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40+ fabulous things to do in Suffolk & Cambs in August 2022

Diaries at the ready! The summer events are in full swing this month with festivals, theatre, music and carnivals galore across Suffolk and Cambs.

Muddy’s Pick of the Month

FOOD: Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival, 28-29 Aug

Bury St Edmunds food and drink festival

You’ll want to ease up on the carbs before this free two-day gastro extravaganza to ensure you have enough room to sample all the food and drink on offer. There’s lots to see and eat, with more than 100 stalls, a farmer’s market and demos from celeb chefs in the Cookery Theatre.

FESTIVALS

Get your beard growing now for FolkEast, a family folk festival of music at Suffolk’s Glemham Hall from 19 – 21 August that’s celebrating its tenth year with a stellar line-up of folk music, dance, games, workshops, art, storytelling, and food and drink. You can camp on site in a pre-booked bell tent from £220 or your own tent for £10 a day, while day tickets start at £55.

We Out Here Festival at Abbots Ripton from 25 – 28 August is DJ Gilles Peterson’s club culture collaboration of musical styles including soul, hip-hop, house, afro, electronica and jazz. It’s open to all, including those who don’t do camping *raises hand*, with a variety of luxury yurts and bedouin tents to book

Hi Fields Festival, a cool and quirky dance, music and art festival is taking place at Bury St Edmund’s Nowton Park on 28 August. This fun day is all about dancing your socks off in the woods with all sorts of things to see and do, like fairies in the meadows, fabulous local music acts, rides and food stalls.

KIDS

Pitch your tent in the Jurassic era this summer by booking in to Jimmy’s Farm’s amazing camping with dinosaurs event from 17 – 21 August. Getting up in the morning will be roarsome thanks to daily meet and greets with the lifelike dinos and then the chance to explore the rest of the park throughout the day.

The Cambridge Botanic Gardens have a couple of lovely FREE outdoorsy events to get involved in this month and next. The first is Petal Potions on 6 August from 10am – 1pm where kids can use scented plants from the Botanic Garden to make their own petal potion to use at bath time. Just before school starts there’s also a Sun Prints workshop on 3 September. At this event kids can take photographs of plants using sunlight and find out the story of Anna Atkins, a botanist who took thousands of photographs of seaweeds and ferns in a similar way.

The summer hols can get expensive, so it’s a good idea to have some free activities up your sleeve. The Big Hoot in Ipswich this summer is a great way to get the kids out the house and entertained for a few hours. Running throughout August, St Elizabeth Hospice’s Wild in Art Trail has 50 individually designed owls placed around the city to discover. You can download an app with the trail map or go old school and pick up a paper map. We’ve already spotted one in the window of Honey + Harvey so it would be rude not to call in for a coffee and cake!

You can always rely on the National Trust for a good summer day out and this month at Ickworth House there’s plenty to keep kids entertained. On 11 August there’s a nature trail around the woodland, and on 18 August kids can join the resident nature explorer on a geocaching adventure to find hidden treasures. Finally, on 4 and 25 August there’s a 1930s event where you can visit the 1930s estate worker, play traditional games, hear stories about the 4th Marchioness and dress up in 1930s costumes.

Sacrewell have a couple of great events in August for little ones, starting with the Teddy Bears Picnic Weekend from 6 – 7 August. Activities will include a best dressed Teddy Competition, a special teddy parade, teddy-themed screenings, a teddy village and a teddy trail. Adults might be more interested in the artisan courtyard with chocolate, gin and cheese to snap up, while older kids can amuse themselves in the inflatable helter skelter and by exploring the rest of the farm. There’s a Make a Ted workshop running too, but needs to be pre-booked. If teddies aren’t your kids thing, how about the Knights and Princesses event on the 21 – 22 August instead? Kids can gallop around on hobby horseback, practice their jousting skills, try duelling and design their own coat of arms or princess costume. Beyond A Princess parties will be there to entertain and delight kids too.

Dust off your cowboy hat because there’s a whole month of horsin’ around at Easton Farm Park from 1 – 29 August! The Wild West event will include Wild West games, a cactus maze, panning for gold and a bank holiday hoedown with fairground rides, bucking bronco and line dancing.

sushi class

Another fabulous idea for the summer holidays is to get your budding chef booked into Cambridge’s Sticks’n’Sushi’s Kids Sushi Class on 28th August. Suitable for 8 – 12 year olds, it’s win-win for parents – kids are entertained and they might even make you sushi at home afterwards!

DAYS OUT

Who needs Rio? Shlep down to the Suffolk Coast from 13 – 15 August instead for the three day Aldeburgh Festival. At this seaside spectacular you can expect live music, an egg boat race, a Punch and Judy show, a silent auction and a kite flying display. If it’s the parade you’re after head to the finale on Monday when there’ll be a classic carnival procession. 

Kentwell

In Suffolk this month you can go back in time at the Hands on History days at Kentwell Hall from 13 – 21 August. Step back to the year 1549 with themed activities such as crafts, cooking, music and dancing. The whole estate will be alive with actors going about everyday life in the 16th century too.

Indulge your inner child with a fun Alice in Wonderland Experience for adults that’s coming to Cambridge on 27 August. For one day the streets of the city are transformed into a huge, escape-room experience where you have to save Alice who is trapped in Wonderland. You have to work together to solve clues and take on mad challenges. Just don’t be late for this very important date.

THEATRE & FILM

Bury St Edmunds has an Outdoor Film Festival in the Abbey Gardens from 18 – 20 August. The screenings include Throwback Thursday on the 18th with Jumanji and E.T, Kids Club on the 19th with Encanto and Aladdin, Friday Fright Night with Little Shop of Horrors and Friday 13th, Saturday Brunch Club showing Clueless and Bridesmaids; Saturday Night with West Side Story, An American Werewolf in London and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

It wouldn’t be summer at Cambridge Arts Theatre without a bit of Julia Donaldson, and this year it’s Zog and the Flying Doctors who are winging their way onto the stage to delight the region’s youngsters from 9 – 14 August. Older kids and adults will enjoy The Play That Goes Wrong also at Cambridge Arts Theatre running from 16 – 21 August.

Join Alice down the rabbit hole for a family-friendly show from KD Theatre Productions at Ickworth House on 5 August or Bridge End Gardens, Saffron Walden on 19 and 20 August.

outdoor theatre Suffolk

The all-male company, Lord Chamberlain’s Men, are touring with As You Like It, which is touching down at Ickworth on 21 August – adult tickets from £20.50. Bring chairs, blankets, a picnic and suitably warm clothes to pad back down to the car park.

As part of Suffolk’s Theatre in the Parks programme, there’s a family-friendly production of Beatrix Potter’s much-loved Peter Rabbit coming to Bury’s Abbey Gardens on 16 August. The performance will take place next to Mr McGregor’s, I mean the Abbey’s, Rose Garden and starts at 2pm or 6:30pm. Tickets £12 for adults, £5 for kids, and free for under 5s. 

A week later Awful Auntie is also showing at the Abbey Gardens on Tuesday 23 August at 2pm and 6.30pm. Later in the month adults get their turn with Heartbreak Productions’ interactive murder mystery Much Ado About Murder on 30 August at 6:30pm.

outdoor theatre Shakespeare

If you’re a big fan of the bard then you’ll need to dust your deckchair off because Cambridge’s Shakespeare Festival (running from 11 July – 22 August) will be right up your street. Six of Shakespeare’s most well-loved plays (Twelfth Night, As You Like It, King Lear, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream) will be shown across Cambridge over the 8 weeks in the idyllic settings of the college gardens (Downing, King’s, St John’s and Trinity) so you can sit back and enjoy a picnic while you watch. Tickets cost £18 per person.

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic story The Secret Garden is coming to the gorgeous Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds from 19 August to 3 September. A must for anyone who grew up enchanted by this magical book.

Little ones can let their hair down on the 3 August when Rapunzel comes to Milton Country Park in Immersion Theatre’s brand-new musical adaptation of the classic fairytale (watch out for the water guns hidden in the audience!). Peter and his furry friends are also hopping their way over the border from Suffolk into Cambs with a showing of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny on 24 August.

Pre-schoolers will love seeing their favourite Welsh hero on the stage this summer when Fireman Sam comes to The Apex on 31 August. Join Sam, Elvis, Penny and of course Naughty Norman to Pontypandy for this all-singing, all-dancing show. Go on, you know you want to!

The cinema can be eye-wateringly expensive these days (I nearly choked on my popcorn last time I visited and heard the price!). So good news this month, because you can watch films for free in Cambridge at the al fresco cinema on Market Square. This month’s showings are on 19 August with Clifford The Big Red Dog at 6pm and 2021’s West Side Story at 8pm. Channel your inner German holidaymaker if you’re planning to go though… chairs are available on a first come first served basis so you need to bag yours early.

There’s free sport on the screen in Cambs this month too. Head to Station Road in Cambridge from 1 – 8 August where there’ll be a big screen and deckchairs next to The Clayton Hotel, so you can cheer on Team GB in the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham. The games go on for 11 days and it’s a lovely chance to enjoy a myriad of sports surround by other spectators for free in a fab location.

Cambridge’s Enchanted Cinema is in full swing this month with plenty of delightful outdoor cinema screenings across the county. Head to Turing Locke Eddington for Bridesmaids (5 Aug), No Time to Die (6 Aug), or Jurassic Park (7 Aug). Later in the month the cinema continues with Dream Girls (17 Aug), and Gladiator (18 Aug) at Muddy Award Winning The Three Hills Bartlow.

MUSIC

Summer at Snape (that’s Maltings, not the creepy teacher in Harry Potter), sees daily music performances throughout August and the line up is VARIED: jazz, funk, soul, classical, blues, pop, country – it’s like someone’s been blindfolded and let loose on Spotify. Tickets are selling out fast so check out the amazing line-up here pronto. There are also free events at SM’s beautiful outdoor Dome Stage. 

If you fancy a flutter and some fabulous music, then don’t miss the last two Newmarket Nights gigs this month. The Wombats are playing after the races on the 5th August and it’s Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics on the 12th.

Cambridge’s free summer music events Music In The Parks continues this month with Cambridge Rock Choir at Chesterton Rec on 7 August and Waterbeach Brass at Kings Hedges Rec on 21 August.

Opera lovers will be delighted to hear acclaimed coloratura soprano Christina Johnston (that means she can hit notes pretty much only audible to dogs!) is performing at Wherstead Park in Ipswich on 20 August.

Finally, fans of Gary Barlow and his million love songs will want to get tickets to his one-man stage show A Different Stage at the Cambridge Arts theatre on 27 and 28 August. As well as all his best solo hits the show Gary will be narrating the story of his life and taking the audience behind the scenes of his successful career.

ART AND EXHIBITIONS

Image: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Take your little devils along to the new literary exhibition at The Hold Ipswich for a cultural experience they’ll love. ‘Marvellous and Mischievous’: Literature’s Young Rebels is on tour from the British Library and is an interactive exhibition that showcases popular rebellious characters from children’s books. The exhibition features more than 50 books at looks at how rebels have been presented in lots of different ways including characters such as Tracy Beaker, Pippi Longstocking, Jane Eyre, Dirty Bertie, and Matilda.

David Hockney’s Self Portrait, 22nd November 2021 is installed at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum (David Hockney/Joe Giddens/PA)

The Fitzwilliam Museum’s fascinating free summer exhibition continues this month, but hurry as it’s only on until 29 August. It’s called Hockney’s Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction, and charts Hockney’s pioneering modern experiments from the 1960s to the present day in bringing hand, eye, and optical instruments together, with the iconic Grand Canyon I (2017) among the many daring works on display. 

Also on at The Fitzwilliam is True to Nature: Open-air Painting in Europe 1780 – 1870. It’s an excellent one for when the kids have driven you round the bend as it’s a wonderfully calming exhibition featuring more than 100 oil sketches of storm-torn skies, limpid rockpools, the dappled shade of a tree canopy and the awe-inspiring sight of an erupting volcano by artists including John Constable, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Louise-Joséphine Sarazin de Belmont and André Giroux. While you’re there be sure to have a nosey at the new portrait of the Duke and Ducess of Cambridge that was unveiled in June too.

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