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Four new openings and a festival! No, not the latest Richard Curtis movie but this month's exciting Muddy news coming atcha. Read it and go!

Art attack! New owners for Damien Hirst’s old gallery

New arty indie alert! Having sat empty for two years, Damien’s Hirst’s vacant harbourside gallery in Ilfracombe has new owners. The first of its kind in North Devon, Aluna Collective is an all-female enterprise of four artists who are using it as a gallery and working studio. Manna for nature and coast lovers, artists Faye Allison, Georgia Morgan, Emily Harrison and Emily Hamilton all take their inspiration from the wild land and seascape of Devon.

Apparently, their partnership is brilliant for sorting out the ol’ childcare issues (and lonely lockdown artist syndrome), and came about from the four following each other instagram. *I’m not just mindlessly scrolling, Mr Muddy, I’m being entreprenurial!* If you’re in North Devon, go say hi!

Super-stylish gastropub, ahoy!

The Thatched Tavern in Maidencombe has new family owners and a cool new look, courtesy of Torquay’s interior design gurus, Fruition. Nestled in the heart of the quaint coastal village (with a lovely secret beach just down the cliff nearby) the cute 17th century thatched cottage is as welcoming as ever on the outside, but inside it’s had a gorgeous moody-blue makeover with custom built seating and uber-cool lighting. Super-stylish.

I popped in for a nose last Saturday and road-tested a few bites from the new menu (with chef Liam Murray at the helm), including cod and chips, burger, a cool gazpacho, and an excellent range of gluten-free. Once the decked garden area is complete, if it’s as good as indoors, this promises to be excellent all-year round destination pub. Full Muddy review coming next week!

New chic Green Room for #SoHoEx

Credit: Richard Downer Photography

Slice of chic with your G&T, madam? As it happens I have just the thing! Get a load of the gorgeous new Green Room at Muddy’s favourite Exeter hotel, Southernhay House. An exciting new indoor-outdoor space for the city, and the biggest change to the hotel since opening in 2011, it was conceived by owner Deborah Clark as what she calls as ‘a piece of light origami’.

Elegant and airy, this beautifully furnished glass pavilion links the existing bar via wide, white steps with the garden. Perfect for peaceful down time, romantic trysts, or a drinks party with the gals in summertime while in winter, I’m looking forward to flattering low lighting and getting squiffy, er I mean cosy, next to that wood burner. 

Drive-in for Appledore Book Festival

Not to be deterred by you-know-what, Appledore Book Festival have re-invented the North Devon literary event as a five day drive-in, from 18 – 22 September. Based at Skern Lodge, you can top up your literary learnedness from the safety of your car via FM Radio, buy books contactless and have pre-ordered refreshments delivered direct to your window. The confirmed line-up includes Jeremy Vine, Viv Goskrop, Dr Michael Mosley, Kate Humble, comedian Lucy Porter (pictured above), Richard Osman and Corrie‘s Shobna Gulati. Get booking your book-in!

Culture, ahoy! Summer Festival for The Landmark

Desperate for some grown-up comedy and culture, that doesn’t involve the TV and remote. I hear ya! The Landmark in Ilfracombe have just launched a five-day outdoor festival from Thurs 27 to Monday 31 Aug. Choose from a performance of The Wind in the Willows, comedian Simon Brodkin, a three-person performance of a Midsummer Nights Dream (should be quite something…) and magic from Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Ben Hart. I like the sound (literally) of the opening night’s The Femmes, (pictured above) a trio of close harmony singers who give Britney’s Oops I Did it Again a fabulous vintage spin.

It’s all socially distanced, with a bar, cafe menu and Friday night BBQ. Plus, you can use their DIVA app and have your treats delivered to your seat. Bank holiday sorted.

Find more ideas here

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