Your unmissable local 2022 culture planner
Want to know where all the best stuff is happening around Devon? Get yer diary out for our month-by-month culture guide to 2022. It's all here!
Snowdrop Festival, The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, 14 Jan – 27 Feb
We have one of the best collections of snowdrops in the UK here in Devon, more than 330 varieties, collected from far and wide, and nestling in the bucolic surrounds of The Garden House, on the edge of Dartmoor but just 10 miles from Plymouth. And a visit to their Snowdrop Festival is good for the glutes, all that bending up and down trying to work out the miniscule differences between them.
Living with Art, Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, 21 Jan Fri – 24 April
The new British Museum touring exhibition hits the Burton with works from prominent artists ranging from Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse to Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Vija Celmins.
In Plain Sight: Transatlantic Slavery and Devon, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, from 29 Jan – 29 May
RAMM looks inward with this exhibition to examine its own and the wider county of Devon’s links with slavery, using their collections and contemporary sources to trace local industries that relied on the trade and the lives of the people who benefitted from its profits. It also features a newly commissioned film which reflects on RAMM’s painting ‘Portrait of an African’ and a new commission by the acclaimed artist Joy Gregory.
Exmoor Food Festival, various around Devon, 1 – 28 Feb
This celebration of Exmoor’s foodie cred invites you to eat your way across the moor (one third of Exmoor is in Devon/two-thirds in Somerset in case you didn’t know) with a host of participating eateries offering special menus and discounted prices throughout the month. New Coast Kitchen in Croyde, for example, have a 3-course lunch for £20pp, while Witheridge’s brilliant La Petite Bouchee are doing Festival TOGO boxes with a chance to win a £50 voucher. Tuck in!
St Sidwell’s Point opening, dates TBC
At last! Exeter’s long-awaited new leisure centre, St Sidwell’s Point, is opening this spring – ground-breaking thanks to being built to ultra-energy efficient Passivhaus standard. What’s in store? Loads, including a 25m eight lane main pool and a 20m four-lane learner pool, both with moveable floors with the aim of making learning to swim accessible to all. There will also be a gym with one hundred stations (so no excuses that it’s too busy), and a premium spa with a hydro-bath, foot spa and hot beds plus a salt vapour room, private bar and relaxation area, private roof terrace and a state-of-the-art sauna. Phew! And good news for parents – there’s a creche too.
Toby’s Garden Festival, Powderham Castle, Kenton, 29 and 30 April
A two-day gardening fiesta in the beautiful grounds of Powderham, run by BBC Radio Devon and Gardeners World presenter, Toby Buckland (and because he’s also Mr Muddy Devon, moi) where you can buy local grown and unusual plants, hear growers and gardeners riff on their expert topics and tuck into a curated range of fabulous West Country foodie treats. I’m really looking forward to hearing this year’s celeb speaker, BBC Gardener’s World‘s Arit Anderson (pictured) talking on design. She worked for 20 years in fashion so she’s really got her finger on the pulse of what looks good – just look at how she dresses, if you don’t believe me.
Sea Change, Totnes, 27 – 29 May
Cultural festival founded by Totnes’ award-winning Drift Record Shop who each year bring together their favourite thinkers, speakers and players, in some great venues including Totnes Cinema and The Bull Inn and including some great coups, including Damon Albarn. 2022 line-up coming soon here.
FRESH!, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, 28 May – 23 Jul
One for art lovers, and organised by Devon Open Studios, FRESH! will bring together talented artists and creatives, showing all new works at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in early summer.
The Moor Otters Arts Trail, Dartmoor, dates TBC
A feel-good public annual arts project which raises money for conservation projects on Dartmoor by asking local artists to decorate otter-with-cub sculptures which are then unleashed in the moors in four art trails. In 2021 they raised a whopping £69k from sales, including one created by the otterly brilliant Muddy Devon’s Laura Fulner.
Exeter Pride March, dates TBC
March for who you are and who you love at Exeter Pride, one of the biggest celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community in the South West, with a colourful midday parade through the city, live bands and workshops.
Flavour Fest, Plymouth 27 – 29 May
The South West’s largest free food and drink festival, with hundreds of local producers selling tasty treats and a chef stage with regional cookery stars showcasing their skills
1 Big Summer, Plymouth Hoe, 2-4 Jun
It’s an epic line-up for the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend at Plymouth’s 1 Big Summer music festival. Head to the Hoe for Basement Jaxx, Years and Years, The Libertines and Supergrass.
SW Food and Drink Festival, Exeter, 2 – 5 Jun
Exeter’s annual city-centre foodie shindig is still to be confirmed, but if it goes ahead we can expect a host of top-notch chefs cooking up a storm, including founder Michael Caines MBE, along with great street food, quality food producers and family fun.
Exeter Respect Festival, Belmont Park, 11 – 12 Jun
The city’s annual celebration of diversity celebrates their 25th anniversary in 2022, so expect a knees-up with talks, music, poetry and more, all in the name of bringing communities together to celebrate their differences and commonalities.
Craft Festival, Mill Marsh Park, Bovey Tracey, 17-19 Jun
This is the Devon craft festival where every maker worth their salt wants to exhibit. The art is very high quality so a wonderful place to pick up handmade local finds, from pottery and textiles, to unique jewellery and furniture. If you want to get hands on, there’s also a programme of fascinating workshops where you can find out how they do it.
English Riviera Airshow, Paignton, 4-5 Jun
Daredevil aerial displays are always good family adrenalin-fix in summer and after last year’s cancellation, we’re promised two days of aerial acrobatics, with Hurricanes and Spitfires, as well as death-defying feats from the Red Arrows. Just add a picnic.
Goldcoast Oceanfest, Croyde, 17-19 Jun
Celebrating the surf and music since 1999, GoldCoast Oceanfest midsummer weekend is all about good times, great music, keeping fit and looking after the environment with a beer in your hand and Croyde Bay’s sand between your toes. Acts are still to be announced but it’s usually a good line-up with past headliners including Scouting for Girls, Tom Odell and Craig David.
Armed Forces Day, Plymouth, Sat 25 June
Go give our local military a big-up at Plymouth’s Armed Forces Day, where there will be arena displays, interactive activities and a dedicated parade of veterans in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. Plus, live performances throughout the day and a free evening concert (headliner TBC).
Devon County Show, Westpoint, 30 Jun – 2 Jul
Sticking to its July dates for a second year (rather than May), the pinnacle of Devon’s year for so many local country folk and a great opportunity to really engage with our county’s livestock and food producers and its ability to have fun.
Let’s Rock Exeter, Powderham Castle, Kenton, 2 Jul
Hoik out the dayglo legwarmers and slap on the eyeliner – here’s another chance to catch up with Eighties icons, including Tenpole Tudor, Belinda Carlisle, Human League, Billy Ocean and Heaven 17 (who have still really got it btw). Make a day of it or book in for a spot of overnight camping.
Ways with Words Festival, Dartington Estate, Totnes, 8 -19 Jul
A brain-expanding programme from best-selling novelists, biographers, politicians and general clever clogs. It’s a gorgeous setting for a Pimms on the lawn between talks too. I NEVER miss it.
Paloma Faith, Central Park, Plymouth Sat 9 Jul
The BRIT Award-winning songstress brings her Summer 2022 UK Tour, The Age of Optimism, to Plymouth’s Central Park as part of a fabulous weekend of music in the city, followed by…
Simply Red, Central Park, Plymouth, Sun 10 Jul
Holding Back the Years, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, Stars… yep, you still know all the words and here’s you chance to show it, singing along to Mick Hucknall in Central Park on a summer night in the city.
An Evening With Michael Bublé, Powderham Castle, Kenton, 25 Jul
Proving the son-we-never-had isn’t just for Christmas, the Canadian singer-songwriter finally comes to Powderham (fingers crossed) after two years of postponement.
SailGP Great Britain Sail Grand Prix, Plymouth Sound, 30 – 31 Jul
Sailor or landlubber, anyone who loves the water will enjoy the world’s fastest sailing catamaran race hurtling around on Plymouth Sound. Pitch up on the Hoe or if you’re a sailing junkie, buy a ticket for the Race Village where you can see it all on screen with a commentary.
The Sidmouth Folk Festival, 29 Jul -5 Aug
The 68th Sidmouth Folk Festival returns to its beach-side location with 700 diverse events and a week of major concerts, upbeat roots parties, intimate sessions, ceilidhs, folk dancing, storytelling events, fun family entertainment, youth-centred sessions, hands-on workshops and spectacular dance displays. And excellent street food.
Rosemoor Flower Show, RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Sat 13 – Sun 15 Aug
Devon’s RHS garden’s annual opportunity to shine a light on the best of all things horticultural here in the southwest.
Sidmouth Air Show, Sidmouth 26 Aug
Kicking off the BH weekend, the curvaceous glory of Lyme Bay is perfectly suited as a natural amphitheatre for acrobatic aerial displays from the Red Arrows and more.
Rosemoor Flower Show, RHS Rosemoor, Sat 19 – Sun 21 Aug
Devon’s RHS garden’s annual opportunity to shine a light on the best of all things horticultural here in the south west.
British Fireworks Championships, Plymouth, 17-18 Aug
There are fireworks and then there’s the British Firework Championships. Set up camp on the Hoe (or various other vantage points), with fish and chips and take in two evenings of free entertainment, as you’re treated to displays from the best pyrotechnics wizards out there with six pyrotechnic companies each putting on a ten-minute display, as they compete to be crowned the country’s best.
Dartmouth Royal Regatta, 20 – 27 Aug
Devon’s big date in the Regatta calendar – Dartmouth’s offering is among the best, regardless of whether you’re into the sailing action, or not. Get yourself to town and soak up a super-family-friendly atmosphere, with crab fishing, fancy dress competitions, dog shows and a treasure hunt. The water celebrations are eclectic, too, from yacht racing, to stand up paddle boarding. F.U.N.
Budleigh Literary Festival, Budleigh Salterton, 14 – 18 Sept
Set up in 2008, Budleigh Lit Fest is now one of the leading cultural events in Devon with Wolf Hall author and Budleigh resident, Dame Hilary Mantel as its patron. Expect exciting writers, thinkers, experts and opinion-formers, as well as lively panel of events, workshops for writers and crafters, and families.
Foodies Festival, Escot Park, Exeter, 16 – 18 Sept
A tasty mix of food and music, with Sophie Ellis Bextor and Scouting For Girls providing the tunes and Friday 90s night featuring Liberty X and East 17. Masterchef champions and Great British Bake Off stars provide the kitchen know-how.
Devon Open Studios, Various locations around Devon, 10 – 25 Sept
For over two weeks in September artists and makers from across the county open their doors to show their wonderful work. Such a glorious opportunity to visit real studios and have a good old poke about and chat to the artists, although it can work out a tad expensive.
Appledore Book Festival, 15 – 24 Sept
North Devon’s answer to the Hay Festival turned themselves into the first ever literary drive-in due to Covid in 2020, and last year was a sell-out with Jeremy Vine, Ruby Wax and Lucy Porter among the illuminati who showed up to entertain. What have they got up the sleeves for 2022? So far just the dates to get in your diary, but watch this space.
Creative Crafts Show, Westpoint, Exeter, 22 – 25 Sept
Love to make and do? Here’s your spiritual home, a Mecca for knitters, stitchers, jewellery-makers and dress-makers, and the place to get ideas and innovations in the hobbyworld.
Dartmouth Food Festival, 21 – 23 Oct
Dartmouth’s food festival has really expanded over the last 20 years with a feast of workshops, seminars, tastings, competitions and demos, primarily based around Devon producers. Plus, it’s free and open to all.
Tar Barrels, Ottery St Mary, 5 Nov
Historic tar barrel racing is how we want to spend our Bonfire night, how about you? 87 rollers racing past, 400 years in the making and £250,000 raised for local charities. It’s a no-brainer.
British Arts Show 9, Plymouth, 8 Oct – 23 Dec
The UK’s largest touring contemporary 2022 art exhibition explores healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures. In Plymouth, the focuses is on ways encounters between British and other cultures have enriched our society. Displays at Karst, The Box, Plymouth College of Art and the Levinsky Gallery.
Illuminate, Plymouth, dates TBC
Prepare to be dazzled! Plymouth are brilliant at putting on free spectacles, not least this amazing immersive digital experience, including sky-high installations and stunning light shows. In the past it’s been hosted by Royal William Yard and the Barbican, but watch this space for where to see it in 2022.
Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market, Cathedral Green, Exeter, dates TBC
Finally, an excuse to drink mulled wine on a school night…Exeter’s Cathedral Green transforms into home for over 90 fairy-lit chalets, offering everything from local Exeter Gin to jewellery, handmade pottery, Xmas decs, candles and more.