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What’s on this week


Suzanne Vega, Leamington Assembly, Wed June 27

Widely regarded as one of the best songwriters of her generation, Suzanne emerged as a leading figure of the folk-music revival in the early 1980s. Since her debut 25 years ago she has sold more than 7 million albums and been nominated for 7 Grammy awards. Her song, Tom’s Diner, was used in the refinement of the MP3, earning her the nickname, The Mother of the MP3. It’s since been remixed nearly 25 times by artists including Will Smith, Tupac and Destiny’s Child. Doors – 7pm.

Tel: 0844 478 0898,  seetickets


Book Club.LIVE, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Thurs June 28

Lucky you if you’re heading to this now fully-booked new event run by the organisers of Warwickshire’s Also festival! It’s a community event designed to celebrate the social role the Book Club in people’s lives.  From 6pm the gates to 50 acres of landscaped parkland will be thrown wide open for avid readers to make their June book group an experience not to be forgotten. Settle on blankets down by the lake, take a table in a specially built Orangery, or get together under the fairy lights of our pretty marquees – the choice is yours. The prosecco is on ice, there’s tasty wines, literary themed cocktails and beautifully crafted non alcoholic cocktails – dinner options are available, including pre-bookable picnics. To end the book club celebration, Guardian Journalist and author Lucy Mangan will be talking through her hilarious and fun memoir of childhood reading, Bookworm.


Miss Littlewood, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri June 22 – Aug 4 

Move over Matilda, a new RSC musical for grown-ups has just opened. It’s directed by the RSC’s Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman with music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon. Seven actresses will be playing Joan Littlewood – the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre whose theatre workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage – at different stages of her life. They include Clare Burt in her RSC debut, Aretha Ayeh, Sandy Foster, Amanda Hadingue, Dawn Hope, Emily Johnstone and Sophia Nomvete.



EqualiTeas Event, The Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Fri June 29

Celebrate 100 years of Equality with a special evening featuring a fascinating display of items from the Trust’s collections to highlight equality and what suffrage means today, for men and women. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a screening of the 2015 film ‘Suffragette’ (12A). In the spirit of the EqualiTeas approach, tea and shortbread will be served, 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

Tickets cost £3 and available to buy at shakespeare or at any of the Shakespeare houses.


War of the Roses, Warwick Castle, until Sat June 30

Pledge your allegiance in an epic battle for the English Throne! Yup, it’s time for the re-enactment brigade, with stunt riders, jousting and special effects. Head to Warwick Castle, grab your kids, borrow one or two from a friend and get yourself to War of the Roses Live. And if you fancy making a night of it, check out our feature on medieval glamping in the new Avenue of Kings premium tents in the Knight’s Village!


Warwickshire Open Studios, Sat June 16 – Sun July 1

Artist Rhian Malin at The Ceramics Studio, Ettington Park Granary, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 8BT

Looking for some original art? See a record number of more than 270 artists at work across 138 venues in this diverse celebration of visual arts across Coventry and Warwickshire. The event attracts around 30,000 visits a year. Excitingly WOS’ has a new patron for 2018 – the screenplay writer and novelist Andrew Davies, best known for House of Cards and TV adaptions of War & Peace, Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair and Middlemarch. This year WOS is taking over Temperance (33, Bath St) Leamington Spa as a central info hub. Drop in from June 9 – 30 to see a showcase of artists’ work, grab a drink or bite to eat.

Find out more about the artists, locations, opening times & facilities available, wostudios

The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Sat June 30 – Sun Sept 30


Roll up, Roll up for two stunning new exhibitions at Compton Verney’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum! A rare opportunity to see an exhibition devoted to kinetic art and the history of automata. Almost 60 works, dating from 1625 to the present day, will – quite literally – come to life before your very eyes. The show includes loans from across the UK, including the smallest – a 4cm tall Fabergé elephant and the largest – the 15-metre long A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley (above) by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang designer Rowland Emett. You can also enter the magical world of mechanical toy model maker and children’s author/ illustrator Rodney Peppe.



Wildlife Road Trip, Warwick Arts Centre, Fri June 29

Fancy going behind the scenes of real-life wildlife and TV presenting? Natural history broadcasters and TV wildlife presenters (SpringwatchAutumnwatchWinterwatch) Martin Hughes-Games and Iolo Williams team up to perform this informative and amusing wildlife show packed with fascinating facts and fun for ages 12+.



10th Stratford River Festival, Sat June 30 & Sun July 1

This award-winning free family-friendly nautical spectacular returns to the banks of the River Avon. It is the largest family-friendly free event held in Stratford with more than 70,000 visitors expected to enjoy events on and off the river including global foods, local ales, Pimms & Prosecco, artisan crafts, entertainment and spectacular fireworks display at 10.15pm.



Also Festival 2018, Park Farm, Compton Verney, Fri June 29 – Sun July 1

This awesome boutique Warwickshire-based UK festival of ideas and foodie feasts on a lakeside farm in Compton Verney (near the art gallery) is now in its fifth year. Highlights include a pop-up roller disco – think Studio 54 on wheels – guided nature swims and award-winning comedian Robin Ince’s who will be closing his Pragmatic Insanity tour here. Other big ideas include award-winning business psychologist Margaret Heffernan on how to make the most of one’s time on this planet and be altruistic; Oxford Uni Prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt explaining us humans as The Digital Ape and my personal fave, Boiling Water – Tea and Theoretical Physics. Plus, get to grips with the science behind your favourite films with the presenters of Science(ish): Dr Michael Brooks and Rick Edwards.

See who else is on the line-up here: also-festival


Real Bodies The Exhibition, Hall 4, The NEC, Birmingham, Fri June 8 – Sun Aug 19

A powerful and thought-provoking exhibition of human anatomy taking visitors on a journey, exploring the human body through physiology, culture and emotion by displaying real, perfectly preserved human bodies and over 200 anatomical specimens.



COMING SOON: Matilda, Birmingham Hippodrome, Tues July 3 – Sat Sept 8

Be quickity quick and grab some tickets for this wonderfully witty RSC musical while it tours around the UK. A touching and joyous story of loneliness and rebellion, it deserves all 85 and counting of its international awards. Writer Dennis Kelly and composer / lyricist Tim Minchin go to top of the class with their interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Don’t miss it!



Caribbean Festival, Fizzy Moon Brew House, Leamington Spa, Sat June 30 & Sun July 1

Winner of Best Bar in the Muddy Awards 2018, Fizzy Moon will be jammin’ all weekend with live Caribbean steel pan drums and reggae artist, Two Man Ting, traditional Caribbean food and rum, lots of it!



NOW SOLD OUT: LeamGinton Festival, The Leamington Wine Company, Victoria House, Leamington Spa, Fri June 29

Join our double Muddy award-winning Wine Merchants for their annual festival with more than 50 gins to tempt your taste buds, distilleries and Fevertree supporting LeamGinton. A fab evening and a great way to try gins that you may not have even heard of, 6.30pm – 9pm.

Tickets £35 (non-refundable) available in store or over the phone on 01926 888994. Limited availability.


BOOK NOW: Outdoor Yoga & Brunch, Hilltop Farm, Hunningham, July 15

Held in the beautiful grounds of Hilltop Farm, overlooking scenic countryside views, yoga instructor Kerry Palmer will guide you through an energising 75-min yoga practice (10am -12.30pm). All levels including beginners are welcome, yoga mats are provided though feel free to bring along your own if you have one. Having worked up an appetite, you’ll head inside to the Hilltop Cafe where you’ll be treated to freshly prepared smoothies, a meat or veggie option breakfast plus teas and coffees, £21.50.

Book here.



Merge Festival, Bankside/Tate Modern, London, Fri June 8 – Sun July 1

Book an appointment at The Feel Good Institute. Photo cred Merge Festival

The annual arts/music festival this year aims to brighten up your day with a  ‘feel good’ theme. A quirky, fun-packed and eclectic programme includes The Feel Good Institute – a multi-sensory series of installations by various artists, ‘Dr Leon – Neural Enhancement’ a theatrical experience where ‘Patients’ are seen by surgery staff for a 20-minute implanted happy chip, ‘Happy Mondays’ at bars & restaurants, look out for Bankside Smileys, Time to Make Merry installations on the Friday commute and the Great Get Together Bankside street party!



Rooftop Film Club, East London, now until June 30

Into the grime and onto the roof tiles from now until the end of June with East London’s Rooftop Film Club including venues in Stratford and Peckham showing a range of classics. Thoughtfully they offer free waterproof ponchos in the likely case of adverse weather conditions plus the priceless opportunity to actually feeling trendy again for the night.


Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A, London, June 16 – Nov 4

A photo of artist Frida Khalo in a blue satin blouse with pink flower in her hair

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse, 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

This summer, the V&A will explore how Frida Kahlo, one of the most recognised and significant artists and women of the 20th century, fashioned her identity. More than 200 previously unseen personal objects will be on show including her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony,’ still within its original packaging, which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish, outfits, medical corsets and a painted prosthetic leg! They were discovered in 2004, 50 years after being sealed in the Blue House, Mexico, by her husband Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist, following her death in 1954.


Chalk Valley History Festival, Broad Chalke, near Salisbury, Wilts, Mon June 25 – Sun July 1

See history, hear history, even feel history at this extraordinary festival dedicated entirely to – you guessed it – history. Talks, workshops and debates bring alive an incredible living past on these rolling plains in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside – check out the stunning air displays, through-the-ages encampment, interactive events, plus sign up now for a mega-impressive list of speakers from Charlie Higson to Robert Peston, with a jaunt through Kate Mosse, Peter Snow and Simon Schama in between.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire