Check out the new workshops at Fisherton this month – you’ve got to be a tad more creative than me to get stuck in but they include knitting, glass workshops, jewellery and hand-painting furniture.
Children’s Literature Festival Break, Woolley Grange, Bradford-on-Avon to 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!
Around the World in 80 Days, Salisbury Playhouse, 2-7 Oct
The mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his life’s fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. Join Fogg and his loyal valet, Passepartout, as they voyage from the misty alleys of Victorian London to the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in a race against the clock.
Legally Blonde, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 2–Sat 7 Oct
When Elle Woods’ boyfriend Warner dumps her the night before going to Harvard Law School, she decides to get into Harvard too and be the ‘serious’ person her ambitious boyfriend thinks he needs to further his career. By the end of the show, she’s still resolutely blonde, but no longer judged on it *sob*. With Lucie Jones (Eurovision), Rita Simons (EastEnders), Bill Ward (Emmerdale) and Charlie Stubbs (Coronation Street).
Our View Art Exhibition, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, 3-25 Oct
Take10 Artists are celebrating 15 years of painting together in different locations, both at home and abroad. Their paintings explore the world around us and express their diverse interests and styles through the use of a variety of media. In this selling exhibition browse their artwork and chat to the artists.
Moscow State Circus, Bristol, Weds 4–Sun 15 Oct
The world famous circus sets up the Big Top on Durdham Downs this month. Their latest show, Gostinitsa, combines the best of the circus art forms – trapeze, tightrope, unicyclists, clowns, you name it – with the Art Deco glitz and glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles, Corsham, Fri 6 Oct
The world première of this Sherlock Holmes caper is a hilarious, deeply daft theatrical explosion. Holmes and Watson are called upon to investigate the shocking Whitechapel murders, but when the evidence points to only one inconceivable conclusion about the identity of Jack the Ripper, is our super sleuth prepared to believe the unbelievable? This witty, laugha- minute pastiche is a raucous night out.
Cheltenham Literature Festival, various locations, Cheltenham, Fri 6 to Sun 15 Oct
It’s October which means it’s time for the literati to descend on Cheltenham and this year the town is aquiver with excitement at the arrival of the hot-ticket guest Hillary Rodham Clinton. No tickets left, obvs, they sold out in seconds (if you’re a diehard fan, you could always hang around the racecourse on Sunday 15 and try and catch glimpse of her), but there are loads of other juicy events, including tonnes of stuff for the kids. If my lot were younger I’d be beelining Miranda Hart who’s just brought out her debut children’s book The Girl With The Lost Smile and Harry Hill with his new book Matt Millz, The Youngest Stand Up Comedian In The World. My grown-up picks are Salman Rushdie discussing his latest novel The Golden House, Stroud-born author Alan Hollinghurst, and Girl On The Train sensation Paula Hawkins whose chilling new thriller Into The Water is currently making waves (sorry). cheltenhamfestivals.com
Vienna Festival Ballet: Sleeping Beauty, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Fri 6 Oct
I can’t resist this fairy-tale ballet by Tchaikovsky. I’ve always wanted to be woken with a kiss from a prince (still waiting) and this show with its fantastic choreography and costumes carries you away to another world where that sort of thing seems possible. Escapism at its best. bacontheatre.ticketsolve.com
Fancy A Fungi Foray?, Westonbirt Arboretum, Westonbirt, Sat 7 Oct
Did you know it’s National Fungus Day on Saturday 7 October? Well, you do now, and to mark the occasion, Westonbirt is putting on two fungi forays where you go into the woods in search of weird and wonderful mushrooms. All ages welcome, 10.30am-12.30pm, 2-4pm. Only £5 for adults, £2 for under 12s and under 6s go free. forestry.gov.uk
Shappi Khorsandi, Corsham, Sat 7 Oct
Shappi presents England’s unsung heroine. For too many years she has been known as just Nelson’s mistress, a bit of a harlot. (You get one job in a brothel and bang goes your reputation.) Women’s lib wasn’t a thing in Georgian times, Emma moved mountains to haul herself from scullery maid to Lady Hamilton. Yes, she occasionally danced on tables naked to get ahead in life, but who hasn’t? As a fellow naked dancer on tables, Shappi is inspired by Emma, although she never wants hair big enough to house mice in.
Prohibition Ball, American Museum in Britain, Bath, Sat 7 Oct
Dress in your finest 1920s inspired outfits for a glamorous evening of dancing, gambling, and (secret) drinking, with music from Victoria Klewin’s Speakeasy Band. Enjoy Prohibition-era cocktails handcrafted by the Abbey Hotel’s pop-up bar.
Wells Food Festival, various venues around Wells, Sun 8 Oct
Nosh, nibbles, booze, etc to try and to buy from over 150 artisan producers in the Market place, along the Bishop’s Palace Moat, recreation ground and Town Hall. There’s a rolling cocktail bar too.
Wedding Inspiration Showcase, Bowood House and Hotel, Sun 8 Oct
Bowood’s Inspiration Showcase is the perfect chance to experience Bowood in all its glory – and to put your money where your mouth is and book it for your big day, of course! Enjoy a glass of fizz on arrival and take in the beautifully decorated Kerry Suite at your leisure, then experience their English Countryside themed showcase and let them bring the outdoors inside for a truly romantic setting. Their fave handpicked suppliers and specialist Bowood team will be on hand to take any questions and will be bringing the venue to life with live demonstrations, food tastings, DIY tutorials and inspirational ideas worthy of any Pinterest board.
Sculpt at Kew, Kew Gardens, London, to Sun 15 Oct
If you’re heading to London, this is hands-down the best time of year to visit Kew Gardens, as you’re treated to nature’s own technicolour art display in the form of the turning of the leaves. This autumn you can also explore a sculpture exhibition set within the gardens – catch Piers Mason’s and Hamish Mackie’s life-size animals lurking in the bushes, among 70 works by other British and international artists. Access to show is included in the general admission ticket. kew.org
Still Lifes Michael Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, until 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
Judy Pfaff: Roots Up, Messums Wiltshire, Tisbury, until Sun 26 Nov
Judy Pfaff’s Roots Up exhibition, which also features paintings and drawings by her, is the first one American Pfaff has held in the UK. There has been two years of preparation for the exhibition, it will take three weeks to install and the installation process is being recorded and documented as it happens. messumswiltshire.com
Softer: Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, until 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
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
■ 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.
Larmer Tree Christmas Fair, Fri 1 – Sun 3 December
Once again the Larmer Tree Christmas fest rolls around, supporting the very worthy causes for SERV Wessex, Volunteer Blood Runners for Hampshire, Dorset and Wilts who provide an amazing service delivering urgently needed blood and medical essentials to hospitals. More info to follow, but put the date in the diary now.