Things to do: Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend and Frankenstein comes to the RHS

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

Follow our quick links to find things to do by region:

Northern England
Cotswolds and the Midlands
West Country
East Anglia
South East and Home Counties


September 10 – October 25 – Ocean Film Festival

A collection of new ocean-themed films takes audiences on a journey to some of the least-explored depths of the planet, from wild Arctic waters to spectacular sinkholes. Showing in theatres around the UK and Ireland – see website for venues and to book.

Channel Islands

September 5-8 – Sark Opera, various venues

World-class artists, including Victoria Joyce, Mark Llewelyn, Jassy Husk, Christopher Diffey and Yvonne Howard, will perform at Island Hall (on September 5), a gala dinner at Stocks Hotel (September 7) and a matinee at La Seigneurie (September 8). Tickets from £30.

September 5–6 – The Henry Euler Memorial Trust International Symposium and Exhibition, Island Hall, Royal Connaught Square, Alderney

Lectures, discussions and presentations showcasing Alderney’s maritime history, focusing on Anglo-French relations from the 1600s to the First World War. Free entry.


Check back in next week for events in Scotland!

Northern England

August 24–25 — ‘Finding the Light’, Kirkandrews-on-Esk Church, Carlisle, Cumbria

Solo exhibition by Cumbria-born artist and gamekeeper Michael Batey, who paints ‘Turner-esque vistas’ inspired by the Scottish Borders countryside in which he lives. 11am–5pm, followed by Evensong at 6pm.

Until September 15 — ‘Ella Doran: Sheep to Seat, Fleece to Floor’, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, West Yorkshire

Solo exhibition by the award-winning designer tracing the journey of British wool from sheep through to finished product, resulting in bespoke furniture, furnishings and photographic prints—all of which are available to buy.

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.

June 22–September 29 – Yorkshire Sculpture International, various venues, West Yorkshire

The UK’s largest dedicated sculpture festival, with 18 international artists responding to Phyllida Barlow’s statement that ‘sculpture is the most anthropological of the artforms’. Exhibitions will be held at each of the partner venues: the Henry Moore Institute, the Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Until September 7 – ‘The Art of Science’, Gallery Oldham, Greater Manchester

Exhibition of five years’ worth of work by world-class taxidermist Jack Fishwick, with examples of the paradise tanager, waxwing, flamingo, song thrush and long-eared owl, among many others.

Cotswolds and the Midlands

August 31 — The Catesbys Brocante, Yew Tree House, Exton, Rutland

Explore vintage and antique treasures, plus pieces by talented designer-makers, and fuel up at the pop-up cafe. 10am–4pm, free admission.

August 25 – Ribeye Clay Shoot, Burden Court Farm, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

Coffee and bacon sandwiches from 8.30am, followed by a team briefing at 9.15am. After the shoot, enjoy a ribeye-steak lunch with wine. £600 per team of four guns, including lunch; young shots £350; non-shooting £35.

September 6–8 – The Long Road Festival, Stanford Hall, Lutterworth, Leicestershire

Country, Americana and roots music stars perform across five stages, plus a wellness area, a classic American car display, Southern-food stalls and a honky-tonk bar. Day tickets from £45

Until September 22 – ‘A Tea Journey: from the Mountains to the Table’, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Warwickshire

Immersive journey exploring the cultural significance of the humble cup of tea, with 150 examples of painting, ceramics and poetry from the Tang dynasty to today.

October 15–19 — Talking Food, The Royal Gardens at Highgrove, Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Names including Anton Mosimann, Raymond Blanc, Richard Bertinet, Jekka McVicar, Adam Henson and Angela Hartnett will give talks and presentations each day, followed by a garden tour and a two-course lunch or Champagne afternoon tea, influenced by the guest chef and using seasonal produce provided by Waitrose. Tickets from £95.


September 5–November 30 –  Frankenstein, various venues

This theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Gothic horror will visit Perth, Canterbury, Coventry, Brighton, Cardiff, Guildford, Liverpool and Glasgow.

West Country

August 24 — Frankenstein, RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington, Devon

Musical production of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale performed in the open air. Picnics and deckchairs can be booked through the RHS (01805 624067; From 7pm, tickets from £10 through The Plough Arts Centre.

August 24-26 — Cornish Dahlia Society Show at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Hundreds of The Cornish Dahlia Society’s most spectacular dahlias, in beautiful displays at the iconic Lost Gardens. There’s also a ‘People’s Dahlia’ completion that’s open to everyone — all you need is a single dahlia for a single vase. Standard admission to the gardens (£15) applies.

July 20–October 26 ‘Wild Hares and Hummingbirds’, The Museum of Somerset, Taunton

Hands-on experience for families, based on the book by naturalist Stephen Moss, telling the story of the wildlife of his home village, with original illustrations by Stephanie Cole. Adult entry £3, children £2.

July 27–August 24 – Dartington International Summer School & Festival, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon

Four weeks of courses in early music, classical, jazz and more for all ages and abilities, plus a series of more than 100 concerts on the medieval estate.

September 8 – ‘Unconscious Landscape. Works from the Ursula Hauser Collection’, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Somerset

Seventy works by female artists, including the bronze sculpture by Louise Bourgeois from which the exhibition takes its name.


September 17 — Gardener’s Cabinet: Andy Sturgeon, Garden Museum, 5, Lambeth Palace Road, London

Garden historian Tim Richardson hosts a talk in which eight-time Chelsea gold winner Mr Sturgeon nominates eight items that have inspired his work, from books and music to gardens. From 7pm, standard tickets £25.

Until September 8 — ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion’, The British Library, Euston Road, London

Exploration of the artist’s notebooks, which reveal his study of movement in Nature and how this related to his art and inventions. Notes and drawings from the Codex Arundel will be shown alongside the Codex Forster and the Codex Leicester for the first time in the UK.

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Have you ever heard of a ‘thought experiment’? Leonardo da Vinci was a master of them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The carefully drawn wheel shown here is one of Leonardo’s very own – where you can see Leonardo working out an idea on paper. It is an attempt to work out in geometrical and mechanical terms how a perpetual motion wheel might operate. The idea is that the weighted balls in each of the 16 segments of the wheel disrupt the balance sufficiently as they roll to generate a momentum which continually rotates the wheel. He concluded that perpetual motion is just a mirage. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ See this page and more at Leonardo da Vinci: #AMindinMotion, where we bring together, for the first time ever in the UK, highlights from three of Leonardo’s great notebooks: the Codex Arundel, the Codex Forster and the Codex Leicester. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Click the link in our bio to find out more. Advance booking strongly recommended. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Arundel MS 263, f. 44v)

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September 25 and 26 — MasterChef Finalist Pop Up Event, Nipa Thai, Royal Lancaster London, London

MasterChef finalist Nawamin Pinpathomrat and Nipa Thai head chef Sanguan Parr present a four-course dinner inspired by a poem written by King Rama II. Sittings from 6pm to 8pm and 8pm to 10pm, £75pp plus drinks.

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.

September 6 – Come and Sing: English Song, Wigmore Hall, London W1

Choral leader Isabelle Adams will take guests through some of the greatest vocal works by English composers, culminating with an informal performance on the Wigmore Hall stage. 10am–3.30pm, standard tickets £25.

Until September 7 – ‘Keith Tyson. Life Still’, Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row, London W1

New series of flower paintings with a shared theme of ‘the hybrid and a fertile cross-pollination of ideas’ by the Turner Prize-winning artist.

Until September 29 –‘The Man with the Carnation’, The Fan Museum, Crooms Hill, London SE10

More than 80 fans from the Gérard Lévy Collection, with examples of the kitsch, curious, naïve and exemplary.

October 6-9 — Decorex, Olympia, London

The now iconic show moves to Olympia London this year for the first time in its 42-year history. What hasn’t changed is the opportunity to see the very latest in high-end design, enjoy an exceptional speaking programme and highly anticipated curated exhibitions, with over 400 different brands taking part.

The Decorex bar by Lambart & Browne at the 2018 show

The Decorex bar by Lambart & Browne at the 2018 show,

South East & Home Counties

August 24— Ridgefest, Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

This mini festival among the vines, with panoramic views of the South Downs, offers wine tasting, live bands, DJ sets, vineyard and winery tours, a cocktail lounge and delicious street food. Noon–9pm, adult tickets £30.

August 24–26 — 12,000 Years of Combat, Arundel Castle, West Sussex

Discover the history of Sussex from the Stone Age to the Victorians and beyond, with falconry and medieval gunnery displays, unchoreographed free fighting, metalwork, blacksmithing, cooking, calligraphy, medicine and sewing. 10am–4.30pm, standard admission applies.

August 23–26 — Henley Country Craft Show, Stonor Park, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

More than 150 exhibitors, plus workshops, demonstrations and fairground rides. New this year are laser clay-pigeon shooting, a petting zoo, adventure playground and street-food market. The show will also be at Penshurst Place, Tonbridge, Kent, on August 30–September 1. Adult tickets from £9.

August 23–September 4 — ‘Rhythms and Riffs’, West Dean College of Arts & Conservation, Chichester

Atmospheric photographs of West Dean House and Gardens — taken by Graham Murrell, former head of photography at Central St Martins College of Arts — will be sold in aid of the West Dean Gardens Glasshouse Appeal.

September 1 — Hampshire Country Sports Day, Bereleigh Estate, East Meon, near Petersfield

The Bereleigh Estate is the new venue for this countryside show. There will be shows and demos in the main arena, including horseback falconry from Jonathan Marshall of Game of Thrones fame, terrier racing and gun dog demos, as well as stalls with gifts, clothing, equestrian, shooting and fishing equipment, jewellery, crafts, and delicious food and drink.  Gates open 9.30am, programme of events from 10am-5.30pm.

Bereleigh Estate

The Bereleigh Estate, venue for Hampshire Country Sports Day.

September 6 – Hedgerow Wine Making, Brogdale Farm, Faversham, Kent

Learn the process and theory of hedgerow wine making, before heading out foraging for ingredients and then making your own. 10.30am–4.30pm, £120 including lunch, equipment and two litres of wine to take home.

Until September 8 – ‘Beano Time Travellers!’, Mottisfont, near Romsey, Hampshire

Explore 80 years of the longest-running children’s comic in Britain, with rooms dedicated to characters such as Dennis the Menace and the first public viewing of the original artwork for Minnie the Minx. Standard admission applies.

September 13–22 — Southampton International Boat Show, Hampshire

Britain’s biggest boating festival is back, with beautiful yachts, kayaks, paddleboards and sailing dinghies, plus products from hundreds of global marine brands. Adult tickets from £15.50.

September 21 – Catch & Cook Experience Package, River Test, Hampshire

A morning of fly-fishing tuition with Orvis UK on its Kimbridge beat, then a foraging walk in search of wild plants to accompany your trout. Finally, prepare your catch and create a meal with cookery school Hunter Gather Cook. £350 per rod. To book, email Emma Sandham on

October 19 — Simplyhealth Canine Run, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade, 200 dogs and their owners will take part in a 21⁄2km (11⁄2-mile) run. Canine participants will be rewarded with a collar tag and a treat, their human companions with a souvenir T-shirt Entry fee £15.

June 8–September 1 – ‘Command of the Seas: The Navy and the New Forest against Napoleon’, St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, Hampshire

Exploration of key naval battles in the run up to Trafalgar, focusing on local admirals Cornwallis, Peyton and Man and the use of timber from the New Forest in warships.

Until March 1, 2020 – ‘Talking Maps’, The Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Ancient, pre-modern and contemporary maps, plus imaginary and war maps, taken from the Libraries’ collection of more than 1.3 million examples. Highlights include the Gough Map – the earliest to recognisably show Great Britain – and fictional maps by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

East Anglia

August 17 — Q&A with Bettina Furnée, All Saints and St Andrew’s Church, Kingston, Cambridgeshire

Project curator Laura Purseglove talks to the artist about her new installation A World to Come, imagining the Wheel of the Seven Acts of Corporal Mercy. From 2pm, free entry, no booking required. The installation will be on show daily until October 1.

June 27–September 28 – ‘An Introduction to Stubbs’, National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket, Suffolk

A set of 10 drawings on loan from the Yale Center for British Art, unseen in the UK for many years, will form the core of an exhibition exploring Stubbs’s life and interests

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 September 14 – ‘A life in blue and white: the porcelain of Grahame Clarke’, Caroline Fisher Projects, Norwich, Norfolk

Fine and inventive porcelain spanning the clay artist’s career, with bowls and platters decorated with scenes from Nature and more abstract pieces influenced by Danish design.