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What’s on this weekend

FRI 13 - SUN 15 OCT

Creative Workshops, Fisherton Mill, Salisbury, throughout Oct

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.

FEASTival, Bradford on Avon, 2 Oct – 4 Nov

Celebrating all the welcoming and wonderful food and drink outlets in the Bradford on Avon area. Get your FEASTival Passport stamped at the outlets from now until the Prize Draw on Saturday 4 November.



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, To 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.


Baking with Ben, Lucknam Park Hotel, Chippenham, 14 Oct

Get ready for that Great British Bake Off audition with this day-long course of culinary creativity. Be inspired to create your very own showstoppers as Head Chef Ben Taylor guides you through a selection of both sweet and savoury dishes, before sitting down for lunch and a relaxing glass of wine. October offers include three peeps for the price of two, so bring your mates.


Cheltenham Literature Festival, various locations, Cheltenham, 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).


A Murder is Announced, Salisbury Playhouse, 9-14 Oct

The residents of Chipping Cleghorn are astonished to read an advert in the local newspaper that a murder will take place this coming Friday at Little Paddocks, the home of Letitia Blacklock. Unable to resist, the group gather at the house at the appointed time, when the lights go out and a gun is fired. Enter Miss Marple, who must unravel a complex series of relationships and events to solve the mystery of the killer…


Driving Miss Daisy, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Mon 9 to Sat 14 Oct

Love the film and the stage version looks equally fab. Dame Siân Phillips plays Daisy (her murderous Livia in the I, Claudius TV series all those years ago still lives with me) with 1960s children’s television presenter-cum-RSC actor Derek Griffiths as Hoke, Miss Daisy’s African-American chauffeur. It’s comedy drama that pierces the heart as employer and employee strike up a friendship against a backdrop of prejudice, inequality and civil unrest.


Mere Literary Festival, Mere, 9-15 Oct

Various events taking place for this popular literary festival including talks by authors, writing workshops and a film night.


Peter Waldron: Odyssey, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Wed 11 Oct to Sat 18 Nov

Swindon-based artist Peter Waldron’s bold, abstract paintings are inspired by the rhythm, colour and energy of natural forms. This exhibition explores the artist’s life and career to date and brings together a selection of his paintings and drawings.

Fools Paradise Showcase, Salisbury Arts Centre, 13 Oct

Fool’s Paradise, the international street performance agency, is coming to Salisbury to showcase the very best of UK outdoor arts. Come and meet a vibrant array of family-friendly walkabouts in the beautiful grounds of Salisbury Arts Centre. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see giant puppets, comedy characters, roaming robots, circus performers, acrobats and more.


Bruton Decorative Antiques Fair, Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, Fri 13–Sun 15 Oct

Dealers from all over the UK come to tempt us with their wares to decorate the home, garden and even your good self. Just in time for Christmas, goody. Click here for a free ticket that might just win you lunch for two at the Roth Bar & Grill.


Apple Celebrations, Avebury, Marlborough, 14-15 Oct

Why not visit Avebury and celebrate the apple season? They will be paying homage to this special fruit with apple tastings, apple pressing and children’s activities in the Avebury Manor orchard.



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.


Cliveden Literary Festival, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct

Literary festival venues don’t come more insanely gorgeous than Cliveden House. Its current owner Natalie Livingstone (the author of The Mistresses of Cliveden, who we interviewed here) is impeccably connected, as her impressive line-up demonstrates. Speakers include Ian McEwan, Sebastian Faulks, Robert Harris and The River Café’s Ruth Rogers. And if you need a breather from all that highbrow chat, hotfoot it to the newly refurbished and utterly divine spa.

Cliveden, Cliveden Rd, Taplow, Maidenhead,


Dancin’ Oxford Family Dance Week, to Sun 15 Oct

Tipping Point

Dust off your dancing shoes for this weeklong boogiethon at various venues across Oxford. There are dance workshops and performances suitable for the whole family, including Tipping Point, which sees five groovers use metal poles to create fantasy landscapes. And if you get a lot of comedy mileage in your household from mocking the moves of the family patriarch, then send him down to Disco Dadz, a 2 hour session for rug-cutters and their rug-rats, with a live DJ and – crucially – a dance tutor. Off you go, Mr Muddy.

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.


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.


Softer: Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, until Sun 31 Dec

dark art gallery installation blue and purple lights two silhouettes of bodies

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.


Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Sat 14 – Mon 30 Oct

I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Over 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions, plus firework displays on 21, 22, 27 & 28 October.


Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Sun 1 Oct – Sun 12 Nov

Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!

Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden,



Diamond Masterclass by Shen London, Calcot Manor, Wed 1 Nov

Learn about high-end jewellery design and sourcing rare diamonds at this swish event by diamond gurus Shen London hosted by the impossibly luxurious Calcot Manor. There’s bubbly and lunch and you can bring your own rocks for scrutiny. But I’m thinking new purchases! What with Christmas coming up and diamonds being a girl’s (and woman in her forties’) best friend. And, frankly, Shen’s Goddess Collection, which will be on display in all its glory, has my name on it. You hear that Mr Muddy? £50 per person. Tel: 01666 890391; email:


Relax.create, Larmer Tree Gardens, Tollard Royal, 2 Nov

Treat yourself to a special day to help you unwind, enjoy fun company, de-stress and learn a new skill all in the beautiful surroundings of the Larmer Tree Gardens. Join Lucy Bennett of Made By Lucy and Josie from Worry Free for a creative wellness retreat and take some time out. Go on, you’re worth it!


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. 


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.


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.

Find more ideas here

Things To DoThis Weekend

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