What’s on this weekend
FRI 29 SEP - SUN 1 OCT
Back to School for Grown Ups, The Guild at 51, Cheltenham, 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. guildcrafts.org.uk
Wait Until Dark, Salisbury Playhouse, 25-30 Sept
Set amidst the social turbulence of 60’s London the play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman who, left alone in her apartment, becomes embroiled with a group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam. As the tension notches up, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with the phone line cut dead and the house plunged into darkness, can Suzy outwit the murderous visitors?
Dreamboats and Petticoats, Swindon, 25-30 Sept
Inspired by the smash-hit multi-million selling albums Dreamboats and Petticoats One, Two, Three, Four and Five, the West End sell out sensation Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era and we’re excited for it to return to the Wyvern Theatre this September.
Children’s Literature Festival Break, Woolley Grange, Bradford-on-Avon 29 Sep – 8 Oct
Stay for two nights during the Bath Children’s Literature Festival and treat yourself to a 30 minute complimentary treatment in the spa whilst your child enjoys storytelling, dressing up and crafty book themed activities in the Woolley Bears Den. Also included is breakfast on both mornings, a two course dinner for two (family or candlelit dining) and, if requested, a courtesy taxi to and from Bradford on Avon station for the 12 minute train ride into the heart of Bath and the book festival. Yippee, I say!
Marlborough Literature Festival, 28 Sept – 1 Oct
The eighth annual Marlborough LitFest brings the best writing to the historic market town of Marlborough. The LitFest has grown in popularity year on year and is now an established event in the town calendar. The 2017 programme is currently being put together and includes a wide variety of speakers throughout the weekend. Author Will Self opens the festival this year and other events include new and young fiction writers as well as established names, children’s authors, creative writing workshops and poetry events.
Softer: Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, Thu 28 Sep to Sun 31 Dec
The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace (my kids still talk about Ai Wei Wei back in 2015), Holzer will be creating new work directly addressing our military and political history – eeek! For this show she’s developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Formal Gardens after dark in a series of night time public events. Sounds cool right? Plus visitors can also explore more meditative areas featuring examples of Holzer’s best known work. blenheimpalace.com
Still Lifes Michael Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, Fri 29 Sept to Sun 5 Nov
The sublime sculpture of this local duo who create beautifully textured, hand-carved wooden vessels from their studio in Stroud will take your breath away. And you’ll definitely want to take one home with you, so come after pay day. thechapelarts.com
Barnstormers Comedy, Salisbury Arts Centre, 29 Sept
Ending the month with a healthy dose of laughter, Barnstormers brings you three great comedians, including hugely talented topical stand-up Ian Stone, named ‘One of the top ten stand-ups in Britain’ by The Independent; deadpan Geordie Gary Colman, ‘A seasoned gagsmith with a sharp eye for the absurdities of family life’ and one great act, as yet to be named. ‘Least we hope they’re great, after that build up.
The Daylesford Health & Wellness Retreat, Daylesford Cookery School, 29 -30 Sept
This two day retreat allows you to experience the best of both The Cookery School and Bamford Haybarn Spa, whilst staying in the Daylsford cottages. In collaboration with Daylesford’s resident nutritionist, Rhaya Jordan and yoga teacher Nikki Jackson, take part in deeply relaxing classes as well as restorative massages and facials. There are demos and hands on classes in The Cookery School, plus a Chef’s Table Supper on Saturday evening where the chefs create a health-giving, seasonal tasting menu right in front of you. All you have to do is relax (and, er, don’t look at your bill till you get home).
Sugar Free Bake Off, Salisbury, Fri 29 Sept
In aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Body Fabulous Nutrition in Salisbury is co-hosting a sugar free Bake Off coffee morning at Parkwood Heath and Fitness, with a top prize of £100 for the best sugar free cake! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Cotswold Airport Open Day, Cirencester, 30 Sept
A bit of a boys’ day out (though I quite fancy it myself to TBH), you’ll find vintage and military vehicles and planes, wartime re-enactments, steam traction engines, control tower and airside tours, pleasure flights, balloon rides, a beer tent… Phew, I’ve run out of breath. Basically, you’re going to have a good day that will culminate in a night glow balloon son et lumière. And it’s only a fiver to get in with under 16s free! cotswoldairport.com
Calne Town Crier Competition, Calne, 30 Sept
Nope, I’m not kidding. Head down to the Beach Terrace to witness some of the best Town Criers in Wiltshire.
Family Fun in the Woods – Harvest Time, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, 30 Sept
An autumnal session of fun, fruit and food around the fire. With a special site in the woodland, these are fun bushcraft sessions are fun. No need to book.
Shackleton, Corsham, 30 Sept
Live music, playful performance and puppetry combine to tell a tale of one man and his dog who rediscover the thrills of adventure. Mr Middle has created a predictable routine for himself and his loyal dog, Shackleton, who longs for adventure. One day the garden gate is left ajar…
The Forest Showcase Food Festival, Speech House Hotel, Coleford, Sun 1 Oct
A food festival with a difference, you’ll find your usual gourmet burgers, fine cheeses and handmade Scotch eggs, but there’ll also be crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers to munch on… Seriously! Creepy Crawly Cookery is a becoming a thing now and if you’re brave enough you can take part in the Great Critter Cook Off and vote for your favourite insect dish. Or, tuck into the fare of three top local chefs from Tudor Farmhouse, Harts Barn Cookery School and Speech House Hotel, enjoy a child-friendly Middle East-inspired mezze and then kick back with a speciality gin and listen to some jazz. Nice. forestshowcase.org
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 exhibition, when 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. nhm.ac.uk
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. madametussauds.com
■ 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. horniman.ac.uk
BOOK NOW FOR…
Cliveden Literary Festival, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct
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.