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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

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What’s On in the Country? The Culture Diary

Don't miss the best cultural events in the UK during the month...


What’s on this week in the countryside and the UK beyond London? Wonder no more! Find out all the hottest show openings, new art exhibitions, restaurants to book into and more. Here’s your culture guide to the month ahead…

Looking for events in London? Check out our Town Culture Diary

What’s On in the Country this Month?

 21 February

20 Years of Penguin Essentials, East Sussex

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft’s display of 100 classic Penguin covers might sway you. It runs in conjunction with an exhibition on typography designer Elizabeth Friedlander, who was championed by the publisher. 6 January to 29 April.

22 February

The Butterfly Effect, Surrey

RHS Butterfly Effect

Surrey’s Royal Horticultural Society Wisley will unleash 50 exotic species into its glasshouse. Pick up a spotter guide and see if you can identify them all. Keep an eye out for Graphium Doson and Papilio Paris, both new additions this year. 13 January – 4 March.

23 February

Art Antiques Fair, Cheshire

Art Antiques Fair, Cheshire

For three days only, The Mere Golf Resort & Spa in Knutsford are hosting the top-class boutique fair, Art Antiques Cheshire for the seventh year in a row. An unmissable event for those who love their antiques, 30 specialist dealers from all around the UK will be attending to show off their most antique furnishings and design objects creating the most perfect shopping environment. 23 – 25 Feb,

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Stratford-upon-Avon

Twelfth Night, Christopher Luscombe

Unrequited love, a shipwreck and heartbreak, it could only be Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Christopher Luscombe returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company to direct the playwright’s greatest comedy at the troupe’s Stratford-upon-Avon theatre. 2 November – 24 February.

24 February

The Old & Rare Whisky Show, Glasgow

The Old and Rare Whisky Show

Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel will be hosting The 2018 Whisky Exchange’s Old & Rare Whisky Show on 24th and 25th February 2018, where 750 visitors will be offered the chance to taste and discover antiquated Whiskies. With 20 exhibitors attending to show off their rare Whiskies, there will be an estimated combined value of over 1 million pounds of Whisky presented to taste. 24-25 February.

A Winters Table at Borthwick Castle, Edinburgh

Borthwick Castle, Edinburgh

Head down to Scotland’s most exceptional exclusive hire venue on the 24th February to experience a spectacular five-course gourmet adventure evening, as well as the chance to explore the history behind the walls of this beautiful Castle. A Winters Table, produced by Roux-trained Head Chef, Derek Johnstone, will be showcasing Scotland’s finest seasonal produce as guests experience five delicious courses of superb food as well as  cocktails made by the Castle’s mixologist.  Feeling cosy? Don’t miss the after dinner dram and get snuggled up by the fire whilst you watch . 24 February, Tickets start from £110 per person,

25 February

Surrealism In Egypt Exhibition, Liverpool

Surrealism in Egypt

Surrealism is associated with a distinctly European kind of rebellion. However, in the Thirties, Cairo was a fulcrum of the avant-garde where The Art and Liberty Group absorbed ideas from André Breton and Lee Miller to produce their own version of surrealism. Until 18 March.

26 February

Jerry’s Open House


Spiced rum brand Sailor Jerry will hosting a month-long pop-up in a warehouse on Houldsworth Street, Glasgow. Numerous events will take place, including the ultimate housewarming party with special guests, an intimate acoustic gig with Frank Carter and even an art competition for the chance to have your work exhibited. From 15 February – 15 March. More information here. 

27 February

Sergey Ponomarev Exhibition

Work by Sergey Ponomarev

The power of photography is not to be ignored. As part of its Syria: A Conflict Explored season, IWM North showcases work by Russian documentarian Sergey Ponomarev, who has recorded the human consequences of the Syrian civil war through his penetratingly perceptive lens. 16 February – 28 May.

28 February

Sofia Stevi Exhibition, Newcastle

The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts in Gateshead will be hosting Sofia Stevi’s first solo exhibition. This showcase will be a collection of her latest drawings, paintings and also a brand new body of work done specifically for this exhibition. There will also be a chance to speak to the artist herself on opening night, where she’ll discuss her inspiration and process. Free entry. 15 December – 22 April.

2 March

Go Slow! at Tresanton


Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall is hosting an event for all the real foodies out there. Gastronomic royalty Carl Honoré, Alex Polizzi and Oliver Peyton will be putting on two days of glorious dinners and activities, to celebrate regional and traditional food grown organically and not produced quickly. Emphasis will be placed on how slowing down has hugely beneficial factors on your health. From 2– 4 March, more details here.

3 March

Horses in Art Reimagined

Horses in Art Reimagined

Head down to Watts Contemporary Gallery in Surrey to experience a unique exhibition for equestrian lovers, Horses in Art Reimagined. Guests will be given the chance to view and purchase work by eight of the best equestrian artists of present day including Helena Bowen, Philippa Cannan, Alex Jakob-Whitworth, Heather Jansch and many more. 27 Feb – 15 April,

4 March

Cowley Manor Wedding Fayre, Cotswolds

Cowley Manor

Planning a wedding? You’re in for a treat this March as the Cotswolds’ beautiful Cowley Manor farmhouse is hosting a wedding fayre to get you thinking about that perfect day. Expect to wander around the glorious 55 acres of Grade II listed gardens surrounding the manor as you meet with local wedding suppliers, sip on champagne and imagine your dream wedding in the Cotswolds. 4 March,

5 March

Matilda The Musical Starts Its UK & Ireland Tour At Leicester Curve

Matilda The Musical

With pancake day approaching, we all know that well- known Matilda scene is going to be appearing on our screens as we bop our heads and sing along. Head along to Leicester Curve Theatre on the 5th March as they kick off the first of many The Matilda Musical’s to come around the UK & Ireland. 5 – 24 March, 

Matilda The Musical is also heading to Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre 4 – 28 April 2018, Sunderland Empire Theatre 8 May – 2 June 2018, Milton Keynes Theatre 5 – 30 June 2018, Birmingham Hippodrome 3 July – 8 September 2018, Manchester Palace 18 September – 24 November 2018 and Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre 4 December 2018 – 12 January 2019.

6 March

Beehives, Bobs and Blow-Dries

The work of Robert Eaton and Karla Ancliff-Smith of Russell Eaton Salon in Leeds; Hairdresser’s Journal’s 2016 Afro Hairdresser of the Year.

Expect to travel the length of hair’s legacy from root to tip. This multimedia exhibition both celebrates iconic hairstyles with archival material and highlights the way in which salons serve as community cornerstones. The advancement of design and technology, of course, draws surprising, inspiring, and perhaps humorous comparisons between then and now. 17 February – 7 April.

7 March

Stargazing Europe’s Darkest Skies at Glenapp Castle, Scotland

Glenapp Castle

Fall asleep under the stars in Scotland during the months of February and March as Galloway Forest Park’s clear, inky-blue night skies showcase over 7,000 stars each night to take your breath away. Stay over in the magnificent, family-owned Glenapp Castle and feel like a true royal as you wander around the oak panelled rooms and gaze out at the fairy-tale turrets. Be prepared to explore their Victorian-walled gardens and wander around the night skies alongside an expert personal astronomer. Grab your winter gear and head to Scotland to experience a cosy, stargazing evening full of hot chocolate, whisky and blankets as you gaze up at the sky with your binoculars.  Until 29 March,

8 March

Revolt and Revolutions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park


YSP begins the year with a cry for change. The windswept galleries reflect the challenge of protest over the last half century, cunningly dovetailed to contemporary revolution. Beginning with the volatile ’70s, a world of squats and punks, the art then races through the ’80s in true subversive style, with Peter Kennard’s famous photomontage of nuclear warheads jutting out of an otherwise calm countryside in Constable’s The Hay Wain. Until 15 April.

9 March

Literacy in the Lakes, Cumbria

The north-west of England’s best festival of words and ideas is coming to Keswick this March. The Words by the Water festival is situated at Theatre by the lake and see’s authors and public figures give lectures, talks and workshops over the nine days. The programme includes an exciting line up including Politician Sir Vince Cable, TV Reporter Martin Bell, Poet and Novelist Ben Okri and Former Hostage, Terry Waite. 9-18 March, Tickets start from £9,

10 March

Myth, Material and Metamorphasis at Messums Wiltshire

Bouke de Vries ‘Still life with Kingfisher’

Bouke de Vries ‘Still life with Kingfisher’

Northern European mythology and stories of metamorphosis unite the work of artists at Messums in Wiltshire this February. After a metamorphosis of its own, transitioning from London art dealership Messum’s Fine Art, to countryside ‘temple to the handmade’ Messums Wiltshire, the second exhibition of the gallery will open on 10 February and run until 2 April.

15 March

Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival 2018

Bristol Jazz Festival 2018

Returning for its sixth year running, Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival will be taking over Colston Hall, 02 Academy and Folk House from 15- 18 March to provide you with a smashing weekend of entertainment. Kicking off the biggest music festival in Bristol is Martin Taylor & Ulf Wakenius as well as Get The Blessing. For a weekend full of both free and ticketed events and masterclasses, head down to one of these venues in March! 15-18 March,

10 April

Cookery Courses at Northcote, Lancashire

Northcote Cookery School

In Lancashire’s renowned Ribble Valley sits a quaint Michelin-starred restaurant, Northcote, who are kicking off their 2018 with hosting classes at their prestigious cookery school. From premium masterclasses, to full day or even half a day, you’ll be sure to find something to fit in with your schedule. Kicking off the year with their Modern Desserts class in the middle of April, learners will be wowing the family each evening as they learn how to make a Bakewell Souffle and an Apple Cheesecake. Also included in the series of classes is Luxury Dinner Party Secrets for those who have always wanted to know how to add truffle, caviar, langoustine and more delicious foods to their at home recipes ( 24 & 27 April), along with Ceramic and Pizza Oven Cooking to teach you how to make the best dough around, sour or pizza (Various dates in July & August). Modern Deserts Class is from 10 – 12 April,

1 May

The Fish Hotel Adds Three New Treehouses, Cotswolds

The Fish Hotel

Scheduled to open in May, The Fish Hotel near Broadway has had a fresh look for 2018 and has added not only a new seafood-inspired restaurant, but refurbished their bedrooms and added three brand-new treehouses. Feel at one with nature as these stunning treehouses can sleep up to four guests and are set in a beautiful, rural woodland setting with fabulous utilities including underfloor heating, en-suite facilities and an outside seating area to ensure you get really comfortable. Bookings taken from 1 May,

14 May

Bringing the Outside In at Gravetye Manor’s New Restaurant, Sussex

Gravetye Manor

Due to reopen in May, Gravetye Manor are currently fitting their brand new beautiful restaurant designed by Architect Sir Charles Knowles and interior designer Claire Nelson. With an aim to bring the outdoors in, the restaurant now features wall to ceiling windows in order to allow guests look out and experience the admired gardens of the hotel which we’re created by one of England’s Gardeners, William Robinson. Enjoy spectacular views whilst eating some of the best, fresh food around as the restaurant holds a Michelin-star rating and sources several of its ingredients from its own gardens. Opens May,

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