What’s on this weekend
Fri 23 - Sun 25 June
Seasonal Spa Day, Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, throughout June
Forget bikini body ready, what about summer skin ready? This month Whatley Manor are offering a super-luxe spa day, starting with an invigorating body scrub, flowing into a relaxing back massage, then a Natura Bissé Vitamin C mini-facial designed to recharge your body and mind with the antioxidant benefits of pure Vitamin C. Um, yes please, missus. Includes a full day of lounging around at the spa and lunch. Will you chuck in a glass of the fine fizzy stuff, too?
Writing comedy for beginners, Salisbury, from 22 June
- A 4-week course on the art of writing comedy taught by Daniel Page (writer for BBC’s ‘Newsjack’, ‘Breaking the News’, the award-winning ‘Damn the Torpedoes!’ and the legendary NewsRevue).
Cinderella: A Murder Mystery! Wilton Windmill, Kennet, nr Marlborough, 24 June
The annual Murder Mystery and Hog Roast in aid of Wilton Windmill. This year the classic fairy tale gets the Smoke & Mirrors treatment and an evening of riotous comedy, charming princes, hard-up barons and (exceptionally) ugly sisters is guaranteed. It’s by no means compulsory but they’d love it if you come in costume – this year’s theme is “Pantomania!” Yikes.
Right, you lot. Get on yer bike and explore the Lambourn Downs and Vale of Whitehorse as the sun begins to set on this fun and friendly evening sportive. Finishing with a BBQ and optional Camping ‐ marshmallows and bikes at the ready!
Iford Manor Butterfly Day, 25 June
- Bring a picnic and enjoy a wild day out for all the family in a beautiful riverside setting. With guided butterfly walks, free craft making and a spectacular (honestly!) moth display. You can even check out bats roosting through an infra-red camera.
Soap Box Derby, Chippenham, 25 June
It has bowled over competitors in Brussels, attracted amateurs in Australia and livened up the streets of London – yet for the first time in Chippenham’s history, they’ll be welcoming their very own FREE Soap Box Derby to the heart of the town…in true Chippenham style.
- Farley Music Festival, Salisbury, 20-25 June
A well-established annual classical music festival now in its sixteenth year, with a strong reputation for presenting top-quality classical music in an unusual and charming location.
Twelfth Night, Salisbury Playhouse, 20-24 June
Reimagined in the 1920s where prohibition is rife and Europe is still reeling in the wake of war, this brand new production bursts to life. Fuelled by a scintillating selection of energetic jazz music, an outstanding ensemble of actors creates a dizzying and beautiful version of Shakespeare’s perfect play.
Calne Summer Festival and Carnival, 24 June
Always an action-packed day for all the family, this annual event fills Calne town centre with free activities, performances and street stalls. The day culminates with crowds lining the streets to enjoy the carnival procession of street walkers, entertainers and floats decorated by local schools and groups.
Bubble Rush, Castle Combe Circuit, 25 June
Do you have what it takes? Run, dance or walk through 5K of rainbow-coloured foam in support of the fantastic Dorothy House Hospice Care. Over 1,200 fantastic bubblers have signed up to take part in Dorothy House Hospice Care’s frothiest fundraiser, the Bubble Rush 5k fun walk/jog/run on Sunday 25th June and entries are still open. The Bubble Rush will take place at Castle Combe Circuit near Chippenham – entrants will embark on a 5km run, walk, skip or dance along a route filled with huge clouds of rainbow-coloured foam. Ooh, flashback to Ibiza ca 1995…
Chalk Valley History Festival, Salisbury, Wilts, 26 June – 2 July
I’m going to include this gem, the largest festival in the UK dedicated entirely to history, because, y’know, it’s not all about cider and pogo sticks and head banging until you can’t hear yourself think. Get your history spods on and celebrate the past with living history and the sound of cannon-fire and muskets. The setting is idyllic – rolling downs meets Hardy’s Wessex – as you come face to face with Romans, knights of the Middle Ages, Napoleonic riflemen and Tommies from the two world wars. There’ll be plenty of men in skirts (Mel Gibson ca. 1995, anyone?) and if you’ve got a kid with a looming history GCSE I’d drag ‘em here kicking and screaming. Best thing is, you still get to wear those box-fresh wellies.
Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Near Salisbury, Wilts, cvhf.org.uk
Giffords Circus- Any Port in a Storm, various dates in Wilts, Glos, Oxon and London, to mid Sep
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’s having great reviews – no surprises there – so it’s well worth your wonga.
Iford Arts Festival, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, to 5 Aug
The internationally renowned Iford Arts Festival (opera, picnic proms and classical cloister concerts) takes place in the exquisite performing spaces of the Cloister and Casita in the Grade 1 Listed Peto garden of Iford Manor, 6 miles outside Bath. Opera is staged in the round and sung in English for a seated audience of 90. More importantly, don’t forget to bring the picnic and the Pimms.
Oxfordshire Science Festival 2017, Fri 16 – Weds 21 June
Hear like an insect, build a star or watch a contagious cabaret at the Oxfordshire Science Festival. The hands-on Explorazone will open in the evening on Saturday 17 June for adults only, so grown-ups can play at being a paramedic, a plasma physicist or prevent a Polio pandemic (I don’t know about you, but that’s always been on my bucket list) and kids can get enthused about everything from solar plasmas to insect’s knees.
Royal Ascot 2017, Ascot Racecourse, Tues 20 – Sat 24 June
So many fashion rules to remember, but one of the great highlights of the social calendar is here. Royal Ascothas come around again, so grab your hat, keep the hemlines long, the fake tan light and enjoy a day of sunshine, celeb spotting and apparently there are few horses running too. It’s the perfect place to people watch, just don’t overdo the bubbles for fear of making it onto the front page of the Daily Mail. Tickets are still available from £37.
Blenheim Palace Flower Festival Show, Fri 23 – Sun 25 June
I sit writing this in my garden, having just pruned my roses – holy crap it’s happening, I’ve hit middle age! If you, like me, enjoy flowers more than you care to admit in public, this three day gardening show is for you. The Grand Floral Pavilion promises to provide UK’s finest nurseries and growers giving expert garden advice and ideas, plus there are 250 stalls selling everything from gazebos to flowers. One word of warning – remember to lock your M&S chastity belt before you go – the show is being opened by pensionable gardening hottie Alan Titchmarsh (*swoon*).
Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema, Cliveden House, 21 June – 11 July
Lose the remote, quit the Netflix bingeathon, because Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema is almost her. No soggy nachos here just Ricks Stein’s amaaaazing nosh and a classic movie watched in the Spa Garden at Cliveden House. It will be a night to remember. Many nights are sold out, but there are still tickets available on Thurs 22 June (Almost Famous); Fri 23 June (La La Land); Wed 28 June (Forrest Gump); Thurs 29 June (About Time), Fri 7 July (The Great Gatsby).
Rick Stein’s Sunset Cinema, The Pop Up Picture Company, Cliveden House Hotel, Taplow, Berkshire SL1 8NS popuppicturecompany.co.uk
Grayson Perry Exhibition, Serpentine Gallery, from Thurs 8 June
This summer Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society and culture, will present a major exhibition of new work. The works will touch on many themes including popularity and art, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.
Vice Versa, The Swan, Stratford, until Sept 9
An entertaining new farce ‘lovingly ripped off ‘from the Roman comedies of Plutus by playwright Phil Porter (2014’s WWW1 drama The Christmas Truce & 2013’s very funny A Mad World My Masters). A clever servant and a pair of wronged young lovers team up to bamboozle Trump-like pompous general. Felix Hayes is fantastic as the bombastic General Braggadocio, playing his servant, Dexter, is the wonderfully charismatic Sophia Nomvete, whose credits include The Colour Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory) and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe). ‘Allo ‘Allo star Kim Hartman makes her RSC debut as ‘a lady of the night’ called Climax. Read Muddy Warwickshire editor Catherine’s review here.
Holland Park Opera Season starts, 1 June – 29 July
I remember taking my dear departed dad to a Holland Park opera a few years ago – it was masses of fun so I can definitely recommend from personal experience. There are 6 shows, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Puccini’s La Rondine, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Will Todd and even a performance by the Royal Ballet School. Tickets vary in price, from £77 at the top end down to a fiver so worth checking out.
Last but not least..
Kids go Free to London Theatres, tickets on sale Tues 13 June
Grab them quickly! Every year, Kids Week offers loads of completely FREEEEE tickets to top London theatre shows. Parents can also purchase up to two extra children’s tickets at half price. Set your alarms – booking opens at 10 am.