Fri 20 - Sun 22 Sept
KIDS: Mark Thompson’s Spectacular Science Show, 21 September
‘Science is boring, mum…’ Never again will you hear that if you drag the darlings along to this award winning show. Mark Thompson, an astronomer at heart – you might have seen him on shows like BBC Stargazing Live, The Sky at Night, The Culture Show and The One Show – skyrocketed to success after taking his family science show to the Edinburgh Fringe three years ago. Since then he’s been winning over science phobic kids left, right and centre with party pieces like exploding elephant’s toothpaste, vortex-generating dustbins and howling jelly babies!
KIDS: Christopher’s Caterpillars, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 21 September
Got a minibeast mad little one? This sweet play adapted from Charlotte Middletons’ Christopher Nibble books follows the story of two green-fingered guinea pigs who swap their trowels for magnifying glasses when their pet caterpillars mysteriously disappear. Recommended for ages 2-7.
VINTAGE: TimeTurn: St Albans Vintage Retro Festival, 22 September
No it’s not a scene from a retro film, the streets of St Albans will once again be transformed into a vintage vision, with classic cars, music and dancing from a bygone era. Even the local shops, bars and restaurants will be offering a vintage twist. This year’s theme is ‘people power’ to celebrate local legends past and present. There’ll be all sorts of performances and activities as well as a family treasure trail. Best dust off your floral tea dress and perfect your Lindy Hop then!
KIDS: Willows potato shindig, Willows Activity Farm, St Albans, 2-29 September
You’ve gotta love living in the countryside when you hear about a festival dedicated to… potatoes! Stick the kids in their dungas and straw hats to make like farmers for the day. They can go digging for tatties to their heart’s content and take part in some spud-themed crafts, too. They’ll even get to take a free bag full to take home – jackets for supper it is!
ART: Herts Open Studios, various locations, 7-29 Sept
Check out what a creative bunch we are in Hertfordshire at this annual celebration of local art, where masses of artists studios, events and exhibitions will open their doors to the public for free. There’ll be all forms of art on show, from clay and sculpture to glass and jewellery to painting, printing, textiles and photography. It launches on 7-8 September with a special open event at St Albans Museum + Gallery to whet your appetite.
NEW EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, 11 Sept – 2 Feb 2020
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake has created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, will feature over 300 original works, as well as an immersive recreation of the small domestic room in which Blake showed his art in 1809. Other pieces will be digitally recreated on an enormous scale. tate.org.uk
MUSICAL: Madagascar The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside, Aylesbury, 19 – 22 Sept
Alex the lion (played by X Factor winner Matt Terry), Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo and a troupe of pesky penguins explode onto the Aylesbury Waterside’s stage in Madagascar The Musical next month, a guaranteed hit with kids (and adults for that matter) who like to move it move it (sorry). Tickets here.
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct
It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, Celebrity Master Chef winner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of ELLE and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out. henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk