Mon 11 - Sun 17 Feb
FAMILY: The Great Brick Safari, RHS Garden Wisley, Sat 26 Jan – Sun 3 Mar
If you go down to the woods today… make sure not to step on any Lego. The landscape of RHS Garden Wisley, is transformed for the next month with the addition of some rather unusual statues. With gorillas and all manner of creatures in the medium of brick, The Great Brick Safari is a chance to get some fresh air and amuse the kids at the same time.
THEATRE: The Shadow Factory, NST City, Weds 30 Jan – Sat 2 March
The Shadow Factory returns by popular demand, after rave reviews in all the nationals. The story, which is based in Southampton itself, explores the landscape of this Hampshire city during one of its most difficult times. The city has been bombed by the Germans, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake but shows the spirit of those who live and work there continues to be strong.
CULTURE: Leonard da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Southampton Art Gallery, Fri 1 Feb – Mon 6 May
One of the original greats, Da Vinci was famed for his artistry and vision, much of it years ahead of its time. His work and legacy are heading to Southampton with a special exhibition of 12 of his drawings, each one representing a big part of his life’s work.
COMEDY: Tom Lucy, The Spring Arts Centre, Havant, Mon 11 Feb
One of the stars of Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Tom Lucy is heading to Havant bringing his tongue in cheek style of comedy to a Hampshire audience. As well as his scathing view on life, he also holds the title of being one of the youngest comedians on the professional circuit.
THEATRE: The Full Monty, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Mon 11 – Sat 16 Feb
You can leave your hat on! Well, it is frightfully chilly at the moment, but things will definitely be hotting up as The Full Monty heads to Southampton this week. What else is there to say except its a heart-warming story about the trials and tribulations of making ends meet, with some added err… nudity. Starring Hollyoaks old schoolers Gary Lucy, James Redmond, Kai Owen and Dinnerladies, Andrew Dunn, this is bound to be full-frontally fab.
CULTURE: The Darktown Valentine’s Cabaret, Aspex Gallery Gunwharf, Portsmouth, Thurs 14 Feb
An alternative spin to the day of red roses and boxes of chocolates, as Portsmouth’s Aspex Gallery holds an evening of poetry, music, film and Art Bingo. Performers on the night include illustrator Jonny Hannah (also known as Monsieur McHulot) and his band of King Toad, Dog in a Dress and The Queen of Darktown. Definitely a quirky one.
FOOD & DRINK: Free Prosecco Afternoon Tea, Rosebourne Garden Centre, Weyhill, Thurs 14 Feb
If you want an extra bit of fancy in your Valentine’s Day, then pop to the rather lovely Rosebourne for their special Valentine’s Afternoon Tea. Not only can you use it as an excuse to eat cake (though, do we really need an excuse) each tea comes with two free glasses of pink fizz. Be still my beating heart!
OUTDOORS: Complimentary Birthday and Valentine’s Skating, Four Seasons Hotel, Hook, Thurs 14 Feb
Not only is today the day of love, but it’s also the Hampshire Four Season’s 14th birthday. So, to celebrate, they’re offering free sessions on their very own ice-rink for guests, visitors and local residents. As well as slippery antics, there’s also a special Birthday Afternoon Tea, special Valentine’s Day set menu and an evening of cocktails and fun.
POP UP: KemptonBranson Pop Up, KemptonBranson HQ, Fri 15 Feb
The new season can only mean one thing – new clothes! KemptonBranson is bringing two worlds together with its brand new collection, #whentownmeetsbeach. Think ankle boots and jeans, trainers and scarves. Get there quick and get all the good stuff!
COMEDY: Jacqui Squallows’ Valentines Show, Woods Kitchen, Ventnor, Fri 15 Feb
Valentines? Meh. Galentines? You what? Enter Jacqui Swallows with her one-woman show (and a 5-course meal), She’s Got 99 Problems, But Your S*** Ain’t One. This blistering self-help comedy show will help you sort the wheat from the plastic roses and provide a spot of entertainment that cuts through the schmaltz.
THEATRE: Joan Collins – Unscripted, The Anvil Arts, Basingstoke, Fri 15 Feb
The epitome of glam, Joan Collins is gliding into Basingstoke this weekend for an evening of stories and (hopefully salacious) secrets from her decades’ long career. There’s also a chance to ask the Dynasty star a question, so make it a good one!
FAMILY: Spirit of the Orient – Electric Woods, Robin Hill, Fri 15 – Sat 23 Feb
Robin Hill may not be completely back open after the winter season just yet, but it’s opening its gates for a special celebration of light and Chinese Culture as the Electric Woods get a Spirit of the Orient makeover. Things to watch out for are the 12-metre long dragon procession, Chinese street food stalls and digital dancing lion show.
THEATRE: Joe Black’s House of Burlesque, Kings Theatre Portsmouth, Sat 16 Feb
For those with a darker sense of humour and fun, Joe Black’s House of Burlesque is one not to be missed. Joe’s irreverent (and sometimes toe-curling comedy) will have you stifling the guiltiest of giggles, and his band of burlesque performers will you have you agog in a sea of nipple tassels and sequins. Be warned though, I once attended and half the audience left at the interval because it was so rude (in a good way though!)
HERITAGE: Snowdrop Sunday at Chawton House, Sun 17 Feb
For a slightly more wholesome (if a tiny bit chilly) experience, then visit Chawton House this weekend to admire the rather lovely carpets of snowdrops that signal the end of winter. Snowdrop Sunday is a big event across the UK and nowhere is more beautiful to spend it than the Elizabethan powerhouse that is Chawton.