27 May - 2 June
KIDS: Pirate and Mermaid Festival, Audley End Miniature Railway, 25 May – 2 June
All aboard the Pirate ship, or actually make that train, because pirates and mermaids have landed in Audley End this half term making the much-loved miniature railway even more fun. Expect frequent cries of ‘Ahoy there!’, story telling and singalong at the stage area, plus face painting a games area and crafts. Fancy dress very much encouraged (for the kids that is!).
KIDS: Grass Head Characters, Scotsdale’s Garden Centre, Great Shelford, 29 – 30 May
It’s National Children’s Gardening Week and crafty children from 2 – 12 will love to give their green fingers a go with this fun event, where you get to make comical grass head character, a plant pot for a sunflower and a wooden plant label.
KIDS: Paper plane challenge, IWM Duxford, 29 and 30 May
Make the most of living in a county with an awesome Imperial War Museum and take budding pilots along to this workshop to learn how to make the perfect paper plane and learn the principles of flight. It’s a family challenge so you might want to brush up on your origami skills or risk an embarrassing defeat.
KIDS: Brand New Barmy Britain, The Key Theatre Peterborough, 30 – 31 May
The Horrible Histories squad perform a new show this week at The Key Theatre, Brand New Barmy Britain, pretty apt in the midst of all this Brexit malarkey! The show premiered at Apollo Theatre on the West End last summer and features your usual mutiny and mayhem as well as Georgian detectives, Queen Elizabeth I’s terrible teeth and more.
THEATRE: Milkshake Live, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 1 June
This musical extravaganza is delivered in two halves – 32 minutes each with lots of audience participation and standing up involved – so even restless members of the audience will love it. All your kids’ favourite characters from Milkshake TV (come on, you know…Fireman Sam, Noddy, Shimmer & Shine, Digby Dragon, Wissper, Nella the Princess Knight and the Floogals) come together in a riot of colour, noise and dancing, that’ll delight little ones.
FAMILY: Cambridgeshire County Show, Wimpole Home Farm, 2 June
Head to Wimpole Home Farm on 2 June and you’ll find much more than the usual farm animals and beautiful countryside walks. The Cambridgeshire County Show pitches up for it’s 20th anniversary this coming weekend and has something to delight all ages and interests – traditional crafts, livestock, rural crafts and displays, vintage tractors, fairground ride and ring events, plus some excellent summer shopping potential and a tempting food hall area, if tractors and pigs aren’t really your bag.
MUSIC: Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2 June
Sophie’s awesome voice plus a full live orchestra? Count me in! Following on from a debut performance at The Royal Albert Hall, Sophie is going on tour (beats me how’s she’s managing that with 5 young children!), and she’s gracing Cambridge with her beautiful vocals on 2 June. Expect all the classics – Take Me Home, Get Over You, and of course Murder on the Dancefloor – plus a few new numbers form her recent album.
FOOD & DRINK: Start of Summer at Kingston Barns, 2 June
One of Cambridge’s coolest holiday lets opens its beautiful grounds this coming weekend for a food and drink festival to celebrate the start of summer (let’s hope the weather agrees that it’s time to be summer too!). Tickets include a welcome glass of Cava, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, live music from the Kingston Blues Band and games including boules and badminton. Buy your tickets here.
THEATRE: Elmer the Patchwork Elephant Show, Burgess Hall, St Ives, 2 June
CINEMA: The Princess Bride Outdoor Cinema Screening, Saffron Walden, 2 June
ART: Beggarstaffs, Fitzwilliam Museum – 7 May to 4 Aug
This new exhibition, Beggarstaffs, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, displays the work of two young 19th century painters William Nicholson and James Pryde, innovators in collage techniques and graphics in Modern British art. The exhibition also displays the artists’ individual works, which will be shown alongside their joint graphics, for the first time.
ART: Oscar Murillo, Kettle’s Yard, until 23 June
Ongoing exhibitions this week include Columbian born multimedia artist Oscar Murillo’s first UK solo exhibit since his acclaimed exhibition at South London Gallery at the uber cool contemporary gallery Kettle’s Yard (until Sun 23 Jun).
FLOWERS: Covent Garden In Bloom, Covent Garden, London, Wed 15 May – Sat 15 Jun
Following their London debut in Covent Garden’s iconic Central Avenue last year, floral artists Fleurs de Villes will return to showcase the best floral designs in the Big Smoke and return Covent Garden to its roots as the original (or OG, as the kids say) flower market in London. Covent Garden retailers and restaurants are all mucking in with botanical window displays, exclusive products and spring collections, bespoke cocktails and dishes made with herbs and ingredients from Covent Garden’s veggie garden. coventgarden.london
NEW EXHIBITION: Beasts of London, Museum of London, Fri 5 May – Sun 5 Jan
This looks amazing- a fully immersive, digital installation (see above for a sneak preview) exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London, from the Roman era all they way up to present day. The interactive show uses video projection mapping to bring the beasts, from rats to lions, to life as they narrate a virtual tour of London. There are some major British celebs involved too, with Kate Moss, Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris and more voicing the beasts. museumoflondon.org.uk
Must-see exhibitions in the big smoke this month include the V&A‘s retrospective of iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant– over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive (until Sun 16 Feb 2020); also at the V&A is this year’s biggie, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, which traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him (until Sun 1 Sept). It is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am from the Grand Entrance – it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibition by purchasing a membership for the V&A. Also worth checking out is the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain, with over 45 works, including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg (until Sun 11 Aug).
KIDS: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, until Sun 2 Jun
I’ll be a few of you have a LEGO obsessive under your roof. At Easter Whipsnade Zoo introduced its Brick Safari, with one million bricks’ worth of beasts and animals dotted around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know), as well as hands-on family activities. It’s included in entry price and running throughout this month. zsl.org