Mon 1 - Sun 7 July
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, Tues 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.