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This week


Snowdrop season, Painswick Rococo Gardens, Painswick, throughout Feb

blanket of snowdrops tree trunks

Always cheery to see these white jewels popping up and if you really want to feast on the first sign of spring, head to the Rococo Gardens where you’ll also be treated to hellebores, cyclamen and wood anemone. The café is fab with homemade lunches and cakes that are incredibly hard to resist. You have been warned!


Wine-Tasting Experience, Three Choirs Vineyard, near Gloucester, Tue 27 Feb, 10:30am

woman drinking wine

Apparently mid-week skives are good for you (read all about it here), and moderate wine drinking is too of course, so hello, do this for your health. A bit of a tour, some wine quaffing and a light lunch. That’ll cheer up February nicely thank you.


Chocolate and wine-tasting, Averys & Zara’s Chocolates, Bristol, Wed 28 Feb, 7pm

Expect great chocolate and wine pairings what with Zara’s Chocolates being award-winning (and innovative, think turmeric & pumpkin seeds, good for you, you know) and Averys being the oldest wine merchants in Bristol with a stash of wines that are as old as me (and that’s old). Its candlelit cellars are atmospheric and romantic if you’re thinking late Valentine treat with your partner.


Ric James, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, Wed 28 Feb to Sat 24 March

Marilyn Monroe red lips stars blue background

Strongly inspired by the New York arts scene, multi-media artist Ric James’ work takes a journey across the Atlantic with a mixture of reality-based and abstract work referencing Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Mark Rothko. Fantastic work on canvas and in sculpture – bring your credit card fully flexed!


The Royal Ballet: A Winter’s Tale (live stream), Bradford on Avon, Wed 28 Feb

ballet dancer lifting ballerina

Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss becomes compelling dance drama in choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation, with music by Joby Talbot.


Iford Arts Young Artists’ Opera Showcase, Bradford on Avon, Wed 28 Feb

The programme includes the opening scene from The Marriage of Figaro, a selection of bel canto arias and songs by Sondheim and Bernstein including Glitter and be gay, in anticipation of Iford Arts’ 2018 production of Candide. Musical Director Oliver Gooch is joined by two of the finest young singers who performed in Iford’s 2017 opera season.


Variety Night: Grayson Perry, Sir Michael Parkinson, Gareth Malone, New Theatre Oxford, Wed 28 Feb

Perry, Parkinson and Malone. The most unlikely boyband ever? A new firm of solicitors? Actually, the artist, the interviewer and the choirmaster are appearing together, in conversation, on stage for this charity fundraiser. What on earth will they talk about? We’re promised ‘laughs, discussion, insight and costume changes’ (presumably the latter from Perry rather than Parkinson).


World Book Day Afternoon Tea, The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, Cheltenham, Thu 1 March, 4pm-6pm

private dining room corner standing lamp art

Art and art-deco style in the private dining room – nice, isn’t it?!

This sounds like the perfect excuse to hang out in our new favourite eatery, The Ivy in Cheltenham! And it’s in the private dining room which is pukka! Local, award-winning children’s author Sally Grindley will be hosting a reading from two of her favourite books and then there’ll be a special Ivy afternoon tea, tigers welcome.


Pre-Cheltenham Festival Ball & Auction, The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, Sat 3 Mar

The Hollow Bottom is the pub to head to for Cheltenham Race Week if you want to avoid the craziness of the Spa town but still imbibe the fun of the races, and this ball is just the thing to get you out of the gate. A night of champagne and canapés, dinner and wine, cheese and port, magic from Andy Cole and dancing to The Shy-Teds. Only £75 and it’s all in aid of Help Chloe Live. Tel: 01451 850392,


The Broadway and West End Songbook, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Sat 3 March, 7:30pm

Caroline Mander, along with all the members of the EveryVoice Choirs, perform the biggest hits from Broadway and The West End, featuring belters from musicals such as West Side Story, Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins and more.


Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome, until Sat 3 March

Photo: Matt Crockett

The untold story of the Witches of Oz – or how two sorcery students became the Wicked Witch of the West (boo, hiss) and Glinda the Good.


Bex Jazz live, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, Sat 3 March

A jazz vocalist with one of the biggest voices out there, Bex will be filling the airwaves at Stroud Brewery this Saturday with her jazz, Latin and pop repertoire. Perfect accompaniment to craft beer and pizza!


Stan and Mable and the Race for Space, Bradford on Avon, Sat 3 March

dog and cat cartoon characters

A whole carnival of animals escape from the School for Wild and Dangerous Animals in search of a safe place to call home. This show features a brand-new illustrated story by Jason Chapman and original music by children’s composer Paul Rissmann.


That’ll Be The Day, Swindon Theatre, Swindon, Sat 3 March

The UK’s premier Rock & Roll production returns with another brand new show. Highly acclaimed for its stunning LIVE entertainment value, That’ll Be The Day is an outstanding celebration for all true fans of the golden era of popular music. This latest production features a fantastic new-line-up of smash hits spanning the 50s, 60s & 70s, plus more side-splitting comic sketches, all performed live on-stage.


21st Century Abstracts, Salisbury, Sat 3 to Sat 31 March

multi colours painting abstract

Artist John Munro describes his pictures, with their zinging colours and powerful paerns, as truly modern works of art which appeal to ‘the bravest of the brave art buyers’, adding that abstract art tends to be purchased by people who are innovative, forward-looking, enterprising and optimistic. See for yourself!


Cowley Manor Wedding Fayre, near Cheltenham, Sun 4 Mar, 1pm-4pm

table dressed for a wedding with pink flowers, candlesticks

Getting married? Then you’ll be wanting to go along to Cowley Manor on Sunday as the luxe hotel gets all dressed up for nuptials with a marquee on the top lawn, a selection of table settings, decorations and centrepieces laid out in its restaurant Malt, champagne and canapés on tap along with Cowley’s favourite wedding suppliers. Go on a tour of the 55-acre, Grade II-listed gardens and then pick everyone’s brains for your own big day.


Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair Sale, Cheltenham Town Hall, Sun 4 Mar, 11am to 4pm

Hurrah, this faberoo vintage fair sale is back in town with its incredible collection of retro goodies from fashion to interiors, not to mention the hair and beauty stall where you can get a vintage makeover – victory rolls and beehives here we come!


Stroud Film Festival, various locations, Stroud, Sun 4 to Sun 18 March

movie camera black and white

A fortnight of celluloid culture kicks off at The Prince Albert on Sunday as the Stroud Film Festival launches its fourth outing. This year expect even more films, including new releases, old classics and kiddie-friendly screenings, as well as a chance to meet well known filmmakers and grill them about their work. Sunday’s launch event will see George Platt present a synchronous sound multi-screen experience. Yes, we need to know what this is! So go along!! It’s free and the action starts at 4pm.


Some People V Reginald D. Hunter, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, Sun 4 March, 8pm

There are still some tickets left for the American comedian whose British-style understatement is seriously funny. A frequent guest on 8 Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown and Have I Got News For You, he’s extended his UK tour he’s that popular! Not to be missed!


Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, until Sun 11 March

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.


Lambing, Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, near Cheltenham, until Sun 15 April

lambs in a barn

The cutest signs of spring will be appearing on Adam Henson’s beautiful farm just in time for half term. Open-dated tickets mean you can book in then choose a day when the sun’s out (if we get one, fingers crossed!), but if we don’t there’s a new Animal Barn to cosy up in.


Living with Nature’s Design, The Guild at 51, Cheltenham, until Sun 15 April

handmade chest of drawers

If you’re on the prowl for one-off, original interiors finds, then this is your mecca. Among the goodies will be furniture designer-makers Kristian Pettifor and David Ian Smith’s table, chest of drawers and lighting, and sheer linen textile panels printed and painted with patterns inspired by ripples and reflections in nature by the very talented Jenny Bicât.



woman jumping in air blue sky  

Kids’ Easter Drama Workshop, Cheltenham Playhouse, Cheltenham, Tue 3 to Fri 6 April

If you’ve got a budding actor of primary school age and are wondering how to stimulate their genius (or, er, just entertain them over Easter), can I recommend this fab-sounding workshop! No auditions required (phew), kids will be put through their dramatic paces playing theatre games, telling stories, creating characters and learning songs, which will culminate in a performance on the Friday on the main stage in full costume with song and dance in front of an audience! It’s first come first served, so get yourself a place quick. Here’s the link.


Summer music festival round-up, from June

In less than six months we’ll be basking in warm sunshine hanging out with feathers in our hair at a music festival – that is if you book your tickets now! Check out the Muddy pick’n’mix here.

woman at a music festival sunset

Find more ideas here

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