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What’s on this weekend

FRI 15 - SUN 17 SEPT

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.

Betrayal, Salisbury Playhouse, 7-27 Sept

Jerry is a literary agent; Emma runs an art gallery; Robert is a publisher. Emma and Robert are married and Jerry is Robert’s best friend, but Emma and Jerry have a seven-year affair and Robert has secrets of his own. Well, that’s not going to end well, is it?


The Cells Residency, Trowbridge Town Hall, 9-18 Sept

An exhibition in their basement cells revealing the creative results of time spent in the space from June to September 2017 by invited Artist in Residence Andrea V Wright. Sound bonkers? You might be right!


Wait Until Dark, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Tue 12 to Sat 16 Sept

Get ready to feel the fear! Set in London in the 1960s, this thriller by Dial M For Murder author Frederick Knott, follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman alone in her apartment plunged in darkness with the phone line cut dead and murderous visitors. I’m hiding under my seat already…

Back to School for Grown Ups, The Guild at 51, Cheltenham, Tue 12 Sept to Sun 5 Nov

Remember the pleasure of buying lots of new things for the start of school term, that lovely smell of leather and pleasingly neat stationery before it all got mucked up in your bag? Well this exhibition will take you back to those halcyon days with exquisite handmade leather goods, books and pens – which are all for sale.

Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, Blenheim Palace, 13 – 17 Sept

show jumping blenheim horse trials

Tally-ho! The 27th annual Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials return this week, a three day event over four days (go figure) featuring dressage, cross country and show-jumping. It’s very horsey as you can imagine – the trade stands are rammed with tweed, leather boots and strange equine fashion, but you get great views of the competition (nearly so close you can touch in some instances), and it’s a slickly run event in stunning surrounds.  This year the popular Fun ride route has been changed with more jumps and both a long and short course, plus there’s a new shopping pavilion. Horsey heaven.

Sky Safari – Hot Air Balloon Festival, Longleat, 15-17 Sept

Following the huge success of last year’s event, Longleat will be once again playing host to over 50 hot air balloons in every conceivable shape, size and colour which will be making a series of spectacular mass launches and taking part in magical night glows throughout the three-day festival (weather permitting).

Family Fiesta, Salisbury Arts Centre, 16 Sept

A giant whale with surprises and stories in his tummy is on his way to Salisbury for Family Fiesta. Enclosed in a lobster-net fence and guarded by a nosy Fish Wife, brave swashbucklers will encounter a shipwrecked Pirate with a treasure tale to tell and a real live mermaid with a haunting siren’s song and an intriguing secret. Get stuck into workshops and enjoy free performances throughout the day.

Murder Mystery, Stanton Manor, Chippenham, 16 Sept

Murder on the dance floor…The former judges of Strict Lee’s Come Dancing Show are having a VIP Dinner to celebrate the relaunch of the famous show after five years off the air. They have had just a one off Reunion Show and ratings were through the roof. The network wants them back but at what cost……surely not murder??? Anyone up for a murder mystery night?

Daylesford Cookery School, Supper with Rose Prince, 16 Sept 

Fancy a night in the Cotswolds? Food writer and best-selling author Rose Prince rocks up at Daylesford Cookery School for a four-course, seasonal tasting menu created by Rose featuring dishes and ideas from her latest book, DINNER & PARTY. Yum, yum and yum.

Ultimate Gin Evening, Grittleton House, Chippenham, 16 Sept

Calling all gin lovers for the Ultimate Gin evening in association with The Cotswold Distillery. Well, that’s me then…
Ticket price includes 4 course meal plus canapés, prepared by their Michelin trained chef, 7 glasses of Gin (3 created especially by the mixologist to pair with the starter, main & cheese course) and music by Paper Moon swing band.

London Design Festival, various locations, 16 – 24 Sept

This festival, now in its 15th year, is just incredible – hundreds of events taking place across the city at venues including the V&A where you can see this stunning Reflection Room, by designer Flynn Talbot,  an immersive coloured light experience that will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery.

The Handmade Fair, Hampton Court, Fri 15 – Sun 17 Sept

I can’t even sew labels onto school clothes so this kind of event is way out of my comfort zone. However, you may be au fait with a with needle and thread, sewing machine, knitters and fabric scissors, in which case fill your boots at this slick annual offering from everyone’ favourite Head Girl Kirsty Allsopp. Joining her are interior designer and author Sophie Conran and founder of Not On The High Street, Holly Tucker, and, of course, Kirstie Allsopp. Plus there’s the chance to try something new in the interactive workshops – from calligraphy to wirework, machine sewing to screen printing.

The Handmade Fair

The Vintage Collections LFW, The Yard, Shoreditch Sun 17 Sept 

women with short blonde hair holding up purple vintage dress girl looking over shoulder in cream vintage dress

Open to industry and the style-loving public this London Fashion Week, Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair arrives at Shoreditch venue The Yard for one day of unique shopping. 50 of the best vintage traders from across the UK selling Chanel and Gucci, and vintage faves like Biba and Ossie Clark, plus original designs dating from the Victorian era to the 1980s will all blow your retro rocket sky high. A major resource for the fashion industry, the pieces sourced at the fair go on to be next season’s trends, so here’s your chance to be fashion forward.

11am until 5pm at The Yard, 89&1/2 Worship Street, London, EC2A 2BF. Entry to the fair is £4 (£2 for students) on the door.

Some Guys Have All The Luck: The Rod Stewart Story, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 18 Sept

Come on, admit it, Rod Stewart is a guilty pleasure. Who can’t resist swaying along to Maggie May, Sailing and the classic Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (You do? Thanks very much.) From street busker to rock god, follow the life of the blond-haired icon brilliantly portrayed by Paul Metcalfe.

The Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy Festival, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 18 to Sat 23 Sept

It’s the laughter festival! And there are more comedians than you can shake a stick at in this week-long giggle fest. From Lee Nelson to Alan Davies, book yourself in and give your abs a happy workout.

Journey by Melanie Cormack-Hicks, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, to Sun 24 Sept

The first solo show by this local artist with a talent for intense landscapes will include smaller works produced outdoors as well as her larger, studio-based pieces. Open fields, woods and the River Severn provide local inspiration, while the countryside of Devon and Scotland also draw her eye.


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. 


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.


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.


Cliveden Literary Festival, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct

clivden house side view os grand stone building foggy garden

The River Café’s Ruth Rogers, novelists Robert Harris and Ian McEwan, and historian Lady Antonia Fraser are among the speakers at Cliveden’s refined gathering. The 5 star country house hotel has held literary salons since the 17th century, inspiring writers from Pope to Swift to Tennyson, so you’ll certainly be in rarefied company. And be sure to have a snoop around the exquisite grounds while you’re there.


The Muddy Literary Salon at Thame Arts & Literature Festival, Thurs 12 Oct

Did someone say girls’ night out? There are only 120 tickets available to see five frankly awesome authors at our inaugural literary event so be quick! Fashion/food blogger Sasha Wilkins (aka LibertyLondonGirl), Clover Stroud, Elizabeth Heathcote, Tamsina Perry and Alexandra Heminsley make up the line up, plus there’ll be more Prosecco than you can shake a stick at. Read all about it, or go straight for the jugular and book here for a bargainous £10.

Find more ideas here

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