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What’s on – July

What's on - July

EXHIBITION: 97th Westward Ho! & Bideford Art Society, Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, until 10 Aug

This annual open exhibition  of regional amateur and professional artists showcases over 300 works: an eclectic mix of painting, sculpture, textiles, printmaking, ceramics and more.


TRIPS: The Riviera Wheel, Torquay seafront, Summer holidays late opening till 10pm

The ferris-wheel is back and open for business, taking you on a 12-minute circular ride that gives you a seagull’s eye view over the marina and Torquay sea-front. It’s 60m high so definitely not for the vertiginous. Twenty percent off when you book online in advance up to midnight the day before. Open till 10pm during the summer hols (usually 8pm).


THEATRE: Sir Ian McKellen 80th Birthday Tour, Exeter Northcott, Mon 1 Jul

Gandalf is back on the Northcott stage after 50 years – he’s a busy man – for a marathon 3-hour birthday shindig, sharing some of his most famous characters, organising some audience participation and as it’s for charidee, raising money for emerging young Devon artists. What a good egg.


SPORT: Wimbledon 2019, Big Screen in Princesshay, Exeter, Mon 1 – Sun 14 Jul

Fancy a drink and a sit-down watching the best players tennis has to offer? Head on down to Princesshay and watch Wimbledon in style this year.


WALKS: Summer Nature Spotter Trail, Compton Castle, Paignton, 2 Jul

Follow the summer nature spotter trail to discover the gardens and orchard at Compton Castle and visit on 23-31 July for the Big Butterfly count and see how many butterflies you can spot in 15 minutes in the beautiful castle grounds.


CRAFT: Exeter Craft Festival, Cathedral Green Exeter, Thurs 4 – Sat 6 Jul

Expect high-quality curated craft only – this is a tat-free zone – and 100 makers and artists in the lovely location of the Cathedral Green (spoilt only by the herras fencing which still surrounds the poor old Clarence Hotel). It’s the place to pick up unique hand-crafted pressies, and something for you (obvs).


FOOD: Exeter Street Food Market, The Quay, Thurs 4 Jul

Exeter’s not short of great street food with three locations around the city holding monthly events, on Exeter’s increasingly go-to Quayside, Piazza Terracina and the shopping district at Southernhay. Get down there and tuck in.


KIDS: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Northcott Theatre, Exeter, 5 – 7 Jul

We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no…Exeter Northcott hosts Michael Rosen and Helen Oxbury’s classic children’s tale of the famous bear hunt. With a lively score and imaginative direction, take the kids along to catch a big one!


MUSIC: Glas-Denbury, Newton Abbot, Fri 5 – Sat 6 Jul

Every pun-spotter’s favourite family-friendly festival returns to the fields of Denbury with live music, craft workshops, silent disco, lots of eco-glitter, and Basil Brush to boot. Set up camp on Friday afternoon and stay overnight for the full Glas-Denbury experience. There is also a platform for Devon’s young talent – founder Emma Twamley is a great advocate – with a BBC Introducing stage.


CULTURE: Ways with Words, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Fri 5 – Sun 14 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. It’s just a tenner to see one author or make a day of it for £40 and stay for all five. In between times you can sit on a deck chair in Dartington’s serene courtyard with a Pimms and soak up the cleverness. And the food is always yum.


FESTIVAL: Exeter Festival, Northernhay Gardens, Exeter Fri 5 – Sun 7 July

The capital has a shiny-new three-day festival with oodles of freebie events taking over the city-centre including multi-platinum, chart-topping band The Hoosiers (Worried About Ray and Goodbye Mr. A) headlining. Friday kicks off with screenings of Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman in Northernhay Gardens; Saturday is music from The Hoosiers and  Joey the Lips, then Sunday is family day, with an outdoor screening of Mary Poppins Returns and comedian Tony Hawks and Radio Exe.


FOOD: Summer Food & Craft Fair, Buckfast Abbey, Sat 6 Jul

This sounds like a goodie for foodies, not least because it’s free and there is loads to learn for adults and kids – with the Fun Kitchen running workshops for up to 30 littlies at a time and demo’s from the Exeter Cookery School’s Jim Fisher, chefs from Topsham’s Salutation Inn and Ashburton Cookery School, among others. Plus there’s live music, and the beautiful gardens and abbey for your daily dose of mindfulness.


CIRCUS: Plymouth Summer Circus, Piazza, Sat 6 Jul

Roll up, roll up for a day of free circus entertainment and workshops with stilt-walkers and fun-bringers the Higher Beings.


FOOD: Plymouth Vegan Festival, Plymouth Guildhall, Sat 6 Jul

Plenty of plant-based treats and ideas for vegans here with 70 stalls, world food caterers, cookery demos and talks, interactive workshops, yoga and kids activities.


WALK: The Twilight Walk & 5K Fizz Run, Exmouth,  Sat 6 Jul

It’s on with the pink tutus, neon face paint and 80’s leg warmers and off with hundreds of other women to walk for Hospiscare and there’s a glass of fizz and some delicious food at the end of it.


SHOW: Kinky Boots,  Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Mon 8 – Sat 20 Jul

Love theatre? Love shoes? Well, who doesn’t? Leave your Muddy Stilettos at the door and put on your ruby-red boots for ‘London’s hottest musical’ – a show jam packed with feel-good tunes, sure to get your kinky boots and toes tapping.


DRINK: Champagne vs Prosecco Night, Hotel du Vin, Exeter, Thurs 11 Jul

I like champagne but then again I like Prosecco. Which is best? There’s only one way to find out…with Hotel du Vin’s head sommelier and lots of bubbles. Cheers!


COMEDY: Summer Comedy Night, Honky Tonk Wine Library, Plymouth, Thurs 11 Jul

Danny Buckler, Edinburgh Fringe Fest alumni and regular guest on BBC 1’s Secrets of Magic, brings his quirky improv style to Sutton Harbour’s Muddy award-winning deli-caf, along with two other guest comedians, your first drink free and delicious chilli available to pre order.


FESTIVAL: Budleigh Salterton Music Festival, Fri 12 – Sat 20 Jul

Want to get a Handel on your Mozart (see what I did there?) then head to Budleigh for a packed programme of events, including free lunchtime talent and evening sessions covering orchestral, opera, choral music and instrumentalists. Batons at the ready!


REGATTA: Rowing Regatta, The Quay, Exeter, Sat 13 July

Head to the quayside to watch the boats battling it out on the River Exe. There are hundreds of summer regattas in Devon but this is one of the oldest, with over 100 sprint races on the day.


FESTIVAL: Tunes on the Sands, Blackpool Sands, South Hams, Fri 12 – Sun 14 Jul

Flip-flops and sun-cream on, let’s get to the beach – the makers of Tunes in the Dunes at Perranporth bring you Tunes on the Sands and can there really be a better setting than here to see KT Tunstall, Wet Wet Wet, Hoosiers, UB40, Natty, The Proclaimers? And it’s family-friendly with a gin bar, a beach clean-up led by Surfers Against Sewage, kayaking and kids activities. Count me in, in, in!


COURSE: DIY Basics, Trill Farm, Axminster, Sat 13 Jul

Fed up of waiting for him indoors/the landlord/your long-lost handyman to put up that shelf? Time to learn the true meaning of Do It Yourself, on a course aimed at people who don’t know one end of a hammer from the other. Spend the day mastering things like putting up a curtain pole, drilling into wood, hanging a picture and putting up shelf brackets. Led by Trill Farm’s Trill Farm’s carpenter, Ruth Thompson.


KIDS: Wonderland, The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Devonport Park, Plymouth, Sat 13 Jul – Sat 21 Sept 

Looking for something to distract the tinies? Head to Wonderland where anything can happen, a magical, immersive encounter for babies and toddlers with movement, music, texture and light.


GARDENS: Donkeys Matter Artisan Garden opening, The Donkey Santuary, Sidmouth, from Mon 15 Jul

You’ve seen it on the BBC coverage, now you can check out the award-winning People’s Choice RHS Chelsea Flower Show artisan garden Donkeys Matter in the flesh from today at the The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth site, reconstructed just as it looked at the show and free of charge for people to visit.


DRINK: English Wine & Epicurean Evening, Glazebrook House, South Brent, Thurs 18 Jul

Treat yourself to a gastronomical evening at boutique hotel Glazebrook House, with the excellent excuse of educating yourself about English wines. With tipples (and cheese) from Devon vineyards among others, including Sharpham and Lyme Bay.


DANCE: Tropical Summer Festival, Plymouth, Fri 19 – Sun 21 Jul

Feel the rhythm at Plymouth’s summer dance festival popping up at various venues around the city, including the Guildhall and Plymouth Hoe. Three days of workshops, expert performers, live music and shows, with salsa, Cuban and Bachata on the dance menu. Sway those slinky hips now.


FESTIVAL: Chagstock Music Festival, Whiddon Down, nr Okehampton, Fri 19 – Sat 20 Jul

Pack the Scooby snacks… The Fun Lovin’ Criminals return to Dartmoor’s favourite music fest, set in the heart of the moors, surrounded by rolling Devon hills and an option on glamping in a bell tent. A family-friendly fest as loved by Bob Geldof and Ade Edmondson, the Noble Jacks, From the Jam and plenty of up-and-coming Devon bands are in the line-up. This year’s theme is under the sea – mermaids welcome.


FOOD: Cheese Tours at Home Farm, Exeter, Fri 19 and Fri 26 Jul

Calling all cheese lovers! Take a historical guided tour around the Quicke family farm this month and learn all about the ancient process of cheesemaking and get a taste of the science behind it all. Followed by a seasonal two-course lunch featuring the famous Quickes cheese, we promise it’ll be Gouda-un!


FAIR: Kingsbridge Fair Week, Sat 20 – Sat 27 Jul

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!


WALK: St Luke’s Midnight Walk, Plymouth Piazza, Sat 20 Jul

Set the Fitbit and get ready to pound the pavements with thousands of other women for charity – a choice of 3, 8 or the full whammy, 13 miles. This year the theme is 80’s so dig out your best bling and flick that Farrah Fawcett hair, ladies.


FOOD: Ashburton Ale Tasting & Bread Weighing Fayre, Sat 20 Jul

A quirky celebration dating back to the time when there was no check on the quality of bread or ale, the Fayre sees the townsfolk take to the streets in medieval garb at 4pm – with a tankard or two naturally – culminating in a Medieval Fayre. 


KIDS: Hydro High Dive Show, Crealy Theme Park & Resort, Mon 22 Jul – Sun 1 Sept

Crealy’s high-dive aerial stunt show returns every day, Monday to Saturday, this summer with a fireman theme. Watch the daredevil cast perform synchronised dives, comedy leaps and divers ignited in flames as they fly through the air into a pool less than five metres deep. Let’s just hope it’s not audience participation.


ART: Plymouth College of Art Craft Week, Drakes Circus, Mon 22 – Fri 26 Jul

The students of Plymouth Art College share their talent and ideas, and offer a chance to find out if you have hidden talents yourself. You can make a tote bag or t-towel and try your hand at Indian ink drawing. Crafty.


SHOW: Mid Devon Show, Tiverton, Sat 27 Jul

All the usual agricultural suspects are here, plus loads for the littlies – fairground rides, Segways, a climbing wall, trampolines, archery and donkey rides. If that doesn’t tire them out nothing will.


FESTIVAL: Paignton Harbour Festival, Sat 27 Jul

A free family event on the harbour front, with cooking workshops, live music, demo’s of withy pot making with boat and fishing trips out to sea. Money raised goes to the Fisherman’s Mission.


CULTURE: Dartington International Summer School & Festival, Sat 27 Jul – Sat 24 Aug

So, what’s the score at Dartington next month? How about four weeks of music, covering everything from jazz, cappella, Latin percussion, samba, and every type of instrument you can think of, culminating in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring performed by a full orchestra lifting the roof of the Great Hall.


SPORT: Ping! Plymouth city centre, various locations, Weds 31 Jul – Thurs 1 Aug

Not had a go at one of those outdoor ping-pong tables yet? Go on you might be a ping-pro! No time like the present…


SHOW: Yealmpton Agricultural Show, Kitley Lawns, Yealmpton, Weds 31 Jul

Get your fill of countryside idyll at their 132nd show with a cute dog and duck display, a grand parade of show-winning animals, ponies, pets and loads of healthy, outdoorsy stuff for the littlies, including classic cars and tractors for kids who love wheels.


With additional reporting by Molly Grogan.

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