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What’s on in May

Going out is BACK and so is our indispensable guide to what's on in Devon, including the best theatre, festivals, shopping and live music. Go, go, Go!

SHOPPING: Artisan Market, Broomhill Estate and Sculpture Gardens, Muddiford, Saturday 1 May

Book tickets for the newly reopened sculpture garden as usual and on May 1st and there will be the added bonus of an artisan market to satisfy those shopping urges , food, drink, craft, fashion, live music…..something for everyone in a beautiful setting to boot.

EAT: Pink Moon’s Tacos & Burritos pop-up, Princesshay, Exeter, Sat 1 – Sun 9 May

As well as roping in the Exeter Chiefs (above) to get all eyes on the relaunch of their city-centre cafe, the Pink Moon guys have a week-long pop up rollin’ up burritos and serving up taco’s at Exeter’s Princesshay.

EAT: Picnic Afternoon Tea, Hotel Endsleigh, Dartmoor, until 17 May

Olga Polizzi’s gorgeous Hotel Endsleigh is providing picnic afternoon teas alongside admission to their springtime Repton garden. Quaintly packed into a rucksack complete with picnic blanket, cutlery and napkins. Looks extremely civilised and it’s definitely delicious.

EXHIBITION: Small Works Exhibition, Artizan Gallery, Torquay until 8 May

To relaunch their Lucius Street venue the gallery plans to showcase a variety of art entirely made up of works with dimensions less than 40x40cm with an upper price limit of £300. Time for a little treat?

KIDS: Story Tram, Seaton Tramway, Seaton, Fri 7 May

All aboard the story tram, perfect for an adventure with the very littlest of littlies. A different theme each month (Our Precious World for May) stories and action songs brought to life by puppets and props followed by  fun and games on arrival at Colyton.

MUSIC: Nouvelle Vague, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter Weds 12 May

Feeling funky? How about this unique project, combining Punk with Bossa Nova, performed by a collab who have worked with members of Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen and Terry Hall from The Specials. (I feel I may be dating myself somewhat here…)

OUTDOORS: River Dart Country Park, from Mon 17 May onwards

Fancy a local camping getaway where you can let the kids off the leash? Set in 90 acres of parkland within Dartmoor National Park, the River Dart Country Park is packed with activities and from May 17th you can camp, stay and play.

MUSEUMS: The Box, Plymouth, from Tues 18 May

Didn’t get a chance to visit when the multi-million pound Plymouth museum opened last year? Get booking now, it’s fascinating (read the Muddy review). New for 2021 is the Port Elliot Collection, rarely seen paintings by the leading portrait painters of the 18th century.

EXHIBITION: Spring Open: Chasing Rainbows, Torre Abbey, Torquay Weds 19 May – Sun 27 Jun

Need a boost? How about this exhibition featuring artists celebrating the symbol of the moment – rainbows.

WINE TOUR: Sharpham Vineyard, Ashprington nr Totnes, various

Looking for an outdoor meet-up with friends or family? Book yourself in for Sharpham’s guided wine and cheese tasting. The setting, on the banks of the River Dart is stunning, and there are lovely walks nearby. £15pp includes four wines to sample, two Sharpham cheeses all produced on site and entry to the 10-acre vineyard.

THEATRE: The Three Musketeers, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Thurs 20 – Fri 21 May

Hurrah!  Some live theatre to enjoy with the children during half term. The award-winning Le Navet Bete have created an utterly silly and hilarious version of Dumas’ classic taking d’Artagnan to Paris armed only with a baguette –  sacre bleu!

Family Theatre: Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain, Northcott Theatre, Exeter, Fri 21 – Sun 23 May

Far more fun than home schooling, let this barmy lot introduce your children to Boudicca, the Magna Carta, Henry VIII,Dick Turpin, Queen Victoria and many more figures from history with all the nasty bits left in. (Socially distanced in the theatre.)

OUTDOORS: Canal Cruise, Exeter Canal to Exmouth, 2pm, Fri 21 May

A two-and-a-half hour cruise along the oldest working shipping canal in Europe, passing both Double and Turf Locks until you are eventually delivered to Exmouth. There’s usually lots of wildlife to be spied along the banks (alongside copious middle aged men in lycra on the cycle path). £12.50pp

MUSIC: Conservatoire Festival, Plymouth Conservatoire, Mon 17 – Fri 28 May

Various free performances celebrating Plymouth Conservatoire students presenting  an exciting range of performance work both drama and dance full program available soon.

FOOD: Supper Clubs, Oddfellows, Exeter, from Fri 21 May

Back every Friday and Saturday evening, includes six lipsmacking courses of award winning food for cocktails, chilled dining and friends. £35pp

GUIDED WALK: North Cornwall Coast Path, Peaks & Trails, Fri 23 May

A breath-taking day-long hike, led by ex-army mountain leader Jon Barnett, starting and finishing at Bude via Coombe Valley and Sandy Mouth and Northcott Mouth beaches. £30pp

MUSIC NIGHT: Mexican Fiesta!, Pig on the Beach, Westward Ho!, Sat 22 May

Get ready to rumba with Andy Garcia and Mariachi at the new beachfront taco bar. Free.

ONLINE THEATRE: Touching the Void, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 26 May–29 May

The hair-raising true tale of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates’ perilous descent of Siula Grande live-streamed on stage. It’s had a sold-out world premiere in Bristol and critically acclaimed West End run, due to a unique multi-camera set-up and 3D soundscape. Cripes.

ONLINE COOKERY: Entertaining Canapes, Larks Live, Tues 27 May

Brush up those rusty hostess skills and learn how to make some impressive canapés, including English asparagus wrapped with Manchego, Parma ham & balsamic vinegar, Smoked salmon & cream cheese croustades with lemon & dill and Seared fillet of beef sourdough toasts with horseradish crème fraiche. Yum. £18 pp, 5.30-6.30pm online.

ONLINE THEATRE: Antigone, Northcott Theatre, Exeter, Thurs 27 – Sat 29 May

A teenage girl takes on the male hierarchy. “Men in power always threaten the fall of the state”. Just leaving that here…. A collab between Exeter Northcott and Exeter Uni’s drama department stages Bertolt Brecht’s version of Sophocles’ ancient tale with a full professional cast alongside a chorus of students from the University.

ART TRAIL: The Moor Otters Arts Trail, Dartmoor from Weds 28 May

A feel-good public arts project with 81 decorated otter-with-cub sculptures, all designed by local artists (including Muddy Devon’s own Laura Fulner) will be released onto Dartmoor to create four arts trails. There will also be a Mayflower trail in Plymouth and several otters in gateway towns and villages. Should you fall otterly in love with any, they’re available to buy at the end of the summer to raise funds for Dartmoor.

OUTDOORS: Stand Up Paddleboarding Course, Surf South West, Croyde, various

Up a creek without a paddle? Learn how SUP like a pro by booking yourself in for a two-hour course which covers all the basics. Either at sea if it’s not too rough or a river location. £65pp, min two people.

KIDS THEATRE: The Gingerbread Man, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Thurs 29 – Fri 30 May

The age-old story of a gingerbread man who wishes that he had remained socially distanced. Performed by Stuff and Nonsense with a mix of puppetry, live-action, music and humour, to suit all ages.

MUSIC: The Zoots – Sounds of the Sixties, Palace Theatre, Paignton, Fri 30 May

Lockdown made you nostalgic? This 60s band play loads of golden oldies from The Beatles, The Stones, The Monkees and The Beach Boys. According to The Stage, “The Zoots are impossible not to like.”


OUTDOORS: The Garden Festival, Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, near Dorchester, Weds 12 – Sun 16 May

Around 30 exhibitors selling everything from plants to tools to garden furniture, with expert talks and tours of the gardens, a great cafe and the chance to wander around 200 sculptures by some of the UK’s top sculptors.

OUTDOORS: Bridgerton Walking Tours, around Bath, various dates from Weds 19 May

what's on in May

You won’t meet Regé-Jean Page but you will visit all the key Bridgerton filming locations in Bath, including the grand homes of the Featheringtons and scheming Lady Danbury, the gossip-filled Modiste dress makers and the magnificent Assembly Rooms, used for some of Bridgerton’s lavish ballroom scenes. Tours at 11am and 3pm Wed 19, Thurs 20, Sat 22 and Sun 3 May. At 2pm and 5pm Fri 21 May. Part of the Bath Festival.

FESTIVAL: Porthilly Spirit, near Rock, Cornwall, Fri 28 – Sun 30 May

what's on in May

This new Cornish gathering on a farm on the north coast near Rock is bijou, intimate, with music and terrific food and drink. Set across 30 acres, Porthilly Spirit is small in scale but a real chance to feast, to learn and listen, to reconnect and experience. Food from some of Cornwall’s best; sunrise yoga, workshops, an eclectic music line up and loads of stuff for kids. Read more.

Want more brilliant things to do?

Check out our recommended Spring Bluebell Walks, Dartmoor Walks with Pitstops and where to see Devon’s Top Castles.

Words by Ashley Tremlett.

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