BRINGING YOU ALL THE COOL HAPPENINGS FOR THE MONTH AHEAD
We are really excited to be working with Sarah and Joanna, the Glos and Wilts editors of the award-winning Muddy Stilettos - ‘the urban guide to the countryside’ and the most influential lifestyle blog across mid and southern England. Sarah and Joanna snoop out the very hippest, quirkiest and most awesome restaurants, pop-ups, pubs, boutiques, shows, festivals, spas, day trips and events, so if you’re after highly-curated, insider knowledge on how to make the most of your stay in the Cotswolds, look no further! Here are all the cool happenings for the month ahead:
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Everyman Theatre, Tue 1 to Sat 5 May
The 19th century's power art couple Marc Chagall and his muse Bella Rosenfeld are the subject of this moving play by Daniel Jamieson which traces the young lovers as they navigate the pogroms, the Russian Revolution and each other.
Cheltenham Jazz Festival, various locations, Wed 2 to Mon 7 May
Quite a line-up this year, not least Van the Man, Randy Crawford and Courtney Pine – it's like the Neopolitan ice cream of live music – delicious! And the rest of the bill is looking might fine too. And as well as musical feasts, The Lucky Onion will also be hosting its famous supper clubs and house parties at No 131. This festival just gets better every year.
Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Badminton Estate, Wed 2 to Sun 6 May
Get your fill of the gee-gees at this three-day event beloved by HRH Princess Anne, a former competitor who this year is presenting the awards. Dressage, cross country and a whole load of shopping, equestrian and otherwise to fill your (riding) boots with. badminton-horse.co.uk
Giffords Circus, Fennells Farm, Stroud, Fri 4 to Mon 14 May
The annual outing of England’s most glamorous and wonderfully quirky circus has come round again, kicking off at its Stroud home – where a spanking new big top has already gone up with Giffords in lights and sumptuous red velvet and chandelier interiors. The theme this year is My Beautiful Circus to celebrate 250 years since the very first circus near Westminster Bridge in London started the magic in 1768. After Stroud, the troupe head to Sudeley Castle from Thu 17 to Mon 21 May and Daylesford Organic Farm near Kingham from Thu 24 May to Mon 4 June. See full list of dates here.
The Ragdolls, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Fri 4 May
The Ragdolls recreate the iconic sound of the Four Seasons, taking you on a journey through their biggest hits including Sherry and Walk Like a Man.
Olympigs, Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, Sat 5 May to Mon 7 May
Do you think you’re in with a chance of becoming an Olympigs champion? With loads of farmyard sporting events, including hobby horse racing, egg and spoon and, my favourite, welly wanging, this family sports day sounds like a Bank Holiday Weekend blast.
May Day Lunch with Live Music, The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Cheltenham, Mon 7 May
A real bargain this – a four-course meal cooked by the fabulous kitchen at The Greenway, served in the to-die-for surroundings of the country house hotel, with some atmospheric music served up by Steve Street and his band. And it's only £35 per person! And if you can't make it on May Day bank holiday, can I recommend the hotel's special May Asparagus Suppers that run throughout the month from Sunday to Thursday?
Chipping Campden Literature Festival, Tue 8 to Sat 12 May
Lots to enjoy at this bijou lit fest, including award-winning poet and writer Fiona Sampson talking about her latest book In Search of Mary Shelley, which I listened to serialised on Radio 4 and was shocked by what she endured – as Sampson says, her story couldn't be more relevant to the #MeToo generation. Also worth marking your pocketbook for is Sue Cook's Big Book Group with author Carol Drinkwater discussing her novel The Lost Girl, the matinee screening of Picnic at Hanging Rock and the Letterpress Book Jacket Workshop.
Great Expectations, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Tue 8 to Sat 12 May
Charles Dickens' timeless classic is brought to life on the stage starring Olivier award-winner Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Havisham. And people, two tickets for the price of one on opening night.
Cheltenham Cocktail Week, various locations Cheltenham, Mon 14 to Sat 19 May
From the opening party sponsored by Absolut Vodka at AquaVitae to the closing shindig at The Clarence Social's speakeasy bar Croft & Jones with Jameson Irish Whiskey front and centre, this cocktail week might just rival Race Week for let-your-hair-down revelry. You can book tickets here – but be quick, there are a lot of cocktail-thirsty punters out there!
My Fair Lady, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Tue 15 May to Sat 19 May
The Cotswold Savoyards are back with their rendition of six-time Tony award-winning My Fair Lady which takes in the flower markets of London, the racecourses of ascot and the refined embassy ball. Absolutely Bloomin' Loverly!
Right Royal Toast Party, The Porch House and Sheep on Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, Fri 18 May
On the eve of the Royal wedding, these two Stow-on-the-Wold stalwarts are hosting ‘Right Royal Toast’ parties, offering a selection of British and American themed nibbles and live music to celebrate Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tying the knot. They are also inviting couples who are getting married on the same day (Sat 19 May) to come and toast their nuptials with a free bottle of prosecco.
Dara O Brian ‘Voice of Reason’, Centaur Centre, Cheltenham, Fri 18 May
Fancy a bit of intelligent, no-frills comedy, shouting included? Funny man Dara O’Brian is coming to Cheltenham race course with his eagerly awaited new stand-up show ‘Voice of Reason’. Reckon this one will sell out fast, so book up now.
Meet the Machinery, Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham, Sat 19 to Sun 20 May
This is the sort of weekend activity that will get the heart pumping of any small (or large) person who likes gadgets and machines. It'll be a proper tractor fest as you get up close and personal with the big guns and snap a selfie of yourself in the driver’s seat.
Lechlade Festival, Highworth, Fri 25 to Sun 27 May
With Scouting for Girls, glam-rock band Doctor and the Medics and punk-rock outfit From the Jam headlining, this May Bank Holiday music fest is NOT TO BE MISSED! There are even more things to do for kids this year, a bigger and better comedy stage and so many amazing acts across loads of genres, I could write an essay. Which I won’t do, but will just mention that Hendrix-esque duo The Roscoes Wild Child are flying in from LA again this year and The Missy Malone and Burlesque Review will also be returning. Tickets are selling fast with live-in vehicle pitches nearly sold out, so get your tickets NOW.
Nature Week, Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, Sat 26 to Sun 3 June
From pond dipping to woodland adventures – minibeast safari or worm charming anyone? – half term week has a wild theme at Adam Henson's knockout farm. Nature rangers will be on hand to lead activities and raise conservation awareness and sheep shearing will be going on during that week too, which is always fun to watch.
Jamie's Acoustic Jukebox, The Kings Hotel, Chipping Campden, Sat 26 May
You don't really need an excuse to go to this boutique belle in one of the Cotswold's prettiest villages, but, hey, if you're gonna be serenaded by Jamie King on his guitar singing crowd-pleasers, well all the better. Have a meal or just hang out in the bar and enjoy.
Lou Lou’s Cheltenham Vintage Fair, Cheltenham Town Hall, Sun 27 May
Always a winner this with retro goodies galore to rifle through and the Vintage Victory Rollers Salon on hand to give you a Rita Hayworth-style updo or pin curls.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Cowley Manor, Cheltenham, Sun 27 May
1980s teen drama Ferris, popcorn, sweets and a BBQ in the chi-chi surroundings of Cowley Manor. Count me in.