Things to do: Polo in the park, a festival for dogs and an audience with a cricket legend

Country Life rounds up the best things to see, do and book over the next few weeks.

Out and about

June 7-9: Chestertons Polo in the Park, Hurlingham Park, Fulham

Now in its 10th year, the three-day spectacle of world-class polo comprises International Day (Friday), Ladies Day (Saturday) and Finals Family Day (Sunday), with plenty of Pimm’s, Champagne and shopping, too. Early-bird tickets from £20.

June 14 – Alzheimer’s Society Polo Day, Beaufort Polo Club, Westonbirt, Gloucestershire

Enjoy a drinks reception, world-class polo, afternoon tea and prize-giving ceremony. 11.45am–6pm, tickets £150, tables £1,500.

May 10 – 12: Gleneagles Hotel Adventure Race, Perthshire, Scotland

Gleneagles, Scotland’s most iconic hotel and sporting estate, is bringing a new adventure race to the heart of the Perthshire countryside. Set beneath the Ochil Hills, the competition and event will be as much a luxury getaway as it will be a celebration of the great outdoors and a gruelling test of endurance.

Gleneagles Hotel Adventure Run

Not for the gentle jogger, the adventure race will start with a 20km run through the Ochil Hills, followed by a 0.5km canoe ride along the Glendevon reservoir in a Canadian canoe and finishes with a 45km cycle in the surrounding hills, book ended by relaxing in the newly-refurbished Gleneagles.

July 8-12: Landscape painting workshop, Cowdray Park, Midhurst, West Sussex

Five days of tuition with David Cranswick exploring the classical methods used by 17th- and 18th-century artists, from mixing colours to creating the illusion of distance and glazing. Suitable for beginners or experienced artists; £420pp.

June 10 – An Audience with Henry Blofeld, Lord’s, London NW8

An evening of anecdotes and fine dining at the most famous cricket ground in the world. Including a drinks reception and a three-course dinner in the Long Room. 7pm–11pm, tickets £200pp or £1,750 for a table of 10.

June 9 – The Northwest Clay Shoot, Penbedw Estate, Flintshire

Sporting and social event for 25 teams of four guns over seven simulated game flushes. Cartridges, breakfast, Champagne reception and lunch included. £800 per team of four, or lunch tickets £40pp.


Henley festival

July 10 – 14 – Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Henley Festival, the UK’s most glamorous intimate festival, and winner of Headline Performance of the Year in 2016 returns to its spectacular setting on the riverbank in Henley-on-Thames. As the UK’s only black-tie festival, Henley Festival is glamour personified, offering Michelin starred food, award winning comedians, critically acclaimed artists and the biggest names in popular, world, jazz and classical music. Tickets from £75, to book visit their website below.

May 2–5: Young Farmers Festival, Offchurch Bury estate, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

New event hosted by Farmers Weekly, with DJs, sports, activities and talks. Tickets from £125, including camping.

May 18–19 – Dogstival, Pylewell Park, Lymington, Hampshire

New festival for dogs and their owners, with displays, have-a-go activities, shopping and a dog-friendly beach. 10am–6pm, adult tickets £13.50.

April 27–May 5 – Stratford Literary Festival, various venues

A wide range of speakers and events, with appearances from Dame Darcey Bussell, Prue Leith, Juliet Stevenson and Ben Okri. Ticket prices vary.

June 8-9 – The Hampshire Country & Garden Festival, Bere Mill, Hampshire

The Hampshire Country & Garden Festival, returns to Bere Mill, Whitchurch, with a host of entertainment, demonstrations and workshops, gift and garden stalls, plus delicious food and drink, appealing to everyone who loves the great outdoors. This year’s event will be a celebration of the restoration of the listed building Bere Mill, after it was severely damaged by fire in February 2018.  All proceeds from the festival will go to the Hampshire Medical Fund to raise money for a Sysmex Sentimag Monitor that hugely improves a breast cancer patient’s experience of surgery, improves efficiency with theatre timetabling and will benefit over 200 patients a year.  Adult tickets from £8 in advance and Child’s from £4 (£10 and £5 on the day), family tickets from £20.


April 28 – Clinton Lodge, Fletching, East Sussex

A sensationally elegant garden around an 18th-century house (not open). Lady Collum, who has created it, says the series of enclosures reflects English garden design from the 17th to the 21st century. A wealth of detail includes a William Pye water feature, ranks of tulips adorn the formal front garden and you can walk through the landscape to the stone column. 2pm–5.30pm. £6, children free

April 28 – Plant Sale for Wildlife, Kilmorey Mausoleum, Twickenham, London TW1

A wide selection of plants, plus free tours of the mausoleum. 10am–3pm, entry £3, including refreshments

June 7 – An Evening with our Head Gardener, Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Derbyshire

Join Lindsay Berry for an evening garden tour and talk during RHS Chatsworth Flower Show week. From 6pm, tickets £38. Booking essential.

Until May 6 – ‘Hidden Horticulturists: Training Gardeners at the RHS’, RHS Lindley Library, Vincent Square, London SW1

The story of teaching at the RHS, from its first School of Horticulture at Chiswick to today’s Wisley students.

May 29: Floral Taster Day, Shane Connolly & Company, Latimer Road, London

Royal Warrant-holder Shane Connolly will demonstrate how to display flowers both naturally and seasonally, using no floral foam, then help you to create your own hand-tied bouquet to take home. 9.30am–12pm or 2pm–4pm, £150pp.

April 25 – For the Love of Nature, the Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London SW7

Huw Cordey and Patrick Morris, the award-winning filmmakers behind the BBC series Life, Planet Earth, Galapagos and The Hunt, share their stories in aid of charity Just a Drop. Adult tickets £17, 7.30pm–9pm.

Food and Drink

May 3-September 1: The Murdér Express: Jewel of the Empire, Pedley Street Station, London E1

Board a train and travel back in time to 1937 to solve the mysterious disappearance of the world’s largest cut diamond, the Jewel of the Empire, as you tuck in to a four-course meal from MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 champion Laurence Henry. Tickets from £53.

Adare Manor in Limerick County, Ireland.

April 28-29 – Culinary Experience with Mike Tweedie and Hywel Jones, Adare Manor, County Limerick, Ireland

Adare Manor’s Oak Room and Carriage House will welcome award winning Michelin-starred Chef Hywel Jones for a two-day luxury culinary experience. Jones, who has had a Michelin Star for 12 years at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire, will cook alongside Adare’s Mike Tweedie. The five-course tasting menu will include dishes such as ‘Glenarm salt aged lamb two ways, spring peas, Wye Valley asparagus and morels.


April 24 – July 25 – Live at The Savoy with Judi Jackson, Thames Foyer at The Savoy, Strand, WC2

Highly-acclaimed, Virginia-born jazz vocalist Judi Jackson will launch the Live at The Savoy series as The Savoy’s Musician in Residence, on Wednesday 24th April and on three further dates (Friday 24 May, Thursday 20 June and Thursday 25 July). A new Thames Foyer evening menu and an extensive drinks list will accompany the entertainment. Available from 7pm, the menu draws inspiration from Auguste Escoffier, the legendary ‘director of chefs’ at The Savoy in the late 1800s, who famously invented the Peach Melba.


May 12 – Beloved Clara, Newbury Corn Exchange, Berkshire

Actors Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman and pianist Lucy Parham celebrate the bicentenary of Clara Schumann as part of the fortnight-long Newbury Spring Festival, with artists including Roderick Williams, Sophie Bevan, Jennifer Pike and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. From 3pm, adult tickets £16.

April 27 – Salon Imaginaire #7: Diane Cluck and Ichi, West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex

Concert with the American ‘antifolk’ singer-songwriter and Japanese one-man band, who plays instruments made of steel drums, ping-pong balls and everyday objects. 8pm–10pm, pay what you decide, ages 12 and above.

September 21-23: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert, Royal Albert Hall

Five showings of the iconic film with the score performed live on stage by the Philharmonia Orchestra. Tickets from £37.

Antiques, Books, Arts and Crafts

Until May 26 – ‘The Lost Words: forget me not’, The Lettering Arts Centre, Snape Maltings, Suffolk

An artistic response to Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris’s book The Lost Words: A Spell Book, exploring the words of Nature.

March 23–September 1: ‘Useful/ Beautiful: Why Craft Matters’, Harewood House, Leeds, West Yorkshire

The inaugural Harewood Biennial explores the role of craft in culture, identity and society via the works of some 25 British makers and site-specific installations.


May 14: The Ghetto of Venice – a Place of Exchange, Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London

Venice in Peril’s spring lecture by artist and writer Edmund de Waal draws on the themes of his major new exhibition, ‘psalm’, to consider the rich heritage of the Ghetto. Doors open 6pm, tickets £20.

Cinema, Theatre, Music and Dance

May 21 – Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, nationwide

This thrilling and audacious, award-winning version of the classic ballet was filmed in January at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London EC1, and will be shown in cinemas around the country. Visit website for venues and to book.

Until June 1: In the Willows, various venues

Musical retelling of The Wind in the Willows, featuring ballads, beats and backflips. Visit website for venues and prices.

April 23–May 5 : Twelfth Night, The Rose Playhouse, Park Street, London

A modern, musical take on Shakespeare, set on a cruise liner at the height of the roaring 1920s.

June 12–July 2: Nevill Holt Opera 2019 Festival, Market Harborough, Leicestershire

A new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will run on June 12, 13, 15 and 16, followed by Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte on June 26, 27, 29, 30 and July 2, plus a Spring Weekend on April 28. Tickets from £85.


October 3 – Letters Live, Royal Albert Hall, London SW7

Celebration of the power of literary correspondence, with big names reading letters written over the years. From 7.30pm, tickets from £29.

Art and Exhibitions

April 26–28 – Fresh: Art Fair, Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire

Fifty-one leading galleries showing 5,000 works by 500 national and international artists, including prints, paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics from £100 to £20,000. Weekend tickets £6 each or £8 for two online.

Until May 26 – ‘Joy Adamson: Botanical Art’, The Sunbury Embroidery Gallery, Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey

Works by the late conservationist and founder of the Elsa Conservation Trust, including vibrant watercolours of East African wildflowers and plants. Admission free; donations welcome.

May 1–September 29 – ‘Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration’, King’s Lynn, Norfolk

The first significant show of the artist’s work in East Anglia, with monumental outdoor pieces, plus smaller works, models and etchings. Adult tickets £18.

Until April 28 – ‘East Anglian Women Artists of Today’, Geedon Gallery, Fingringhoe, Essex

Paintings by the likes of Dione Page, Ania Hobson, Maggi Hambling and Jill Leman, plus contemporary jewellery, ceramics, glass, prints and sculpture. After April 28, the show will be accessible by appointment until May 28.

Until April 27 – ‘Peter Jackson: A Retrospective’ and ‘Kurt Jackson: Crab and Lobster’, Jackson Foundation Gallery, St Just, Cornwall.

Father-and-son exhibition, with abstract paintings and sculptures by the late Peter Jackson and studies of crustaceans in paint, line, print and sculpture by Kurt.

Until June 29: ‘A Life in Colour: The Art of Doris Hatt’, The Museum of Somerset, Taunton Castle, Castle Green, Somerset

Works by the 20th-century Somerset pioneer of British Modernism, who exhibited her vibrant portraiture, still lifes and landscapes over five decades.

April 8-27: ‘Seren Bell: New Paintings’, Fosse Gallery, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire

Charming pen, ink and coloured-pencil studies of farm animals with a backdrop of the Wye Valley.

April 4–May 11 : ‘Gillian Ayres: Song Beneath the Stars’, Alan Cristea Gallery, Pall Mall, London

A celebration of the extra-ordinary career of the late artist, spanning 50 years and charting her passion for printmaking.