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What’s on this week

MON 5 - SUN 11 FEB

Murder, Margaret and Me, Salisbury Playhouse, 1-24 Feb

Agatha Christie and Margaret Rutherford, two of our greatest and most celebrated national treasures, should never have been friends. But they were. Their paths crossed when they found themselves at the heart of one of British cinema’s most successful franchises. However, the Miss Marple films almost didn’t get made. Murder, Margaret and Me is a story of friendship in the long-lost world of the silver screen. As Agatha and Margaret play tug of war with Marple, Agatha (being a woman who wasn’t without a secret or two herself) unearths the shocking truth buried in Margaret’s past.


Snowdrop season, Painswick Rococo Gardens, Painswick, throughout Feb

blanket of snowdrops tree trunks

Always cheery to see these white jewels popping up and if you really want to feast on the first sign of spring, head to the Rococo Gardens where you’ll also be treated to hellebores, cyclamen and wood anemone. The café is fab with homemade lunches and cakes that are incredibly hard to resist. You have been warned!


Snowdrops at Newark Park, near Wotton-under-Edge, from Sat 3 Feb

close up of a snowdrop

The Tudor hunting lodge reopens its doors after its winter rest in time for the spectacular snowdrop display in the grounds. Sooo pretty.


Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome, to Sat 3 March

Photo: Matt Crockett

The untold story of the Witches of Oz – or how two sorcery students became the Wicked Witch of the West (boo, hiss) and Glinda the Good.


Land, Sea and Sky, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, to Sat 24 Feb

Master of pastels Michael Norman, local landscape painter Kim Jarvis and wildlife artist Jackie Cox are just three of the artists in the latest exhibition at Cheltenham’s alternative gallery.


Wine-Tasting Experience, Three Choirs Vineyard, near Gloucester, throughout Feb, Tuesdays to Fridays, 10:30am

woman drinking wine

Apparently mid-week skives are good for you (read all about it here), and moderate wine drinking is too of course, so hello, do this for your health. A bit of a tour, some wine quaffing and a light lunch. That’ll cheer up February nicely thank you.


The Malthouse Collective first floor opening, Stroud, from Fri 2 Feb

upstairs gallery space at Malthouse Collective

Stroud’s eclectic interiors emporium is about to double in size, so hide your credit cards! Already an irresistible retail proposition (my husband is now limiting my visits), a new second floor will offer even more goodies including art, comic books, toys and an Audio Attic, which sounds like perfect husband bait to help me keep my Malthouse habit going.


Snowdrops at Newark Park, near Wotton-under-Edge, from Sat 3 Feb

The Tudor hunting lodge reopens its doors after its winter rest in time for the spectacular snowdrop display in the grounds. Sooo pretty.


Meet the Author: Tom Chesshyre, Calcot Manor, near Tetbury, Mon 5 Feb, 12pm for 12.30pm

Tom Chesshyre book From Source to Sea

The Times’ deputy travel editor visits Gloucestershire’s most chichi hotel to discuss his new book From Source to Sea, an account of his journey from the source of the Thames in a meadow near Cirencester all along the length of the river to London. Along the way he meets fishermen and boat builders, river police and down and outs, is a guest at a Hindu water ceremony, sleeps in a shepherd’s hut and parties on houseboats by Tower Bridge. Literature, lunch and lovely wine – that’ll sort out any Monday blues. £29.50, tel: 01666 890391,


Sushi course, Devizes, 7 Feb

Take a journey through the art of cooking sticky sushi rice, plus learn Japanese-tastic knife skills to help you make different types of beautiful looking sushi. This is your chance to find out how easy it s once you know the tips. Um, we’ll see…


Tim Vine: Sunset Milk Idiot, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 7-8 Feb

Hey people! It’s Tim Vine back on tour, telling lots of silly new jokes, showing off new homemade props, singing some new daft ditties, and all with the appearance of confidence. The following subjects will be touched upon briefly: pixie football, ice cream and nibble feeders. Come along, sit down, and laugh. The quantity won’t let up. This is comedy without a message. What an odd person. What a lot of nonsense. What else is he going to do? ‘Sunsets are in the sky, milk’s nice, and I’m an idiot.’


Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds 7 Feb – Sun 18 Feb

12 days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual festival by kids for kids. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a whole clutch of free possibilities in The Clore Ballroom, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, dance-theatre Tidy Up, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, plus debut authors comedian Harry Hill and Radio One’s Greg James.


Quartet, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Thu 8 to Sat 17

4 actors in Quartet stage play

This charming tale of a group of ageing opera singers who live in a retirement home in Kent brings to mind a cross between The Real Marigold Hotel and Private Lives. And, in fact, one of the all-star cast did star in the former, EastEnders‘ Paul Nicholas. He’s joined by Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters, Sue Holderness (Only Fools and Horses) and Drop the Dead Donkey’s Jeff Rawle for a comedy of manners about the chaos and hilarity that unfolds when rumours emerge in the home that a celebrity is coming to take up residence. Newish Everyman CEO Mark Goucher (he joined last year) puts on his production hat for this Ronald Harwood play which will go on a UK tour after its Cheltenham debut.


The Woodentops, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Fri 9 Feb, 8-11pm

band members of The Woodentops

The cult indie band formed in 1983 still sounds as good as ever and its singles, including Good Thing, will bring back sweet memories if you’re a certain vintage.


Pop-Up Restaurant, Miserden Nursery, Miserden, Fri 9 & Sat 10 Feb

plate of food

This month it’s the turn of Ruben Leon-Acosta to titillate the taste buds at Gloucestershire’s most atmospheric supper club as the Cuban chef launches the first of his Cotswold pop-up dining events Nomada. He learned his craft in Cuba, Thailand, Vietnam and Morocco, has cooked with Michelin-starred chefs, did a stint at Ottolenghi and loves rustling up rustic dishes with a Thai twist. The evening will be kicking off with a Projito, a Prosecco Mojito with lemongrass – yum! – then it’s BYO for a feast of consommé with prawn & lemongrass relish to start, a main of Thai red curry with chicken, jasmine rice & a Monks offering, and for dessert, rice caramel with sesame seeds & peanuts. Don’t mull it over too long, tickets are going fast!


MET Opera: Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore, Salisbury, 10 Feb

This live screening of Donizetti’s comic gem, staged by Bartlett Sher and conducted by Domingo Hindoyan, stars Pretty Yende as the spirited Adina, with Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino, the simple peasant who falls in love with her. Domingo Hindoyan makes his company debut conducting. salisburyartscentre


Lambing, Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Sat 10 Feb to Sun 15 April

lambs in a barn

The cutest signs of spring will be appearing on Adam Henson’s beautiful farm just in time for half term. Open-dated tickets mean you can book in then choose a day when the sun’s out (if we get one, fingers crossed!), but if we don’t there’s a new Animal Barn to cosy up in.


A Taste of the Past, Stonehenge, Sat 10 Feb – Mon 19 Feb

Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon, and is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK, but have you ever wondered how the food was prepared for the people who worked there many years ago? Take an historical trip and join Neolithic cooks for an exciting look at the food that fed the builders of Stonehenge.


Kid 4 a quid, Monkey World, nr Wareham, 10-18 Feb

Calling all kids! Yes, you big ones too. Bring a present for the primates and kids get in for only £1.


Light Up Cheltenham, various locations around Cheltenham, Sat 10 to Sun 18 Feb

drummers lit up on stairs

Photography Chris Maines Beasley

Half-term week will see buildings around the Regency spa town lit up in a two-colour theme, which on Valentine’s Day will switch to smoochy red. The event kicks off at 5pm on Sat 10 with street theatre drumming group Spark! putting on a percussion extravaganza in the new public space in The Brewery Quarter next to Cosy Club. Then at 6.15pm the Cheltenham Community Choir will perform near The Queen’s Hotel. Floodlights will be seen on The Municipal Offices, The Queen’s Hotel, Boots, the Brewery Quarter and the Town Hall, with plans afoot  to try to light the new John Lewis building on the High Street too. (Perhaps that will hurry up its completion date – how long can we wait?!)


Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, 10 Feb – 11 March

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.


The Little Mix Experience, Swindon, 11 Feb

If you’re a fan of one of X Factor’s finest exports you’re sure to L.O.V.E. The Little Mix Experience. Four hugely talented girls pay tribute to one of the UK’s finest girl bands. With breathtaking dance moves, replica costumes and some of the finest vocals in the UK, this is a high-energy show from beginning to end.

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