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What’s On This Month, in Herts, Beds and beyond

After a little hiatus, What's On is back! It's time to get off that sofa and get out there. And this month we have a brilliant array of days and NIGHTS OUT (!) for you (sounds good, right?), from open air theatre to pop-up bars, vintage markets and airshows. Get stuck in!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Knebworth House, 21-22 Aug

Fancy a bit of socially-distanced theatre? The team at Knebworth House has invited the Three Inch Fools to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the magical Sunken Lawn in front of the House on the 21st and 22nd August. You can bring a picnic and/or grab drinks from the bar, and even an interval ice cream. Ah! How civilised!

Magnificent Musical Flying and Firework Display, The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden, 15 Aug

Heres an original evening out for you – a fab vintage flying display, set to music. What fun! Vintage act, The Spitfire Sisters, will be singing live at the Shuttleworth Collection, before the Collection’s awesome aircrafts take to the skies, with displays including hair raising pyrotechnics. And there’s even a fab firework display to finish things off.

Twisted Cellar Presents – Bar in the Park, Sworder’s Field, Bishop’s Stortford, unitl 30 August

Wonderful Bishop’s Stortford-based wine, spirits and beer merchant, and snug bar, Twisted Cellar, is taking its Vintage Mobile Bar on the road this month. Each weekend, the pop-up will open in Sworder’s Field with delicious wines, gins and proper draught beer. Just pop along with your own chairs, or register online if you fancy kicking back on one the comfy bean bags.

Register here

St Albans Vintage and Antiques Market, St Albans, 16 Aug

Got a penchant for Brocante? Indulge your inner magpie with a morning at the super-great St Albans Antique and Vintage Market. We are very please to announce that the August 16th market will be going ahead as usual. Whether you’re after trinkets, furniture or cool reclaimed architectural salvage, there’s little chance you’ll be heading home empty handed.

EXHIBITION: Nick Knight: Roses from my Garden, Waddesdon Manor, until 25 Oct 

Isn’t this just beautiful? The image was taken by legendary fashion (Jil Sander) and celebrity (The Queen, Lady Gaga) photographer Nick Knight. He’s coming up roses with an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor (just over the border in Bucks), which features manipulated photographs of roses inspired by the work of 16th- and 17th-century still life painters like Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan van Huysum. Read our interview with Nick here.

Watford Big Screen, Watford, 18-31st Aug

Watford’s Big Screen cinema is returning this summer, with the cinema moving between three brand new locations between the 18 -30st Aug (18 to 22 Aug – Woodside Playing Fields; 23 to 27 Aug – King George V Playing Fields: 28 to 31 Aug – Knutsford Playing Fields). Old favs and big blockbusters will be on show, as well as a HUGE range of kids’ titles – Onward, Alladin. Lion King, Toy Story 4, Shrek, Mean Girls, Frozen 2 and Detective Pikachu and many, many more!

Campfire Cocktails Bitters Online Tasting, 21 Aug

Thought you were done with Zoom? Well, this interactive cocktail class from Tring-based Puddingstone Distillery might well change your mind. Three pre-mixed cocktails – Red Admiral (which combines ruby port, spiced orange bitters and apple juice), Bitter About Vesper (with lemon, hops, herb bitters, Lillet Blanc and sugar syrup) and Old Tom Sawyer (laced with dashes of aromatic bitters, spiced orange bitters, lime juice and sugar syrup) will be delivered to your door, so that you can sip-along with the splendid virtual tutorial.

Book here

The Rex, Berkhamsted – open for business! All month

The curtain has raised and tickets are now available for August viewings at Berkhamsted’s awesome Art Deco institution, The Rex Cinema. As you would expect from this art house cinema, films include classic and indie titles, such as indie Cinema Paradiso, Jojo Rabbit, Amelie and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but there are also more mainstream options available, with Emma, Hustlers and Military Wives showing. Take a seat in the gorgeous theatre (or an armchair/table near the bar), and let the magic of cinema transport you once more. Glorious.

Garden Theatre: Wind in the Willows, Knebworth, 9 August

Wind in the Willows

DIARIES AT THE READY! for one night only, on the 9th August, you and your family can join Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad for a glorious evening of theatre al fresco. Pack a picnic(don’t forget the vino), lay out your blanket and let the multi-award nominated theatre troupe, Immersion Theatre, entertain you with their engaging interactive style, awesome music and larger-than-life characters.

The King and I & Riverdance, The Vyne Theatre at the The Berkhamsted Art Centre, 8 & 15 Aug

The Vyne Theatre at the The Berkhamsted Art Centre is screening a few fabulous West End shows, and hosting a kids’ workshop. For old-school glamour, why not book in for The King & I on the 15th August, or for something to really lift the spirits, what about Riverdance on the 8th? Also on the 15th August is a Junior Workshop on Hairspray – the perfect opportunity to get the kids involved.

Book here

OUTDOOR CINEMA – very much deserving of its own section right now!

The Screen Space, Hatfield House, 4- 31 Aug

The Screen Space at Hatfield House offers both picnic movies or drive-in, depending on the weather. With kid-friendly titles ranging from Toy Story and The Lion King to Slumdog Millionaire and even Dumb and Dumber for the older members of the gang. This innovative set up doesn’t stop at films either, with an amazing host of fitness instructors running classes on site – including HIIT and sunrise yoga. Ommmmm. And, if you’re looking for summer holiday fun, look no further. Kids classes are also on offer, such as street dance and theatre. Nice.

Chilfest Open Air Cinema, Tring, from 7 Aug

Chilfest Cinema, Tring

After having to cancel the main festival *sob*, the Chilfest team has pulled together nine weekends of Tring-based cinema. All ages will love settling in for a big screen dose of Toy Story, The Lion King or Paddington whilst soaking up the summer vibes. And, there’s a great selection of retro hot food, pizza and, of course, popcorn, on offer. Oh, and the Chilfest Bar will be onsite to keep you topped up with rosé. Parfait.

Luna Cinema, Wrest Park, 21 & 22 Aug

Another fab Luna cinema offering – this time at Bedfordshire’s stately Wrest Park. The screen is positioned in front of the fountain, so you have the crazily grand back drop of the house and it’s formal gardens. Quite something. The Luna Bar will be onsite to top up your tipples and gourmet food vans are also part of the set up. This pop-up is just a two-nighter, with Rocketman on the 21st August and Dirty Dancing on the 22nd. So get booking!

Night Star Cinema, Turvey House, 21 & 22 Aug

This is another limited run – so get your diaries out if you’re keen! And you should be, as this one is set in 150 acres of parkland attached to Grade I listed Turvey House. The films showing are the fab Richard Curtis/ Danny Boyle winner, Yesterday, and, of course, the drive-in classic – Grease. There will be food and drinks on site, including some very special Japanese BBQ fare from the award winning chefs at Burnt.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Vintage Open-air cinema, Furtho Manor Farm, Milton Keynes, 30 Aug

VOACinema is popping up with a screening of Elton John biopic Rocketman (I’ve watched it about 12 times, it’s totally brilliant) at the end of the month. Arrive from 7.30pm and catch vintage clips and jazz music on the big screen before the movie starts, plus there’ll be prizes awarded for best dressed. Oh, and there’s a fully stocked bar.


EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until 14 Feb

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages.

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, 1 Aug – 24 May 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.   

DRIVE-IN CINEMA: The Drive In, North London (Troubadour Meridian Water), until 10 Aug

A 1950s nostalgia fest with great films, classic cinema refreshments and stand-up comedy. The event is fully contact-free with snacks ordered through an app and delivered to your car.

EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until 6 Sept

I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career, including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty (above).

EXHIBITION: Kimono to Catwalk, V&A Museum, London, 27 Aug

The V&A is reopening on 6 August (with free entry!), but its major exhibition will be opening towards the latter end of the month. ‘Kimono to Catwalk’ charts the journey of the traditional Japanese garment as an evolving fashion icon, from its origins in the 1660s to its modern-day iteration.

Find more ideas here

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