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What’s on June in Hants & IoW

Gorgeous gardens, festivals, animal encounters and more. Here's our pick of what's on in Hampshire and Isle of Wight this month.

VISIT: Longstock Park Water Garden, until 13 June, Leckford Estate

A beautiful oasis in the expansive, 2,800-acre working Leckford Estate (aka the Waitrose kitchen garden) near Stockbridge, if you’ve never visited the Longstock Water Garden, book a spot now. Covering around six acres and created during the early 1900, it’s one of the finest in the UK with bridges crossing over wild plants and over forty different waterlilies. Très tranquille.

KIDS: Santos the Sloth at Marwell Zoo, Winchester. Throughout June.

All the animals at Marwell Zoo are well-loved by staff and visitors but one or two quickly achieve true superstar status. Say hello to Santos the super-cute Sloth, who arrived at the zoo earlier this year. He’s been hanging cool around his fast-growing fan club who’ve been beating a path to the gift shop for fan-girl merch including chocolate, a sloth print, soft toy and mug.

EXHIBITION: Man Up! at Chawton House, Alton. Until 27 June

Open for one last hurrah with new objects to pique your interest, Chawton’s important exhibition highlights stories of women who stepped into male roles. From female pirates, soldiers, balloonists and novelists – ready to fight, write or take flight – these daring women risked it all to live authentically and paved the way for a new generation of glass ceiling smashers.

SHOPPING: The Shed, Bordon. Open throughout June

The latest phase in the area’s regeneration project, this is no ordinary shed. Inside, you’ll find a deli-shop, micro-brewery, eco-friendly fill-up shop, cycling store, gift shop, burger joint and florist. And it’s right next to a gorgeous playground and walk at Bordon’s Hogmoor Inclosure. Look out for new pop-ups at the Saturday Market. Ethical vegan events will be at The Shed on the first Sunday of each month starting Sunday 6 June, 10.30am – 3.30 pm.

DRINK: Dine in the Vines, Hambledon Vineyard, Waterlooville, 2-30 June

Throw in some sunshine (we live in hope) and this is all very A Good Year. Tuck into local charcuterie, a fish and seafood platter from Hampshire’s chalk streams, plenty of fresh crusty baguettes and a drop or two of sparking wine from England’s oldest vineyard. Chin, chin.

KIDS: The Basing House Rope Maze, throughout June, Basingstoke

Get lost, in the nicest possible way, at Basingstoke’s newest attraction. If you’re up for the challenge, there’s a brand new rope maze now open at Basing House. Your first challenge, of course, is finding it (psst – head for the New House Grounds just beyond the ruins). When you’re done (and all the party are accounted for), continue the fun in the acres of grounds before heading to the café for a well-deserved spot of tea and cake.

FESTIVAL: Dogstival, Burley Park, Sat 5 – Sun 6 June

Dogstival

Plenty to explore at this tail-waggingly exciting event in the New Forest. New for 2021, there’s ‘Barkour’, an adventure playground for dogs. The fun continues with pup participation activities, a giant ‘K9’ dog diving pool, IQ games and more. Then there’s the live music and 140-plus independent stalls selling doggy delicacies and kit, plus locally-sourced food and drink for hungry hoomans.

ART: Raymond Briggs: A retrospective, daily, The Gallery, Winchester

A determined artist right from being a young boy, the author-illustrator Raymond Briggs’ influential and iconic children’s books are beloved by generations. Running until 18 August, this exhibition at Winchester Discovery Centre includes over 100 original artworks from favourites. Look out for Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone AgeFungus the Bogeyman and, of course, the incredible The Snowman.

VISIT: The Mary Rose, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, daily

It made headlines recently with the revelation of a surprisingly ethnically diverse crew. Find out more at the new, immersive visitor experience commemorating the loss of the Mary Rose and her crew in July 1545. You’ll get the chance to hear about the ship from King Henry VIII himself and get on board (virtually) during the Battle of the Solent. (Spoiler alert: she sank).  

VISIT: Royal Logistics Corps Museum, Worthy Down, Tues – Saturdays

Round-up the troops! Brand spanking new at Worthy Down, near Winchester, The Royal Logistics Corps will take you back in time, on campaign with the British Army, from the Battle of Agincourt to Afghanistan, at its free-to-enter museum. Inside are vehicles, uniforms, equipment and artefacts used over the centuries. There are also interactive displays, a 30-seat cinema, children’s activities and a museum shop and café.

THEATRE: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, 12 June, Winchester

Ever been to a show and felt like they’re making it up as they go along? All about the improv – with a unique performance guaranteed – the Showstoppers take audience suggestions for their setting, musical styles, show title and more. Then they transform them into a different show every night at Winchester’s Theatre Royal. Expect high drama, snappy lyrics, dazzling dance routines and catchy melodies.

KIDS: Sky Park Farm, West Harting, nr. Petersfield, 5-6; 12-13 June

Deer Sky Park Farm Harting Petersfield

Brand new in West Harting, near Petersfield, this family-owned farm is devoted to deer. Meet a few of their large herd then let the kiddos go wild in the adventure playground (expected opening 18 June). Also on site are a butchery, farm shop (opens July) and café. The upmarket menu features top-notch brekkies, kids meals and Scandi-style sandwiches, plus vegan dishes, venison burgers and loads more. Pester alert: there’s a gift shop packed with covetable cuddlies, too. Oh deer…

ART: Sculpture at Beaulieu, New Forest, from 19 June

Work from 55 renowned sculptors are on display around Beaulieu, strategically placed at the atmospheric ruins of Beaulieu Abbey, in beautiful Victorian Flower Garden at the Palace House and elsewhere. Spot them as you wander around the grounds or take a socially-distanced tour and pick a favourite. Also this month, there’s a whole host of motor events. Look out for Simply Porsche (6 June); Mini Cooper Register Rally (13 June); Simply VW (19 June) and the Hot Rod and Custom Show (20 June). Vroom Vroom.

VISIT: Steam engine & model railway event, 19-20 June, Exbury Gardens

Peep, peep! All aboard for the New Forest. The gorgeous Exbury Gardens is steaming into Father’s Day weekend with a bumper nostalgic schedule that’s just the ticket for train-mad dads and grandpas, including an array of model railways and working steam engines, all displayed in Exbury’s working railway shed. Entry is free with gardens admission and half-price for all dads.

THEATRE: The Wizard of Oz, Titchfield Festival Theatre, 16 – 26 June

There’s no place like home for Dorothy but the rest of us are ready for a change of scenery… Find it at the Titchfield Festival Theatre in Fareham. Expect the usual line-up of crazy characters and fabulous magic shoes in its brand new production of the classic Wizard of Oz. Also this month, Shakespeare at the Great Barn kicks off with The Comedy of Errors (1 June onwards) followed by A Winter’s Tale (from 29 June).

FESTIVAL: Nostalgia Show, Stanstead Park, Rowlands Castle, 25-27 June

Nostalgia Show Stanstead Park

Travel back in time at Rowlands Castle’s Stanstead Park, dig out the wiggle dress and get ready to party like it’s 1959. Expect pimped prosecco, retro rides and lots and lots of taffeta. On stage, there’ll be vintage delights including Johnny Victory, Dawn’s Vintage Do and Lady and the Dukes.

FITNESS: Parkrun 5k events, 26 June, various locations

Get set for running! A new date has been announced for the return of 5k events. If all goes to plan, Parkrun events are poised to restart in Andover, Eastleigh, Fareham, Hogmoor Inclosure (Bordon), Lee-on-Solent, Portsmouth Lakeside, Rushmoor Park (Aldershot) and Winchester. Over the border, there’s Chichester; Bournemouth and Poole; Salisbury; Frimley Lodge Park (Surrey) and Woking.

FESTIVAL: The Hampshire Country & Garden Festival, 26 – 27 June

Hampshire Country & Garden Festival

Held in the beautiful gardens of Bere Mill, the Hampshire Country & Garden Festival opens in style with a cocktail reception, luxe picnic, charity auction and dancing on Saturday 26 June. The grand family day out follows on Sunday 27 June, when there’ll be children’s entertainment and activities, local art and gift stalls, floral, foodie and yoga workshops, live music and Pimms galore. All profits will be donated to the Hampshire Medical Fund.

THEATRE: Bowie Experience, 28 June, The Mayflower, Southampton

Expect all the White Duke’s brilliant hits, from Ashes to Ashes to Ziggy Stardust, performed with gusto at this brand new show at the Mayflower. And of course, no tribute to the legendary musician and performer would be complete without a glorious array of stage costumes.

ISLE OF WIGHT

KIDS: Welly Wednesday Farm Tour, Briddlesford Farm, 2 June

It’s back! The ever-popular family-friendly farm tour takes in Briddlesford’s herd of beautiful Guernsey cows and the milking parlor, culminating in a cup of super-fresh milk and mooch around the farm shop.

VISIT: 50th Anniversary Gala, IoW Steam Railway, 4-6 June, Havenstreet

Founded in January 1971, The Isle of Wight Steam Railway grew from a group of individuals determined to save a few relics from the Island’s once extensive network of 55 miles of railway lines and stations. Celebrating an incredible 50 years, the gala weekend will feature vintage locomotives that once ran on the island. Also this month, Railway Folk (12 – 13 June) is a fun, family street theatre event. And there’s a cheeky beer and cider or two on offer at the Real Ale Festival (26 – 27 June). Try not to get too steaming…

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Drive-in cinema, Sandown Airport, 5 – 6 June

Drive up to classic movies like Dirty Dancing, Jurassic Park, Grease and The Hangover on a giant LED screen at Sandown Airport on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th June, all in aid of Wessex Cancer Trust. Order food via the ‘Isle of Wight Airport’ app and get it delivered to your car window – genius.

VISIT: Blooming Gardens at Osbourne, 12 – 13 June, East Cowes

Osborne’s beautiful historic gardens will be be blooming resplendent for their annual celebration of horticultural heritage. Notebooks at the ready as there’ll be informative talks to help you up your own gardening game. Take a self-led tour and enjoy musical performances from Jukebox Jazz (12 June) and the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra (13 June), plus there’s kids’ craft activities and more.

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