Awesome August! Here’s what’s on…
Fabulous festivals, food, fireworks, art, outdoor theatre, pomp and proms! Get ready - here's what's on this August in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
VISIT: 1545 at The Mary Rose, Portsmouth, throughout August
Get up close and personal with the infamous King Henry VIII – without losing your head! Phew… Introduced by a slightly less daunting legend, Dame Judi Dench, the 1545 experience transports you to the deck of the Mary Rose in the Battle of the Solent – and the final moments on board the King’s favourite ship.
ART: Ladybird Book Collection, Mottisfont, Romsey, throughout August
Mottisfont always does exhibitions well. This exhibition of nostalgic watercolours from Ladybird’s 1950s and 1960s book series ‘What To Look For In Summer’ will be a goodie. It’s complemented by digital illustrations by local artist Natasha Durley, sure to appeal to a new generation of Ladybird fans.
KIDS: Summer Fest at Blackgang Chine, Ventnor, 4 – 28 August
Party past bedtime and soak up the sunset as the DJ spins some tunes over on the Island. No, we’re not talking Ibiza: every Wednesday & Saturday this August the teenage party is ON at Blackgang Chine. Things will get lively with foam cannons, lasers, and a few piratey-looking characters strutting their stuff (yep, including dad *embarassing*) before the evening ends with the famous Blackgang Chine firework finale.
SPORT: Lendy Cowes Week, Cowes, Sat 31 July – Sat 7 Aug
Ahoy! For one of the biggest parties (err, I mean sporting events) the Isle of Wight has to offer, ship out for Cowes Week. During the eight days of racing and socialising on the Island, Cowes is always buzzing. Tuesday is Ladies Day when the Royal Southern Ariel Trophy is awarded to the female helm with the best overall result. The fireworks are off this year but there’ll still be plenty of racing action, plus food, drinks and shopping shoreside.
FOOD: Supper Club at Newton Manor Farm, Newton Stacey, Sat 7 Aug
What about this for an alfresco pop up?! Tuck into tasty gourmet burgers made with free-range beef from the herd at Newton Manor Farm, near Stockbridge, sandwiched in a seeded brioche bun with crispy streaky bacon, melted cheese, caramelised onions and rocket *drool*. Meat-free? How do you fancy a ‘banging’ Beetroot & Hummus Burger? And to go with, there’s fabulous locally-made wine, cider, nibbles and sides…
FESTIVAL: Wickham Festival, Wickham, Thurs 5 – Sun 8 Aug
The Wickham Festival is a super family affair, just outside of Fareham. Just because it’s slightly smaller than other local festivals, don’t expect anything less. With the the legendary Van Morrison headlining plus the usual mix of folk, ska, psychadelic country funk (!), circus acts and more, the 2021 line-up is extremely varied and ticks the boxes for most tastes.
DRINK: The Clouds Bar, Spinnaker Tower, Friday nights through August
How’s this for a sundowner with a view? A new sky-high pop-up bar at Gunwharf’s Spinnaker Tower, The Clouds Bar is on every Friday night in August, 8pm – Midnight. Catch up over a few drinks with a panoramic view of Portsmouth Harbour. Go quick for tickets, this one’s sure to be a sellout…
COURSE: Hampshire Art Studio workshops, Winchester, 9 – 20 Aug
Feel like unleashing your inner creative? Even if landscapes aren’t your thing, there’s plenty on this August at The Hampshire Art Studio in Bransbury, on the banks of the river Dever, near Winchester, that just might tickle your artistic fancy. Discover monoprinting and mixed media (9 – 10 August); abstract painting (11 Aug); children’s workshops for 6 – 8 and 9 – 11 year-olds (12 Aug); upcycling (13 Aug); silver river-inspired pendant making (20 Aug) and more.
KIDS: The Lion Inside, The Shed @ Whitehill & Bordon, 12 Aug
Is there a cuter story than The Lion Inside? Probably not, so don’t miss this performance of the award-winning children’s book by LAS Theatre. On at the new Shed food, shopping and community hub, littlies age three and up will be captivated by the story of the little mouse with a mighty heart.
MUSIC: Jodie Elms sings live at The Furlong, Ringwood, Sat 14 Aug
Shopping, coffee and a free show you say? Erm, sounds like a pretty perfect Saturday to us! Grab a drink and listen to the talented musician and Ringwood local, Jody Elms, perform live in the courtyard at the fantastic Furlong shopping centre. (A mooch around the brilliant shops here is optional but hey – when in Rome…).
FOOD: Summer Vibes at Chewton Glen, New Milton, Thurs 19 Aug
What better than a glass of Veuve in the walled garden at one of the New Forest’s loveliest hotels? Some hot from the alfresco oven wood-fired pizza to go with, of course! Make an evening of it with a cocktail or two at the Terrace Bar afterwards. Summer vibes indeed…
VISIT: Sky High Night Glow, 20 – 22 August, 5pm – 10pm
It’s back! After a hugely successful event in May, the August finale of this hot-air balloon extravaganza will feature races, mass launches and beautifully-lit balloons, plus live music in the Valley and Woodland Ponds. Insta-heaven.
VISIT: Four Days, Staunton Country Park, Thurs 19 – Sun 22 Aug
Arts and community venue The Spring is taking residence at neighbouring Staunton Country Park for – you guessed it – four days of music, comedy and theatre this August. Look out for stomping swing, ska and Balkan-style folk band, the Carney Villians and a good old-fashion barn dance – yee haw. Kids will love the special picnic celebrating the planet with walking trees, friendly bumblebees and face painting and a wobbly clown show.
MUSIC: Wight Proms, Northwood House, Cowes, Thurs 19 – Sun 22 Aug
International comedians, songs from the musical shows performed by West End and Broadway stars, opera arias from greats like Verdi, Puccini and Mozart and, of course, a fabulous finale featuring Jerusalem and flag-waving. Yep, you’re not going to want to miss this one – brush off the blanket, grab the picnic flutes and and get yourself over to Cowes.
KIDS: Paw Patrol Brick Live, Festival Place, Basingstoke, 20 – 31 Aug
Lego and Paw Patrol – your infant/preschooler will be in seventh heaven… Follow the trail around Festival Place to find Chase, Marshall, Skye and the whole gang constructed by the brilliant Bright Bricks. (The smart money’s on bringing dad/granny/fave Aunty so you can sneak off to the shops. “Oh, sorry sweetie but this pup’s gotta fly…”).
MUSIC: Celebration of Speed at Embley Park, Romsey, 21 – 22 Aug
Fan of the superstar mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins? Hotfoot it to Embley Park in Romsey where she’ll be performing live with an orchestra and wearing some spectacularly covetable ballgowns in the 130-acre grounds of the beautiful, Muddy-rated Embley School. Part of a weekend of ‘great cars, great food and great music’ in aide of two brilliant charities, there’s still few VIP tickets left for Cafe Mambo Ibiza in the Park on 21 August, which get you access to a complimentary bar and a Tom Kerridge signature burger, too… sounds good to us!
MUSIC: Proms Spectacular at Stanstead Park, Rowlands Castle, 21 Aug
It’s not summer without at least one mega proms performance and spitfire fly-by…. After skipping a year, come back strong and enjoy both, glass of fizz in hand, as you nod along to British war themes, the 1812 Overture, the Hornpipe, Jerusalem and more in the grand environs of Stanstead House.
FESTIVAL: CarFest South, Laverstoke Park Farm, Fri 23 – Sun 25 Aug
CarFest South may sound like a souped-up car show but its actually a family weekend extravaganza. Hosted by auto-nut Chris Evans, you can ogle over fancy cars and even take a spin in some. Then, sing and dance your heart out with the likes of The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, Razorlight and Marc Almond. The awesome retro lineup includes Soul 2 Soul, Human League, All Saints and Rick Astley. Plus there’s DJ sets from Basement Jaxx, Judge Jules, Faithless and more. Still not convinced? Tough crowd. Here’s six more reasons you need to go…
THEATRE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Exbury Gardens, Wed 25 Aug
Shakespeare in the Forest! The Chapterhouse Theatre Company will be performing an adaptation of his classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with star-crossed Athenian lovers, playful fairies and hilarious travelling players. Expect beautiful Elizabethan costumes and a splendid musical score.
FESTIVAL: Victorious Festival, Southsea Common, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Aug
Did you know that Victorious actually started out as a vintage event in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard? Fast-forward a few years and it’s become one of the highlights on the UK festivals calendar. Baggy trousers at the ready for this year’s headliners: Madness, The Streets, Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass, Rag’n’Bone Man and loads more. Dance the August Bank Holiday away on Southsea seafront with great tunes and a beautiful view of the Solent.