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What’s On This Week


WINE & GIN-TASTINGS: South African Wine Tasting & Gin Tasting, Slurp Leamington Spa, Fri Aug 10 & Fri Aug 24

Enjoying the fabulous weather and a staycation in the UK? Feel like you’re on holiday at this South African wine tasting on Fri Aug 10, 7.30pm – 9.30pm, (£10pp in adv) and sample some really exciting boutique gins from around the world on Fri Aug 24, 7.30pm – 9.30pm (£15pp in adv).


Ant-Man and the Wasp (12A)

The latest Marvel superhero film has the interesting pairing of Michael Douglas as scientist Hank Pym and Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife, who has apparently remained miniaturised for 30 years!

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 4 – Sept 22

Photo by Paul-Stuart – design by RSC Visual Communications

Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).


Summer night-time spectacular, Dragon Slayer,Warwick Castle, Fri Aug 10, Sat Aug 11 & Fri Aug 24 – Mon Aug 27

Warwick Castle’s first ever night-time family show resurrects the tale of the 10th century warrior and homegrown hero, Guy of Warwick. Featuring live action, equestrian stunts, pyrotechnics and a stunning projection and light show, it’s scheduled for only 8 performances. There’s also War of the Roses, the regular birds of prey demos, the Mighty Trebuchet, Horrible Histories Maze, dungeons, archery and ramparts to rampage for day time fun. Only 8 scheduled performances!

Tickets start from £15 for show only with immersive dining packages also available,

OPEN-AIR THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Hamlet, Charlecote Park, Fri Aug 10 & Sat Aug 11

A previous production of As You Like It by The Three Inch Fools.

The Three Inch Fools, five actors with all manner of musical instruments, will be giving their inventive take on Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the paddock area of this Victorian house on Friday. The following night they’ll be performing Hamlet. See both and receive discounted tickets. 7pm-8.15pm.

Tel: 01789470277nationaltrust

Macbeth, RST, Stratford, March 13 – September 18

Photo by Richard-Davenport-

This compelling contemporary version of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller with the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, brilliant in BBC 1’s The A Word, and revered Irish actor Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Directed by Polly Findlay has the eerie feel of a modern horror film. Handy for students studying Macbeth on their GCSE or A level syllabus!

Book here.

Battle Proms Picnic Concert, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Sat Aug 11

Thousands of happy picnickers will descend on the picturesque grounds on Sat August 11, as the Battle Proms returns for their 8th annual concert. This year this stunning stately home, recently featured in the BBC’s 1930s period drama Dancing on the Edge, celebrates its 60th anniversary of being open to the public. Set in the heart of Warwickshire’s countryside, Ragley Hall is the home to the 9th Marquess and Marchioness of Hertford.

battleproms; ragley

Matilda The Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, until 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! Next up, Manchester…


Peter Pan, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Sat Aug 11

Soar away to Neverland and embark on an exciting musical adventure with Immersion Theatre’s Peter Pan – you’ll be HOOKED! 4+. 2.30pm. You can also be part of Threads of the Unsaida crowd-scripted retelling of Romeo and Juliet, (until Sept 1).

Morton Hall Public Open Garden, nr Inkberrow, Worcs, Sat Aug 11

Photo by Clive Nichols courtesy of the RSC

Morton Hall Gardens in Worcestershire, feature a collection of more than 1,000 plant varieties, a range of mature specimen trees and spectacular borders in 7 woodland and formal gardens. They’re open to the public in support of the RSC’s Stitch In Time Costume Workshop Campaign. On arrival, visitors will receive a map to explore the gardens, a RSC Garden Café will be onsite selling hot and cold drinks, ice creams and cakes on a cash only basis. The gardens are at their flamboyant peak in August brimming with roses, clematis, perennials and annuals in soft pastels. Tickets are £7 (under 12s free), or £13 to include a hot drink with a cake box (homemade scone with jam and clotted cream, and a raspberry frangipane tart) which can be enjoyed on the terrace at the front of the house overlooking the lawns, 10am- 4pm

Morton Hall Lane, Holberrow Green, B96 6SJ, book here, or Tel 01789 403493.

Charlecote Fallow Deer Ceramic Workshop, Charlecote Park, Sat Aug 11

Courtesy of the National Trust

Local ceramic artist Ros Ingram will be running this textured clay workshop where you can sculpt your own fallow deer inspired by the surroundings – a Victorian home set in a beautiful deer park. Designed for all levels of artistic ability, you will be guided, step by step, through the process of sculpting a seated fallow deer. The workshop includes refreshments and all materials, £45. 10am-12.30pm.

Tel: 01789 470277nationaltrust

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

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 loaned from the Queen 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.


Elmfest, The One Elm, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 11

Live music all day, street food, outside bars, plus face painting for the kids.


Church Farm Brewery Free Tasting, Slurp Leamington Spa, 121 Regent Street, Sat Aug 11

A completely FREE tasting, just pop into the shop anytime between 12pm and 3pm, say hello and try some expertly made, delicious local Warwickshire craft ale and beer!


After Hours: Hand’s on evening, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Aug 11

People clapping

Pic credit (c) Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

Come and have a go at all the things usually reserved for children in a special evening just for adults. Activities include making a wax seal, writing with a quill pen and making puppets. Ticketed event, £10, 5.30pm – 7.30pm.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Coughton Court, Alcester, Sun Aug 12

The beautiful gardens of this imposing Tudor house will be the setting for ‘top notch outdoor company’, Illyria Theatre Company will back with their adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s eerie Sherlock Holmes detective story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, on Sun Aug 12. Shakespeare’s The Tempest by all-male acting troupe, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, was on Fri July 20. Both 7.30pm – 10.30pm.


Bees and Honey with Combrook Honey, Chedhams Yard, Wellesbourne, Sat Aug 11 

Local beekeepers Steve and Liz Bates will be talking about honeybees, beekeeping, honey and other hive products.  Whether you plan to keep bees or just find them interesting, do come along. And if you would like to roll a beeswax candle or two, you can do that as well. Guided tours, the mouse trail, films and refreshments in the café along with gifts / souvenirs will also be available. This 19th Century heritage site, in the village of Wellesbourne, continues its free entry policy in 2018. The Yard entered and won the 2006 BBC Restoration Village series. On August 25 the Yard will host its Flower Festival with Elizabeth’s Flowers.


Hill Close Remembers – a WW1 Anthology, Hill Close Gardens, Warwick,  Sat Aug 11

Kenilworth folk group Romany Pie present a First World War anthology of songs, readings and poems at these 16 restored rare Victorian hedged gardens, tickets: £11.


OPEN-AIR THEATRE: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Coughton Court, Sun Aug 12

Join Illyria theatre company for this production of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale against the beautiful backdrop of this imposing Tudor home set in attractive gardens, 7.30pm – 10.30pm.

Tel:  0344 249 1895nationaltrust

The Dell, Avonbank Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon, every weekend in Aug

Photo by James Morris (c) RSC

Every weekend during August, there is free live theatre at the RSC’s open-air theatre close to the river, The Dell, hosting a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays. They include The Oratory Foundation from Trinidad and Tobago, who will be performing their version of The Taming of the Shrew on Aug 4, and Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group’s Much Ado About Nothing on Aug 18.

Check out the full schedule herersc

THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21

Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.

Family Fun Day, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, Thurs Aug 4 – 23

Jewellery making demo

Every Thursday between 1 and 3pm join the Learning officer for a family-friendly guided tour of the Smith and Pepper jewellery factory and craft activity, £8 adults & £4 children.

The Baddesley Book Fair 2018, Baddesley Clinton, Sat Aug 4 – 12

A large selection of new and second hand books for sale within the gardens, 11am-5pm.


OPEN-AIR CINEMA: Sundown Cinema, mac, Cannon Hill Park, Aug 8, 11, 26 & Sept 1

Sundown Cinema returns with 4 quirky classics: Michael Jackson’s 1980’s movie Moonwalker (PG) on Aug 8, Pitch Perfect (12A) on August 11, Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif in the classic Funny Girl (U) loosely based on the true story of Broadway film star/comedienne Fanny Brice on Aug 26 and ending with 1980’s teenage coming-of-age movie Pretty in Pink, starring Molly Ringwald, on Sept 1. Expect a full evening of entertainment with themed cocktails and menu’s, music and even competitions. Calling all Funny Girls and one time Aca-awkward teens, for a party under the stars…


FAMILY-FUN: The Duck Race 2018, Coughton Court, Wednesday Aug 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29

Plastic yellow ducks lined up on a pond in the grounds of a stately home

Courtesy of Coughton Court

Celebrate the summer holidays by getting all the family together to sponsor a duck on Coughton’s traditional duck race down the River Arrow at 2pm, plus traditional games for families.


KIDS: The Play’s The Thing, Swan Cafe, Swan Theatre, Stratford

Boy dressing up with bear paws and military Roman helmet

The Play’s The Thing Photo by Andrew Fox (c) RSC

Get hands-on in the RSC’s award-winning family-friendly interactive exhibition exploring 100-years of theatre-making. See original costumes worn by many stars, props and learn gory behind-the-scenes secrets. All kids go free on Sundays and in the Warwickshire school holidays.


FILM: Luna Open Air Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Aug 


Over at Blenheim Palace the boy wizard is making an appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on 10 Aug, The Greatest Showman on Sat 11 and, fittingly as the birthplace of Churchill, The Darkest Hour on Sun 12 Aug.

FAMILY-FUN: Land Zorbing, Hatton Adventure World, until Sept 2

New this summer is Land Zorbing. Step into a large inflatable Zorb bubble and propel yourself around. Back by popular demand is ‘Water Wars’, a water-based interactive game – a massive hit in previous summers. Other attractions on this 50-acre site include up to 30 daily shows and activities, a 4-acre laser combat field, one of the largest indoor play areas in the Midlands and 100 creatures great and small, plus food in 5 outlets, a shopping village and free parking.  The summer sees the arrival of two new baby wallabies, lizards in Scales and Tails known as ‘Rankin’s Dragons’ and a new kid goat called Bruce.


Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Tate Modern, until Sept 9

Pablo Picasso The Dream (Le Rêve) 1932, Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018

Enter rooms that burst with colour and creativity, filled with paintings, drawings, and sculptures from a single prolific year in the artist’s life. This critically-acclaimed exhibition is selling fast. You can make a day of it and go crazy ordering two courses from the Picasso-themed menu in the gallery restaurant with exhibition entry…


Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018, until Aug 27

Image of Glasgow-based artist Mele Broomes in Void by Jack Wrigley

Take a leap into the unknown at the world’s biggest arts festival. Highlights range from Void, a one-woman dance version of JG Ballard’s 1974 novel Concrete Island to Four Go Wild in Wellies a dance show for children aged 3 – 5 directed by children’s theatre hero, Anna Newell and a limited run of 2017 festival award-winning Woke Apphia Campbell’s monologue fusing the lives of two women, told with gospel and blues songs. There’s humour from eccentric Irish stand-up Dylan Moran, Welsh comic Kiki Pritchard-McLean, Luisa Omielan, Kieran Hodgson and even a Bon Jovi musical, We’ve Got Each Other!

Full line-up of shows: edfringe

POP-UP CINEMA: Somerset House, London, Thurs Aug 9 – 22 

If you can make it into London, head for the popular Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. Featuring a mixture of premiers, old classics and recent hits, the venue’s fountain courtyard is a corker of a setting on a balmy summers evening in the capital. Running from Aug 9 – 22, highlights include the opening night premiere of The Wife introduced by Glen Close, Call Me By My Name on Aug 20 and Selma on Aug 21.

THEATRE: Kids Week, various London locations, throughout August

This August, children aged 16 or under can get FREE theatre tickets to selected performances across London (when accompanied by a paying adult). There is a huuuge selection of shows to choose from including Sound and Sourcery at The Vaults, an immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney’s Fantasy. Under Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels where you will dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magic forest and sneak into the Sorcerer’s lair. Over at the National Theatre, the Star Seekers need help saving their space station in this interactive 50 minute show for 3 – 8 year olds. Or for older kids, Pressure at the Ambassador’s Theatre is a funny and tense play about the D-Day landings.

CULTURE: Family Museum, Libraries and Gardens Trawl, Oxford, all summer

Want to encourage your kids to visit all the great museums, libraries and gardens in Oxford this summer? If they’re of an age where stickers and prizes are enough to get them through the door then take part in this family campaign. Grab a passport from the information desk at The Ashmolean, Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers, Museum of the History of Science, Harcourt Arboretum, Bodleian Library or Botanic Garden and each time you visit get a sticker. Three stickers equals prizes equals happy kids equals smug parents.

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 (b. 1907), 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.


FAMILY FUN: Zip Now London, Archbishops Park, Lambeth, until 9 Sep

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope it’s a human torpedo whizzing down a 738ft wire, 100ft (9 double decker buses!) above Archbishop’s Park at 50mph. Beats the tube any day of the week. What we’ll do to avoid our faces been wedged in someone’s sweaty armpit. Get yourself down to South Bank, climb to the top the tower and wheeeeeeee. Suitable from 8+

EXHIBITION: Life in the Dark, Natural History Museum, until Jan 2019

Exploring bioluminescence at the Natural History Museum, LondonTrustees of the Natural History Museum

Touch and smell the animals as you immerse yourself in a sensory journey into worlds where animals survive and thrive without light. How do they do it? You will find out! Feel your way through a cave full of fluttery bats and watch a deep sea light show. FREE for under-16s!

THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Fri Aug 3 – Sept 15

This off-beat musical about florist shop assistant Seymour who pines for his work colleague Audrey but doesn’t know how to win her heart or what to do to sate the appetite of a human-eating plant looks great fun. Matt Willis from Busted fame, drag queen Vicky Fox from the USA support Jemima Rooper and Marc Antolin star in an OTT show that seems perfect for summer in the lovely setting of Regent’s Park (bonus fact – the theatre boasts the longest bar in the West End!).

Find more ideas here

Things to DoThis Week

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