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What’s On in May (hurray!)

It's back! Insta-worthy afternoon tea, shopping, outdoor movies, pools, kids' capers and loads more - don't miss these brilliant things to do in Hants & IoW

CINEMA: Nightflix Drive-In, until 14 May, Longmoor, East Hants

Nightflix Longmoor East Hampshire

All new Tom & Jerry film capers, dystopian action film Chaos Walking, Godzilla vs Kong and more are on the bill this month at the Nightflix Drive-In cinema. Also showing is the now Oscar-winning film, Judas and the Black Messiah. And Muddy’s favourite drive-in classic, Grease, on May 3. We’re peachy keen, jelly bean…

ART: The Hampshire Art Show, until 15 May, Stockbridge

Held in the spacious Old Grain Store gallery surrounded by rolling countryside, Nadia Waterfield Fine Art’s annual spring show features original artwork from over 60 artists, across all genres. View the fantastic collection of works including paintings, sculptures and ceramics, then head out for a countryside yomp.

SPORT: Petersfield Open Air Pool, throughout May

Open air dips are back at Petersfield’s brilliant town pool. The bright, rainbow-coloured wooden changing huts have had a fresh coat of paint and the pool itself has had a pretty major refurb too. Pre-booking is a must.

DRINK: The Spritz Social, throughout May, WestQuay, Southampton

Aperol Spritz has taken over the centre of WestQuay with a giant beach bar. Take a break from essential non-essential retail therapy – or just head straight there with the girls. Get comfy at picnic tables, deckchairs, beach huts for craft beers, mocktails and (why not) a cheeky Spritz or two.

KIDS: New Forest Activities, Family canoeing, weekends throughout May

New Forest Activities Canoeing

Take to the water with a scenic, 90-minute family rowabout the kids will love. Suitable for littlies from 18 months upwards, expect full instruction and proper kitting out. Then paddle away to your heart’s content along the gorgeous creeks and waterways.

VISIT: Longstock Park Water Garden, throughout May, 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.

VISIT: Mayday Garden Trail. Mon 3 May, Chawton House, Alton

Chawton House Hampshire

Walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen as the magnificent Chawton House opens its gardens for the Mayday Bank Holiday. Keep the littlies occupied with a free downloadable kids explorer bingo trail while you snaffle a BBQ-cooked sausage or bacon sarnie from the Parkland Pantry (until 12pm).

FOOD: Wind in the Willows Afternoon Tea, 17 May+, New Park Manor

Afternoon Tea New Park Manor Wind in the Willows children's New Forest

Wind in the Willows is coming to the family-friendly New Park Manor in Brockenhurst in the form of gorgeous, Insta-worthy children’s afternoon teas. Goodies include ‘Toad in the Hall’ sausage tartlet, Mole’s (sweet) boiled egg and soldiers and more. For grown-ups, there’s finger sandwiches, scones, Badger’s chocolate and berry swiss roll and loads more.

ART: Raymond Briggs: A retrospective. 17 May+, The Gallery, Winchester

On tour from House of Illustration, this is the first ever exhibition dedicated to the author-illustrator Raymond Briggs. Still an enduring favourite (especially at Christmas), his influential and iconic children’s books are beloved by generations. The exhibition will run from 17 May to 18 August and 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.

DRINK: The Bombay Sapphire Distillery, 17 May+, Whitchurch

It’s back! If you’ve never visited the Bombay Sapphire Distillery, do it now. Whether you’re a gin devotee or only partake in a very occasional tipple, the discovery experience lets you literally see, sniff and walk your way through the gin-making process. Take in the awesome architecture and take out a bag full of cocktail gear from the shop to shake up a storm with back home.

SHOPPING: Cleverly Wrapped Fashion Show, 17 May, Stockbridge

Super-stylish boutique owner Harriet Cleverly has been going down a storm on her Insta, demonstrating how to wear new trends. And there’ll be more tips at this event, as she showcases her entire Spring Summer Collection. The show will take place over the road from Cleverly Wrapped, at the equally-stylish Grosvenor Hotel. There’s an optional special dinner beforehand, with all of the £30 ticket price donated to the Hampshire Medical Fund.

GIG: Comedy at the Park, Sat 21 – 22 May, Itchen Valley Country Park

Thanyia Moore Comedian Itchen Valley Country Park things to do what's on May Hampshire

It’s been a long year and boy, we could do with a laugh. Find one at Itchen Valley Country Park this May with two live sunset gigs headlined by fab funny ladies Thanyia Moore (above) and Lou Sanders. Pitch up with your own chairs and picnic blankets or book a deckchair deal. Plus there’s BBQ food and drinks from the Woodland Café.

KIDS: Sound Detectives at The Winchester Science Centre. Sat 22 May+

Winchester Science Centre
Pic: Harvey Mills

Let’s face it, science is much more fun when its accompanied by the odd explosion or two. Once again, the Winchester Science Centre has pulled it out of the bag with a new, free live science show. In the immersive experience, kids will discover how sound is created in nature, complete with dry ice cannon experiment. BOOM!

VISIT: Simply Electric, Sun 23 May, Beaulieu

Shiny new BMW I8s, retro Sinclair C5 and more – today’s petrol heads are turning electric – and there’s loads to admire. Find the latest and greatest plus the coolest retro vehicles at Beaulieu’s Simply Electric show. Entry to all the Beaulieu attractions including The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Little Beaulieu, Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and more are included in the ticket price.

CINEMA: Clueless, Sun 23 May, Chawton House, Alton

It’s back to the 90s and Beverly Hills at Chawton House, as its outdoor cinema screens Clueless in the beautiful grounds. Starring Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, the absolute classic follows the matchmaking attempts of the shallow, rich and socially successful Cher, a plot inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma.

FESTIVAL: The Burley Food & Drink Festival, Sat 29 – 31 May, New Forest

Something for everyone at this fab festival celebrating brilliant local artisan produce – with foodie delights at every turn. Once you’ve picked your way around, whet your whistle at one of the bars, watch a cocktail masterclass and listen to some live music. If the mudlets are in tow, there’s free kids shows to entertain them, too. Plus there’s art, vintage music, clothes and cars and even a Mystic Tree. Well, why not?

KIDS: Day Out with Thomas, Watercress Line, Ropley, 29 May – 6 June

Watercress Line

See Thomas wheesh into the station and climb aboard for trip the kiddos will absolutely love. Look out for naughty Diesel and good ol’ Toad and Duck. Then there’s a meet-and-greet with the Fat Controller and Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty & Dusty. Cameras at the ready, that snap’s gonna be a keeper!


ACTIVITY: Adventure Out! Appuldurcombe House, 7 May+, Godshill

Adventure Out English Heritage

An assassin is about to strike. It’s your mission to turn Regency sleuth and foil the murder plot against the visiting Prince Regent. Partnering with English Heritage, this new, escape room-style activity from Adventure Out! Game is all a bit cooler than those traditional re-enactments and a fun way to explore the gorgeous grounds of this now ruined 18th century English Baroque country house.

VISIT: Festival of Transport, Sun 23 May, Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Vintage trucks, old-fashioned bicycles, shiny, modern day sporty numbers and more will be on display at this fun Sunday event at Havenstreet. The event is free but if you want to board one of the gorgeous steam trains (and why wouldn’t you?), book your carriage online first.

THEATRE: Romeo & Juliet, Sat 29 May, Ventnor Park

A contemporary take on the classic play, actors the HandleBards will play out “an unhinged and bonkers, laugh-out-loud version of Romeo & Juliet” created during lockdown. Put on by Isle of Wight arts exhibition the Ventnor Exchange, you can “expect music, mayhem and more costume changes than you can shake a spear at” on stage at Ventnor Park.

VISIT: Sky High Night Glow, Thurs 29 – 31 May, Robin Hill, near Newport

Woodland treetop canopy walkways, water gardens and open rolling countryside – Robin Hill Country Park’s 88 acres of natural parkland has loads to explore. Visit over the late Bank Holiday weekend for races, mass launches and beautifully-lit hot air balloons, plus live music in the Valley and Woodland Ponds. Not to be missed.

FOOD: Pizza and Jazz at the Garlic Farm, Sun 30 May, near Sandown

Freshly-made wood-fired pizza, live jazz played by local musicians and bags of room for the kiddos to play are all on the menu at this special evening at Isle of Wight’s Garlic Farm. And oh, those rolling countryside views…

SPORT: Isle of Wight Festival of Running, Sun 30 – 6 June, West Wight

isle wight festival running

Competitions are back – and this Isle of Wight fixture is not to be missed. There are five circular cross-country routes with gorgeous coastal views. For the most serious, the Headline event is the Needles Half Marathon. New for 2021 is the 5k Duver Dash on Sunday 30, with 1km route for kids.

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