotted, potted and pickled — jams and preserves with forager Jen Williams.
- Fri 14 Jul: Sample Jake’s Artisan pies with a pint at Fallen Acorn Brewing’s Tap room. Gosport.
Click here for the online programme.
Hitchin Festival Photography Exhibition, from Weds 12 July
More fab photos from the wonderful Hitchin-based Kasia Burke and other photographers: Cassy Paris, Peter Goadby-Watt and Rita Abreu. Opens Weds 12 July in the barn at the Victoria Pub. Preview evening: 6pm. SG51TJ.
An afternoon with artist Antonio Russo, Gallery 1066, Baldock, Sat 15 July
Gallery 1066 has just won Best Art Gallery in the recent Muddy Awards. On Sat 15 July, you can meet artist Antonio Russo in the gallery, ask him whether a GCSE in art is helpful if you want to become a real proper artist, and you can even discuss private commissions with him. He’s a drummer and music producer turned artist and has worked with Kanye and Pink. From 1pm.
Miss Saigon, Curve, Leicester, until 22 July
Winner of a record-breaking nine Whats On Stage Awards 2015 including Best Show, this epic love story tells the tragic tale of young bar girl Kim, orphaned by war, who falls in love with an American GI called Chris – but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon. Watch the story and this spectacular musical unfold on stage.
Curve 60 Rutland St, Leicester, LE1
Arts and Craft Fair, Market Harborough, Thur 13 – Sun 16 July
Visit the Market Harborough Arts and Craft Fair on the Square. With a multitude of talented artists and crafters who regularly attend our fairs to exhibit and sell their unique work, there is something for everybody; from handmade jewellery to clothes and toys through to candles and ornaments for the home.
Latitude Festival, nr Halesworth – Thurs 13 until Sun 16 Jul
Yes, I know Halesworth is in Suffolk and this is the Norfolk edition of Muddy Stilettos but, as festivals go, this one is the bomb. With as much theatre, dance, comedy and children’s theatre as live music, this year’s event won’t disappoint. It’s just 40 minutes away by car, too. Don’t miss: swimming in the lake, the woods and the purple sheep.
Gin Festival, The Halls, Norwich – Fri 14 – Sat 15 Jul
Described in Timeout as one of the top 10 things to do last year, the UK’s biggest and oldest Gin Festival is back in Norwich at a new venue. The Halls will play host to a celebration of all things gin, with over 100 different gins on offer. There will begin masterclasses and the opportunity to meet gin distillers in person, a gin cocktail bar, live music and gorgeous food.
British Grand Prix, Silverstone Circuit, 14-16 July
F1™ drivers call the Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix at the iconic Silverstone circuit ‘insanely fast’. Put simply it’s one of the world’s greatest sporting events. Throw in a great weekend-long party and the race is on. The British Grand Prix is on and it’s not just fast cars baby, there’s also a weekend of concerts lined up for fans. Sara Cox will be headlining Friday night entertainment as she presents ‘Just Can’t Get Enough 80s’ DJ Set. Then Reef & The Hoosiers will be headlining the Saturday night concert and the RPJ Band will be playing at the British Grand Prix After Party on Sunday! All of the concerts are included on the days you have purchased tickets for, so make sure to stick around in the evening (and get someone else to drive home)!
Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN
Northampton Dragon Boat Race Day, Billing Aquadrome, Sun 16 July
A family fun day at Billing Aquadrome Teams of 10 rowers and a drummer will paddle their Dragon Boat and compete against up to 50 teams to achieve the best time over the course through three preliminary rounds, semi-finals and finals to win the coveted Rotary Annual Dragon Boat Trophy. Fun Fair, Licensed bar, refreshments and racing.
£7 per car. Racing starts at 10am. Last race 4.30pm
Billing Aquadrome, Crow Lane, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN3 9DA
Giffords Circus, Stonor Park, 13 – 17 July
Described by the Telegraph as “the nation’s most glamorous troupe”, Giffords arrives at the gorgeous Stonor Park this month for a brand new Baroque-inspired show. No need to stuff your handbag with snacks for the interval -they also bring a 60-seat pop-up restaurant, complete with candle-lit communal oak tables.
Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, stonor.com
Jane Eyre, Milton Keynes Theatre, Mon 10 – Sat 15 July
Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is brought to the stage in a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, at MK Theatre this month and it’s a corker. The touring production was given five stars by The Observer and if you’re anywhere near Milton Keynes, this is your last chance to see it in our region. I saw it Aylesbury Waterside a while back and was blown away by it – read my review here.
MK Theatre, atgtickets.com
Frome Festival, venues around Frome, until Sun 16 July
The funky Bollywood Brass Band opens the 17th Frome Festival with an extravaganza of Indian dance, film and food. The fun continues over the week with the likes of Mock the Week‘s Andy Parsons, Jeremy Hardy, The Wonderstuff, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Germaine Green, Gyles Brandreth, Felicity Lott, Stephanie Cole, Ann Widdicombe and local talent.
Open air Shakespeare, Glastonbury Abbey, Weds 12-Sun 16 July
In what must be one of the most spectacular settings for outdoor thespian activity: Durham University’s Castle Theatre Company’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Weds 12 Jul) and the Butterfly Theatre company’s promenade production of Romeo & Juliet, Fri 14, Sat 15 & Sun 16 July).
Kew the Music, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Tues 11 – Sun 16 July
This glorious week-long festival of summer picnic concerts is set within the stunning grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Acts include Passenger, Razorlight, James, Mary J Blige and All Saints.
The Decorative Home and Salvage Show, Loseley Park, Guildford, Fri 14 – Sun 16 July
It’s the third event in the Decorative Home and Salvage Show’s calendar – the other events are in North Yorkshire and Cheshire. Expect to find the best in reclaimed and salvage materials, garden furniture, restored and upcycled furniture, period home fixtures and fittings, antiques, and furnishings.
New food and extended opening Hastings’ Pier, from 8 Jul
There are new opportunities to fill your face on Hastings’ lovely pier. A new-look restaurant will be opened on 8 July serving, among others things, locally caught fish, wine and cocktails. There will also be a new kiosk serving doughnuts, candy floss and the like opening the same day. Weather permitting, a DJ will be playing on the pier in the afternoon and evening to celebrate the launch. From 8 July to the end of Sept the pier will open 10am to 10pm.
Walled Garden Music Fest, Brightling Park, Robertsbridge, Fri 14 – Sun 16 July
I have a walled garden. Sadly it’s not big enough to host a music festival unless you count my mate with a guitar. 550 acre Brightling Park however is and next weekend it’s welcoming ABC, Toploader, Howard Jones, Beverley Craven and Tom Bailey of Thomson twins fame. Adult tickets are from £50 up.
Lunt Roman Festival 2017, Lunt Roman Fort, Baginton, Sat July 15 & Sun July 16
Fancy trying your hand at archery, making a clay pot or joining in with an Iron Age & Roman children’s drill? Families can travel back in time for a fun and interactive day of Roman history brought to life. There’ll be Roman infantry marching, an Iron Age camp, weaving demonstrations and birds of prey. Plus horseback demonstrations and infantry fighting. Refreshments available, a special shuttle bus service to the city centre & free parking.
Rugby Festival of Culture, until Sun July 16
This culturally-diverse festival includes the new exhibitions at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum (see below) and Rugby School’s 450th anniversary celebration, Festival on the Close with G4 & Lesley Garrett, and award-winning singer Laura Mvula. This week’s highlights include a Bouquet Workshop with Muddy Award Best Florist finalist, Garden Gate at St Andrew’s Church on Tue July 11, 2-4pm; and on Fri July 14 An Audience with Anne Widdecome at Rugby Theatre at 7.30pm; plus Cocktails and colouring at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum (5.30pm-9pm).
Once Upon A Time in the West, Trowbridge, Wilts, 13-16 July
A fab little festival with a great name, Out West doesn’t take itself too seriously, although it is run by a crew who brought you the likes of Glasto and some of the other big contenders. A light hearted fest that is light on the wallet too (£75 including camping), it insists on keeping its commitment to West Country local while enticing some friends from the bigger events to come and play. It’s all independent, eccentric even, rating smiles over sub-bass. Did I say they are determined to be laid back? Perhaps it’s all that cider…
Trowbridge and Westbury, Wilts, outwestfestival.co.uk
Wind in the Willows, Lydiard Park Open Air Theatre, Swindon, 14 July