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What’s on in Cov, Warks and beyond this August

There's a whole month of socially distanced outdoor fun ahead of us from street food pop-ups and drive-in cinemas to hot new exhibitions and open-air theatre.

OUTDOOR THEATRE The RSC‘s Shakespeare Snapshots, the Dell Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon from Sat Aug 1

Handlebards performing their 4-man show of Comedy of Errors in The Dell, Stratford pre-Covid. Performed as part of a tour, taking everything they need on 4 bicycles around the country. Photo by Nicola Salmon (c) RSC.

Rejoice! If you’ve been missing your fix of live theatre the RSC has a new series of free outdoor high-energy family-friendly performances for ages 7+ featuring actors from the company’s postponed productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors.

There’ll be a mix of socially-distanced speeches and scenes from Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. Ideal for Shakespeare enthusiasts, newcomers and Stratford day-trippers alike, these fun, fast-paced, no-frills performances will be different each week.

Running from Fri to Sun throughout August, Shakespeare Snapshots will take place for 45 minutes at 1pm and 3pm each day. Performances will be first come, first served, with space for up to eight household groups (maximum 6 people each), plus some standing spaces.

DRIVE-IN CINEMA Luna Cinema, Warwick Castle until Aug 16

The ever-popular Luna Cinema is back in the glorious grounds of Warwick Castle. Expect giant HD LED screens and gorgeous backdrops against the setting summer sun. This time you can watch films including Parasite, Rocketman sing-along, Bohemian Rhapsody, Dirty Dancing, Grease, Frozen 2, The Lion King, Aladdin, Pulp Fiction, Knives Out, Jojo Rabbit, Cool Runnings & The Greatest Showman Sing-along.

There’ll be two screenings each night from Mon to Thurs then on Fridays and weekends, three screenings starting in the afternoon with a film for all ages.

EAT OUT TO HELP OUT, until Aug 31

Support local independent restaurants and cafes across Warwickshire any day Mon-Wed in August and get 50% off your bill on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner. Check out where’s near you and read our recommendations here.

OUTDOOR CINEMA Summer Screens, Rugby School, Rugby, Aug 6-8

Book a double deck chair or gazebo with complimentary drinks for screenings of Jurassic Park (Thur Aug 6, 8.45pm), Pretty Woman (Fri Aug 7, 8.45pm) and The Greatest Showman Sat Aug 8, 8.45pm) in the grounds of one of England’s oldest independent schools.

EAT Picnic on the Lawn, The Farm, Snitterfield, nr Stratford

Book a 90-minute time slot for a picnic spot this month; while ‘Nourish on the Lawn’ Street-food is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am. Painted circles on the lawn with 2 metre spacing ensures safe distancing for families, couples, and individuals.

FAMILY OUTDOOR THEATRE Heartbreak Productions’ Alice in Lockdown, Various locations until end of Aug

A red queen, a white rabbit, some hand sanitiser, and, erm, a brawl over loo roll. This new take on Alice in Wonderland, by Heartbreak Productions, is popping up for outdoor performances in the stunning setting of Coventry Cathedral Ruins (Aug) and Mill Gardens, Leamington Spa, as part of its UK tour. You can book your own socially distanced ‘island’ for up to six people to watch the show. Read our preview here.

POP-UP: Shustoke Barn Takeaway BBQ, Coleshill, Warwickshire with London’s Baz & Fred available to pre-order

Baz & Fred well-known on the London street food scene for their pizzeria in Flat Iron Square, Borough, have teamed up with British wedding venue company Cripps & Co, who are turning four of their beautifully restored barns in Warwickshire, Glos, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire into temporary restaurants and takeaways. Clever idea – hey?

Set within this airy barn and walled garden, you can order freshly prepared food cooked over open flames and French rotisseries. Think, informal BBQ venues that operate like a street food venue, but within the depths of the sweeping countryside

Every week chefs put together a weekly menu that includes vegetarian dishes. See this week’s menu here Details of the menus are updated each week on the barn’s Instagram accounts ( @shustokebarnsbbq) and pre-orders can be made via the Cripps & Co website. Available Fri, 5-8pm, Sat, 12-4pm and Sun, 12-3pm. Prices range from £8-£15 per person for mains

So while the wedding enjoy a rare chance to visit some amazing spaces across the country normally only open to private parties. There are fully-stocked bars and wine cellars too for alfresco drinking and dining street food style in the grounds of these scenic barns with plenty of space for social distancing.

ART: Cranach: artist and innovator, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until Jan 21

Photo by Jamie Woodley

The house and gallery reopened on July 7, in addition to the parkland following a new socially distanced model. You can see the latest exhibition celebrating the portraits of Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of the most successful German artists of all time. A new system of pre-bookable timed tickets has been introduced. The gift shop is open and refreshments available in The Garden Shed at Compton Verney horsebox.

ONLINE THEATRE: Stan’s Cafe’s For Quality Purposes, streaming live Aug 11

For Quality Purposes

Ambitious Birmingham-based theatre Stan’s Cafe has compiled a season of new lockdown dramas including a version of their 2013 show The Anatomy of Melancholy, re-conceived as 35 short split-screen films available to watch online now and entertaining festival comic duo The Commentators can be viewed at home watching films they’ve never seen for a series of live broadcasts and podcasts. Brand new play For Quality Purposes set in global call centre exploring the relationship between a caller and call handle is streaming live via the company#s YouTube site on Aug 11 at 7.30pm (and available online afterwards).

RE-OPEN Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

 Shakespeare’s Birthplace in the heart of Stratford reopened its doors to visitors on Sat Aug 1, but the other four Shakespeare family homes and gardens — Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft and Mary Arden’s Farm – will remain closed until at least spring 2021. 

OUTDOORS: National Garden Scheme opens days, various locations throughout Aug.

Fancy checking out someone else’s dahlias? The National Garden Scheme sees over 3,500 private gardens in England and Wales open for charity – adults pay but children go free. This is brilliant for two reasons: firstly, you can indulge in a bit of real-life garden porn (begone Right Move), and you can pick up clever border design ideas while sending a few quid (normally around £5) to highly worthy charities such as Macmillan. Pre-booking essential. You can see where’s open this month in Warwickshire & across the Midlands here.

RE-OPEN: Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, from Aug 6

You can now pre-book onto either a Thursday-Sunday morning (10am – 12pm) or afternoon slot (1pm – 3pm/ 1pm – 4pm weekends) through the gallery website.

ONLINE THEATRE: RSC Virtual Summer School, Aug 25 – 27

Gregory Doran, Winter Season launch 2020, (c) RSC

Online, the RSC’s 73rd annual Summer School continues with three 1-hour virtual events (each between 11am-12pm) delving deeper into the company’s postponed programme of plays taking place this Autumn and in 2021. Events include The Wars of the Roses – A taste of things to come with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran and Assistant Director Owen Horsley about Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 and featuring performances by the RSC company; an introduction to The Winter’s Tale with Professor Michael Dobson and The Winter’s Tale – A play for today with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran in conversation with RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman about her planned production of The Winter’s Tale. This session will include RSC actors sharing some of their work from The Winter’s Tale rehearsal rooms. Cost: £45 for three sessions.

EXTENDED RE-OPEN: The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, every day in Aug

This dedicated museum for petrolheads, which has more than 300 British historical cars to explore, is now open every day of the week throughout August. Numbers are limited per day, with pre-booking a timed arrival slot essential – there are 10am, 11am, 12noon and 1pm slots available.

The outdoor play area is also open for younger visitors who need to let off some steam and the ever popular science shows will also be running 4 days a week! The Museums Café has registered for the Government’s ‘Eat out to Help out’ scheme. Those visiting the Café on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday can get a discount of up to 50% when eating or drinking soft drinks, with a maximum discount of £10 per person.

Further events this month include a reduced Classic Commercial Vehicle Gathering on 8 & 9 August with camping available The #EV Electric Vehicles Festival will also be going ahead on 8 Aug. Attendees can view both.

EAT: The RSC’s Riverside Café and The Rocket for daily take-away service, Stratford-upon-Avon

If you’re visiting Stratford stop off at the Riverside Cafe or ‘Rocket’ ice cream van located at the front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Both serve a wide range of drinks, ice cream, crisps and cakes. The Riverside Cafe will offer a full range of fair-trade tea and coffee. Alcohol will also be served from 12noon. Open from 10am to 4pm. Visitors are asked to observe social distancing and payment is by contactless card only.

KIDS: Trampoline Parks – Jump-in, Warwick and Rush, Birmingham, have just re-opened

Rush UK

Just in time for the summer holidays trampoline parks have re-opened with social distancing measures in place. Jump In sessions have been reduced by at least 50% to enable social and physical distancing. Sessions will be staggered throughout the day and jumpers must use hand sanitiser in advance. Online bookings only.

At Rush new re-opening safety measures include reduced capacity jump sessions of 80 people per 90 minute jump session, hand sanitising stations and enhanced cleaning schedule with a 30-minute deep clean between each closed jump session.


Older members if the community are invited to share their memories with their young relatives or friends over the summer for a new publication this autumn. Young people aged 13+ are encouraged to chat with an older relative – grandparent, great grandparent or family friend – and ask them about times in their lives when they might have had to cope alone, be it the experience of being an evacuee, facing emigration or quarantine during a childhood illness, or travelling alone. Significantly, the project will be accepted as the volunteering element of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Full details of the project and how to enter can be found here:

RE-OPEN: Rugby Art Gallery and Museum & The World Rugby Hall of Fame, from Thurs Aug 6

The museum opens with a new exhibition by Lindsay Seers: Extramission 2 (The Trilogy), 2005-2020 – 3 film works housed within a fabric structure. If your kids are missing staff have created summer activity packs which can be downloaded here to help families explore their local parks and open spaces.

BOOK NOW! Voices of the West End, British Motor Museum, Gaydon Sept 25,26 & 27

A 90-minute outdoor production performed live in the safe and beautiful grounds of the Museum with Broadway and West End singers showcasing music from the West End’s greatest musicals. It will include performers from Cameron Mackintosh’s 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Misérables – Earl Carpenter who played Javert and John Owen-Jones, who played Jan Valjean. They will be joined by two of the best female ‘Voices of the West End’: Kerry Ellis and Katie Hall.

Kerry played the original Meat, in Queen’s We Will Rock You and was the first British Elphaba in West End smash, Wicked. Katie Hall recently starred as Fantine in Cameron Mackintosh’s international tour of Les Misérables and has played Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera‘s UK tour and London’s West End.

Tickets can only be booked via the box office at Cost: £114 – £169 for a 3 square metre pitch accommodating up to 4 people from no more than two households or support bubbles. Car spaces are £189 where performances can be watched by up to 4 people.


EAT: Picnic at the Palace, Blenheim Palace, until 16 Aug

Live music, comedy and cocktails, anyone? Blenheim has transformed its grounds into a al fresco dining space with socially distanced deck chairs and pergolas (you can book a space for two to six people) overlooking the lake. From Tuesday to Thursday, you can choose from a lunchtime hamper or indulgent afternoon tea, and on weekends you can pick up a graze box to nibble on as you watch the entertainment.

GLAMPING: Camp Hox pop-up, Eynsham Hall, Witney, throughout Aug

Camp Hox Pop Up Eynsham Hall Oxfordshire

Run by the same lot behind London’s Hoxton hotels, this chic take on a camp site features 12 lotus tents decked out with all the necessities (actual beds, electricity, Roberts radios and tea and coffee-making facilities, etc.), and you’ll get access to your own private hot showers and toilets, a bottle of wine on arrival and a Hoxton breakfast bag delivered every morning. Best of all, there’s an outdoor pour-your-own Graham’s white port and tonic bar. Prices start at £185 per night, and you’ll also get a free night at any of Hoxton’s London hotels thrown into the mix.

EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until Feb 14 2021

Photo by Peter Boettcher

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages.

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, Aug 1 – May 24 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.   

DRIVE-IN CINEMA: The Drive In, North London (Troubadour Meridian Water), until Aug 10

A 1950s nostalgia fest with great films, classic cinema refreshments and stand-up comedy. The event is fully contact-free with snacks ordered through an app and delivered to your car.

EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until Sept 6

I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career, including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty (above).

EXHIBITION: Kimono to Catwalk, V&A Museum, London, Aug 27

The V&A is reopening on August 6 (with free entry!), but its major exhibition will be opening towards the latter end of the month. ‘Kimono to Catwalk’ charts the journey of the traditional Japanese garment as an evolving fashion icon, from its origins in the 1660s to its modern-day iteration.

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