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What’s on this week


Bowood Proms Weekend, Bowood House, 5-6 Aug

Classic Ibiza Concert- the Urban Soul Orchestra and DJ Goldierocks will be bringing some of the biggest dance tracks from the last 20 years to life at Bowood House and Gardens on Saturday. A chill-out set gets the open-air classical dance party started. As the sun goes down, the vocalists and USO’s dynamic musicians will ramp things up for the evening to break into festive-club mode with accompanying lasers.

Great British Prom- music from the home nations will ring out across the Capability Brown parkland. The National Symphony Orchestra, led by world famous conductor Anthony Inglis, will pave the way and be joined live on stage by renowned artists such as soprano Philippa Healey, Classical Brit Award-winning Welsh vocal group Only Men Aloud and The Band of the Home Counties Pipes & Drums. A spectacular fireworks finale will be choreographed to the music.

Jurassic Farm, Roves Farm, Swindon, to 11 Aug

Join the Roves Farm ranger to detect and even discover a brand new species of dinosaur. Go on a tractor ride farm safari through their very own dinosaur territories…

Shawshank Redemption / Pretty Woman, Stanton House, Swindon, 12-13 Aug

Bring your own blanket, find a spot, pop the champagne and enjoy movies under the stars. Or you can buy a chair, a run and a blanket. You can even buy an air bed, and take it home afterwards!

New Forest Fairy Festival, Burley, Wilts, 12-13 August

Young and old (and seriously unbalanced) will love this little gem. For the truly wacky this little number celebrates the essence of Fairies and Elves, with a massive line up of activities, live bands, Morris dancers, story telling, belly dancing, platform mediumship (yep, that kind of medium), a healing area with healing workshops, puppet shows, OK, stop! The line up is pretty sketchy as of now but they have signed some kid wearing pixie ears.

Burley Park, Burley, Wilts,

Mamma Mia / Ghostbusters, Lydiard House, Swindon, 12-13 Aug

Watch a classic film under the stars in the gorgeous setting of Lydiard House.

Young Composers and Songwriters, Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon, 14-16 Aug
A three-day project to create original music based on a folk tale, led by a professional composer.
Young Chefs Cookery Course, Devizes, dates in Aug
These Mini Chefs and Young chefs courses are designed to give your youngster a firm foundation that will provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to grow into competent and confident cooks. They are also lots of fun and they will bring home the results of the session to share with the family. Yum.

Starcast Summer Workshop, Salisbury, 14-18 August

Get ’em off your hands and sign them up for some good old dancing, singing and acting over the loooooooong summer break. Bet they get to wear a cool costume too.

Salisbury Racecourse Meetings, to 16 August

Salisbury Racecourse is one of England’s most historic racecourses, racing having taken place at the picturesque downland course since the 16th century. Salisbury stages a number of meetings during the summer months when it successfully combines high quality racing with a friendly and enjoyable day out. Facilities include bars and catering outlets, and a big screen opposite the Stands.

A Sublime Theatre, in the garden at Salisbury Playhouse, 17-19 Aug

Inspired by the current exhibition at Salisbury Museum British Art: Ancient Landscapes, Stage 65, Salisbury Playhouse’s Youth Theatre, will be working with Kazzum to create a special theatre performance in the beautiful surroundings of the garden at Salisbury Museum. British Art: Ancient Landscapes includes work by John Constable, JMW Turner, Eric Ravilious, John Piper and others, focussing on how our surroundings have been a continual inspiration to artists across the centuries.

Summer Fun, Wiltshire Music Centre, to 18 August
Highlights include a contemporary dance intensive with award-winning Neon Dance Company and Street Theatre, where budding actors can devise a new play in two days. Young rockers will experience playing in a band at Rock It and aspiring composers and songwriters can take part in a three-day course where they’ll write new music based on a folk tale.

Alice, Oxford University Parks, to 19 Aug

More from quirky Oxford theatre company Creation. This time they invite you to fall down a rabbit hole in the green gorgeousness of University Parks for a family-friendly production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. This particular wonderland is in a Big Top so inclement weather be damned!

Tractor Ted Diggers & Dumpers Weekend, Bowood House and Gardens, 19-20 Aug

Those pesky tractors take over serene Bowood for the weekend. The daily lure of Tractor Ted’s Little Farm at Bowood goes into full throttle over these dates as the UK’s favourite little green tractor, Tractor Ted, launches its very first ‘Diggers & Dumpers Weekend“. Children and older fans of big construction and farm machinery will have the chance to discover them at close quarters: climbing on board a dumper truck or sitting in the driver’s seat of a digger, for instance.While you’re there check out the fab-tastic Adventure Playground, plus there’ll be fun farm-related activities from welly-wanging and tractor and trailer rides to a visit to Tractor Ted’s Little Farm to meet the residents including pigs, lambs and pygmy goats. Perhaps there’ll be the chance to watch a chick hatching…

Field Trip, West Ashton, Wilts, 25-28 August

An electro fest with an earthy vibe. What? I hear you cry. What I mean is, it’s house, techno, drum and bass, electrofunk and breaks (Goldie Lookin Chain and Catz ‘N Dogz announced so far) serving locally sourced organic food in biodegradable packaging. You like?

West Aston, Wilts,

Great British Food Festival, Bowood House, 26-28 Aug

Producers representing the best in local, seasonal and speciality food and drink will be drawn together to present a taste of the best of Wiltshire and Great British produce – sample, enjoy and buy. Great Britain’s amazing mix of exotic cultures and cuisines will be represented too: Thai, Mexican, Asian as well as pulled pork, prime steak, and the best local burgers and sausages all get a look-in.

Devizes Fest, Wilts, 27-28 August

Is it a music festival? Is it a carnival? Is it a foodie feast? All three and more, I reckon, plus a picnic in the park, a parade and a confetti battle. This festival is seriously cool, with the best of the best street performers, contemporary circus acts, dancers, musicians and walkabout shows from across Europe and the UK. Line up not announced yet but it’s a good excuse to listen to some tunes while not wearing wellies.

Devizes, Wilts,

Wind in the Willows,Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village, nr Chippenham, 31 Aug

Giffords Circus, to Sun 24 Sept

This year the inimitable Giffords Circus is recreating a 17th-century Spanish court and putting on a candle-lit international gymnastic show with dancing horses, a live band and everyone’s favourite clown Tweedy. It kicks off on Friday 12 May at the circus’s home ground of Fennells Farm near Stroud, then tours Gloucs, Oxon and London until landing bang smack in Wilts from 24 August for 2 weeks. Worth booking early, this one.

Dinosaur World, Banbury Museum, to 9 Sept

This is a summer hols saviour if you have little ones who love dinosaurs. At Banbury Museum they can create their own dinosaur lands, creature, masks and fossil collages and even a hatching dino baby. It’s on Saturdays and every day during the Oxon school holidays, with two daily sessions: 10:30am – 12:30pm or 2pm – 4pm.

Come Fly With Me Summer Stage School, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, to Fri 11 Aug

Got a tween or a teen with ambitions to be the next Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone? Then quick, get them booked into this summer stage school, which will show 11 to 19 year olds the ropes (literally – they’re going to be doing aerial flying!) of musical theatre, including performing songs from musicals like Mary Poppins and Footloose and acting out extracts from shows such as Metamorphosis and Ostrich Boys. And it’s not just for front-of-stage types – the more technically minded can get their hands on the lighting controls or muck in with set design behind the scenes. At the end of the two weeks, there will be a performance on the Everyman’s main stage where you can feel your heart fill with pride.
Places cost £200 and can be booked at the Box Office on 01242 572573 or at

Ocean Invaders
Sea Life London Aquarium, London SE1  ■ ongoing

The London Aquarium never disappoints. The beautiful, bonkers and plain ugly get the full point and stare treatment. This month jellyfish joins the celebrity gold fish bowl with a new permanent exhibition dedicated to Ocean Invaders’. Discover the most dangerous species and create our own digital jellyfish. It’s cheaper to book in advance, £19.50 for adults, £14.50 under 16s and under 3s for FREE!
■ London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB.


Whales Beneath the Surface
■  Natural History Museum
, London SW7  ■ to Feb 2018

A major new exhibition exploring the extraordinary life of whales. Dive through one of the world’s most compelling evolutionary journeys in this family exhibitionwhen more than 100 specimens from the Museum’s collection will be on display together for the first time, from parts of a colossal blue whale to a small harbour porpoise. Travel back 50 million years to the beginning of the evolution of the whale. See how whales became sociable, aquatic mammals, some of which can communicate over vast distances.

■ Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD. 


Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail
■ Museum of London Docklands  ■ until 3 Sept

Museum of London

I saw a preview of this exhibition on the telly and it looks amazing. It’s the most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail to be displayed and has gone on display alongside the story of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Over 10,000 artefacts shine a light on people in almost every important period of the Capital’s history from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. There are skeletons, tools, pottery, even makeshift ice skate blades fashioned from bones. Entry is free.
■ Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Dock Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL.


Robot Zoo
Horniman Museum, London SE23  ■ until Sun 29 Oct

It doesn’t get much cooler than a robotic zoo. Let’s be fair it needs to be impressive to schlep deep into south east London. But it’ll be worth it to see a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-ft tentacles and a mahoosive house fly with a vacuum cleaner for a mouth at the Horniman’s Museum in Honor Oak. All the robot animals are made from everyday machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the creations will reveal how real anatomy works. Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time. Tickets: Adults £7; Kids, £4.
■ The Horniman Museum and Gardens, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ.


■ Westfield, London W12 ■ ongoing

Those who’ve been rave about this place at Westfield. A friend from overseas bought her sons for a rammed fortnight in London during which they saw pretty much every museum and attraction and this was their favourite. It’s a child-size ‘city’ where the kids are in charge (scary, no?). It provides real life role play experience for 4-14 year olds, blending learning and reality with entertainment. They can try more than 60 role-play activities (actor, doctor, police officer etc) with each  experience crafted to teach kids essential life skills like team work and independence. Younger kids can hang out in the dedicated Early Years area. And you can, you know, go shopping.
■ KidZania, Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 7GA.


Science Museum
■ Kensington, London ■ ongoing

Masses on at this ever brilliant museum – spend the whole day here – including the new exhibit of  Tim Peake’s Spacecraft – Soyuz TMA-19M.  Also on is a brand new exhibition Robots, which reveals our 500-year quest to make machines human, from a 16th century mechanised monk to some of film’s most iconic robotic creations and the very latest humanoids. Finally, your kids will love Wonderlab, the newest and most spectacular interactive gallery in the world.
■ Science Museum, Exhibition Road, Kensington, London SW7 2DD.


Wizarding Wardrobes
■ Harry Potter Studios, Leavesden WD25  ■ Fri 21 July – Mon 4 Sep


There’s always a new angle to explore at the wily Harry Potter experience and this Summer we look back over the 250,000 costumes that have been stitched up since during the 10 years of filming. From initial sketches to the finished costume, this special feature will take you on a journey through the behind-the-scenes process that brought our favourite characters to life.
■ Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR.


The Sherlock Holmes Experience
■ Madame Tussaud’s ■ Mon 18 July – Fri 30 Sept

A departure for Madam Tussauds, this new Sherlock Holmes Experience (included in the normal ticket price) is live walk-through adventure. Journeying from 221B Baker Street to Dartmoor where a demon hound lurks, with plenty of stops along the way. You must help Dr. Watson find the missing Sherlock Holmes to reach a dramatic ‘watery’ conclusion. The experience is totally interactive with textured theatrical sets laden with detail, hidden clues and special effects. Bring your own deerstalker.
■ Madam Tussauds, Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London NW1 5LR.


Star Wars Identies
■ O2 London ■ ends 3 Sept

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

Learn about the characters of Star Wars in a new dimension through this exhibition which boasts some 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films <squeal!>.There’s also an interactive identity quest that helps you learn your Star Wars identity (please not Jabba the Hut!) It’s all about what forces shape you – geddit? It’s open daily from 10am onwards till Sept so plenty of time to catch this one.  Tickets cost from £20 adults, £10 children and £48 family off peak.
■ The 02, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX.


Thorpe Park
■ Chertsey ■ ongoing

The latest attraction at Thorpe Park is super-scary sounding Derren Brown’s ‘Ghost train: Rise of the Demon’ – seriously not for the faint-hearted, with live action and physical effects, it’s probably not one for your toddlers! There’s plenty for little ones to do though and the website has a brilliant ‘which rides are for you’ search by height function so you can check out the gentler options in advance. Great idea!
■ Thorpe Park, Staines Rd, Chertsey KT16 8PN. Tel: 0871 663 1673.


London Zoo
■ Regent’s Park London ■ ongoing

Visit the amazing London Zoo and see  Land of the Lions, a new immersive exhibit with walkways from where you can explore Indian-themed areas  – including a train station, crumbling temple clearing, high street and guard hut.  No extra charge – it’s all included in entry to the Zoo.
■ London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY. London Zoo

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