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10 things to do this weekend

Scratching your head for fun weekend plans? We can help! Here are ten under-the-radar activities from having a sauna on the beach to learning to speak penguin (sort of).

FOR CULTURE VULTURES

Here’s looking at you…The Wildlife Photographer of the Year at RAMM, Exeter

Eye, eye – it’s the last chance to see The Wildllife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at Exeter’s city centre museum RAMM this Sunday, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London and as seen on Channel 5’s doc series World of Wonder in early 2021. You no longer need to book in advance, tickets are available on the door. £8 adults, £6 concessions, under 19s free .

Silvanus by Marie Boyle in the Lower Woodland

Wrap up warm and head to Great Torrington and RHS Rosemoor for their annual Winter Sculpture Exhibition, where you can get up close to more than 100 pieces, artfully displayed among the winter greenery. And if you’re feeling splashy, most of them for sale, so take the credit card.

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters on until 27 Feb at The Box, Plymouth

Wishing you were in sunnier climes? Head to The Box in Plymouth for the European premier of Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters (remember Bruce Chatwin?) You can almost feel the Antipodean heat coming through the films, paintings and sculptures of this exhibition which tell Australia’s indigenous people’s creation myth of the Seven Sisters flight across the continent with the lustful magician Yurla in hot pursuit. I really enjoyed it, especially the bit where you get to lie down in the outdoor dome and look at the stars and ancient cave paintings. Interestingly, this aboriginal myth is very similar to the Greek myth of Orion and Pleiades but predates it by tens of thousands of years and FYI songlines are not just stories but maps to navigate, find watering holes and sacred places. A feast for the eyes and mind!

Unleash your inner Seth Lakeman and go wassailing (Exeter Saturday/Okehampton on Sunday) and join Wren Music to learn some traditional wassail songs in the orchards and open air. Never been wassailing? It sounds bonkers, splashing cider on a tree to bring good health to the trees and each other, but it’s a lovely wintry thing to do – and you usually get a mulled cider, so what’s not to love? And it’s FREE! A folk music session will follow from 6.30pm at The London Inn, West Street, Okehampton.

FOR FOODIES

Fancy a warming toddy? Dartmoor Whisky Distillery are running tasting tours and experiences where you meet head distiller Greg, get the lowdown on how the amber nectar is made and taste three single malt whiskies. £15 a head, with options on a soft drink for the driver and a 35 discount on any 70cl bottle bought on the day.

Go stock up the cupboards at one of the many food markets around Devon, including at the Pannier Market in the Market Square in Totnes, every Friday and Saturday, where you can find not just food but also have a good rummage through the vintage bits and pieces and bric a brac. In Topsham there’s a vibrant Saturday morning market in Matthews Hall where you can pick up food, gifts, clothes, vintage and homeware, along with the chance to pick up fresh fish from Salt, at The Salutation Arms.

It’s the third all-new Tiverton Farmers Market this Saturday and once again there are lots of food and drink stalls to check out, including some exciting debutantes. Plus a new layout for the farmers markets, which includes a host of quality stalls in the north hall.

FOR FITNESS & WELLBEING

Planning to get back on your bike in 2022? If you’re local to Exeter, you can get your bike checked over for free by the helpful peeps at Ride on Cycling every Sunday in Jan, Feb and March. it takes just half an hour and you don’t even need to hang around while they do it, just go grab a coffee from The Ridge Coffee Shop and go watch the swans on the river.

Grab your cozzie and kick-start your weekend exploring the Dorset coast – just over the border in Bridport – with a sea swim topped off with a blissful wood-fired sauna session with Seaside Sauna House right on the beach. One hour for six costs £60.

Want to get out into the wild? My latest Dartmoor trip was to Venford Reservoir where you get high (not like that naughty) for great views or walk among the wizened, moss-covered woods along the old tin mining track. It’s very boggy so don’t forget the wellies! More ideas for iconic Dartmoor walks with pitstops here, or if you prefer the beach and woods in winter, head here.

FOR ALL THE FAMILY

Here’s one for tired mamas and papas who need something to keep the teenies occupied for an hour or so. Book in for a morning or afternoon performance either day of the weekend at Theatre Royal Plymouth for Stuff & Nonsense’s adorable mix of puppetry, music and song, The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin. It’s about a pioneering problem-solver and explorer who waddles off to the Antarctic in a bid to learn to speak penguin. Perfect for anyone who loves Pingu, and I mean, who doesn’t? Age 3+, from £12.

Need more ideas? Check our bumper guide to what’s on this month.


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