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What’s on outdoors (yes really!)?

The time has finally come to put on some real clothes (joggers don't count, sorry) and have some fun in the fresh air - at a social distance, of course.

Going out is the new staying in! Yep, it’s finally time to emerge from your cocoon, put on some actual shoes and head out into the world. Stay safe of course but we think it’s time to get out there and support your local events, attractions, hospitality industry, museums & art galleries and experiences.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS, RESORTS WORLD, BIRMINGHAM, NORTH CAR PARK 5

Book now to see your favourite artists perform live on stage backed by a full concert production – from your car. Audiences can watch from a safe distance in their designated area in the arena car park, with each vehicle appropriately distanced from one another.

UtilitaLive From The Drive-In at Resorts World is one of a series of 18 live drive-in concerts across 12 venues in the UK. Each concert will have a capacity of up to 300 cars per show and boast concert quality sound from a live stages with a full state of the art sound system, lighting rig and high definition LED screens, creating an arena or stadium concert feel  – complying with social-distancing guidelines.

Events will also include carefully curated family events for kids of all ages from West End theatre extravaganzas to interactive science shows, fun live music and DJs and some very well-known TV stars and characters from children television – more to be announced…

So far tickets have just gone on sale this week (from Mon 22 June) for: Tony Hadley – Friday, 7 Aug; Nathan Dawe – Saturday, 8 Aug; Sigala – Wednesday, 12 Aug; The Streets – Wednesday 12 Aug; Reggae Roast Vs Gentleman’s Dub Club Sound System – Thursday, 13 Aug; Beverley Knight – Friday, 14 Aug
Skindred – Sunday, 16 Aug; Russell Watson – Tuesday, 18 Aug
Brainiac Live – Wednesday, 19 Aug; The Snuts – Wednesday,19 Aug; Bjorn Again – Thursday, 20 Aug; Cream Classical Ibiza, Saturday, 22 Aug; Embrace – Wednesday, 26 Aug
The Brand New Heavies – Thurs; Dizzee Rascal – Saturday, 29 Aug; Ash – Sunday, 30 Aug; Gary Numan – Tuesday, 1 Sept &
The Zutons – 1 Sept
www.theticketfactory.com or Tel 0344 338 8222 *Calls to 03 numbers typically form part of your inclusive calling plan.

DRIVE-IN CINEMAS

Tell me about it, Stud! Get ready to channel your inner Sandy (or Zuko) – the retro drive-in is here. With social distancing as de rigueur as a pair of stilettos for the summer, we’ve cherry-picked two of the coolest outdoor cinema experiences in Warwickshire.

Luna Cinema @ Warwick Castle: The ever-popular Luna Cinema is back with a drive-in makeover. Expect giant HD LED screens, state-of-the-art digital in-car speakers and stunning backdrops. We love the sound of the Luna Bar – order food and drink from your car by scanning the QR code on the front of the in-car speaker you’re given and hey presto, they’ll roller-skate it over to you. Toilets and medics are on site too (just in case you get overwhelmed from a 30ft Ryan Gosling). The medieval stunner on the River Avon is hosting more than 50 fabulous film screenings on the Pageant Field from Oscar-winner Parasite (26 July) to Jaws (15 July), The Big Lebowski (26 July) and Knives Out (22 July). Doors times vary from 2.45pm to 6pm and 9pm. Some films have already sold out. Nearby, films are also showing at Blenheim Castle in Oxon.

Tom Kerridge’s Drive & Dine Theatre @ Warwick Racecourse, July 21-26: With Pub in the Park cancelled this year, the Michelin-starred Marlow marvel chef has instead organised a drive-in cinema experience, complete with a top-notch foodie offering (we wouldn’t expect anything less). Expect classic 80’s flicks and family faves as well as a comedy set from Mark Watson’s Carpool Comedy Club (Fri 24 July only) with Ed Byrne and Daliso Chaponda. There are 11 films on the movie reel including Le Mans 66 (25 Jul), 1917 (26 Jul), Back to the Future (23 & 26 Jul), plus it wouldn’t be a drive-in without Grease (26 Jul)! Tickets are now on sale and are sure to sell like hot chocolate-glazed choux buns (well we are talking Michelin star quality here!), so snap a parking spot pronto. 

NATIONAL TRUSTS

Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park

Fingers on buzzers! Slots sell like hotcakes for National Trust trips these days, but if you’re lucky enough to get tickets here are some of my local favourites in Warwickshire: Charlecote Park, where you can spot fallow deer and rare Jacob sheep in the parkland, which is now open, as well as, the Wood Yard cafe for light snacks; Baddesley Clinton, the parkland, garden and takeaway kiosk at this intimate estate in the Forest of Arden are open as is the parkland at nearby Packwood HouseCoughton Court, the parkland, gardens (apart from the walled garden) and kiosk in the grounds of this imposing Tudor house are open and the lovely tiered gardens at Lord and Lady Bearsted’s 1930s retreat Upton House, nr Kineton have just reopened this week from June 22.

BOATING ON THE RIVER OR CANAL

Edstone Aqueduct, Henley-in-Arden Photo by James Homans, Unsplash

Boating was made for social distancing and is a great idea for a fun family day out. But is expected to be busy during the heatwave! Options locally range from kayaks, canoes, rowing boats and electric motor boats to stand-up Paddle Boards. Choose from Leam Boat Centre, on the River Leam in Jephson Garden Leamington, Warwick Boats and Avon Boating in Stratford-upon-Avon. Many of the region’s narrowboat hire businesses, located on the Warwickshire canals, are also back in business from July 4.

TWO CASTLES

One of the many roaming peacocks at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle – the 60-acres of Capability Brown grounds & gardens with 20 roaming peacocks, fountain and topiary have now reopened with the full castle and Knight’s Village for glamping expected to open with a number of activities open from July 4. Pre-book tickets online.

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardentimed tickets are available to book online for this famous English Heritage historical site where you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. A one-way system is in place to ensure everyone’s safety and the cafe is open for takeaways. Additional sanitising stations are available across the site.

HILL CLOSE GARDENS, WARWICK

One of my favourite local gardens are Warwick’s restored rare 16 Victorian hedged ‘pleasure gardens’. They’re reopening from Wed July 1 on weekdays, 11am – 3.30pm. There’ll be a one-way route round the gardens with most plots open, but glasshouses and the tearoom closed.    Hand sanitisers and outdoor toilets will be available. Some plant/produce sales available

Dating back to 1845, these garden plots were rented by Warwick tradespeople who planted apple trees and soft fruit, grew vegetables and flowers and kept pigs and poultry. They built summerhouses of brick or wood in order to shelter from rain or to sit and enjoy views across the Common. These largely derelict gardens were saved by local people in the 1990s and four summer houses were listed as Grade II heritage sites. Read our review here.

  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens – the gardens are also now open now in accordance with Government advice. All visitors must book an allocated slot online.

MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIES

The unique architecture of The Herbert, Coventry

We’re looking forward to being able to mooch around some of our best local museums. My kids practically grew up at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry and Coventry Transport Museum – within easy walking distance of each other near Coventry Cathedral. The art gallery’s ever-changing displays are often created with national museums and there’s lots of brilliant inventive workshops for families. You can even find out about the legend of Lady Godiva (child-friendly version) in an interactive exhibit.

Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum has the world’s largest collection or British road transport from bikes to iconic cars and London taxis – and traces the history of Coventry’s significant contribution to the UK’s cycle and car industry.

Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park

A £5 Grounds Pass is currently available at this award-winning gallery and Capability Ground parkland with children, 0-18 going free. Toilet facilities available.

THEATRES

The Main stage, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Warwickshire’s Royal Shakespeare Theatres in Stratford and Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre will be able to reopen from July 4 but not for live performances, as the government say they wish to protect the health of performers. They could show previous work on a screen. Cafes, bars and restaurants associated with the venue are able to reopen.

The Other Place – one of the RSC’s three theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon on Waterside. Inside is Susie’s Cafe-bar. Photo by Sam Allard

PUB BEER GARDENS & RESTAURANTS

Popular riverside destination pub The Red Lion in the rural village of Hunningham, nr Leamington Spa with its now extended beer garden to soak up some rays.

Pubs and restaurants across Coventry and Warwickshire will be opening from July 4 according to the new “1-metre-plus” rules. You can meet with one other household at a time in a pub or restaurant, then choose another household on another occasion. 

TRAVEL: A WARWICKSHIRE STAYCATION

The 4-star Billesley Manor Hotel and its 100-year-old topiary garden, nr Stratford-upon-Avon

Hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes, glamping sites, campsites and caravan parks will soon be able to reopen from July 4. Across Warwickshire staycay inspo options we love include The Arden Hotel on Waterside and its little sister Arden House, Stratford-upon-Avon together with Mallory Court Country House Hotel, Leamington Spa (all opening on July 17); the £4.5m remodelled £16th Century Billeseley Manor Hotel and spa, nr Stratford-upon-Avon; Brakspear’s George Townhouse, Shipston (taking table bookings inside and out from July 4) and 400-year-old Grade II listed building The Townhouse, in the centre of Stratford. The Bower House in Shipston is also re-opening on July 4 taking reservations for restaurant and room bookings (still open for ordering, collection and delivery).

Glamping Pod, Wootton Park

If glamping is more your thing there’s socially-distanced tree top pods, MegaPods and a family SuperPod with hot tubs/showers in splendid rural isolation at Wootton Park Pods, Wootton Wawen, nr Henley-in-Arden. A choice of cabinsshepherds huts and bell tents at Hilltop Hideaways are available on a third generation family farm in the pretty village of Hunningham, 3 miles from Leamington Spa.

For a fantastic restored architect-designed one-bedroom apartment featured on BBC2′s Restoration Home try the characterful 1600’s timber-framed One Abbey Lane, Southam – with all mod cons and continental breakfast included. Nearby just outside the neighbouring village of Long Itchington is White Hall Farm B&B in a Grade 11 listed, part Elizabethan farmhouse with two super king-sized en-suite guest rooms. This beautiful bolthole was originally owned by Elizabeth I’s would-be suitor Robert Dudley, who lived at Kenilworth Castle.

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