With open-air live music and flower shows returning to Britain this summer, and some virtual events here to stay, we’ve rounded up the best things to do this season, so you can start planning a year to remember
Blenheim Palace Flower Show (25-27 June)
A riot of colour, fragrance and weird and wonderful plants, the 20,000 square foot Grand Floral Pavilion forms the centrepiece of the show and features the UK’s finest nurseries and growers giving expert advice and gardening ideas.
Visitors can enjoy garden talks with experts and enthusiasts, fabulous food and drink as well as more than 300 exhibitors, an outdoor plant village and live entertainment.
New for 2021 is Floral Street, the perfect place to discover your favourite plants, flowers and an array of gardening goodies.
The Genealogy Show (25-26 June)
Whether you are an avid family history researcher, or you are just getting started, you can tune into The Genealogy Show 2021 Virtual Event, between the 25-26 June, wherever you are in the world. The Genealogy Show have created an immersive platform for all to enjoy. This includes over 48 hours of non-stop talks from industry-leading speakers, which will all be available for 30 days after the event in the ‘On-Demand’ section. The show also has an ‘Exhibitor Zone’ like no other that can be navigated using an interactive ‘drag n drop’ map, making it even easier to visit their wide variety of globally-recognised exhibitors.
And if you feel it is time to get an expert involved in your family history research, The Genealogy Show offer pre-bookable ‘Wizard’ sessions so you can finally make some progress. There are also many articles, games, competitions and much more included in the ticket price. The event has been specially designed to bring the genealogy community together again, no matter your experience level. Don’t miss out!
Carfest (various dates in July and August)
Taking place in Cheshire (23-25 July) and Hampshire (27-29 August), CarFest is all about impressive cars, great music and delicious food. Created by English TV presenter and radio DJ Chris Evans, 2021 marks 10 years of CarFest. To celebrate reaching double figures, this year’s shows promise to bring everyone together in a safe environment; to admire the fastest cars, and enjoy performances from the some of UK’s best artists, bands and DJs.
All funds from the festival weekends will go to their UK Partner Children’s Charities, which include BBC Children in Need, Ellen MacArthur Trust, Rainbow Trust, Starlight Children’s Foundation and Teenage Cancer Trust.
Summer at Hever Castle (22 July-31 August)
From magical activities to mythical quests as well as falconry displays and jousting, summer at Hever Castle promises something for all the family.
Throughout the school holidays (22 July-31 August) families can take part in Spellbound Summer, a series of hands-on activities to allow visitors to enter the magic of Hever during medieval times. They can: join their resident sorcerers and learn the tricks of the trade; learn about magical creatures and find out which are friend and which are foe; find out how to cast spells and how to execute the perfect wand waving technique; and pick up a broomstick to defend the castle from the dragon. Children are encouraged to visit dressed as fairy-tale characters: a favourite witch or wizard or perhaps a brave knight; the best dressed will receive a certificate.
In addition, on selected days in July and August visitors will be entertained by the falconry displays from Birds of Prey Willow Centre in Sevenoaks with two displays a day.
Finally, the popular Summer Jousting Tournament runs on selected dates in July and August. The Knights of Royal England will be entertaining visitors with exhilarating displays of action, stunts, falls and fights in an authentic arena. Battling it out in the saddle and on foot in one-to-one combat, the valiant knights will then compete for points to find this season’s ultimate champion.
Of course even without all of this additional excitement, a visit to Hever Castle is a perfect day out for the whole family with 125 acres of open space, glorious gardens, the fun Water Maze and three play areas including the Tudor Towers adventure playground.
The Luna Open Air Cinema (12-15 August)
Following the fantastically popular 2020 Summer Season, The Luna Open Cinema is returning to Blenheim Palace, so you can enjoy an unforgettable big-screen experience set against a stunning backdrop. Throw in great food, a full bar, both with click and collect service, an optional seated upgrade, and of course giant screens with incredible state of the art sound, and it’s the perfect summer’s evening out.
The programme of films for 2021 includes the Academy Award winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, to the iconic Star Wars: A New Hope. You can take a journey to the golden age of cinema with Marilyn Monroe’s Some Like it Hot or test out your vocal skills at the singalong version of the smash-hit movie musical The Greatest Showman.
The Barn Theatre (21-22 August)
Cirencester’s award-winning theatre, the Barn Theatre, have teamed up with theatre company Scoot Theatre to take over the gardens of Notgrove Manor in the Cotswolds in August for a weekend of outdoor theatrical family fun.
The Barn at Notgrove, in association with Scoot Theatre, will feature performances of Scoot Theatre’s family-friendly, 60-minute productions of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors.
The production will be staged on the lawn of the Manor House at Notgrove at the following times: The Comedy of Errors at 3pm (21st August) and 12pm (22nd August) with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 5pm (21st August) and 2pm (22nd August).
Tickets for the productions are now available on their website, with family tickets available for £35. Parking and facilities will be available for audience members.
Park Proms (27-28 August)
Park Proms, is a new but unmissable musical spectacular set in the outstanding, historic surrounds of the Broadlands estate. Nestled in Hampshire’s Test Valley, the manor is surrounded by rolling parkland that was partly designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century.
There will be a plethora of locally-based businesses supplying meals and snacks on-site, and a hospitality lounge for those seeking a VIP experience. Guests will also be able to bring their own food and drink and picnic in the grounds from where they can enjoy the proceedings of the evening.
Night one, Friday 27 August 2021, features performances by the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO), acoustic band The Travelling Hands and two very special guests: The Welsh baritone, former boy soprano, television and radio presenter, Aled Jones; and English mezzo-soprano, Laura Wright.
A premium night of pop music arrives in Broadlands on night two, Saturday 28 August 2021. James Morrison will be headlining, performing alongside special guests Pixie Lott, Scouting for Girls, and Eliza and The Bear.