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This week

Mon 8 - Sun 14 Jul

KIDS: Interactive Science Exhibition, Stockwood Discovery Centre, Luton, 1 July – 8 Sept

What kid doesn’t love wouldn’t want to learn how to become invisible, create eletricity and experience what a tornado feels like? This world touring exhibition, produced by scientists, physicists, geologists and astronomers, has already broken records, selling a whopping 100,000 tickets in Rome, and now it’s coming to our very own Luton. There’ll be over 40 interactive exhibits on the themes of science, maths, physics, natural disasters, nature, solar energy, biology, music and more.


FAMILY: Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors, Milton Keynes Theatre, 10 July

Henry VIII had six wives (or was it seven?) – that’s about as far as my Tudor knowledge goes I’m afraid, but you and your brood are guaranteed to learn a whole lot more – perhaps more than you bargained for, as the cast regale grusome tales galore – at Horrible Histories’ new show. And, thanks to some super cool 3D effects, some of the most famous figures from the era will appear come to life on stage before your very eyes. Be warned, it’s not for the squeamish…


FAMILY: Summer Garden and Beach, Burston Garden Centre, St Albans, 13 July – 15 Sept

Heading to the garden centre? Don’t forget to pack your bucket and spade! Wait, what?! Yep there’s going to be a giant sandpit popping up over the summer, so while you’re eyeing up those hanging baskets over a nice cold drink or ice cream, the kids can entertain themsleves building sandcastles. Genius!


FAMILY: Big Wild Sleepout, RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve, Sandy, 13-14 July

Camp out under the stars at this nature reserve and nod off to the sounds of owls, foxes and deer in their natural habitats – there’ll be twilight walks to see what the bats get up to after dark, stargazing with Sandy Astronomical Society, as well as the obligatory marshmallow toasting around the campfire. You can even indulge in a fish and chip supper or breakfast bap as you wake to the dawn chorus (well, perhaps not that early!)


FESTIVAL: Folk by the Oak, Hatfield House, 14 July

Dust off your ukelele for this chilled out one-dayer. The vibe? Think village fete mixed with full-on festival and (obviously) plenty of folk music, arts and crafts. There’ll be Frank Turner on the Main Stage as well as indie folk trio The Staves, plus loads more guitar strumming, pipe playing artists on the Acorn Stage. Stalls will be hawking all manner of wholesome handcrafted wares, plus crafty workshops in things like felting, leather and woodwork and weaving. There’ll also be a food village but you can bring your own picnic, too! Flower garlands and henna tattoos optional.



OPEN-AIR THEATRE: Shakespearean plays, Blenheim Palace, 8 July – 7 Sept

Tis the season to dodge the rain and enjoy some outdoor thespian action so grab your rug, brolly and, of course, a sneaky hipflask as Europe’s first pop-up Shakespearean theatre is pitching up at Blenheim Palace with Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet– the 13-sided scaffolding theatre, with three tiers of covered seating and open courtyard for ‘groundlings’, will be accompanied by a Shakespearean Village selling local ales, ice cream and side shows.


FESTIVAL: Summer by the River, London, until 28 Aug 

If you’re heading for the Big Smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital, Summer by the River (until 28 Aug). Outdoor cinema as well as concerts, workshops, comedy and quizzes- you can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing.

Must-see exhibitions in London this month include a new collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s designs at The Wallace Collection above, which contrasts the designer’s work with paintings, sculpture and ornate furniture from the Rococo art movement. The intimate collection has been curated  by Blahnik himself and features items from his private archives (until Sun 1 Sept). Or you can check out Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping.
Muddy visited the Mary Quant retrospective (until 16 Feb) above at the V&A recently and it’s definitely worth checking out- over 200 items from the iconic ’60s designer’s career, from miniskirts to her make up range, accompanying images and a strong feminist undertone (girl power!) Also at the V&A is the the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, it’s sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance, or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A (until 1 Sept). The major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain is also worth a gander, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery (until 11 Aug). And finally, if you’re heading up north, there’s the new Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.

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