FRI 7 – SUN 9 JULY 2017
The Big Camp, Cliveden National Trust, Fri 7 – Sat 22 July
The Big Camp at Cliveden is perfect. The family sleep under canvas in the five-star gorgeous grounds. They’ll discover wildlife, play games, explore the nearby Play Trail and be taken on a bat walk through the woods before hot chocolate round the campfire. You, on the hand, need to be checking in to the hotel, enjoying a nightcap on a squishy sofa and star-fishing in a giant bed. Everyone gets to have an adventure. It’s just one as a luxury bathroom and the other doesn’t. Adults £27, Children £17.
Battersea Old Windsor Fun Day, Priest Hill Windsor, Sat 8 July
Well groomed and well behaved in public? Then your pampered pooch might just let you attend the Battersea Old Windsor Fun Day. If your furry friends is a it of a doggy diva, check out the competition for golden oldie, most obedient dog and waggiest tail. For the less obedient human babies, there’s a bouncy castle, face painting and games to keep them entertained. Plus cake, ice cream. Oh and it’s all very a cracking cause.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Priest Hill, Windsor, Berkshire battersea.org.uk
Winslow Hall Opera Season: Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Fri 7 – Sun 16 July
The 18th century Bucks mansion designed by Sir Christopher Wren provides a fabulous backdrop for this summer’s opera season. This year Carmen Jakobi directs, Oliver Gilmour conducts and Rosalind Plowright, a recent cover star of Opera Magazine, stars as Ulrica. If you get tickets for a Sunday matinee, you can take a picnic for a pre-show al fresco lunch.
Native Feasts Pop-Up, Long Crendon, starts Fri 7 July
Those Native Feasts boys Chris (Michelin star chef) and Greg (all about the wine) are going great guns with their poppety pop-ups, and now here’s another one – this time at College Farm in Long Crendon over three weekends in July/August. It’s al fresco fun (weather permitting, don’t worry there’s a barn too) overlooking the Buckinghamshire countryside, and this time round they’re also offering a Sunday lunch spot in addition to the Fridays and Saturdays. It starts this weekend (already a sell out!) but there’s more availability at the mo for 28, 29, 30 July and the 4 and 6 August. £40 a pop, people, it’s a goddam bargain!
David Hockney Selling Exhibition, Babylon Arts Centre, Ely, Fri 23 June – Sun 23 July
This art gallery in Ely is hosting a prestigious selling exhibition of 40 original David Hockney prints and lithographs including illustrations from The Brothers Grimm. Hockney is one of the 20th Century’s most popular and influential artists, and a retrospective of his life’s work has recently been on display at the Tate Britain. Prices for the works, many of which are limited editions, will range from £500 up to several thousand.
Babylon Arts Centre, Babylon Gallery, Waterside, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4AU babylonarts.org.uk
Cambridge Open Studios, weekends throughout July
Rock Oyster Festival, Roskear Farm, near Wadebridge, Fri 7 – Sat 8 July
One of North Cornwall’s hottest tickets, Rock Oyster Festival can be found in a new location this year. Roskear Farm, near Wadebridge is right on the Camel Trail, allowing access to the festival by foot or bike. In fact to incentivise this eco-friendly means of transport, the festival organisers will donate a pound for every person who arrives by bike. There will be a great line-up of music, kicking off with Electric Swing Circus on Friday night, and including The Showhawk Duo and Backbeat Soundsystem. And it wouldn’t be a Cornish festival without a good mix of niche foodie stalls, quirky workshops and yoga sessions.
Woodfired at West, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, every Tues and Thurs
If you haven’t made it to one of Woodfired Canteen’s pop-up, mid-week suppers on Porthmeor Beach yet, July’s got to be the month! If the weather is dry, dinner will be served outdoors, so a few extra layers may be required. As always with Woodfired Canteen, you can expect super tasty food from the grills and a great community feel, with a single menu served to the centre of shared tables. There are two sittings, at 6pm and 8pm and the set menu (a meat or veggie option) costs £25, for nibbles, a hearty main with bread from St Ives bakery and a pud to take away.
Sister Act 2017, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Mon 3 – Sat 16 July
Sing Hallelujah! X Factor Winner Alexandra Burke (great hair!) is the disco diva disguised as a nun in this new production of the Broadway and West End comedy musical hit, directed and choreographed by Mr Craig Revel Horwood. Bring the family, or bring a bunch of girlfriends, either way you’re in for a bit of a treat.
Stiltskin’s Rumpelstiltskin, Starts Fri 7 July (for four days)
Woo-hoo! The winners of the Muddy Stiletto’s Best Theatre in Devon are about to present another of their magical plays, The Brothers Grimm classic, Rumpelstiltskin, in their own inimitable way. Performed in their fabulously intimate and atmospheric theatre in Plymouth’s Devonport Park, children will be captivated. We recently took the Mudlet to the theatre’s Spellbound festival and can highly recommend getting yourself along for the experience.
performances on 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th July. stiltskin.org.uk
Cheltenham Music Festival, Mon 3 to Sun 16 July
From Mendelssohn at Syde Manor and A Scott Joplin Cabaret at Chapel Arts to celestial choirs in Gloucester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey and Love Songs in Cheltenham Town Hall, there are two jam-packed weeks of musical bliss at the Music Festival this year, with a stellar lineup marking director Meurig Bowen’s 10th anniversary. Toddler in tow? No fear, there’s entertainment for them too.
Stroud Children’s Festival, various locations, Stroud, Fri 7 to Sun 9 July
From puppetry, theatre, storytelling and buffoonery at Star Anise Café on Friday to various to wishing trees, butterfly hunts and a festival of nature at the Museum in the Park, as well as opera in its secret garden on Saturday and Sunday, there are three days of practically free fun to keep the small people amused.
Book tickets: Blissfields Festival, Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, Winchester, 6 – 8 Jul
So if watching all that Glasto footage sent you misty eyed for your wild yoof then take a peek at Blissfields. This is a proper, full-size festie with a large music line-up, some of which us pre-millennials might recognise: DJ Yoda, DJ Luck & MC Neat? Take your teenagers and let them flirt with freedom, if you have younger kids head to the magical Angel Gardens Family Area. Dress up as mystical woodland creatures, prepare for the Unicorn, Fox and Hare Lantern Parade, play football, learn to MC with Grandmaster Flash (yes, that did happen). The practical realities of taking kids to festivals are well-catered for too. The Unicorn’s Nest is a dedicated space for under-3s with bath-time, feeding time (at the zoo!) plus a large box of spare clothes. And joy-of-joys, the festival organisers provide school-age kids with a leave of absence letter for school and a learning passport explaining all the wonderful benefits kids take home from a weekend like this.
Book Tickets for the Hampshire Food Festival, throughout Hampshire, July
Fasten your napkins and book up those tickets for July’s Hampshire Food Festival. Forget your tame, weekend-then-it’s-done affair, we’re talking a month-long bacchanal: from sausage and mash pop-ups courtesy of Brit Charcuterie pioneers, Parsonage Farm and The Crown Inn, to The Vineyards of Hampshire Festival; from tractor rides and cheese suppers on Lyburn Farm to a very special event from Masterchef winner and Hampshire resident, Jane Devonshire, at The Myer’s Touch near Winchester. You can read more on the blog here. Beyond excited!
Austentatious, Wimpole History Festival, Fri 7 July
Austentatious. Nice. See what they’ve done there? Rumour has it that Jane Austen’s market town Meryton in Pride and Prejudice was actually based on Harpenden. Or was it Hertford? This event is of course over the border in Cambridgeshire, but I always think that it’s worth the short trip to enjoy the delights of Wimpole Hall. On Friday you will see and hear an improvised and brand new Jane Austen novel based on ideas put forward by the audience. Don’t be shy now! Previous ‘lost works’ have included Sixth Sense & Sensibility and Jurassic Mansfield Park. Performed in Regency costume with live musical accompaniment. What’s not to like?
Jazzie B, Chilfest, Tring, Sat 8 July
Unbelievable I know, but true. Soul II Soul in Herts. And only a few sleeps to go. There are still a handful of tickets left for Chilfest, but you need to be quick. I absolutely love Jazzie B and once had the good luck to interview him for The Guardian. Keep on Movin’, Jazzie!
Shirley Valentine, Mon 3 Jul to Sat 8 Jul, Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall. Where has her life disappeared to? Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for two weeks and she secretly packs her bags. She heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently. Thanks to a genius bit of casting Jodie Prenger plays Shirley (she’s best known for winning the BBC television series I’d Do Anything and going on to star as Nancy in the West End production of Oliver!
Leeds Castle Classical Concert, Leeds Castle, Sat 8 July
Heritage Events presents one of the most magnificent and memorable summer evenings in the Kent event calendar. Bring a picnic and be entertained by field cannons, fireworks and much loved classical music performed by Tenor Anthony Flaum, Soprano Katie Bird and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Rigby at the 39th Leeds Castle Classical Concert. Love this event – don’t miss it!
Great Bowden Music Fest, Great Bowden, Thur 6th July – Sun 9th July
A summer music festival founded in 2014, it’s held during early July in the beautiful village of Great Bowden situated in south Leicestershire. The series features local and international musicians performing classical music, jazz, music theatre, choral and chamber music over four days in the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Great Bowden. Tickets £10, under 12s free, email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets or or phone 01858 432182.
Miss Saigon, Curve, Leicester, 1 -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 Rutland St, Leicester, LE1
KT Tunstall, Festival Too, Kings Lynn – Sat 8 Jul:
Part of a full week of music taking place at various events in Kings Lynn, KT Tunstall will take to the stage at the Market Place from 18.30. Hits include Suddenly I See; booking ahead recommended.
Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre, Norwich Lanes, Norwich – Sun 9 Jul:
The much-loved Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre returns to the streets, alleyways, courtyards and open spaces of this historic part of the city. Expect life music, DJ booths, pop-up performance, art trails and great food & drink. Last year, the event attracted 15,000 people from all over Norfolk and beyond.
Mid Summer Vintage Fair, 10am – 4pm, Sat 8 July
Wahoo!! Vintage Retreat Northampton is holding a Mid Summer Vintage Fair…watch this space for more details! It’s free admission and kids are very welcome. Of course they are – they’re the next generation of fashionista’s wearing clothes from the previous generations. Er – if you see what I mean?
Vintage Retreat, Lower Harding Street, NN1 2JL Northampton, Northamptonshire
Oundle International Festival, Oundle, 7 – 15 Jul
For over 30 years, the Oundle International Festival has been providing Northamptonshire with entertaining and enriching music concerts, theatrical performances and community events which includes folk, jazz, classical and choral music, complimented by family theatre, an outdoor cinema screening, an encore screening of an opera and the annual Bach Walk (phew). This year the open opening weekend celebrates the area’s wealth of amateur music making activity and Oundle open gardens (9th July only). The full programme will be announced at Easter but meanwhile the Festival will finish, on Saturday 15th July, with the Party at the Wharf, featuring Absolute Bowie, Lincolnshire Rockabillies, The Houndogs, Oundle group Disarray and other local bands.
Oundle Music Trust, 4 New Street, Oundle Northamptonshire PE8 4ED
The Fabulous Cornbury Festival Finale, Fri 7 – Sun 9 July
Sadly, this is Cornbury’s last ever outing, as it bows out of an increasingly crowded festival market after 14 years. Boo! It tends to attract big names and after last year’s set from Bryan Ferry, this year’s Bryan is veteran Canadian rocker, Adams, the Saturday night headliner. An opportunity to howl along to Summer of ’69? We’re in.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Creation Theatre, Oxford, 5 July– 5 Aug
A return for last year’s sell-out, interactive Shakespeare show, this is part treasure hunt, part play and wholly anarchic. Audience members take to the streets, meeting in small groups at a secret Oxford city centre location to follow clues. Apparently you have to watch out for fairies…
Samphire Festival, Exmoor, nr Minehead, Fri 7-Sun 9 July
An eclectic live and electronic line-up headlined by Crazy P, The Correspondants and Resonators, street food, giant human snakes and ladders, films, yoga, immersive theatre – and samphire foraging, of course in this small but award-winning festival named after a salty seaside veg.
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, Sat 8 July
Blunderbus Theatre brings to life the best-selling children’s book about Biff the dog who instead of chasing sticks takes to practising pirouettes in the park. This feel-good family show features music, songs, hand-crafted puppets and Biff, the ballet-dancing dog; and is best suited to those with kiddies aged 3 and up. harlequintheatre.co.uk
RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace, Tues 4 to Sun 9 July
If you love gardens and flowers, you’ll love the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. It’s the world’s biggest annual flower show where you can explore innovative show gardens, watch demonstrations and get gardening advice. There are free activities for kids and a huge selection of flowers and plants for sale from more than 100 nurseries. rhs.org.uk
Edinburgh Fringe previews, Komedia, Brighton, various dates
Plenty of Edinburgh Fringe previews about and some of them are popping up at Komedia over the next month. Those familiar from the comedy circuit or the telly include Phil Jerrod (30 June) Shappi Khorsandi (4 July) and Phil Nichol (6 July) all appearing in double bills. Book ahead also for the reliably good Andrew Maxwell who has a solo show on 13 – 16 July.
Orro Tour of Sussex, finishing Eastbourne and Beachy Head, 6 – 9 July
One of the UK’s largest multi-stage cycling road races returns to Sussex ending at Eastbourne and Beachy Head this coming week. The 5th annual Orro Tour of Sussex will see 80 lycra clad men racing in 20 teams across stunning Sussex countryside, as they compete in five stages for the coveted yellow jersey, won last year by British under 23 and National Junior champion Jacob Vaughan of VC Londres. See the website for more info on how to turn up and cheer them on. In September it’s the turn of the Women’s Tour of Sussex – a brand new event which will run from Lewes to Eastbourne and Beachy Head from 16 – 17 September.
Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney Art Gallery, Sat July 8-Oct 1
Muddy Warwickshire’s 2017 Award-winning Art Gallery, Compton Verney, is taking visitors on an eye-popping journey this summer – looking at how our visual perceptions have been explored by artists. This fascinating show takes an in-depth look at the ‘Op art’ phenomenon. Short for ‘Optical art’, this art form uses pattern and colour to create bizarre optical effects. This must-see exhibition traces how the Op art movement developed from the famous French post-impressionist Seurat via M C Escher to Bridget Riley and her contemporaries, and demonstrates just how exhilarating, electrifying and (quite literally) eye-opening Op art can be.
Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Birmingham, Fri July 7-Sun July 9
Rock your body with Chaka Khan, Soul II Soul, Alabama 6-piece soul band St Paul & the Broken Bones and Sugarhill feat Melle Mel who’ll be headlining Mostly Jazz this year in Moseley Park. This festival for jazz aficionados and hip hop fans alike continues to attract an increasingly impressive array of artists since it started in 2010. There’s no camping, but a wide range of accommodation in Birmingham city centre from boutique hotels to serviced apartments and affordable B&Bs.
Moseley Park, Birmingham, mostlyjazz.co.uk
Into the Woods, Salisbury Playhouse, 3-8 July
Capturing the imagination of the young and old by intertwining classic fairy tale characters that we know and love with the musical talents of Stephen Sondheim. Humorous and heartfelt, this enchanting and sometimes mysterious musical will delight all with its twists and turns and fabulous music.
Avebury Rocks Music Festival, Swindon, 7-9 July
- 2 days, 2 stages, lots of great live music. Join for either the whole weekend with or without camping, or just for the day. There’s an eclectic line up with something for everyone.