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Where to make hay in May! 50+ things to do this month

In the mood for fun this month? Head this way for Muddy's curated guide to the best supper clubs, music festivals, and oodles of culture happening in our 'hood.

DRINK: Fizz Friday, Dolton Brown, Exeter, Fri 13, 20, 27 May

Beauty shopping with a glass of fizz? Count me in. Throughout the month Molton Brown will be opening their doors for a free consultation and shopping session. Indulge in some well-deserved pampering as the team demo their products or opt for a personal fragrance consultation. 

ART: Funny Weather, Connor McIntyre, St Saviours Hall, Plymouth until Mon 23 May

Connor McIntyre – known up and down the land for portraying soap-badboy Pat Phelan on Coronation Street – is a Plymouth-based painter/actor whose show Funny Weather opens in the city on May 9 and runs till 23. His abstract works fuse the political and the painterly and have regularly been selected for prizes and accolades. Check out the Muddy Meets interview and go say hello, he’s there every day 11am – 4pm.

THEATRE: Our House, Shaftesbury Theatre, Dawlish, until Sat 14 May 

This Olivier Award-winning musical was written by Tim Firth, the writer of Calendar Girls, featuring Madness hits and based in 1980s Camden Town. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.

THEATRE: Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, Exeter Northcott, Exeter Uni, until Sun 15 May

Adapted from a bestselling book by Kate Pankhurst (descendent of Emmeline, no biggie), and made by the producer of the wildly successful musical SixFantastically Great Women Who Changed The World exploded onto the stage only in November, but has already earnt oodles of praise. It’s a family pop-musical that highlights — yep, you guessed it — famous women, from Rosa Parks to Marie Curie, alongside a killer soundtrack.

COMEDY: Dara O’Briain, Where Were We?, Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth, Fri 13 May

By the end of his last tour, Dara had performed the show over 180 times around the globe and was desperate for an excuse for a break… Well, he sure got one and he’s feeling a tad guilty and is extremely keen to get in front of a live audience again. Good news he’s back picking up where he left off doing what he does best.

FOOD: Quickes Cheese Tour, Home Farm, Newton St Cyres, Fri 13 and Fri 27 May

Fromage fan? Head to Quickes to learn the art of making great cheese and leave an expert in all things cheesy and with a full tum, after  a seasonal two course lunch, featuring Quicke’s cheese at The Beer Engine. £35pp 

COMEDY: Missus, Kathryn Ryan, Princess Theatre Torquay, Sat 14 May   

Katherine Ryan

Having recently married her first love, the comedian’s new show unpicks what it means to be a ‘missus.’

FOLK MUSIC: Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Plough Arts Centre, Sat 14 May

Multi award-winning husband and wife (Sean is Devon folk musician Seth Lakeman’s older bruv) duo exude timeless class with their exquisite brand of traditional and contemporary music.

FESTIVAL: Pigstock, Abbotsham, Bideford, Sat 14 May 

North Devon’s friendliest festival, Pigstock is substantially bigger than it was when it started in 2013 as a one-off event with only one band. In 2022 there is a plethora of live music, DJs and loads of fun for the kids, and includes free tickets to The Big Sheep and all of their rides and activities.

FOODIE: May Queen Banquet, The Lost Kitchen, Chettiscombe, Sat 14 and 21 May

Enjoy a spring feast at the wood-fired eatery near Tivy, with sharing plates, a choice of desserts and vegan menu available. Lamb Fricassee, Roast Romaine, Spring Onions, Broad Beans, Dill and Parsley, yum. £30pp

OUTDOORS: Forest Bathing, Dittiscombe Woods, Slapton, Sat 14 May 

What better way to be at one with Nature than a spot of Shinrin Yoku, which translates to ‘Forest Shower’ or ‘Forest Bath’ and relates to ‘total immersion’ Relax, hug a few trees, give it a go.

COMEDY: Arthur Smith: Laughs, Stories, A Song and a Poem, Palace Theatre, Paignton, Sat 14 May 

Billed as ‘Laughs, stories, a poem and a song‘, this show is sure to provide all of the above with Smith’s typical, taciturn aplomb. 

MUSIC: 3 Daft Monkeys, RHS Rosemoor, Torrington, Sat 14 May 

Time to go wild in the, erm, wild! Expect a typically theatrical performance  as the 3 Daft Monkeys bring their wildly catchy tunes to the RHS gardens.

MUSIC: Just Gilbert, Queen’s Theatre,  Barnstaple, Mon 16 May 

Oh, what a poppet! Gilbert O’Sullivan’s dulcet tones are still going strong making new music, along with the old favourites.

OUTDOORS: Dartmoor Moon Walk, Yelverton, Mon 16 May

Dartmoor by moonlight? This guided walk takes you on an evening adventure across the moors accompanied by tales of local legends from expert Paul Rendell, (a Dartmoor guide for over 20 years). You’ll watch the moon rise before completing a four mile walk in the dark. Warm clothing is encouraged and don’t forget a late night snack! (no dogs).

EXHIBITION: Her Majesty the Queen in the Bay, Torre Abbey, Torquay, Tues 17 May –  Sun 19 June 

Torre Abbey are hosting a special photographic exhibition, celebrating the many times that HM Queen has visited Torbay throughout her reign, including several visits to Torre Abbey itself during her Silver Jubilee in 1977. We doubt she’ll be popping down to the Bay during this, her Platinum Jubilee year, so here’s the closest you’ll get to seeing her in Devon.

TALK: Writing Crime Fiction, Waterstones, Exeter, 19 May

We’re all guilty of enjoying a good crime novel – but have you ever wondered what it takes to write one? Join bestselling authors Holly Watt and Catriona Ward for an evening of conversation and on this much loved genre.

FOOD: High Grange Signature Feast, High Grange, Dalwood, May 20th

Outdoor local dining, somehow both rustic and sophisticated. The signature feast is £85 per person and you’ll be treated to a 5-course tasting menu with cocktails and canapes.

FESTIVAL: Sidmouth Sea Fest, Sidmouth, Fri 20 – Sat 21 May

The annual sea-themed fest is back with a whole host of art, environmental community activities, music, food, author talks for all ages. 

BALL: James Bond Ball, Ocean Exmouth, Exmouth, Sat 21 May 

The name’s Bond, James Bond (or maybe Jane Bond as we are heading towards gender neutral casting). Either way, here’s your chance to don the Gladrags and raise dosh for the RNLI, with a cocktail or two *shaken not stirred obvs*, tunes provided by the perennially excellent One Foot in the Groove.

FITNESS: Dartmoor Prison Break, HMP Dartmoor, Sat 21 May 

Runners, here’s your ‘Get out of Jail’ card – an endurance race from HMP Dartmoor where you make your ‘escape’ with the aim of achieving the furthest distance (as the crow flies) in a given time. The mountain rescue team, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth, Plymouth benefit from from funds raised so well worth putting in the miles for.

SHOP: Artisan and Makers Market, Bridwell Park Estate, Cullompton, Sat 21 May 

Producers and makers of arts and crafts, from ‘Cosy nook candles’ to ‘Cove Vodka’, something for everyone – even the dog.  Entertainment and tasty treats, yum.

VINEYARD TOUR : Tamar Valley Vineyard, Tamar Valley Vineyard, Bere Alston, Sun 22 May

As if we needed an excuse for a walk around the beautiful Tamar Valley, now you have the opportunity to check out a vineyard whilst you explore the valley, hear about the history of the (fairly new – 2016) vineyard and most importantly, taste the wine. Although under 18s clearly can’t imbibe they are welcome to join you with a free ticket.

YOGA: Movement & Medicine Dartmoor Day Retreat, Southcombe Barn, Widecombe in the Moor, Sunday 22 May

A mix of gentle yoga with Harriet Herb, followed by a soothing sound bath with Vashti, from Southcombe Barn, a nourishing plant-based feast from Dartmoor chef Yuki Vevers, followed by wander through the grounds of Southcombe Barn with Mariam from Totnes Community Herbal a workshop on plant-based medicine.

OPERA: English Touring Opera’s La Boheme, Exeter Northcott, Exeter, Weds 25 – Sat 28 May

Pic credit: English Touring Opera

Ah, Puccini’s story of young love performed by ETO in period dress and sung in Italian, all bursting with heartbreaking romance in a Parisian garret. Book tickets for the 25th and you can join a pre-show talk.

MUSIC FEST: Hijacked, Double Locks, Exeter, Weds 25 – Thurs 26 May

This makes the 8th year that the hijacked festival has marked the start of summer, featuring artists such as Sigma, Ketama  and Ross from Friends. And a great waterside pub of a spot.

FESTIVAL: Spring Classic, Woolacombe Bay, North Devon, Fri 27 – Mon 30 May

Kick off the Sunny Season with a weekend of ‘waves and wheels.’ A family friendly event celebrating surf and van culture, this coastal festival invites you to reconnect with your interests and your loved ones. Chill out with some local music and outdoor cooking, or attend the numerous skating and surfing events. For motor enthusiasts there’s the ‘shine and show area’ showcasing retro vans and motorbikes. Or, (for those seeking a little down time) there are yoga classes and nature trails. Day tix from £40.

EXHIBITION: Fresh! Devon Artist Network, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton Sat 28 May – Sat 23 July

New works from leading artists and creatives from Devon Artist Network, including painting, sculpture, glass work, textile and mark making.

SWIM: Chagford Open Air Pool Open Day, Chagford, Sat 28 May

A blissful oasis nestled amongst rolling countryside, Chagford’s open air pool provides an idyllic summer escape. Filled with treated river water, this 1930’s lido leaves you feeling refreshed without any over-chlorinated residue. There’s plenty of space to lounge with a good book and picnics are welcome. A visit to the Ted Shed for drinks and snacks is strongly recommended  –  especially a sample of the homemade flapjack.  

FOOD: Five-course Tasting Menu hosted by Stanlake Park, Broomhill Estate, Muddiford, Sat 28 May

So committed is the Broomhill Estate to serving only local, seasonal and responsibly produced food in their eatery and markets, they’ve created a 2-acre farm on which to grow their own. This tasting menu will highlight ingredients grown on the farm and paired with English wine from Berkshire’s Stanlake Park. 

FOOD FEST: Flavour Fest, Plymouth, Fri 27 – Sun 29 May

Foodie fans whizz on down to Plymouth to the South West’s largest free food and drink festival featuring hundreds of local producers selling tasty treats, and a chef stage with regional cookery stars showcasing their skills.

COMEDY: Sandi Toksvig – Next Slide Please, Princess Theatre, Torquay, Sat 28 May 

Pic credit: Steve Ullathorne

It’s not often we get the opportunity to see the delightful Sandi Toksvig live, and this, her new live stand-up show is here for one night only.

OUTDOORS: Wild Foods by Canoe, River Dart, Totnes, Sun 29 May 

Not only do you get to spend the entire day (10am-4pm) bobbing about on the water but your food throughout the day will be supplemented by a spot of light expert  seasonal foraging along the banks of the River Dart. I’m thinking Swallows and Amazons or Daphne du Maurier – keep an eye out for mysterious things on the riverbanks. Adults £55/kids £15.

SHOPPING: Exeter Vintage Kilo Sale, Exeter Corn Exchange, 29 May

Because a kilo of new clothes is never a bad thing…Collect a biodegradable bag on entry and fill it with vintage treasures for just £20 a kilo. 

FESTIVAL: Seaweed Festival, Clovelly, North Devon, Sun 29 May

Who doesn’t want good food and glowing skin? Located in the charming harbour village of Clovelley, this festival combines talks, craft activities, workshops and cooking demonstrations. After learning about the wonderful health properties of seaweed and tasting some local dishes, you can attend foraging talks on how to source your own supply. Or, for younger audiences, there’s storytelling and the chance to make your own seaweed slime (better not to taste that one…)

ART: Water, Blindwell Space Gallery, Braunton, until 25 Jun

A celebration of all things aqueous by Danni Bradford, who’s hot on the heels of her most recent award as ‘Contemporary Artist of the Year’ from the South West Prestige Awards. Danni specialises in the ancient art of Verre-églomisé, and her work is held in private collections worldwide.

JUST MISSED

FESTIVAL: Thrive, Dartington Hall, Dartington, Fri 29 April – Mon 2 May 

This three-day festival to mark May Day and the start of summer at Dartington looks typically charming and edifying. Concerts, cloud-spotting, mindfulness, craft and music workshops – all with a strong Indian theme.

FESTIVAL: Pirate Festival, Brixham, Sat 30 April – Mon 2nd May 

If you’re averse to a spot of swashbuckling then avoid Brixham at all costs this weekend as it will be packed with seaside shenanigans and pirate themed fun – dressing up practically obligatory. Those of us with a guilty secret crush on a certain Caribbean pirate, however, are already choosing our gold earrings and stripy tights.

OUTDOOR CINEMA, Rocketman, Saltram House, Plymouth, Sun 1 May

Outdoor cinemas are back! In celebration of Elton John’s 75th birthday, Rocketman will be on screen at Saltram House, Plymouth. Bring your own picnic, blankets and camping chairs while you reminisce to 70s/80s music before the show.

FOOD: Salcombe Crab Fest, Salcombe, Sun 1 May

Pic credit: Norworthy Photography/Salcombe Crab Festival

At last, the oft postponed Crab Fest can finally recommence its claw-tastic business in the idyllic Salcombe. Expect all things fishy and fabulous.

MUSIC: Islands in the Stream, Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, Sun 1 May

Go on, be honest, anything by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers is definitely your go-to karaoke banger – check out these excellent impersonators and get some inspiration for your next diva duet.

THEATRE: Snow White and the Seven Drag Queens, Babbacombe Theatre Torquay, Mon 2 May 

Tee hee, clearly an adult panto….’He’s behind you!’ Of course he is.

GARDENING: Grow your own Kitchen Garden, Riverford Field Kitchen, Buckfastleigh, Weds 4 May

If the last couple of years has inspired you to be more self-sufficient, then this one-day course with Riverford’s head gardener, Penny Hemming, is for you. Get the gen on all aspects of organic gardening, from prep and sowing to harvest, and of course no visit to Riverford would be complete without a delicious lunch.

WORKSHOP: Drawing Workshop, Honiton, 5 May

Join artist Alice Simpson for a series of drawing workshops at Offwell Woods Forest School. Suitable for experienced artists and beginners, you’ll learn how to interpret your environment and movements in natural surroundings. All drawing materials will be provided along with refreshments to boost your creative spirit. 

YOGA: Devon Yoga & Foraging Adventure, Hartland Peninsula, North Devon, Fri 6 – Mon 9 May

Stay in a stylish Geodesic dome with no stinting on luxury. Yoga, foraging and delicious home cooked food will all be available aplenty on this glorious eco farm.

RETREAT: Rest, Revive and Thrive, Hera Holistic, Kingsbridge, Fri 6 – Sun 8 May 

Need a stress buster? How about kinesiology balances, self-help techniques, spiritual healing via meditation and Chakra work. Nope, we’re not quite sure what some of that is either but it promises calm and relaxation – and who wouldn’t want some of that?

MUSIC: Dart Music Festival, Dartmouth, Fri 6 – Sun 8 May

Three days of completely free to attend music in venues all around the town. From folk in a fort, choirs in a church, or blues at the bandstand -it’s got them all.

MUSIC: Lennon Retrospective, The Watermark, Ivybridge, Sat 7 May

We’ve been having a bit of retro Beatle-mania after watching that very, very long documentary show on Netflix. Quite inspired to go and check out Gaz Keenan’s (the big audition ITV) awesome Lennon impersonation not just the music but the sense of humour too.

BRUNCH: Disco Drag Bottomless Brunch, The Cocktail Club, Exeter, Sat 7 May 

Warning, diva alert… this could get messy. Spend an afternoon boogieing with bottomless Bubbles and Cocktails, live music and party games.

FESTIVAL: Balloons and Tunes, Powderham Castle, Kenton, Sat 7 – Sun May 

Ooh! Something new for Devon. Two days of live music with over 20 acts and over a dozen hot air balloons. Expect a night glow show and a giant funfair with plenty of local food and drink. Sounds fun.

ART: Ilfracombe Art Trail, Ilfracombe, Sat 7 – Sun 8 May 

The harbour town of Ilfracombe plays artist open house where local artists and craftspeople open their homes, studios and galleries to visiting art lovers. 

COMEDY: Mitchell Mack and Brydon, Princess Theatre Torquay, Mon 9 – Weds 11 May 

Join Rob, Lee and David for an unmissable evening of chat, comedy and general messing around. Yes. Please.

DANCE: Ian Waite and Vincent Simone – Act Two, Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, Weds 11 May 

Following the success of their first tour in 2019, the twinkle-toed boys are back, bringing their Strictly magic to the Landmark Theatre. 

CRAFT: Spring Willow Weaving, The Italian Garden, Ambrook, Thurs 12 May 

Rather than splash out at the garden centre why not learn how to weave your own climbing plant supports in this half-day workshop in an atmospheric garden? Small groups means plenty of attention from the lovely local willow teacher (who also grows and supplies the willow for your masterpiece). £50pp

FOOD: Evening Soiree at the Pig, The Pig, Gittisham, Thurs 12 May

An evening of networking with a fab community of women, hosted in The Folly where you can enjoy smoky wood oven flatbreads and the chance to chat to like-minded women. If you want to up your green-fingered skills, book in for The Pig’s Grow Your Own Course on 25 May, with Devon food writer, Mark Diacono and Group Head Kitchen Gardener, Ollie Hutson.

Words by Ashley Tremlett and Zoe Williams.

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