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Jump into June! 30+ joyous things to do in Wilts this month

From beekeeping to champagne tours, open gardens to dinosaurs, we've worked out all the best bits Wilts has to offer this June! And (mostly) kept it Jubilee-free

FESTIVALS

Live @ the Farm, River Bourne Community Farm, Laverstock, Thursday 2 June 

We’re all hoping for a hot one this coming Bank Holiday, Thursday, mainly so we can sugar-crash on the grass post-street party. But if you’re already getting a bit jaded from all those Union Jacks, scope out this live, one-day, tiara-free music fest that’s raising money for the Community Farm on which it’s held. Bop about to Bob Marley covers band The Marley Experience and AC DC tribute act Hells Bells or gorge yourself on all the (non-afternoon-tea) food and drink stalls.  

Vintage Nostalgia Festival, Stockton Park, Stockton, 2-5 June 

Desperate for a do-over? This annual retro-fest actively encourages 24/7 vintage dress-up, with specialist hair and make-up artists on site and a Best Dressed competition too. Add to that swing & jive lessons, plenty of live music, a Thursday night hoedown, classic cars and plenty of food and drink, and this could be literally be the closest Wiltshire comes to unravelling the secrets of time-travel this year. 

Corsham Walking Festival, in and around Corsham, 10-12 June 

Toss your Timberlands in your rucksack and trot off to West Wiltshire for a weekend of guided walks, plus free Mystery Walk (oooh) and a Children’s Treasure Hunt. Held over three days, each route has a group leader to guide you across different terrain – choose from Easy, Moderate or Challenging. Booking ahead is a must as a few of the 17 walks offered are already sold out, but a day in this town is worth it – not only is it home to several Muddy Awards finalists, but it’s also where much of Poldark was filmed.  

Bradford on Avon Food Festival, Victory Field, Bradford on Avon, 11 and 12 June 

Fancy foraging Muddy-style? Pop along to Bradford on Avon’s dedicated food festival and experience the thrill of rooting out unusual and/or local delicacies in a field without getting your hands dirty. Organisers Lotte and Jonnie Cook are back for a third year with a cornucopia of artisan food stalls, a street food market, live music, cooking classes and artisan homeware sellers too. Even better, they have extended their family fun entertainment to include facepainting and a circus tent with free activities for the kids. That should keep them occupied while you visit the Gin Bar…Tickets in advance or at the gate. 

Community Choral Festival, Town Gardens Bowl, Swindon, 12 June 

Sing your heart out in Swindon as choirs from all over the county get together to perform at this outdoor charity concert. Participating and listening is free but you’ll be able to buy food and drink from the concession stalls. The day aims to raise money for and awareness about organisers The Open Door Centre, a group providing opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities. Absolutely any choir of any ability can participate, so silence your inner Simon Cowell and go along to support the plucky performers.  

Stonehenge Solstice Festival, Stonehenge Campsite, 18-21 June 

Stonehenge is to Wiltshire what Big Ben is to London so you can’t do this part of the world without observing Summer Solstice. On Monday 20th June, English Heritage are giving everyone free access to celebrate at the stones overnight, from 7pm to 8am on Tuesday 21st June (the longest day). Although you can’t camp, you can drive into the car park and use that as your base. Just make sure you set your alarm for sunrise!

KIDS

The Secret Garden, Bowood House, 10 June

Innovative performers New Creations Collective bring Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Edwardian childhood classic to life with music and dancing in the beautiful surroundings of Bowood House. Pack blankets and a picnic or pick something up before the show at the Treehouse Cafe.

A Day on the Farm, Hartley Farm, Winsley, 12 June

Entertain your little lambs with forest school challenges, meeting furry animal friends and hopping on tractor rides at Hartley Farm’s annual kids’ day. Don’t worry you’ll feel left out – there’s a Family Olympics activity waiting for you to sign up as captain, and a very nice newly converted barn for coffee and cake afterwards. Booking advised.

Sevington Victorian School, Sevington, 12 June

Take the kids to Sevington School’s open day and they’ll soon be begging to go back to their actual educational establishment. That’s because while visiting this former Victorian schoolhouse makes a charming and interesting day out – teaching us what it was like to go to school in the 19th century – 21st century pupils will also realise that discipline over 100 years ago meant a the dunce’s cap and use of a cane. Detention suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

Roves Family Fun Day, Roves Farm, Sevenhampton, 18 June

Gotta love living in a rural county during the summer months – so many agricultural-themed activities! Take Roves Farm near Swindon, which celebrates 30 years this June. They’ve planned a whole day of celebrations you wouldn’t find at any city do: Tractor rides, animal racing, bale roll, welly wanging and a big old BBQ to name a few. Now that’s what I call Country Life.

Royal Scarecrows, in and around Kington Langley, 18 – 19 June 

Worzel Gummidge and friends get the royal treatment this month as part of this popular family trail. Spot the Scarecrows dressed as Kings and Queens as you walk through the village. 

Calne Summer Festival and Carnival, Calne 25 June

With a funfair, canoe taster sessions, surf simulator, street food stalls and, er, Human Skittle Zorbing, this family fun-day should help wean your progeny off their screens for an afternoon. Culminates in a town-centre carnival procession at 4.30pm where you can glean some good ideas for your next festival outfit.

Dinosaur World Live, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 14-15 June

Your little terrors will love this interactive show that promises to introduce kids to their favourite prehistoric creatures like the flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Segnosaurus!

ART

Raku Retreat, Messums, Tisbury, 30 May – 5 June 

Now when I tell you there’s an artistic exhibition deep in the Wiltshire countryside called ‘Naked Raku’, don’t get any ideas that this is some kind of naturist creative happening. It’s the name of the latest show by leading UK ceramicist David Roberts, who specialises in a firing technique called RAKU. In fact the process is so specialist that Messums are dedicating a whole week to exploring it, including the exhibition (2 June-4 July) and a supper club on 2 June where David Roberts will be speaking. Fully clothed.

Icons of the 80s, Parade House, Trowbridge, 11-13 June

Shoulder pads, big hair, men in make-up – no I’m not talking Ru Paul’s Drag Race but the coolest photo exhibition Trowbridge has seen in a long while – a series of 60 shots of 1980’s icons taken for the iconic Blitz magazine.

Head in the Clouds, Pound Arts, Corsham, 3 June- 2 July 

Artist Miriam Sheppard has taken her inspiration from the clouds, sun and sky for this exhibition of her paintings and graphite work. Part of Corsham’s Green Sky Eco Festival which also includes a Silent Disco and which runs from 13 -19 June. 

Robert Capa: Close Enough, Messums, Tisbury, 11 June – 10 July 

Now that we have professional-quality cameras on iPhones and analogues, we’re almost immune to the impact of images, but in the 20th Century, taking photographs was a more rarefied experience. Robert Capa was a Hungarian-American war photographer, photo-journalist and the only civilian photographer to land on Omaha beach on D-Day in World War Two. Only 11 of the photographs he took that day have survived –  and, along with this original Leica camera, on display for the first time in Wiltshire, they form part of this insight into the history of conflict photography. 

COMEDY

Edinburgh Festival Warm Ups, Pound Arts, Corsham, 7-9 June and 11 June

No need to schlep it 400 miles to Scotland for your jokes this Summer – those kind peeps at Pound Arts Corsham have booked a series of funny double acts appearing at Edinburgh Festival in August, including Sophie Duker (who you’ll recognise from the current series of Taskmaster) and Josh Weller (above), Eleanor Tiernan and Glenn Moore, and Simon Brodkin and Luke Kempner.

FOOD

Italian Supper Club, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, 10 June and 24 June

I can’t think of a prettier place for Summer dining that on the terrace at the Iford Manor Cafe and Kitchen- so it’s lucky that head chef Matthew Briddon is running two Italian-themed supper clubs there in June. He’s planning six courses including Antipasti, Crab with chive butter, slow roast braised beef and homemade ice-cream – safe to say there’ll be no hope of bikini-wearing that weekend. 

Supper Club, No 10 Tea Garden Avoncliff, 18 June 

While I’m on the subject of food, No 10 Tea Garden is repeating the success of its May supper club on its new, purpose-built, covered outdoor terrace with a sumptuous four-course menu, paired with wines from local experts Cru Wine Emporium. Don’t mind if I do. 

THEATRE

As You Like It, Rack Close, Salisbury, 10 and 11 June

Male actors performing Shakespeare in women’s clothes? How terribly modern. Except in Shakespeare’s day, that was the norm. Watch all-male theatre troupe The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform this sparkling comedy in the open-air as part of the Salisbury International Arts Festival – bring a picnic blanket or chair for comfort.

Nightwalks with Teenagers, Central Salisbury, 10 and 11 June 

In a brilliantly ironic twist, it won’t be you asking where the teenagers are going this weekend, it’ll be them taking you! As part of Salisbury International Arts Festival, Canadian theatre group Mammalian Diving Reflex is working with a group of young people to curate walks across the city with adults, creating the opportunity for the generations to get to know each other better. And find out first-hand the coolest places to hang. 

Tulu, Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury 14 June

High-flying acrobatics, spinning roller-skating, mind-boggling feats and juggling extraordinaire are all used to tell the inspiring tale of Ethiopian legend Deratu Tulu, who rose out of humble beginnings to become the the first African woman to win Olympic gold. 15-strong Circus Abyssinia inspire and inform, all with a soundtrack of happy Ethiopian beats.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Neeld, Chippenham, 17 June

This fast-paced, 2006 adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic is the ultimate two-faced drama, promising monster-fun this evening!

MARKETS

Corsham Creative Market, Corsham Community Campus, Corsham, 4 June

Packed full of local crafters, this well-established, monthly indoor market buzzes with creativity and community. There are up to 25 traders in the main hall and up to 15 in the exhibition space – the latter are a mix of first-time sellers, charity stalls and young entrepreneurs. June’s event inevitably includes lots of regal-themed craft activities, while the nearby library has a whole day of children’s crown-making crafts on offer, but don’t let that put you off – you can always drown your Jubilee-sorrows in the super-stylish The Methuen Arms just down the road.

Wild Herb Artisan Market, The Glove Factory, Holt, 12 June

With surroundings as offbeat as a former Glove Factory-turned-creative studios in a sleepy Wilts village, you’d expect any artisan market here to be surprising. And you wouldn’t be wrong, as organisers Wild Herb, who also run the cafe, attract an array of top quality food producers, contemporary crafters and heritage makers to their Summer event. Plus it’s the perfect excuse to sample some of Wild Herb’s delicious street food and pop into the National Trust’s The Courts Gardens nearby.

Local Makers BOA, St Margaret’s Hall, Bradford on Avon, 18 June

Pick up the best in West Wilts designer-maker finds and/or food and drink from local producers at this monthly town hall market, right by the river. Then follow the water afterwards for a picnic in Barton Farm park.

FILM

Elise Downing: Coasting, Salisbury Arts Centre, 8 June

Let’s just say I find running after my friend’s three-year-old in the park challenging enough, let alone running the length of Britain. But in 2016 Elise Downing became the first woman and youngest person to run a 5000 self-supported trip around the country – with no ultra-running experience! An amazing feat, but I have to confess it tires me out just thinking about it. Luckily we all get to have a nice sit down and watch this fascinating film about it instead.

The Tempest, Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury, 14 June

Helen Mirren switches up this Shakespeare classic by playing the lead sorcerer as the female Prospera rather than the original male Prospero. The plot’s still the same though – just your average tale of revenge, spirits, monsters, a grief-stricken king, a wise old counsellor, two treacherous brothers and a storm at sea.

OUTDOORS

Open Garden Day, Fonthill Estate, near Salisbury, 12 June

Summer’s the season for nosing about in other people’s back yards and what better pleasure than ferreting about at the Fonthill Estate, home of the 3rd Lord of Margadale of Islay and his family. Explore the ornamental kitchen garden, woodland walks with azaleas, magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons, sweet chestnuts and tall majestic oaks and the Deer Park (where sheep graze). Entrance fee raises money for MYTIME Young Carers.

Altons and Honeystreet Open Gardens Festival, 12 June

I love a good open garden day – when a private patch is open to the public to raise money for charity. But what I love even more about this event is that not only have the residents of Alton and Honeystreet have pulled off the bloomin’ impressive feat of opening at least 12 of their gardens on the same day, but they’ve added vintage car rides, Ploughman’s lunches, tea, cake, live music and plant stalls too. Sunday sorted.

Beekeeping Experience, Cadenham Manor, Chippenham, 25 June

There’s a real buzz about learning how to look after our sweet flying friends so who better to teach you than Hannah Reeves of Bees Plus ,who has 6 years experience leading groups in Hertfordshire, Wiltshire and London. Learn about the world of the honeybees followed by an inclusive lunch, then get suited up and hands on with the hive.

Evening Champagne Tour, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, 10 June

Quaff champers with William Cartwright-Higget, owner of the magical Iford Manor, as he takes you on an evening tour of his estate, describing the design, history and architecture of the house and garden.

Celebrate English Wine Week, Bluestone Vineyards, Cholderton, 18-26 June

It’s all about the picnic this summer and what better place to bed down your blanket than a local vineyard with wine on tap (ok, in a bottle). To celebrate both English Wine Week and National Picnic Week, those clever people at Bluestone Vineyards are inviting you to book a two hour slot in which you can BYO lunch to savour among the vines. All they ask is that each group buy one bottle of Bluestone’s English Sparkling Wine. You don’t even have to drink it there and then (although why wouldn’t you?). See the website for more events including a wine tasting in association with Yapp Brothers on 24 June.

WORKSHOPS

Vase Arrangement Workshop, The Gardener’s Bothy, Bowood House, Calne, 15 June

If your idea of flower arranging is chopping the bottom off stems and plonking them in pint glass then this is the workshop for you. The Crafty Gardeners will show you how to make an attractive front-facing display that looks good on a mantlepiece or table using fresh blooms, many of them British and seasonal. Oh and there’s cake. This is England people, of course there’s cake!

Modern Calligraphy for Beginners, Blue Pumpkin Studio, Salisbury, 22 June

Learn to write like a Jane Austen character at this penmanship workshop which will teach you the beautiful art of hand-lettering. You’ll go through each of the strokes and learn to link letters together and go home with your very own calligraphy kit at the end. Will make your shopping list look much more fun in future.

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