The arrival of British Summer Time means there's lots to look forward to. Potentially too much. But sit back and relax because we've done the hard work for you. From April to August, across the UK, we've done a round-up of some of the best things to do, eat and see this summer. Here's what not to miss...
B E S T O F A L L T H I N G S B R I T I S H . . .
Can you get any more quintessentially British than a trip to the Regatta, attending a match at Wimbledon or eating oysters at the Whistable summer fair? Probably not, no. As summer brings out the sunshine along with a number of events, celebrations and excuses to gather together and have a jolly old time, here's some of our favourites taking place this summer...
Undoubtly the best known regatta in the world, the Henley Royal Regatta is a highlight of the summer sporting calendar. Head to Oxford in June for five days of races, boats and fun along the riverside. For sailboats and sea views Cowes Week on the Isle of White in July and August is another notable summer tradition. And of course, the Wimbledon Championships held in July is another sporting sensation. If you can't make it to the courts try Great British Summer for free outdoor screenings across the captial and enjoy the grand slam from a surprisingly comfy deckchair!
Outside of London, starting in May catch Giffords Circus as the village green circus tours the UK throughout the summer, head to the seaside in July for the Whitstable Oyster Festival, or look up to the skies in August at the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, to see Europe's largest annual meeting of hot air balloons at Aston Court Estate. Cameras at the ready.
For those in the city, Somerset House is offering up another world-class line-up for their Summer Series; from Norah Jones to The Cinematic Orchestra, catch fresh talent at this iconic London landmark. Greenfingers can while away a summer weekender at Open Garden Squares Weekend in June, where you can explore 230 private, secret and little-known gardens across the London boroughs. And finally, for those keen to dress up in elegant finery don't miss The Chap Olympiad - Britain's eccentric garden party. Taking place in a leafy central London square, gather for games and a “celebration of sporting ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases”.
F O R T H E F O O D I E S . . .
From pop-ups to new restaurants, there's plenty of food to get your teeth into this summer (literally..). For classic alfresco drinking and dinning under a folliage-filled setting, head straight to Pergola on the Roof back in West London for another summer stint (we recommend a mouthwatering Patty & Bun burger or a fresh crab roll from Bonnie Gull!).
Celebrate the London Craft Beer Festival's 5th birthday from July 4th-6th by raising a glass at their Shoreditch-based carnival of beer. Alternatively, gin drinkers look out for the Gin Festival taking place from Newcaslte to Norwich for a award-winning tipple, or two...
Hush favourite, The Greatest British Food Festival is also sweeping the nation, one plate at a time, starting in April and ending in September held at gorgeous stately homes across the country. And one for the northerners; for street food, food demos and an abundance of local produce head down to Manchester's Castlefield Food Festival happening from the 11th-14th May.
New London restaurant hot spots to look out for include Duck & Waffle Local, a fast and more casual restaurant from the team behind the Duck & Waffle opening in May (ideal for those who aren't so keen on heights). Then mid June, Welsh 'Masterchef' winner star Tom Simmons is opening his first restaurant with the promise of Welsh-inspired food and B.O.B's Lobster, from the lobster roll-loving street-food masterminds, is opening on London Bridge just in time for summer. Anyone for a lobster roll on the Thames? Summer sorted in one mouthful.
F O R T H E F E S T I V A L G O E R S . . .
After our first voyage into the festival realm last summer at Port Eliot Festival (read about our hush & Friends tent, returning this summer here!), we're now incredibly excited for the festival-filled 2017 calendar - especially if the British weather alines. For lovers of the arts there's no better place than the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, drawing in comedians, actors, performers and poets for the whole of August and celebrating it's 70th Anniversary as Scotland's most prestigious summer event.
For those after a more intimate retreat with a touch of excitement due to it's secret location, one and a half hours from London, Summer House Weekend is coming on August 17th-21st. Escape from the city with a small group of like-minded campers, swimmers and outdoor game players within the grounds and gardens of a beautiful country house - a guaranteed shelter if it does decide to rain.
Literature lovers take a trip to Hay Festival in Wales during May for the 10-day festival of story-telling, writing and music surrounding by the beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park; or for those looking for something a littel quirky, find yourself in Durham for street theatre, circus performance, dynamic dance and immersive shows at the Stockham International Riverside Festival (SIRF17) between 3rd-6th August.
And finally, journey down to Cornwall for Port Eliot Festival; a music and arts fest for the imagination, showcasing unique talent in breathtaking, Grad 1 listed grounds - will we be there again? (Watch this space).
F O R T H E T H E A T R E L O V E R S . . .
Albeit weather dependent, Open Air Theatre is one of the best aspects of warmer months. Treat the family to a show at the award-winning Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, a firm fixture of summer in the city, providing a cultural hub in the beautiful surroundings of a Royal Park. Everything from family-friendly Oliver Twist to the contemporary (and foot tappingly good) Jesus Christ Superstar the musical - all in open air. (Look out for the screening of La La Land on the 27th August!)
Or combine stunning cliff sea views with stunnng theatre and visit one of the world's most famous outdoor theatres, the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. Enjoy Goodnight Mr Tom or Pride & Predjudice with a dramatic backdrop of ragged rock face and a blue wave horizon.
For those who are happy to remain indoors, feast your eyes on The Ferryman - directed by Sam Mendes and transferring to the West End this summer for a limited run, Don Juan in Soho - starring David Tennant as a modern day sex-addict at the Wyndam Theatre, Angels in America - at the National Theatre from April - an epic two-part play set in America in the mid-1980s during the AIDS crisis (also broadcast live on 20th July, just in case you miss it!). And finally, Yerma returns in July - starring Billie Piper as the shattering title character - in Simon Stone’s inspired reworking of Lorca. Yes, tickets may be sold out, but you can join the returns queue daily for the chance to see this phenomenal play.
F O R T H E C U L T U R E V U L T U R E R S . . .
Whether you're after a family day out or an afternoon spent gallery grazing, there's plenty of new exhibitions opening, reopening and soon to be closing across the country over the next few months. The V&A is welcoming the much anticipated The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains exhibition in May, showcasing the first international retrospective of one of the world’s most iconic and influential bands. Self-confessed rockers, rejoice.
Plan a trip to the Peak District between the 25th March - 22nd October to visit Chatsworth House (the Pride & Prejudice famed location, eyes peeled for Colin Firth..) for their House Style exhibition, exploring five centuries of fashion and adornment. Curated by Hamish Bowles, the International Editor-at-Large for American Vogue, and including influential contemporary garments from the likes of Gucci, Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westwood, Erdem, Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane, it really is an exhibition with the emphasis on style.
Get up to date with the trusty British Tate at their St Ives Gallery, which reopens on the 31st March or check out the Tate Modern for kaleidoscopic paintings by international female artist Fahrelnissa Zeid from the13th June in London. They're mesmirising to say the least.
Lastly, one for the upcoming diary, experience the beautiful work of one of Japan's greatest artists at Hokusai Beyond the Great Wave, arriving at The British Museum in May. Get lost in the beautiful colours, shapes and textures of the infamous waves, before returning home and promptly booking a holiday to a dreamy waterside location...
F O R T H E F I L M F A N A T I C S . . .
With lighter evenings, warmer temperatures and the need for an excuse to enjoy more pimms-filled picnics outdoors, open air cinema has taken the country by storm. From classic film on a big screen in a beautiful, prestigious setting to contemporary cult cinematography, reeled on rooftops, beaches and floating canals - there's plenty of must-see movies to watch under the stars this summer...
Starting from the top, subscribe to Rooftop Film Club London and eagerly await their spring programme to find out what 2017 has in store for their sky high screens. Back down to earth, rely on Luna Cinema to deliver films in fantastic, magical locations across London - think castles, lidos, parks and palaces. (Top tip: if you sign up before midnight on Tuesday 28th March you'll recieve 48 hour pre sale access to this year's ticket season).
Picnic-enthusiasts settle down with your wicker baskets in tow at Picnic Cinema, for Pulp Fiction and Boogie Nights at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria. With the promise of dancing, disco, tomfoolery and shenanigans in extraordinary locations. While Fish'n''Chip fans should head to Brighton Big Screen, with a bag of chips and a blanket, for classic seaside screenings and fun aplenty.
For Floating Cinema (yes, you read that correctly) venture to the canal route from Sheffield to Hull, where you'll find artist Harry Meadley with On the Bench; a series of nine short films depicting Meadley in conversation with the community to explore contemporary life in Yorkshire. Each film will be debuted as the Floating Cinema tours from Sheffield to Hull throughout July and August, forming part of the City of Culture celebrations!
Whichever cinema you reside to this summer, releases to note include: Their Finest in April - this year’s big Brit film, starring an endless list of British talent (including Gemma Artertin, Sam Clafin, Bill Nighy, Racheal Stirling, Richard E Grant, Jeremy Irons, Helen McCrory) features a film crew making a propaganda piece to boost moral during WW2. Then in June, Gal Gadot takes up the mantle as Wonder Woman. Girl power a-go-go. And in July Dunkirk, starring Heavyweights Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Mark Rylance and (errr) Harry Styles, tells the tale of allied soldiers in WW2.
On your marks for the best-summer ever. Ready, steady, go!