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Jump for July! What’s on locally this month

Feasting, film and music festivals, regattas, art exhibitions, supper clubs...are you sure your diary can handle this?! Here's how to fill your days with fun - 40+ things to do in Devon.

KIDS: The Paulos Circus, Darts Farm, Topsham, Thurs 7 – Sun 24 Jul

Circus on the theme of ‘One Clown’s Dream’. All tickets £8. Heavens only knows what clowns dream of. Why not pop along and find out.

CRAFT: Exeter Craft Festival, Cathedral Green, Exeter, Thurs 7 – Sat 9 Jul

A selection of the best local artists and makers from around Devon in over 100 stalls on the Green. Always good for a local gift or treat for you.

MUSIC: Budleigh Music Festival, Budleigh Salterton, St Peter’s Church and various venues, Fri 8 – Sat 16 Jul

Lunchtime and evening concerts to delight the ear and stimulate the senses with this impressive range of classical performers, including Chloe Hanslip,Castalian with Michael Collins and Colorscape. Worth checking in for the whole programme.

FESTIVAL: Festival of St Thomas Stories, St Thomas, Exeter Fri 8 – Sun 10 Jul

The nationally renowned theatre company, Theatre Alibi, who are based in Exeter are hosting a weekend of fun in St Thomas, with something happening on every street corner, from pop-up performances to art installation and crafty fun for kids. Muddy fave, Mama Tokus (above), is hosting Picnic at the Pleasure Ground on Sunday afternoon, where she’s singing some belters and performing spoken word about gardening. Sure to be brill.

FOOD: Fresh Vineyard Feasts, Swanaford Vineyard, Dunsford, Fri 8 and Fri 22 July

Ooh, worth a gander? The food heroes behind ‘shipwrecked’ are organising pop-up evenings in the vineyard. Fresh, local produce, beers and wines.

BOOK FEST: Ways with Words, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Fri 8 – Sun 17 Jul

As ever it’s a brain-expanding programme of talks, with dozens of distinguished authors here to share their wisdom (and sell their books). Each day is roughly themed – focusing on politics, environment, science, life stories and so on. In between times you can sit on a deck chair in Dartington’s serene courtyard with a Pimms and soak up the cleverness.

REGATTA: Watermouth Regatta, Watermouth Harbour, North Devon, Sat 9 Jul

Beautifully sited Watermouth; east of Ilfracombe and 30 minutes from Barnstaple, is hosting its first family-friendly regatta and, if boating isn’t your bag it’s worth a trip for the views alone.

FUNDRAISER: Twilight Walk, Manor Gardens, Exmouth, Sat 9 Jul

Unbelievably this walk has been raising much needed funds for Hospiscare for 40 years! Open to all, with two distances of 13 and 6 miles, a great sociable night out in good company and for a good cause. 

MUSIC: Paloma Faith, Central Park, Plymouth, Sat 9 Jul

Don an absolutely mahoosive hat and head outdoors to this spectacular looking concert heading our way…it doesn’t get much ‘better than this’ as long as you’re ‘loyal’ and you have the option to be, or not to be, ‘stone cold sober’. Part of Sunset Live, a weekend wowzer of live music in the park with Ball & Boe on Friday, and Simply Red on Sunday.

MUSICAL: Footloose, Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, Tues 12 – Fri 22 Jul

Two critically acclaimed tours and a West End run can’t be wrong! Don’t miss this classic musical, starring Darren Day and Jake Quickenden.

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Jane Eyre, Killerton House, Exeter, Thurs 14 Jul

Heartbreak Productions add a rather astonishing twist to the much loved classic as Jane has to contend with acrobats, jugglers and even fire as part of her escape artist role. Sounds highly unique, and you can take a picnic, though Mr Rochester was always far too moody for one of those.

THEATRE: Every Word Was Once an Animal, The Drum, Plymouth, Thurs 14 – Weds 27 Jul

This just looks intriguing, no idea what to expect, apparently the show starts with a person just strolling onto the stage , taking the mic and from then on truth and half truths follow and you have to be there to hear the stories.

CRAFT: Meet the Makers, Cockington Court, Cockington, Thurs 14 Jul

A chance to meet the people behind Cockington’s craft studios, plus children’s face painting, a BBQ from The Seven Dials cafe, local music and prizes to be one. Plus, a chance to sample the new Cockingtail – the brand-new summer cocktail created by Yarde Cider and Torbay Gin – both local makers with studios at the Court. 

FOOD: Exmoor Supper Club, La Petite Bouchee, Witheridge, Fri 15 Jul

Whet your appetite for this autumn’s Exmoor Food Festival, the Muddy Award-nominated eatery are hosting a five course Mediterranean feast at Allerford Community Hall in Somerset.

FAIR: Kingsbridge Fair Week, Sat 16 – Sat 23 Jul

Feasting, film and music festivals, regattas, art exhibitions, supper clubs...are you sure your diary handle this?! Here's how to fill your diary - 40+ things to do in Devon.

Kingsbridge knows how to do carnival week alright, with a gorgeous lantern parade and fireworks, raft race, 10k race, flower-queen and more, but you’ll have to buy a programme if you want to know more – their rules, not mine!

CRUISE: Live Band Boat Cruise, Exmouth Marina, Sat 16 Jul

This month’s choice of summer band on the boat cruise is the ever popular Carnaby Street with their reliably familiar selection of tunes from the swinging Sixties and beyond.

MUSIC: UK Foo Fighters, Princess Theatre, Torquay, Sat 16 Jul

With the recent sad loss of one of the real Foo’s this will be a bittersweet concert for many but they are apparently the real deal, an excellent tribute to a superb band.

CRAFT: Willow Allium Weaving, Bridwell Park Estate,  Uffculme, Mon 19 Jul

For those In need of a spot of mindfulness at this busy time of year why not join expert willow artist, Vik Westaway, to make some willow alliums that won’t need staking.

FOOD: Aegean Feasts – From the mountains to the sea with Marianna Leivaditaki, Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh, Weds 20 Jul

Finally made it on holiday? Didn’t want to come home? We’ve got you. Marianna was head chef at Moro in London creating fabulous Mediterranean cuisine. She was fortunate enough to have grown up in Crete and her new book takes you around the flavors of the Ageaean. At Riverford you can enjoy the food, hear stories from the chef and buy the book if inspiration strikes or simply enjoy being transported back to sunnier climes. £50 per person including dinner.

CLASSICAL MUSIC: The Amadeus Orchestra, Exeter Cathedral, Fri 22 Jul

Apart from 2020 (obvs), this wonderful orchestra has played at the Cathedral for the last 15 years. For 2022, the repertoire includes Piano Concerto No.2 by Saint-Saens, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and a new piece has been added – for understandable reasons – Mussorgsky’s The Great Gate of Kiev.

FESTIVAL: Chagstock, Chagford, Fri 22 – 23 Jul

A jolly, family friendly Festival with an interesting selection of music. Ade Edmondson calls it the ‘Best little festival in the South West’, and such a gorgeous setting too, Undercover Hippy here we come. (See the Muddy Festivals 2022 Round-up here)

DRINK: Wine Tasting, Lewtrenchard Manor, Okehampton, Fri 22 Jul

Don’t mind if I do, starting with canapes and fizz and moving on to a four-course dinner with wine tasting, lots of opportunities to discuss the wines with fellow diners and the option of a special room rate if you feel the need to lie down.

MUSIC: Dartington Music Summer School & Festival, Dartington Estate, nr Totnes, 23 Jul – 20 Aug

Running since 1947, the Dartington Summer School & Festival is a four week mix of week-long courses, individual workshops and concerts from acclaimed international musicians. There is also an extensive programme of family-friendly events throughout the festival. 

DAY TRIP: Elizabethan Weekend, Buckland Abbey, Yelverton, Sat 23 Jul

If you’ve heard enough about QE2 lately – impossible I know – then why not find out more about her ancestor, QE1. No Red Arrows, but plenty of dancing, falconry and Elizabethan foodie delights.

COUNTY SHOW: Mid Devon Show, Tiverton, Sat 23 Jul

Just like buses, county shows come along in pairs, another chance for a delightfully rural day out  – don the Hunters and, if you haven’t got a black lab – borrow one.

DRINK: Gin to my Tonic Festival, Great Hall, University of Exeter, Sat 23 Jul

Over 120 gins, so little time…£16.50pp

FESTIVAL: ANRÁN FEST 2022, Landscove, near Totnes, Sat 23 – Mon 25 Jul 

Expect folk, jazz and classical music, plus food from their celebrity chef, including an exciting range of Asian Street Food and BBQ at this sumptuous venue. One to explore for sure.

PICK YOUR OWN: Amelia’s Flower Farm, Combeinteignhead, until September

Grab a bucket and a pair of snips, the Muddy Award-winning Amelia’s fields are open and full of thousands of flowers ready for picking. Open 6am – 8pm, just message or email first. Find more PYO places here.

CRAFT: Jewellery with Yume, Albatross, Totnes, Mon 25 Jul

Just one of a new series of craft classes, including floristry, cocktail-making, art and more from the good folk who run The Bull Inn. Running in what was the old fish and chip shop opposite the inn.

FESTIVAL: The Great Cullompton Festival, Cullompton, Sat 23 – Sun 24 Jul 

Surely you’re never more than 10 miles from a festival wherever you go this year in Devon, and Cullompton is no exception – get out and celebrate summer. Everything you’d expect and a funfair (also very convenient off the M5).

CARNIVAL: Paignton Festival, various venues, Paignton, Sat 23 – Sun 31 Jul

You’d struggle to be more British than a traditional Carnival. Music, games and silliness to keep all ages happy with the ubiquitous beers and candy floss no doubt available. Previously known as Torbay Carnival, this annual local celebration and charity fundraiser has been going for over a hundred years.

MUSIC: Heaven and Earth – Stile Antico, Dartington Estate, Totnes, Mon 25 Jul 

Stile Antico are some of the world’s best performers of early music, and this programme of  ‘A Garden of Earthly Delights’ sounds truly divine. As they’ve performed without a conductor all over the world, including at Buckingham Palace, this should be quite a treat. Part of the annual Dartington Music Festival, a summer of live classical, jazz, folk and experimental music on the Dartington estate, running this year between 23 July and 19 August.

MUSIC: James Arthur, Plymouth Pavilions, Tues 26 Jul

Can you be too dreamy and tortured? Unsure? Grab a date and snuggle up to find out.

FILM: Underground Film Festival, Kents Cavern, Torquay, Fri 26 – 29 Jul

What a unique place to enjoy some classic films, from Goonies to Grease, in one of the oldest homes in Britain (woolly mammoths, cave bears and neanderthals were there first). Now it’s our turn and my choice would have to be The Descent (18) a film about a women’s caving expedition that goes horribly wrong…Dare you?

FAMILY: The Green Creators, West Town Barn, Ide, Tues 26 Jul

Pic credit Green Creators

Life in Devon leaving you with a hankering to rear your own sheep and chickens? This may be  a fun way to encourage you, the natural world and farming are explored through storytelling, art and cooking – suitable for all who want to leave the city behind – at least for a few hours.

THEATRE: The Unexpected Guest, Palace Theatre, Paignton, various until Thurs 28 Jul

I’m an unabashed sucker for an Agatha Christie – I feel sure it was written into the contract when I came to Devon. This looks like a doozy. Strangers running cars into ditches, dense fog, woman with smoking gun over dead husband. Fabulous.

FESTIVAL: Altitude, Blackborough, Thurs 28 – Sat 30 Jul

It calls itself the ‘little festival with the big heart’ and truthfully it doesn’t look that little at all when you look at the line up – a cracking way to enjoy Devon summertime.

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Much Ado about Nothing, Rougemont Gardens, Exeter, Fri July 29 and Sat 30 Jul

Sun and Moon Theatre Group are bringing this joyous production of Much Ado to the gardens of Exeter this summer, one of the funniest and most engaging of Sheakespeare’s plays. Take a picnic and a bottle of something and enjoy.

MUSIC FEST: Sidmouth Folk Festival, Sidmouth, various locations, Fri – 30 Jul

Yet another year with an astonishing line up for little old Sidmouth, with Fishermans Friends, Steeleye span, Kate Rusby, Eddi Reader, Windjammer to name but a few, and countless new bands to seek out too.

MARINE: Sail GP, Plymouth Sat 30 – Sun 31 Jul

Pic credit Sail GP

Back on Plymouth Sound for a second year of adrenaline-fuelled catamaran racing, Sail GP sees ten competing nations race it out in speeds of up to 60mph. Head to The Hoe to watch the action.

EXHIBITION: Brick by Brick: A LEGO® brick history of Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, until Sun 11 Sept

Pic credit: RAMM

Here’s a clever way to build interest into your reluctant young historians. My little ones found everything to do with Lego endlessly fascinating, and this way you can sneak some local history, from prehistoric and Roman times through WWW2 to the present day and Exeter’s imagined future as a green garden city, into your child’s day out. Perfect. £4.50 adult, £3.50 conc, £2.50 child.

ART EXHIBITION: In Harmony: Royal Society of Sculptors, Broomhill Estate, Muddiford, until 30 Sept

An inaugural exhibiton in partnership with the Royal Society of Sculptors and showcasing some of the UK’s leading sculptors.

JUST MISSED

DAY TRIP: Teignmouth Airshow, Teignmouth, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Jul

At last the long awaited airshow is go, go, go! Even the Red Arrows are flying on down (on Saturday), quite the sign of summer here in Devon.Let’s hope for sunshine.

THEATRE: Vanity Fair, The Beehive, Honiton, Fri 1 Jul

A fabulous way to kick off jolly old July with a Bristol Theatre School production of Thackeray’s hilarious and risque play. Love a bit of Becky Sharp’s gender politics.

PARTY: Unmasked Ball, Spanish Barn, Torquay, Sat 2 Jul

Superstition band and DJ Mark Voisey will be leading events raising money for Torbay league of friends. Welcome drinks, canapes, artisan buffet, magician and stilt walkers all included in the ticket price of £55.

MUSICAL: Pirates of Penzance, Clovelly Court, North Devon, Sat 2 Jul

The reliably excellent Illyria Theatre group are bringing this perennial favourite to Clovelly. A great outdoor location for singing and swashbuckling. 

MUSIC: Moreton Music Day, Moretonhampstead, Sun 3 Jul

This looks like an amazing day on the moor, with over 50 acts spread over 4 stages throughout the day. The Horse, The White Hart Hotel and St Andrews church will be sharing the joy.

MUSIC: Let’s Rock Exeter, Powderham Castle, Kenton, Sat 3 Jul

Woah! It’s a real banger of a line up this year. OMD, Heaven 17, Tenpole Tudor (yes, really, get your kilt out) and the Human League – Can. Not. Wait.

WELLBEING: Wellbeing Afternoon, The Italian Garden, Ambrook, Sat 3 Jul

An afternoon of pleasant mindfulness in one of the most atmospheric gardens in Devon. There is a photography workshop on the same day in the morning if you want to make a day of it. £25pp

IN PERSON: Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, Corn Exchange, Exeter, Weds 6 Jul

Pic credit Mark Billy Billingham

So, a famous SAS dude is not the most obvious choice for Muddy, but I have met a lot of seriously kick a..ladies of late who would be more than able to join Mr Billingham in his bodyguard duties (including to Angelina Jolie, Russell Crow and Sir Michael Caine, no less). So, if you want any tips…

Want more, more, more? Check out our latest guides to Summer Music Festivals, Outdoor Theatre and Best Picnic Spots in Devon.

Words by Ashley Tremlett.

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