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What’s on in July

Where to head and what to book around Somerset, Dorset and beyond for a summer to remember.

The Muddy pick of what’s happening this month.

Frome Festival, around Frome, Fri 2 – Sun 11 July

Now in its 20th year, the Festival boasts over 200 events in 40 venues across town, including Reginald D Hunter, John Hegley, Paul Foot and Mitch Benn, an art trail, hidden gardens, performance, art and craft workshops. That should keep you busy.

Garden Festival, The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Fri 2 – Sun 4 July

Plants, garden gadgets, gifts, sculpture, food and drink stalls with live music, talks, hands-on demos and workshops, flower installations and tours around the gorgeous 14 acre gardens at the medieval home of the Bishops of Bath & Wells (lucky beggers).

Bounce Back Festival, Iford Manor, near Bradford on Avon, Fri 2 – Sun 4 July

Residents Marianne and William Cartwright-Hignett are combining their belief in Iford as restorative and healing (especially post-covid), their passion for live music and their support for artists in this mini festival. World-class musicians will be performing in the archery ground, opposite the Peto Garden, from this Friday 2nd July with a classical night from the Academy of Ancient Music, to jazz singer Claire Martin on Saturday, and rounding off with a cappella singers The King Singers on the Sunday. There are still a few tickets left if you’re quick.

The Woman in Black, Theatre Royal Bath, Mon 5 – Sat 10 July

Antony Eden as The Actor. Photo Tristram Kenton

One of the West End’s longest running plays comes to Bath. Prepare to be scared in this three hander adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel about a man haunted by a woman wearing….

Somerstock, Somerton Sat 10 July

80s/90s band The Christians, an eclectic line up of 15 other bands, dance-circus performance by Motionhouse, family entertainment and activities, fab food and drink at this one-day, family-friendly music festival, which is the culmination of the Somerton Music and Arts Festival.

Curzon Seaside Cinema, Salthouse Fields, Clevedon, Thurs 8 – Sun 11 July

The cool Clevedon cinema gets even cooler (but hopefully not too cold) by taking to the open air at Salthouse Fields, right on the seafront. Expect a programme of film faves (Mamma Mia, Finding Nemo, Up) as well as the more esoteric (short films about the skate/rollerblade/BMX community) plus local nosh and booze.

Mill on the Brue summer camps, Bruton, Sat 18 July onwards

Over 40 activities – from Archery to Zip wires – on adventure days and residential summer camps at this outdoor activity centre on the edge of Bruton. Drop the kids off and you can explore the delights at international art gallery Hauser & Wirth, Michelin-star restaurant Osip and the swanky gardens and cyder bar at The Newt.

The miraculous mis-adventures of Robin Hood, National Trust Corfe Castle, Sun 18 July

Open air theatre with a spectacular backdrop as The Three Inch Fools tell their own – said to be hilarious – version of the classic tale.

Adam Kay: This is going to hurt, Lighthouse Poole, Thurs 22 July

The hilarious, horrifying life of a junior doctor, in his own – multi million copy selling, award-winning – words.

Boxes, Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton, Sat 24 July

Kerchief Theatre’s production, inspired by the Greek myth Pandora’s Box, is all about the need for, and value of, hope in challenging times. Described as ‘bloody brilliant’, ‘funny’ and ‘the nice side of nasty’ – and it’s free.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Theatre Royal Bath, Mon 26 – Sat 31 July

Glitzy, glamourous, disco drag queens in the outback: surely the best antidote to a year of lockdown lacklustre?

The Great Gatsby, National Trust Fyne Court, near Bridgwater, Thurs 29 July

Cocktails and Charleston dancing shoes at the ready. Live Prohibition era jazz and open air theatre as bandleader Nick finds he lives next door to a mysterious millionaire with a prediction for extravagant parties.

Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle & Park, Lulworth, Thurs 29 July – Sun 1 August

Where else are you going to get Irving Welsh (Trainspotting) and Mr Tumble on the same bill ? Also on at the multi-award winning family festival: Fatboy Slim, Sara Cox and Jo Whiley spinning the decks; Level 42, Selector and Sophie Ellis Bextor strutting their stuff; Dick & Dom and the Scummy Mummies tickling your funny bones. Plus over 100 screen-free activities and entertainments (see you in the line up of the best beard and moustache competition?).

Kaiser Chiefs and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Bath Racecourse, Bath, Fri 30 July & Sat 31 July

And their ‘orf! Ricky and the boys are playing after the last race of the day on Fri 30 July and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man takes to the stage on Sat 31 July.

Poole Harbour Festival, Baiter Park, Poole, Fri 30 July – Sun 1 August

On the waterfront: Dodgy, Toploader., plus around local bands, tributes and DJs, across three stages. Stuff for the kids too including a giant dinosaur show, animals and street performers.

Valley Fest, Chew Magna, Fri 30 July – Sun 1 August

Spectacular views over a glittering Chew Valley Lake matched only by the delish food, sizzling music and laidback atmos on the shore – this is Somerset’s tastiest music festival! Headliners this year: Texas, Deacon Blue and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival, Stock Gaylard Estate, Sturminster Newton, Sat 31 July & Sun 1 Aug

Some like it hot. If that’s you, head over to the chilli fiesta, now in its 10th year, for all things chilli – from plants to condiments, seeds to ceramics – as well a cooking demos, spicy food, hot music and dancing. Local ice creams and beers to cool you off.

Find more ideas here

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