What’s on in May… Futon Company presents ideas from across the UK


It’s May and there’s plenty of activity afoot! If you’re looking for outdoor action in your area check out our Blog and see what’s happening in May 2016 where you live with Futon Company



Edinburgh International Tango Festival
Now in its 9th year, the EITF will take place 27th-30th May 2016, offering another wonderful Bank Holiday weekend of world-class artists and many hours of warm, friendly dancing set in a beautiful city.  At the heart of the Festival is the Summer Ball, a grand event featuring the highly acclaimed La Juan D’Arienzo.  Three evening milongas will fill your dancing weekend from Friday evening until the small wee hours of Tuesday morning.  You can also enjoy over 20 workshops from complete beginners through to master classes.

Scotland’s Big Nature Festival
Scotland’s Big Nature Festival and Birdfair comes to the beautiful Levenhall Links in east Edinburgh for its fifth annual event on 21st-22nd May 2016.  The weekend event attracts around 6,000 wildlife enthusiasts each year for a range of demonstrations, walks, talks, workshops, arts and crafts and interactive activities.  Whether you’re a keen birdwatcher or simply a nature lover, there’s plenty to see and do.  The event is suitable for all ages and degrees of knowledge with over 100 exhibitors lined up to provide information, hands-on workshops, fascinating talks and demos.

Mary Poppins
Disney and Cameron Macintosh present the supercalifragilistic hit musical at the Edinburgh Playhouse from 27th April- 31st May 2016.  The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs.

Edinburgh Marathon
The increasingly popular Edinburgh Marathon is back for its 13th year.  As one of the flattest and fastest routes, this event is great for first-timers and seasoned marathon runners alike.  Sunday 29th May 2016.  Apply for a British Heart Foundation Charity place in the marathon by paying a £30 registration fee and pledging to raise a minimum of £500.



Kitchen Garden Open Day
Visit the walled Kitchen Garden of Chiswick House on 22nd May 2016 and enjoy its plentiful displays of flowers and produce.  11am-3pm free entry.  The walled gardens at Chiswick House are not part of the public park but they can be visited and enjoyed on Open Days when volunteers are on hand to answer questions and talk about the garden and its development as well as volunteering opportunities.  All funds raised support the continued preservation of Chiswick House Gardens.

Chiswick Food Market
Open every Sunday come rain or shine from 10am to 4pm, the market is a social enterprise and proceeds made from running it are used to improve and maintain both the local meadows and the surrounding riverside area.  Features around 25 top producers from around the country.

Ballet 4 Life Classes
Improve your overall fitness and your posture all in one go with Ballet 4 Life Classes for beginners or improvers.  Arts Ed School, Studio 110, Bath Road, W14 1LY.  Prices £15.



Bristol Food Connections
Bristol Food Connections returns for the third successive year from now until 7th May, bringing people together and connecting them with the food they buy, cook and eat.  A partnership between the people of Bristol, the BBC in Bristol and leading Bristol organisations, including the University of Bristol, UWE and At-Bristol.  It was established in 2014 with the aim of connecting people of all ages and backgrounds with good food and each other.  It is designed to educate and inspire while making people think about the importance of good food.  Debates, talks, special guests, practical tasting workshops, cooking demos and performances as well as street food producers from across the South West mean this is one not to miss.

The Blow Monkeys
Singer-songwriter Dr Robert leads his veteran band at The Syndicate, Bristol on Thursday 5th May 2016 from 7-11pm as they play new wave, pop-rock and alternative rock hits.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The idiosyncratic period ensemble explore joy, sorrow and the struggles of human existence in this recital of Mozart’s Symphony No 33 in B Flat, Michael Gordon’s New Work for Bassoon and Orchestra and Mozart’s Symphony No 1 in E Flat & Clarinet Concerto in A.  Playing at St George’s Bristol on 3rd May at 7pm.



Nottingham Food & Drink Festival
Nottingham Castle plays host to the second Great Food & Drink Festival on May 28th-30th 2016.  With Tom Kerridge, Nadiya Hussain and Rustie Lee all performing live cooking demonstrations on the stage sponsored by Belvoir Fruit Farms there’s plenty of entertainment in store.  With a real ale bar, champagne bar by The Walton and sponsors The Loom hosting their own cocktail bar, mixed with fantastic food and craft stands, you will not go hungry or thirsty!

Sherwood Forest
Moments after the sun sets, the heath land comes alive with a strange and mechanic whirring.  Is it aliens?  Electrical interference?  Then a soft silhouette of a bird twists its way across the clear sky, floating low over the vegetation.  This, the nightjar, is one of Britain’s strangest birds, and it is hawking for moths, then occasionally clapping its wings together both to chase away intruders and to attract females.  Crepuscular wildlife – animals mostly active at twilight – has a mystery and magic to it and the nightjar embodies this fully.  Just seeing one is special but it is their sound that stirs the soul.  They favour heath land or regenerating woodland and Sherwood Forest, particularly around Clipstone Heath and Sherwood Pines, is a pretty good place to watch this most peculiar of creatures.

The Lacock Cup: A British Museum Spotlight Tour
This rare fifteenth century silver-gilt cup, known as the Lacock Cup, is on loan to Nottingham Castle from the British Museum, London, and is currently touring selected museums throughout the UK.  The Cup is a stunning piece of craftsmanship, with a dual history.  It has been used as both a feasting cup and a holy chalice, and comes to Nottingham Castle from now until May 8th 2016 in the Every Object Tells A Story Gallery.  Originally a medieval drinking vessel, it was later used as a chalice by the congregation of St Cyriac’s church in Lacock, Wiltshire, for over 400 years.  These very circumstances have allowed the Lacock Cup to survive the Reformation, the English Civil War and the melting pot.



Mindfulness Meditation
Relax every Monday for our Mindfulness Meditation classes 6.45pm at Beehive Healthcare, Chester.  Meet like-minded people in comfortable surroundings.  Minimum age 14.  Entry price £7.  6.45pm for one hour.  Starts 9th May.

Minis and More Exhibition
Minis and More:  Female Fashion from the Swinging Sixties is a small exhibition which shows day and evening dresses, holiday and wedding dresses by, among others, Christian Dior of London and Nola Gowns of Chester, Susan Small and the boutique labels Dollyrockers and Kweens.  Ranging from seriously short minis to full-length creations, in fabrics varying between understated elegance and psychedelic exuberance, we celebrate the extraordinary diversity of female fashion in the 1960s.  From now until July 1st 2017 at Grosvenor Museum, Chester.

Chester Cathedral at Height Tour
Take on the Chester Cathedral at Height Tour and experience public access levels like never before.  On the tour you will go behind the scenes of 1000s of years of history within the walls of the Cathedral.  You’ll explore the bell-ringing chamber, get up close to the images on the stained glass windows, peer down the fourteenth century quire stalls and Victorian organ and stroll along the galleries.   What’s more, you’ll climb the 200 plus steps up the tower and take in the panoramic view of the city and beyond.  A truly memorable experience.  Tours are 60 or 30 minutes.



Electronic Superhighway (2016-1966)
A major exhibition bringing together over 100 works to show the impact of computer and internet technologies on artists from the mid 1960s to the present day.  The exhibition title is taken from a term coined in 1974 by South Korean video art pioneer Nam June Paik, who foresaw the potential of global connections through technology.  Arranged in reverse chronological order, the show begins with works made at the arrival of the new millennium, and ends with E.A.T, an iconic, artistic moment that took place in 1966.  Key moments in the history of art and the internet emerge as the exhibition travels back in time.  At Whitechapel Gallery, a bus or tube ride from Tottenham Court Road.  Showing from now until 15th May 2016.

Florist’s Secrets Flower Workshop
Heal’s florist extraordinaire Gemma will demonstrate all the tricks of the trade, using Heal’s own collection of amazing faux foliages, meadow flowers and garden blooms.  From tall textural displays to beautiful posies and bouquets, you’ll learn everything about form, texture and hues to enable you to create your own stunning arrangements at home.  This is a fab chance to learn from one of the best in the biz.  Held at Heal’s Tottenham Court Road on May 7th from 11.30am-1pm.

The End of Longing
In what marks his debut in playwriting, Friends star Matthew Perry is to star in his own play The End of Longing.  Directed by Lindsay Posner, this hilarious and dark comedy follows the story of four people searching for meaning as they enter their 40s.  Jack, Stephanie, Joseph and Stevie share a crazy night together in an LA bar, but as they celebrate, their lives become permanently entwined.  From this point, they are sent on a wild roller-coaster ride that forces them to face the darker sides of their relationships.  Showing at the Playhouse from now until May 14th 2016.



Hever Festival 2016
The open air festival at Hever Castle features family shows, comedy, cinema under the stars and musical entertainment such as tributes to the Bee Gees and Billy Holiday.  Sunday 29th May 2016 from 8-10.15pm.

Russell Watson at the Assembly Hall Theatre
2015 was a phenomenal year for Russell, with a sell-out UK tour, special guest performances at US National Memorial Day in Washington DC, the Caracalla Unicef Concert in Rome and BBC Proms in the Park.  The UK’s best-selling classical crossover artist of all time returns to the stage with his brand new show, Songs from the Heart, featuring a stunning collection of our best loved songs.  Captivating to watch and enchanting to listen to, Russell continues to wow audiences with his enigmatic and entertaining love performances.  Performing at the Assembly Hall Theatre on May 15th 2016 from 7.30pm.

Pantiles Market & Tunbridge Wells Famers Market
Combining hot food and local produce with a selection of crafts, clothing and accessories, the Royal Tunbridge Wells Pantiles Market is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike.  Held on the first and third weekends of each month.  Meanwhile the Tunbridge Wells Farmers Market is held outside the Town Hall, centrally in the heart of the town, providing a good source of local fresh food.  It is held on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 9am-2pm.


Lord Mayor’s Day
This event welcomes the new Lord Mayor into their role and gives the people of Plymouth the opportunity to celebrate.  This year’s theme is Superheroes.  From 10am until 6pm on 28th May 2016, there will be a packed programme of events with fancy dress competitions for the most super superhero and a Superhero Trail hosted by shops from Drake Circus and through the city centre.

Plymouth Live Music Night
Plymouth Live Music Night, taking place on 27th May 2016, will provide even more fantastic live music from your favourite local bands.  Taking place on the City Centre Piazza, Armada Way.  7-7.30pm Jacob Hunt, 8-9pm Rockafella, 9.30-10.30pm Joker.  A free event.

Plymouth Pirate Weekend
Come and see our very own Jonty Depp who will be lurking the cobbled streets, and climb aboard Plymouth’s real Pirate Ship for free on 14th-15th May 2016.  Take part in the Pirate Trail and see if you can uncover Cap ‘n’ Jack’s hidden clues.  On Sunday, come and see a shipwrecked Pirate that has washed ashore with a real whale.

War Games
War Games (from now until 19th June 2016), a V&A Museum of Childhood Touring Exhibition, explores the fascinating relationship between conflict and children’s play, providing an insight into the ways toys have been influenced by warfare from 1800 to the present day.  With toys and games including Risk, GI Joe and classic Britain’s toy soldiers, as well as photographs and archive documents, War Games represents differing sides of conflicts from around the world.  This thought-provoking exhibition reveals the sometimes surprising links between play, and wider attitudes towards warfare, and delves into the secret history of toys as tools of propaganda and espionage.  Plymouth City Museum & Gallery.


Iffley Meadows
The best way to appreciate snake’s head fritillaries is to get down on your hands and knees to see the delicate chequer board pattern on the nodding heads of these purple or white flowers – once common across the UK, but now almost extinct in the wild.  About 90,000 can be seen here in May, making it one of the best displays in the country.  Also on display:  orange tip butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.  Iffley Meadows is open at all times, and is two miles from the city centre, off Meadow Lane.

Waterperry Gardens
Walk under the wisteria tunnel in the formal garden of Waterperry when it’s in full bloom and you’ll be overwhelmed by purple and white flowers surrounding you.  Planted in the mid-eighties, the wisteria cascades gracefully over a long arch, and the bench at the far end is the perfect place to admire the dense canopy of trailing, pea-like booms.  Wisteria, usually in flower in May, is exceptionally vigorous and long-lasting and is draped over walls, fences and pergolas.  Also on view:  the eight-acre gardens are known for their magnificent herbaceous borders; the charming rose gardens; and riverside walk.  They even produce their own apple juice from the extensive orchards.  Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley, Oxon, open daily 10am-5.30pm.  Entry £7.20.

Oxfordshire Treasures in 3D
An exciting new display of treasures acquired through the portable antiquities scheme has been installed in the Introduction Gallery of The Oxfordshire Museum.  The objects are small and intricate, so innovative technology has been used to help the museum appreciate the objects in amazing details – including a 3D film.  The 19 items include:  a post-medieval shoe buckle, a medieval dress hook, a Roman finger ring, a post-medieval finger ring, a gold coin and a medieval brooch. A permanent display, on view from now.

Yellow Flower Garden Spring Wallpaper

Baddow Races
Preparations are nearly complete for the next running of the races, the Edmund Carr Great Baddow Charity 10 Mile Road Race.  The date is Sunday 15th May and the setting is flat and hilly, town and rural.  To enter go to

Ruby Wax Frazzled
Ruby Wax is coming to Chelmsford!  A Guide to Mindfulness is the follow up tour to her best-selling book Sane New World, which helps us understand why we sabotage our sanity with our own thinking.  This latest show is an opportunity to engage in discussion with Ruby to explore further the power of mindfulness practice and how it can be applied in daily life.  Chelmsford Civic Theatres, 4th May from 7.45pm.

Katherine Ryan – Kathbum
Star of Live At The Apollo, QI and the Jonathan Ross Show, the razor sharp and hilariously funny Canadian returns to Chelmsford Civic Theatre on 18th May at 7.45pm with a highly anticipated new show.  Put this at the top of your ‘must see’ list.

An Evening With Pam Ayres
Pam Ayres brings her current show to Chelmsford Civic Theatre on 20th May at 7.45pm after the recent publication of her book You Made Me Late Again.  Pam has been making the nation laugh for over 40 years.  Her work is funny and approachable.  Her hair-trigger timing, her eye for the detail of everyday life and the absurdity therein makes for an art that hides art.

Boot Camp
Essex Boot Camp provides outdoor fitness in parks across Essex and Chelmsford, offering motivation and fitness outdoors 52 weeks of the year.  Come to Beaulieu Park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Hylands Park on Saturday and Admirals Park Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  For full details and events taking place in April go to


Tipping Point
This is a show like you’ve never seen before.  This thrilling, magical journey features poles balanced on fingertips and hung from the roof which are climbed upon, swung from and walked along, which become forests, cross roads and pendulums.  The show is a “miracle of co-operation” (The Guardian) and “physically thrilling” (Sunday Times).  From 13th-15th May 2016 at Cambridge Corn Exchange.

Chicken is a small film that packs a big emotional punch, an assured and delicately compelling debut that marks Joe Stephenson out as a major new British talent to watch.  It tells the story of Richard a 15 year old boy with learning difficulties, who lives with his destructive older brother Polly in a caravan.  When the land they live on is bought, the electricity supply is cut off and their living conditions get even worse.  While his older brother makes plans to move on, Richard forms a friendship with the new landowner’s daughter and for the first time starts to see through his brother’s lies.  Cambridge Picture House 20th-26th May 2016.

A Tapestry of Tears
The beautiful venue of Fitzwilliam Chapel hosts an early evening concert of 16th and 17th century music.  The theme is tears and their symbolism in music.  Musicke in the Ayre will be performing lesser known pieces of work as well as the more familiar.  Taking place at Fitzwilliam College Chapel on May 14th from 6.30-7.30pm.


Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016
The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is the flagship arts festival for the East of England with a reputation for innovative and inspirational performance and entertainment.  With over 7 original commissions and productions, numerous premieres and a huge breadth of artists from many different art forms – often responding to a unique sense of Norfolk & Norwich – this festival is increasingly seen as one of the most important art festivals in the UK.  From 13th-29th May 2016 at venues across the county.

A Viking’s Guide to Deadly Dragons
This is a wonderful exhibition inspired by Cressida Cowell’s best- selling children’s books How to Train Your Dragon.  Come to Norwich Castle and be transported to a world where Vikings rule and dragons roam.  Discover Berk, the island home of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third.  Join this unlikely hero on his adventures with his tribe of Hairy Hooligans and Toothless, his hunting dragon.  From now until 30th May 2016.

Beginner’s Photography
Practical workshop in the heart of Britain’s magical water land, Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, a secret hideaway just waiting to be discovered.  The workshop will cover basic camera controls and operation, understanding exposure, ISO, shutter speeds and apertures, exposure compensation and lenses.  Aimed at beginners using SLR of DSLR cameras, led by professional photographer Peter Mallett on Saturday 14th May from 9.30am-12.30pm.  £35 per person.  Booking essential.  Tel. 01603 270 449.

When They Were Young – An East Anglian Retrospective
A unique exhibition is taking place this spring at Crome Gallery, located in the historical centre of Norwich.  The event has been inspired by a discovery of early works by four East Anglian artists.  Originally compiled by an eccentric and enigmatic British art collector, these 20th century paintings are now being prepared for their first exhibition in 40 years.  From April 15th– May 14th.


Stillingfleet Beer & Music Festival
Saturday 21st May from noon until the barrels run dry at Stillingfleet Village Institute.  A selection of fine Yorkshire real ales, cider and perry, wine, prosecco, lager and soft drinks.  Live music – a great line up to suit all tastes, festival grub and popular novelty competitions.  £5 entry includes programme, souvenir glass and first drink.

York Fake Festival
The York Fake Festival is a tribute-based music event taking place at The Knavesmire on Saturday 28th May 2016.  Tributes will include Queen, Kasabian and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers – all professional touring grade tribute bands that put on a superb performance.  They look, sound and move like the real rock stars – you have to see them to believe them.  This year’s support bands are all home-grown in York, including Laura Kindelan, Faux Pas, The Blueprints, Stonewater and Jokers Rage.

May Spring Meeting
A chance to take in racing at York in the spring, perhaps as part of a long weekend break in the city.  The first Saturday of the York season will take place on May 21st, with gates opening at 11.15am.  The feature race of the day, the Wedding is a listed race, which means it will be won by a horse of real quality.

York Famers Market
York’s monthly Famers Market celebrates the best of local produce, including meal, eggs, bread and oils as well as selling non-food gifts including pottery and woollen goodies.  The Farmers Market joins the city’s regular market at the Shambles on the last Friday of every month.  Fresh goods sold here are grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stallholders within a 40-mile radius of York.

The Ultimate Journey Into The Past
The world famous Jorvik Viking Centre is a must-see for visitors to the city of York.  Built on the very site where archaeologists found the remains of the original Viking City of Jorvik, the Jorvik Viking Centre offers visitors a unique opportunity to ride in a time-capsule and take a journey through the streets of AD975 Jorvik, a city as important in its day as London or Tokyo.  Everything here is based on fact, from the working craftsmen, the chattering noise of the gossiping neighbours to the smells of the cooking, the cesspit and the preserved 1000 year old Viking timber.  Passengers are transported through the Viking village of Jorvik, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells, for the most authentic taste of everyday Viking life.  Opens now until 25th October 2016 10am-5pm.


A Nation’s Theatre Festival: 27 at Battersea Arts Centre
A contemporary piece of physical theatre featuring Peter McMaster and Nick Anderson, reflecting upon turning 27 and the passing between youth and maturity, focusing intently on movement and change.  Adult ticket from £12.50 per ticket, concessions from £10 per ticket, May 10th-12th 2016.

A Nation’s Theatre Festival: Reassembled, Slightly Askew at Battersea Arts Centre
A highly original, interactive performance, as audience members wear headphones and lie in hospital beds to experience Shannon’s own illness and the rehabilitation she faced after her brain injury.  Highly immersive audio performance.  Adult ticket from £12.50 per ticket, concessions from £10 per ticket, May 11th-28th 2016.

Brunel’s Underground
Explore the historic destination that’s being transformed beneath Londoner’s feet, says  This subterranean exhibition space for the Brunel Museum is set to be the capital’s most exciting new arts venture.  It will be located in the Thames Tunnel, one of the first projects worked on by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the master engineer responsible for some of the 19th century’s most recognisable architecture – Paddington Station and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, to name just two of his projects.  Originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, the structure was the first underwater tunnel in the world, and later became part of the London Underground rail system that we know today.  Its Grade II listed Grand Entrance Hall, however, has remained hidden until now.  East London-based architectural practice Tate Harmer plans to completely transform the space, adding a freestanding cantilevered staircase.  The firm has likened the new design to a ‘ship in a bottle,’ with the stairs being the modern gem enclosed in the original Victorian setting.  Open now.


Brighton Festival
“Brighton Festival has been at the forefront…an arts festival that makes connections with the real world,”  The Times.  This is an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events – taking place in venues both familiar and unusual across Brighton & Hove for three weeks every May.  In 2016 Brighton Festival celebrates 50 years of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture with Guest Director Laurie Anderson at the helm.  Now one of Europe’s leading art festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere, drawing some of the most innovative artists and companies (and adventurous audiences) from around the UK.  May 7th-29th 2016.

Artists Open Houses
Twice a year artists and makers open their houses and studios, providing art lovers the chance to browse and buy original artwork direct from the artists.  With a focus on quality and value for money, the Artists Open House Festival aims to bring a dynamic mix of arts and crafts to the widest possible audience, providing visitors and viewers with engaging and inspiring experiences.  Visitors can expect to see a wide range of art including jewellery, ceramics and textiles, paintings, sculpture, printmaking, photography and many other media.  The 2016 May Artists Open Houses Festival will run weekends from 30th April until 30th May 2016.

The Great Escape
This is the festival for new music, showcasing 450 emerging artists from all over the world in 30+ walkable venues across Brighton.  It’s the first place to discover your new favourite artist and see them in an intimate setting before they go on to headline major festival stages.  TGE is also attended by the music industry who are on the hunt for the next big thing.  From 19th-21st May.

Elderflower Fields
A weekend of wild adventure, eclectic music and great local food, designed especially for families.  With camping, glamping, woodland spa, music, food and drink, this fabulous festival at Pippingford Park, East Sussex will take place 27th-30th May 2016.  Not to be missed.

Star Wars Toy Display
From now until 17th May 2016, Hove Museum is displaying the rare Star Wars items loaned from private collections.  These will include very early figures and dioramas (displays) from the first series of Star Wars movies, such as a Land of the Jawas set, released by toy company Kenner in the 1970s.  The display will include more unusual items, in particular figures from the second Star Wars trilogy.  These demonstrate how merchandising developed between the two film series, as the array of characters grew and increase diverse options were explored.


The Merry Wives
If you like your Shakespeare light, funny and wickedly entertaining then look no further.  The Merry Wives is bursting at the seams with verbal fun, physical comedy and a bevy of cunningly colourful characters.  Following their wonderfully received Rutherford & Son in 2013, Northern Broadsides return to Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Tuesday 10th-Saturday 14th May 2016 with their distinctive charisma and zest for performance.

Hannah Scott/ Annabel Allum/ Martha Paton
An acoustic evening featuring the brilliant Hannah Scott, a star in waiting for sure!  Hannah’s latest single release, Hurricanes, earned her an invitation to record a live session on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show, and has been played by Bob Harris on Radio 2, as well as being chosen by BBC Introducing as their Track of the Week for BBC 3 Counties.  The Star Inn Guildford on May 12th from 8-11pm.  Tickets £5 in advance from

Balletboyz: life
10 dancers perform two new commissions by Pontus Lidberg and Javier de Frutos, both taking a look at life and death in the inimitable company’s style.  GLive in Guildford on Tuesday 17th May 2016 from 7.30pm.


Devon County Show
This show is a fun day out for the whole family, with attractions including in-depth coverage of agricultural matters, food, fashion, jewellery, pictures, horticulture, floral arts and entertainment.  The Devon Show regularly attracts crowds of around 100,000 over the three days.  The craft marquee has an excellent location, close to one of the main entrances to the showground.  Free entry.  Westpoint Exhibition Centre in Exeter Thursday 19th-Friday 20th May 10am-4pm.

RSPB Beginners Bird watching Course
This course is perfect for anyone who would like to take-up, or has just started bird watching as a hobby.  Run by the RSPB on Thursday 5th May at Darts Farm, Topsham from 6.30-8.30pm with a minimum age of 8, there will be plenty of hints and tips:  develop your initial bird identification skills, understand bird behaviours, understand migration…and much more.

Storytelling in Topsham
Live storytelling performance by Martin Shaw in the intimate setting of the upstairs room at Topsham’s Matthews Hall.  A great opportunity to hear this legendary storyteller.  Dr Shaw is regarded as one of the most outstanding new teachers of the mythic imagination.  Minimum age 10.  Entry price £8/ £6 concessions.


BIG Walkies North London
Calling all doggies and dog lovers!  Join the biggest walk ever at Alexandra Palace Park.  Get ready for a day of doggie delights with more trees, more pals and loads of reasons to slobber.  Take the lead and join BIG Walkies to help more of our four-legged friend find a second chance of a happy home.  Registration is £10 with or without a dog; additional pooch pals cost £5 each – you can even join as a team!  Dogs who sign up will get a free bandana and humans without a dog are sent their own wristband.  You’ll also get an exclusive t-shirt to wear on the day.  Registration opens at 10.30am, the walk starts at 11am.  Alexandra Palace, May 22nd 201.

33 Wood Vale – Open Garden for NGS
The garden opens with a view of Sedum roof atop a greenhouse.  Emphasis is on texture, shapes, contrasting foliage, colour of unusual Mediterranean, Australasian and exotic plants.  Formal planting surrounds a centrepiece foundation followed by a meandering path flanked by shrubs, trees and two 30m borders of perennials and grasses.  The garden widens onto raised beds, small rockery, bog area and Corokia hedge.  Open May 15th until 14th August 2016.  Admission £3, children free.  Telephone 020 8883 4955.

5 St Regis Close – Open Garden for NGS
Corucopia of sensual delight.  Artist’s garden famous for architectural features and delicious cakes.  Baroque temple, pagodas, oriental raku tiles mirrored wall conceals plant nursery.  American Gothic shed overlooks Liberace Terrace and stairway to heaven.  Maureen Lipman’s favourite garden, combines colour, humour and trompe loeil with wildlife friendly ponds, waterfalls, weeping willow and lawns.  Imaginative container planting, abundant borders, creating an inspirational and re-energising experience.  May 1st, June 19th and July 17th.  Admission £3.50, children free.  020 8883 8540.


The Empress & The Gardener at Hampton Court Palace
A remarkable collection of watercolour paintings and drawings once owned by the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia at Hampton Court Palace, part of the nationwide commemorations marking the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth.  Never displayed before, the collection of almost 60 intricately detailed views of the palace, park and gardens vividly captures Hampton Court during the time when Capability Brown served as Chief Gardener to George III.  From now until 4th September 2016.

Richmond Park
Hidden away behind wrought-iron gates in Richmond Park is one of the most remarkable spring sights in the capital:  an explosion of colour so bright it almost sears your eyeballs.  This is the Isabella Plantation, famous for its display of rhododendrons and azaleas.  On display now and lasting well into May, with flowers in vivid pink, red, orange, yellow, crimson and white.  Also on display is the bog garden, planted with primulas and irises, and boasting a rich birdlife.  Outside the gates lies the grassy expanse of Richmond Park with its herd of red and fallow deer.  Isabella Plantation in Richmond, Surrey, is open daily, dawn to dusk, entry free, just a train or bus ride from Kingston.

The Jungle Body KONGA Class
This new and exciting program from Australia is brought to you by Calasara Fitness.  Join us every Thursday from 5.45pm at The Kingfisher Leisure Centre, KT1 2PY to experience this full body work out.  Switching between all Jungle Body programs each week you will get to experience Tyga, Konga, Jagua and Vypa.  £2.50 for the first class and £5 each subsequent week.