Easter 2017 – The Muddy Guide for April. Book now!
The sun is out, I haven’t got the heating on and there seem to be a whole new spray of daffs in my garden. Must mean two things – spring is here and the school holidays are looming (aaaaaaaaarghhh). Here is my forward look for loads of cool things to whack into the diary this April, to keep your mind off the imposing threat of descending bratlets.
Swindon Fringe Festival, Swindon 1-9 April
For all those mad, bad and bonkers to know the Swindon Fringe Festival swings into town this month, complete with Thriller Theatre, black comedy evenings, kids’ workshops, musical afternoons, missing Easter eggs and homeless pandas. And everything else totally nuts.
Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Wharf Theatre, Devizes, 28 April – 6 May
Not quite sure I’m red hot any more but Barney Cashman, a balding, overweight fish restaurateur, desperate to prove that he still has what it takes to appeal to women, has definitely got it worse than me. Neil Simon’s comedy is usually laugh out loud hilarious so this one’s worth a look.
Echo’s End at Salisbury Playhouse, to 15 April
I like a bit of culture on occasion and you can’t possibly miss a new play for Wiltshire, about Wiltshire and in Wiltshire. Award-winning playwright and novelist Barney Norris has been heralded as one of our most exciting young writers and his debut novel Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain became a Times bestseller. Here he brings us two families living in Wiltshire under the shadow of war, exploring how the seismic changes alter their lives and the identity of their county forever. It’s a true Wiltshire love story. Altogether now…aaaaahhhh.
Design a Dinner Party, Lucknam Park Cookery School, Chippenham, Sat 22 April
Finally, finally someone is going to tell me what to do. Not sure I’d ever actually use the word ‘design’ when it comes to my dinner parties, but maybe there will finally be a method to my madness. Apparently they’re going to give me ideas for canapes and petit fours (???), how to get organised in the kitchen (good luck with that, then) and most importantly how to have a fabulous evening. Yes, please!
Gourmet Offer at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
Bribe, cajole or threaten the grandparents to have the sprogs and then book some us-time at gorgeous Whatley Manor. They are offering a one night stay in April with slap-up chow for two and a glass of the fizzy stuff. It includes full use of the spa plus a full English in bed. I need me some of that…
Cocktail Evening, The Outside Chance, Manton, nr Marlborough, Thurs 27 April
Love a pop up night, especially if it involves tequila. Get your gear on for a cocktail evening in aid of…well, just in aid of having a blast.
Twelfth Night, Salisbury Arts Centre, Thurs 6 April
Beamed in live from the glittering heights of the NT comes Tamsin Greig as you’ve never seen her before. Seriously, check out that eyeliner. And she’s a girl, playing a boy. Oh, yes, Shakespeare – bring on all that mistaken identity and women in dinner jackets.
Easter at the Museum, Salisbury Museum, Sat 15 April
OK, better find a few things to keep the Mudlets entertained. How about making a giant mosaic for Easter? Keep ’em busy with storytelling and an Easter archaeology trail with prizes too. Yep, that’ll do.
Wild Wednesday, Dinton Park and Philipps House, Dinton, Wed 19 April
Get them to tick off some of those pesky 50 things to do before you’re 11¾. There’s some pretty wild stuff the Mudlets can do with the Wiltshire Landscape Rangers at Dinton Park woods – char-burning inedible food on a campfire, building dens to get filthy in, searching for critters, falling headfirst into ponds – they’ll love it.
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, Stourhead, Warminster, 14-17 April
Obviously gotta get some chocolate in – at Stourhead the Mudlets can find that elusive Easter bunny and scoff all the chocolate eggs. Just make sure they keep a few for you.
Marvellous Monsters, Longleat Safari Park, Warminster, from 8 April
Check out the mind-boggling new residents at Longleat as over 20 larger-than-life animatronic bugs take over the park. Come face to face (eye to antennae?) with some humungous creepy crawlies – a tailless whip scorpion or hulking Hercules beetle, anyone? Brings a whole new meaning to the word arachnophobia.
Downton Cuckoo Fair, Downton, Wed 19 April
Never one to snub a free day out, this is one of my favourite ways to savour a warm spring day (for that read ‘way to fill the loooong Easter holiday, five and a half weeks and counting, why oh why can’t they co-ordinate the school holidays?’) Held in the to-die-for setting of the village of Downton (no, not that one) on the edge of the New Forest, the Cuckoo Fair offers craft workshops, maypole dancing, street entertainment, clowning, traditional fairground stalls, music stages and Punch and Judy shows. Although you might be forgiven for thinking you’d been teleported back to 1963 with girls in rag-ringlets and flower garlands competing for some sort of Princessy title, you can shop, eat and drink the local cider until you find yourself joining in the Morris dancing. Despite the coachloads of sharp elbowed thirsty golden-agers from Weymouth, it remains a seriously fun day out not least because, did I mention, it’s free?
Fire, Fire! Museum of London, to 17 April
We’re going to London, to buy Heat Magazine! We’re going to….OK, OK, it’s for an exhibition. But this is a goodie – a fab temporary exhibit showing how London rose from the ashes of the Great Fire 350 years ago. Step into Pudding Lane and see what life was like for ordinary Londoners in the 17th century, see how the flames spread across the city, experience the destruction through the eyes of people who were there at the time, all that good stuff. I’m not missing this one.
Annie, Piccadilly Theatre, London, from 23 May
Heads up on this one – tickets are going fast so book yours now to see comedy megastar Miranda Hart high kicking, falling over and passing out as Miss Hannigan. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some legwarmers to put on…
Right you lovely lot, it’s festival time. Don’t miss out on those early bird tix – pick from our Wilts Festival Guide